Jan
27
2009

Mr. Cohen, I Used to Live in the Past

Looking back on the good old days when we all supported torture, Richard Cohen writes today in the Washington Post (1/27/09): "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." So goes an aphorism that needs to be applied to the current debate over whether those who authorized and used torture should be prosecuted. In the very different country called September 11, 2001, the answer would be a resounding no. Back then, a Post poll gave George W. Bush an approval rating of 92 percent, which meant that almost no one thought he was on the wrong course. […]

Jan
27
2009

AP vs. Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments

An Associated Press headline about the "Issue of Terrorists' Rights to Test Obama's Pledge" to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility spurs Salon critic Glenn Greenwald (1/26/09, ad-viewing required) to put a basic journalistic tenet as simply as possible: "The fact that the U.S. Government accuses someone of X does not mean that they are actually guilty of X": It's a good thing that there was no Associated Press around (let alone Wall Street Journals and John Yoos) during debates over the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments. AP would have run articles describing the proposed guarantees of Due Process […]

Jan
27
2009

Editorial Content Gets the Axe at Voice Media

FAIR friend Tom Tomorrow notifies his readers (ThisModernWorld.com, 1/26/09) that his long-running editorial comic is being cut from possibly the entire Village Voice Media chain: The papers I was running in are: Dallas Observer, New Times Ft. Lauderdale, Houston Press, LA Weekly, Minneapolis City Pages, Nashville Scene, OC Weekly, Pitch Weekly, Denver Westword and the Village Voice (though there is a small possibility of a reprieve for the latter)…. Oops, forgot one: Seattle Weekly. This still leaves me with 80-odd papers, as well as Salon and Credo, so it's not a fatal blow. And believe me, I wasnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t so naive […]

Jan
27
2009

Reversing Time in Search of 'Liberal Media'

"Liberal media" basher Bernie Goldberg is back with a new book, and Media Matters' Dianna Parker (1/25/09) finds him as error-ridden as ever: In yet another instance of mangling the facts to show purported media favoritism toward then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, Bernard Goldberg writes in his new book: "Finally, in the last month of the campaign, the [New York] Times returned to the Obama-Ayers story, but only after McCain and (mostly) Palin began making it an issue on the campaign trail." A Media Matters Nexis search confirms that, "In fact, in what ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala reported was the "first […]

Jan
26
2009

Media Criticism, Homer Simpson-Style

Reading this at the bottom of neo-con William Kristol's column in the New York Times (1/26/09): This is William Kristol's last column. Homer says, "Woohoo!" Then reading this at the Politico: EXCLUSIVE: Progressives will delight when they get to the italic note at the end of Bill Kristol's column in the Times today say, "This is William Kristol's last column." His one-year contract was up. Sources tell Playbook that he's now beginning a monthly column in the Washington Post. Homer says, "D'oh!"

Jan
26
2009

Krugman Debunks Bogus Stimulus Critics

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman helpfully debunks (1/26/09) some of the more tendentious and misleading criticisms of the White House's economic stimulus package. Here's one such trope: First, thereâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s the bogus talking point that the Obama plan will cost $275,000 per job created. Why is it bogus? Because it involves taking the cost of a plan that will extend over several years, creating millions of jobs each year, and dividing it by the jobs created in just one of those years. Itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s as if an opponent of the school lunch program were to take an estimate of the cost […]

Jan
26
2009

Pundits 'Nod Sagely' at Madness of War

A January 23 New York Times column by Bob Herbert distilled the message of Barack Obama's nascent administration as "No more crazy wars." FAIR associate Norman Solomon's reaction (AfterDowningStreet.org, 1/26/09): "I wish." Lamenting the current "narrowness of political vision–while news outlets are reporting that the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is expected to 'as much as double this year to 60,000 troops'"–Solomon recalls the Lyndon Baines Johnson inaugural speech that "foreshadowed the massive slaughtering of people in Vietnam": Pundits and congressional leadership nodded sagely as the president cited the threat of Communism and proceeded to boost U.S. troop levels […]

Jan
26
2009

Fox Loves Obama-Era Dissent

Raw Story highlights a Daily Show clip (1/22/09) in which Jon Stewart plays an astounding array of "soft-on-terror" clips from Fox coverage of Barack Obama's first day as U.S. president. Stewart then reminds us how "criticism and dissent of the president's policies, especially Iraq, used to be viewed" by playing a March 30, 2007, "Talking Points" segment in which Bill O'Reilly says "this hate stuff, this rooting for the administration to fail in Iraq and other areas is un-American, unbecoming and unacceptable. Like him or not, Mr. Bush is the elected leader of this country." Raw Story's David Edwards and […]

Jan
26
2009

Corporate Press to 'Retain an Alarmingly Soviet Tinge'

Jonathan Schwarz (A Tiny Revolution, 1/20/09) is linking to Glenn Greenwald's Salon catch of John Barry telling Newsweek readers to not sweat "the core charge that the [Bush] administration 'misled' the legislature and the American public by faking evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction." Barry asserts any such accountability would be "vengeance, pure and simple," because "there is ample evidence that Saddam was genuinely believed to have an arsenal by those with access to the intelligence." Schwarz thinks "it would be incredible for any reporter to write this," considering that "the U.S. was told by the head […]

Jan
26
2009

A Vetoed History of the Middle East

In discussion with Foreign Policy in Focus' Sameer Dossani (1/16/09), Noam Chomsky states "the fact of the matter" that "the press won't talk about": "that there has been a political settlement on the table, on the agenda for 30 years" in the Middle East. And that would be "a two-state settlement on the international borders." Unfortunately, as Chomsky often points out, "the United States vetoed it so it's therefore out of history": Sameer Dossani: Yes, the Taba negotiations. The two sides came very close to agreement. Noam Chomsky: They were called off by Israel. But that was the one week […]

Jan
24
2009

25 Most Influential (or Not) Liberals (or Not)

Leave it to Forbes to get someone from the Hoover Institution to do an "in-depth" feature on "The 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media" (1/22/09). The results are about as bogus as you might imagine, including a number of people who are not only not liberals, but who are actively loathed by the actual left end of the media spectrum–and the feeling is generally mutual: folks like Fred Hiatt, Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria, Christopher Hitchens (did their Nation sub lapse in 1998?), Maureen Dowd, Chris Matthews and Andrew Sullivan. Then there are some corporate journalists whose "liberalism" seems […]

Jan
23
2009

The Myth Is Back!

Sometimes you don't need to read more than a headline. Take today's Washington Post: Senate Gets Reacquainted With McCain the Maverick OK, let's read just a bit: Two and a half months removed from his defeat in the race for the presidency, colleagues say, McCain bears more resemblance to the unpredictable and frequently bipartisan lawmaker they have served with for decades than the man who ran an often scathing campaign against Barack Obama. The "unpredictable and frequently bipartisan" John McCain doesn't really exist–McCain has for some time boasted a reliably conservative Senate voting record. (His "maverick" years of 2001 and […]

Jan
23
2009

Domestic Spying 'Much Broader Than Previously Acknowledged'

Raw Story's David Edwards and Muriel Kane (1/21/09) report on ex-NSA agent Russell Tice's appearance on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, where the man "who helped expose the NSA's warrantless wiretapping in December 2005" further revealed "that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists": When Olbermann pressed him for specifics, Tice offered, "An organization that was collected on were U.S. news organizations and reporters and journalists." "To what purpose?" Olbermann asked. "I mean, is there a file somewhere full of every email sent by all the reporters at the […]