Nov
27
2008

Media Want Obama 'Breaking Free' From Democracy

ZNet has Noam Chomsky's in-depth analysis (11/25/08) of the recent U.S. presidential election–its likely ramifications, and its overall democratic qualities as compared to other countries. Chomsky here addresses the corporate media aspect: In the liberal Boston Globe, the headline of the lead story observed that Obama's "grassroots strategy leaves few debts to interest groups": labor unions, women, minorities or other "traditional Democratic constituencies." That is only partially right, because massive funding by concentrated sectors of capital is ignored. But leaving that detail aside, the report is correct in saying that Obama's hands are not tied, because his only debt is […]

Nov
27
2008

Press Freedoms Require 'Constant Vigilance'

The folks at Free Press recount (11/25/08) how, "when St. Paul police launched a violent crackdown on journalists covering the Republican National Convention," the media reform group "needed an on-the-ground organizer to pressure city officials to drop the charges against the journalists"–luckily they "knew just the person to call: Nancy Doyle Brown of the Twin Cities Media Alliance": With only two days to organize, Doyle Brown called media reform advocates throughout the city, rallying support for the petition delivery and the press conference. Free Press coordinated with its local members to prepare for the event and ensure a strong media […]

Nov
27
2008

Fox Dumps Ads on Nation's Children

TV reporter Michael Schneider updates us (Variety, 11/25/08) on Fox's race to the ethical bottom of media programming. The real losers? Kids, as usual: In an unprecedented move, Fox will program two hours of longform commercials on Saturday mornings starting in January. That's believed to be the first time a major network has slated full-blown, program-length advertisements on its schedule. Move follows an out-of-court legal settlement with children's TV producer 4Kids, which had been programming Fox's Saturday morning kids block under a time-buy agreement…. Fox opted to return two hours of the block to affiliates, and program the other two […]

Nov
27
2008

The 'Ridiculous, Preening Appearance' of Joe Klein

Salon's Glenn Greenwald contrasts (11/26/08, ad-viewing required) Joe Klein in the current Time magazine declaiming George W. Bush's "ridiculous, preening appearance in a flight suit on the deck of the aircraft carrier beneath the 'Mission Accomplished' sign" as a "defining moment… of the Bush failure" with Klein's May 4, 2003 Face the Nation response to Bob Schieffer calling the image "one of the great pictures of all time": "Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day." Greenwald goes on to tell exactly why he finds it "simply […]

Nov
27
2008

Hype About Obama's Nominees Shows Media's Corporate Bias

Obama's selection of a host of Clinton-era centrists for top posts have been greeted with cheers in the press. ABC's George Stephanopoulos gushed that "we have not seen this kind of combination of star power, brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes." Last week, even conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, who makes a point of his disdain for what he calls the "O-phoria," praised Obama's transition as "impressive," saying, "He's off to a start that nearly justifies the hype." As a new FAIR advisory points out, a central trope in this media […]

Nov
27
2008

CNN Loses Battle With Unionized Workers

This news comes from an AFL-CIO blog (via Adam Serwer at TAPPED): This report likely wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t be on CNN's Headline News, but after five years, former workers at CNN have finally gained justice. In a decision made public today, an administrative law judge ordered the network to rehire 110 workers who were fired because they were union members. CNN also was ordered to recognize the workers' unions, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA (NABET-CWA) locals 31 and 11. JudgeArthur Amchanfound that CNN violated the rights of more than 250 employees at the networkâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s bureaus in Washington, D.C., and New […]

Nov
27
2008

NYT vs. Venezuela's Election Results

Anyone who followed the results of Venezuela's regional elections last Sunday will know that President Hugo Chavez's party won 17 out of 22 contests up for grabs, garnering 52.5 percent of the popular vote to the opposition's 41.1 percent. Unless, that is, they were relying on New York Times Latin America correspondent Simon Romero. Despite a well-documented pattern of media misinformation about Chavez, many media outlets, including L.A. Times and CNN, conceded the fact of Chavez allies' victory in Sunday's races. But not Romero! Yesterday, the Times published an article by Romero titled, "Chavez Supporters Suffer Defeat in State and […]

Nov
25
2008

Fox Pundit: Bought and Paid For

Eric Hananoki and Lauren Auerbach have a new Media Matters exposé (11/24/08) of how, since the beginning of October, Dick Morris has repeatedly used his columns and Fox News appearances to promote and raise money for the National Republican Trust PAC without disclosing that the organization has paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to Morris, according to FEC filings. During that time, Morris' email newsletter has frequently included ads that state: "Paid for by The National Republican Trust PAC." A long list of Morris plugging the group in any venue that would have him is accompanied by evidence they […]

Nov
25
2008

The Ailing State of Healthcare News

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has unsettling new results (Kaiser Family Foundation, 11/24/08) from a "study of how the U.S. news media covered health issues over an 18-month period from January 2007 through June 2008." The report "finds that news about health and health care made up less than four percent (3.6 percent) of all news content"–and that's just the beginning: The study also examines the type of health coverage in the news, and finds that the largest proportion (42 percent) of the stories were about specific diseases or conditions. Thirty-one percent of health news focused […]

Nov
25
2008

TV Allows Torture Talk Only 'in the Abstract'

Under the ironic headline "God Damn The God Damn Liberal Media" (A Tiny Revolution, 11/20/08), Jonathan Schwarz points out an astonishing quote from Scott Horton's new article in Harper's on creating some kind of accountability for the torture conducted by the Bush administration (subscription required): [I]n a 2006 radio interview, Dick Cheney said simply that the use of waterboarding to obtain intelligence was a "no-brainer." Cheney at the time declined to refer to this practice as torture, preferring instead to describe it as "robust interrogation," and that reluctance has been echoed in the press. I myself was twice warned by […]

Nov
25
2008

(Rhetorical) Change They Can Believe In

Hullabaloo blogger digby deflates (11/21/08) what she says "has actually been an article of faith among the gasbags for a very long time": Until recently, what they proclaimed (without qualification) was that this was a "conservative country." The election of a Democrat with a popular mandate required them to change their rhetoric. But it hasn't changed their belief. Here's historian and highly respected thought leader Jon Meacham just before the election: "It is easy–for some, even tempting–to detect the dawn of a new progressive era in the autumn of Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency…. But history… tells us that […]

Nov
25
2008

Abandoning Journalism When It's Needed Most

Here's the New York Times (11/24/08), reporting the Citigroup bailout: In tense, round-the-clock negotiations that stretched until almost midnight on Sunday, it became clear that the crisis of confidence had to be defused now or the financial markets could plunge further. Note the absence of any source here–that's reporter Eric Dash, with the authority of the Times behind him, declaring that it was "clear that the crisis of confidence had to be defused now." This is a striking departure from the paper's typical style, in which assertions are generally sourced to somebody–if only to "officials." The absence of the usual […]

Nov
24
2008

Hannity Without Colmes

The announcement that Alan Colmes is leaving Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes show, where he serves as co-host to Sean Hannity, raises the pressing question: Will anyone notice? Fox News executives have long represented the show as an evenhanded nightly debate. Yet a reviewer in Britain's Sunday Business Post (8/24/03) perhaps summarized the peculiarity of this Fox-style "debate" best in noting that "the titleâ┚¬Ã‚¦Hannity & Colmes is something of a misnomer, because the other host–the timid, bespectacled liberal Alan Colmes–acts essentially as a sacrificial lamb and may as well not be there." Colmes identifies himself (USA Today, 2/1/95) as […]