Jan
23
2009

On Media's 'Nearly Impossible Crucible of Right-Wing Opposition'

Media critic Brad Friedman explains (BradBlog.com, 1/21/09) exactly why he considers media reform "the most important…reform of all at this particular point in the 21st century": While the Supreme Court has declared many times that the right to vote is protective of all other rights, I'd suggest that the right to be informed, accurately, via our nation's publicly owned airwaves, is the right that ensures our right to vote is ultimately protective of anything. With our current hard-right-leaning corporate media landscape, every attempted reform, including Election Reform, by any Democratic administration, must overcome a nearly impossible crucible of right-wing opposition–and […]

Jan
23
2009

Limbaugh and Coulter Hate on Everyone

Your daily dose of radio bigotry is brought to you by the super-hater team of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. Rush recently hosted Coulter on his radio show (RushLimbaugh.com, 1/16/09), where they got down to some of the racist banter they're so famous for: Rush: Arianna [Huffington], you need a translator. Coulter: And George Soros! Rush: Yeah, him, too. I've never heard the Daily Kos guy speak. Coulter: Yeah, he was brought up in someplace in Latin America. You can't understand them. They speak in foreign accents. They represent the Democratic Party. Maybe this is just an example of their […]

Jan
22
2009

Democratic Nominee Agrees With Democratic Party! Eek!

Writing on Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog (1/21/09), Steve Benen quotes Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris of Politico rueing the lack of "evidence that [Barack Obama] is willing to challenge Democratic special interest groups": "There are few examples of him making decisions during the campaign or the transition that offended his own party's constituencies…. Has Obama ever…stood up to organized labor in the way that Clinton did in passing North American Free Trade Agreement?" Saying that "it was never altogether clear to me why this was supposed to be persuasive," Benen sums up the reasoning as "the Democratic nominee […]

Jan
22
2009

U.S. Media Ignore Call for 'Criminal Investigation' of Bush Torture

Scott Horton of Harper's (1/21/09) tells us of some big news on "the German television program Frontal 21, on channel ZDF": In an interview there, "internationally renowned law professor" and "independent expert for the United Nations" Manfred Nowak, "the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush's head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush's torture practices." But, outside of one widely picked-up AP piece in which the professor is vaguely quoted stating that "justice also means to look into […]

Jan
22
2009

Open Dissent Is 'Bad Form' on MSNBC

Unable to simply air the reality of George W. Bush's immense unpopularity manifesting in a chorus of boos for his last public appearance as U.S. "president," MSBNC newscasters (YouTube.com, 1/20/08) chide inauguration attendees for "bad form"–before eventually finding a camera shot to cut to instead showing the crowd cheering… for Obama. Hardly a new phenomenon; read about corporate media censorship at the 2000 Bush inauguration in the FAIR magazine Extra!: "Protesters Rain on ABC's Parade" (3-4/01) by Jim Naureckas

Jan
22
2009

NYT's 'Anti-Consumerist' Bazillionaire

Just when even the ultimately acerbic political critic Matt Taibbi began (New York Press, 1/14/09) "to lose faith in America's ability to fall for absolutely anything," he notes New York Times pundit Thomas Friedman, "resident of a positively obscene 11,400-square-foot suburban Maryland mega-monstro-mansion and husband to the heir of one of the largest shopping-mall chains in the world, reinventing himself as an oracle of anti-consumerist conservationism": Where does a man who needs his own offshore drilling platform just to keep the east wing of his house heated get the balls to write a book chiding America for driving energy inefficient […]

Jan
21
2009

CNN's Handwriting Analysis

Wolf Blitzer and David Gergen, watching Obama sign official papers yesterday in the Oval Office: BLITZER: And if you've ever seen Barack Obama's signature, he is very precise when he writes, and it's — and if he writes, he scribbles some words before he signs an autograph, for example. His penmanship, I must say — and I've seen it — is really excellent. GERGEN: He's got a little flourish to that signature. BLITZER: He has a great flourish. And it's very impressive.

Jan
20
2009

Howard Kurtz and the 'Liberal' Weeklies

On Monday (1/19/09), Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz took a look at the health of Time and Newsweek, and almost immediately rendered a political judgment: The rival editors are turning out weeklies that are smaller, more serious, more opinionated and, though they are loath to admit it, more liberal. They are pursuing a more elite audience, in print and on the Web, abandoning the old Henry Luce notion of catering to the masses. It is nothing less than a survival strategy. Hmm. Maybe those magazine editors are "loath to admit" they publish liberal magazines because, well, they don't? Kurtz […]

Jan
20
2009

Pentagon Clears Pentagon

The Pentagon inspector general's report on the Pentagon Pundits scandal was released (to no one's surprise) late on Friday. Also unsurprising were its contents–the report basically concluded that there was no serious wrongdoing, not to mention no clear idea of what constitutes "propaganda" in the first place. The report was summarized in the New York Times (1/17/09) by David Barstow, the reporter who broke the story that led to the Pentagon whitewash. Barstow seems unimpressed with the Pentagon's work, noting that investigators couldn't manage to interview some key Pentagon staffers, couldn't find evidence that any of the pundits used their […]

Jan
19
2009

The 'Wide-Ranging Discourse' of All-White NPR

Finding it "more than ironic" and even "disturbing and more than a little sad," Norman Solomon (Creators Syndicate, 1/17/09) points out that "at the same time that the United States is inaugurating a new presidency that marks the crashing of a racial barrier at the White House," the African-American-centric News & Notes–a show "actually staffed by African-Americans"–is being canned by National Public Radio: One of the ironies is that NPR, an outfit which many people regard as a bastion of wide-ranging discourse, has an internal atmosphere so corporate that many journalists there are afraid to talk publicly–to journalists! Check this […]

Jan
19
2009

When Corporations Report on Corporations

Asking the deceptively simple question, "More Bank Bailouts: Who Gets the Money?", Beat the Press blogger Dean Baker has another telling example (1/18/09) of biases in media corporations' reportage on corporate economics: The Washington Post made reducing the pay of autoworkers by $4.00 an hour a central theme of its coverage (both news and editorial) of the auto industry bailout. For this reason, it is especially noteworthy that its discussion of new plans for bailing out banks has no mention whatsoever of executive compensation at the banks. In good years, the highest-paid bank executives could make more money in an […]

Jan
19
2009

A Truly Alternative Paper: The War Crime Times

In distinct contradiction to corporate media's see-no-evil focus on the next presidency, media activist Veterans for Peace continue driving for Bush administration accountability with a new mock newspaper bluntly titled War Crime Times. The publication–featuring such uncorporate headlines as "Obama Should Prosecute Bush Officials Who Designed Torture Policy" and "Media Complicit: U.S. Journalists and War-Crime Guilt" (1/16/09)–recently was handed out, appropriately enough, to visitors at the Fox-friendly Newseum in Washington, D.C. See the FAIR magazine Extra!: "Media and Impeachment: Not for Discussion, Only for Derision" (7-8/07) by Cynthia Cooper

Jan
19
2009

On Bush's 'Respect for the Media' He Deems Pliant

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman relates how (1/13/09), at George W. Bush's last press conference, he was "professing what he called his 'respect' for journalists" by asserting that "always the relationship I have felt has been professional." Yet, Goodman tells us, "despite his avowed respect for the media, Bush refused to call on the journalist Helen Thomas"–perhaps because of hard-driving queries like this, from "one of the last times" he let Thomas speak, "in July of 2007": Mr. President, you started this war, a war of your choosing, and you can end it alone, today, at this point, bring in peacekeepers, […]