Comparing Tribune Co. raider Sam Zell to sea pirates of yore, longtime radio progressive Jim Hightower thinks (JimHightower.com, 1/18/09) Zell doesn't come out too well–"the difference between pirate captains of old and modern-day corporate bosses is that pirates had ethics": They fairly shared their loot, for example, with the entire crew. Contrast that with the rip-off of employees by the bosses and bankers involved in the recent tribulations of the Tribune Company. This media conglomerate, which owns some of America's top newspapers and television stations, was bought a year ago by a Chicago real estate baron named Sam Zell. This [...]
Recalling how "too often, government has tried to expand Internet access by giving public money to massive phone and cable companies" and only gotten "tax dollars squandered," to the point that "Americans now face few market choices, and pay high prices for speeds that are far too slow," the folks at Free Press are now asking Congress to: not write another blank check to these same corporations. Please make sure my tax dollars are used only to support broadband build out that is: Universal: focused on connecting the nearly half of the country stuck on the wrong side of the [...]
Writing for a collective media criticism blog in Michigan (MediaMouse.org, 1/15/09), Jeff Smith states that, "if the U.S. public is ever going to hold the U.S. government accountable for its policy in Afghanistan, then we need to challenge how the U.S. news media reports on that policy." But he also knows that "for many Americans most of their news media comes from local TV news or the monopoly daily newspaper in their community." With this in mind his group has "monitored three local TV stations and the Grand Rapids Press" for various periods: Our first study of the local news [...]
Excerpting a David Ignatius column (Washington Post, 1/15/09) that characterizes a strict Obama administration "focus on… getting things right in the future" as "the kind of realism that will disappoint liberal score-settlers," Glenn Greenwald's Salon commentary (1/15/09, ad-viewing required) describes how "the word 'liberal' has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last eight years"–at least among corporate pundits: All that has been necessary to qualify is a belief in such radical, exotic and fringe-leftist concepts as search warrants before the government can eavesdrop on our communications; due process before the state can encage people for life; adherence to decades-old Geneva [...]
I don't know whether George W. Bush will issue a slew of pardons in his last weekend in the White House, but I would expect such pardons to receive less scrutiny than those issued by his predecessor. And if he attempts to pardon those who committed crimes on his behalf, you can count on large sectors of the media to welcome that self-exculpating behavior as a way of letting bygones be bygones.
Two newspaper stories today provide a false account of the context of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The Washington Post: Hamas and its allies have fired thousands of rockets into Israel in the past eight years. The pace accelerated after the Islamist movement, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, routed forces loyal to the rival Fatah party in June 2007 and seized control of the narrow coastal strip. Since then, Israel has implemented a crushing economic blockade and carried out regular military raids that it has said were a response to rocket fire. This is an extremely selective history. The [...]
The New York Times today makes a rare, if highly obfuscatory, reference to the fact that Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory continues despite nearly unanimous international consensus, expressed annually via the United Nations General Assembly. As a FAIR media advisory recently pointed out, international law is largely missing from U.S. media reporting on Israeli actions. However, the New York Times article goes further than mere omission, echoing the Israeli government's position that international law is "anti-Israel": Describing some of the abiding challenges, Israeli officials note that the same 21 anti-Israel resolutions are passed by an automatic majority in the [...]
When white phosphorus was used by Saddam Hussein, the weapon was identified by U.S. intelligence as a "chemical weapon." The New York Times (3/22/95) seemed to concur; In an article noting that white phosphorus was technically classified as an "incendiary weapon," the paper nonetheless described it as one of "the worst chemical weapons" in existence: a "waxy substance [that] adheres to flesh, and when it is exposed to air, it bursts into flame." As Seth Ackerman observed in an article for FAIR's magazine Extra! (3/4/06), in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, "U.S. media vividly evoked the cruel effects" [...]
Chris Matthews reacting Bush's speech (as transcribed by the right-wing Media Research Center): The idea that we have some brand new neo-conservative ideology of freedom that's going to bring peace over in that part of the world is not true, and he's still selling it, and that's the tragedy of the last eight years. The very same Chris Matthews, reacting toa Saddam Hussein statue being pulled down in Baghdad (4/9/03): We're all neo-cons now.
Posting his letter to the New York Times on FAIR Blog, FAIR activist bpb points out that not only is Thomas Friedman claiming that terrorism works, he's making up evidence to claim that terrorism works: There is no evidence for Thomas Friedman's contention that after Israel's 2006 war with Hizballah, "Lebanese civilians, in anguish, said to Hezbollah: 'What were you thinking? Look what destruction you have visited on your own community! For what? For whom?'" In fact, in the month following the war, a public opinion poll conducted in Lebanon confirmed the opposite: that Lebanese public opinion strongly favored Hizballah. [...]
Continuing their persecution of the press–and taking a page from U.S. military tactics–Israel's military has expanded from regular civilian targets to attacking another United Nations compound and "a building housing several media organizations." Amy Goodman's Democracy Now has the story (1/15/09) featuring a real-life U.N. representative and, even rarer in U.S. media, an actual Palestinian in Gaza City.
Dean Baker knocks down (Beat the Press, 1/15/09) the logic behind the already specious alarm about supposedly overpaid autoworkers: The Washington Post has repeatedly editorialized that auto workers at the Big Three companies should be forced to take pay cuts because they earn $57,000 a year, which is more than workers get at the foreign-owned plants in the United States. Consistent with this editorial position, the paper has an article today about efforts to lower the compensation packages of union workers. The Post has virtually ignored the much larger gap between executive compensation at the Big Three and at the [...]
Anti-Muslim xenophobe Steve Emerson recently made another appearance on Fox News–this time to bash Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) for daring to go to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Think Progress' Ali Frick quotes (1/9/09) the FoxNews.com passage containing their only source: But Ellison, the only Muslim in Congress, is coming under fire for his ties to the Muslim American Society, which one terrorism expert called "the Muslim equivalent of the neo-Nazi party." "It is the de facto arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.," said Steven Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. "The agenda of the [...]