Nov
21
2008

Diversity = Credibility

Responding (11/13/08) to those "who would argue that the election of the first African-American president signaled the country has moved past the need to be concerned about racial equity," PBS.org's Dori J. Maynard writes that it is true that some television networks put on air more African-American commentators during the campaign. Those additional voices, however, were not numerous enough to avoid the frequent appearance of all-white panels to discuss race relations. That lamentable pattern and other media missteps, such as a New York Times story on the shifting African-American landscape that did not quote any African-American sources, were vivid examples […]

Nov
20
2008

'I Knew He Knew Who I Was'

Glenn Beck has been telling a personal story illustrating what he says is a particularly intense level of hatred on the left. According to the newly signed Fox News host, he was verbally assaulted by a truck driver while standing in line at a Wendy's restaurant at a truck stop. Writing on his blog, Beck says the truck driver called him a "racist bigot," blaming the talk show host and conservatives "for everything." Wrote Beck, "The hatred was palpable." As his security detail stood between him and his assailant, Beck says the truck driver ended his rant by threatening to […]

Nov
18
2008

Unions Aren't Booking Themselves on TV Shows

In "Clout Has Plunged for Automakers and Union, Too," the New York Times' Micheline Maynard makes this curious observation: [GM CEO Rick ]Wagoner and Ron Gettelfinger, head of the UAW, appeared on local TV in Detroit this week, but no Detroit representatives landed spots on the Sunday morning talk shows out of Washington. Senator Levin was their primary spokesman on NBC's Meet the Press and Face the Nation on CBS. Whileit might be odd for a CEO like Wagoner to have trouble getting on the TV talkshow circuit, the lack of a labor spokesperson on the Sunday shows is pretty […]

Nov
18
2008

Filthy Rich Pundit 'Feeling Crankier Than Usual'

Via A Tiny Revolution, a reminder from Vanity Fair website contributor Peter Newcomb (11/14/08) of the unspoken motivations of a bazillionaire pundit writing an enormously influential column on economics: It would be easy to dismiss today's rant… by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as yet another ideological tirade against the U.S. automobile industry. But based on the bad news coming out of shopping-mall owner General Growth Properties [GGP], it is no wonder Friedman is feeling crankier than usual. That's because the author's wife, Ann (née Bucksbaum), is an heir to the General Growth fortune. In the past year, the […]

Nov
18
2008

'Today's Horror Story' Just the Latest War Deception

Posting on Editor & Publisher's E&P Pub blog (11/17/08), Greg Mitchell has more on "Misleading Parents After Their Kids Are Killed in War": Battle fatalities are way down in Iraq, thank goodness (though not Afghanistan), but many U.S. troops are still passing away in "noncombat" ways, via accidents, friendly fire, suicides and so on. And in those cases, parents or spouses (and the press) are still often misled or lied to for days or weeks or months before the truth of how they died comes out–in the local press. Here is today's horror story. R.I.P. Mason Lewis. They told his […]

Nov
18
2008

Media's Twisted Idea of 'Change'

From his perch over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald (11/18/08, ad-viewing required) sees "nothing new" in the current media craze for "bipartisanship": "To the contrary, the last eight years have been defined, more than anything else, by overarching bipartisan cooperation and consensus." Where is the evidence of the supposed partisan wrangling that we hear so much about? Just examine the question dispassionately. Look at every major Bush initiative, every controversial signature Bush policy over the last eight years, and one finds virtually nothing but massive bipartisan support for them–the Patriot Act (original enactment and its renewal); the invasion of Afghanistan; the […]

Nov
18
2008

Caught by 'Entirely Predictable' Surprise

Dean Baker makes a particularly sharp point (Beat the Press, 11/18/08) when trying to "imagine that the economy in Venezuela gets really bad in the next few years." He asks if the Washington Post would then "write about how Hugo Chávez had to cope with enormous economic turmoil?" but decides "that's unlikely. The Post would most likely be running articles that tell readers how Chávez's policies led to an economic disaster." But a different standard is applied to our economic chieftains who pursue policies that the Post endorses. The first part of a two-part profile of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's […]

Nov
18
2008

Lacking 'a Society of Grown-Ups'

Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi's look back (11/13/08) at his experience covering the '08 presidential campaign features this response to Hillary Clinton adviser Mark Penn calling her "a workhorse": "'Are you implying,' snaps one reporter, 'that Barack Obama is not a workhorse?'" This is what qualifies as a tough question on the campaign trail. The press performance in this election year would ultimately prove to be the worst of all time by miles and miles. Example: After thousands of reporters sat around for months on end listening first to Hillary's and then John McCain's people blather on about Obama's connection […]

Nov
18
2008

Failed Reporting on Somalia–or Didn't-Even-Try Reporting?

As well as being infused with a modern-day "white man's burden" mythology not exactly unheard of in media reporting on Somalia, Time magazine's article "The Suffering of Somalia" (11/13/08) follows the well-documented pattern of misreporting on recent U.S. intervention on Somalia (see Extra!, 3-4/08)–downplaying the disastrous role of recent U.S. policy in that country: Somalia is not so much a failed-state as a didn't-even-try one. It hasn't had a government since 1991, when warlords took over and embarked on a series of intractable clan wars that have produced one of the world's worst humanitarian crises: hundreds of thousands dead and […]

Nov
18
2008

Hawks and 'Naive' Doves

On Fox News Sunday (11/16/08), NPR reporter Mara Liasson offered her take (which was essentially the same as neo-con co-panelist Bill Kristol) on why picking Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State would be good for Barack Obama: In terms of Obama, I think he wants–it would send a lot of important signals. Number one, she is hawkish, as Bill pointed out. He has to kind of put to rest this notion that he was naive, which, of course, came from her during the campaign. Sheâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s hawkish, which will balance out his naiveté. If this is supposed to be a reference […]

Nov
18
2008

Insurance Underwriters of the World Unite!

The New York Times' Jonathan Hicks (11/17/08), writing about newly elected Staten Island Rep. Michael McMahon: Mr. McMahon…stresses his working-class roots, telling voters of his Irish fatherâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s lifelong job as an insurance underwriter. That must be the same working class that Bill O'Reilly comes from.

Nov
18
2008

IFC's Media Watchdogs

A new media watchdog series, the IFC Media Project, makesits debut tonight on the Independent Film Channel. Host Gideon Yago has spent time at MTV and CBS, experiences that he tells the New York Times helped turn him into a media critic: In an interview last week, he said he had watched "news stories that were super-relevant get the kibosh because Purina had bought the first hour of the morning show and they wanted to do a profile on fat cats."… Asked if he has become a journalistic cynic, he responded, "That, my friend, is the understatement of the year."

Nov
17
2008

Delivering Transphobia

Calling herself "more of an ally than an activist for transgender people," Veronica Arreola admits (Women In Media & News, 11/16/08) to "not being on top of each nuance of the movement" but still is aghast "at most of the media's reaction to [Thomas] Beatie's second pregnancy": It's not the headlines that upset me; most of them have been fairly tame, like "Pregnant Man Expecting Again." But it has been the delivery on local news broadcasts as well as cable news broadcasts…. One of my local news teams announced it and the anchorman said something like, "And you thought it […]