Feb
21
2009

Pushing the Hate Envelope With Rush Limbaugh

Huffington Post journalist Sam Stein thinks (2/19/09) that "coming off of a tone-deaf cartoon that compared the author of the stimulus bill with a crazed, shot-dead chimpanzee, it seemed likely that, for the time being, provocative political metaphors would be put on hold"–but that would be discounting the offensive superpowers of hate radio staple Rush Limbaugh, whom Stein quotes (via Media Matters) having "pushed the envelope once more": Within the confines of our Constitution, and the political arena of ideas, they [Democrats] must be stopped. I don't care why they see this country the way they see it. I don't […]

Feb
21
2009

Racist Sheriff Hates Arizona Media Too

The February 18 Democracy Now! segment on Fox reality TV star Sheriff Joe Arpaio features Arizona's East Valley Tribune reporter Ryan Gabrielson telling Amy Goodman exactly how Arpaio's officers went to the homes of the two publishers for Phoenix New Times, which–there was an investigation being conducted into a case where New Times published Joe Arpaio's home address in its paper and online. And Arizona has a kind of interesting law where you're not allowed to publish online the address of law enforcement. And so the sheriff had been pushing our county attorney to do an investigation and prosecute the […]

Feb
21
2009

Is Half a Million Enough for Ailing Papers' CEO?

The Sacramento Unit of the California Media Workers Guild has published (BeeGuildNow.org, 2/16/09) an open letter to McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt describing how, in quick succession, our salaries and our pensions have been frozen. The company match has been eliminated from our 401K plans. Weâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ve gone through two rounds of buyouts. Our ranks are thinner. But that is only the beginning. An unknown number of us will be sent out the door in the coming weeks, laid off during the worst economic climate in 80 years. Those of us who remain will work harder, but we will work for less. […]

Feb
21
2009

Tom Friedman's Terrorism Hypocrisy

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman referred disparagingly this week to the praise that terrorism allegedly receives in "mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera." In his February 18 column, Friedman wrote: To be sure, Mumbai's Muslims are a vulnerable minority in a predominantly Hindu country. Nevertheless, their in-your-face defiance of the Islamist terrorists stands out. It stands out against a dismal landscape of predominantly Sunni Muslim suicide murderers who have attacked civilians in mosques and markets–from Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan–but who have been treated by mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera, or by extremist Islamist spiritual leaders and websites, […]

Feb
19
2009

George Will: Bringing You Climate Disinformation Since 1992

George Will's history of misquoting data to distort the climate change debate goes back nearly two decades–that we know of. As Extra! reported in 2003, in 1992Will trashed Al Gore (Washington Post, 9/3/92) for being "cavalier with the truth" in his "wastebasket worthy" book Earth in the Balance. More from Extra!: Will confronted Gore on the issue of global warming: "Gore knows, or should know before pontificating, that a recent Gallup Poll of scientists concerned with global climate research shows that 53 percent do not believe warming has occurred, and another 30 percent are uncertain." It was Will, however, who […]

Feb
19
2009

David Broder Goes to the Mat for Bipartisanship

With left-of-center columnists critiquing the Beltway obsession with bipartisanship even in outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, it's no wonder that David Broder is upset (Washington Post, 2/19/09). He calls the idea that Obama should stop worrying so much about attracting Republican support "the worst advice he has received," warning that without reaching out to Republicans, Obama won't be able to "offset protectionist impulses among Democrats," and "Democrats will never tackle Social Security." Horrors! To be fair, Broder does suggest that Obama can only achieve some other more progressive goals via bipartisanship, but his argument on these […]

Feb
19
2009

NYT Corp. Ignores Solution Costing Corps.

While the U.S. economy's current ills have proven "that the people who run Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Wells and other major financial institutions may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer," Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 2/18/09) wants to know, "How much do taxpayers have to cough up to make up for their ineptitude?": David Leonhardt's (February 18 New York Times) discussion of housing bailout plans never seems to consider the possibility that we would just let large numbers of foreclosures occur and let the banks eat their losses. Yes, many, if not most, of the banks will go under. […]

Feb
19
2009

Only English Gaza News Shut Out of U.S. Cable

Even though "Al Jazeera English is also on the cusp of a carriage deal in Canada," Broadcasting & Cable's Marisa Guthrie reports (2/18/09) that the channel has "had little luck getting picked up by U.S. cable and satellite providers." As part of an effort to "appeal to consumers via a grassroots marketing campaign that attempts to dispel long-held attitudes about the network," AJE has "launched a website that bluntly addresses popular perceptions about the English language offshoot of Al Jazeera, the most-watched news network in the Middle East": The site, IWantAJE.net, lets consumers send electronic letters directly to their cable […]

Feb
19
2009

NPR's 'History Scrub' of U.S. Fault in Afghanistan

"A rather major problem with nearly all of NPR's reporting" has been identified by NPR Check blogger Mytwords (2/18/09) and named the "history scrub." The definition: "If the essential background history to a story reflects poorly on the actions of the U.S. government–that history will be deleted, scrubbed, sanitized–sent down the memory hole." The key example given is a February 17 All Things Considered in which host Michelle Norris "blandly explains that thousands more U.S. troops are headed off to Afghanistan and doesn't even chuckle in noting that the United States Institute of Peace [tee-hee] released some new policy recommendations […]

Feb
19
2009

Bipartisanship Amid 'the Charred Ruins of American Prosperity'

Calling it "obvious" that "promises to get beyond partisanship are the most perfunctory sort of campaign rhetoric, almost as empty as the partisanship itself," the latest from Thomas Frank (Wall Street Journal, 2/18/09) explains the corporate media's fetish for bipartisanship: For the Beltway commentariat, however, transcending partisanship is the most meaningful of issues, more important, one senses, than the economic problems that trouble those people at town-hall meetings. "Nothing was more central to [Obama's] victory last fall than his claim that he could break the partisan gridlock in Washington," wrote the Washington Post's David Broder a few weeks ago, in […]

Feb
18
2009

Noam Chomsky Excavates the George Will Memory Hole

In a blog post about how it must have been "So Much Nicer To Be George Will Before The Internet" (2/17/09), A Tiny Revolution's Jonathan Schwarz looks back over how "on Sunday George Will made things up so he can claim global warming isn't happening" to "a funny story of Noam Chomsky's from the book Understanding Power about a column Will wrote in 1982": [A] few years ago George Will wrote a column in Newsweek called "Mideast Truth and Falsehood," about how peace activists are lying about the Middle East, everything they say is a lie. And in the article, […]

Feb
18
2009

On the 'Complexity and Dangers' of Official Sources

Journalist, author and Guantanamo prisoner advocate Andy Worthington gives the lie (Future of Freedom Foundation, 2/16/09) to Washington Post reporters' exclamations over "'the complexity and dangers of the issue' of reviewing the prisoners' cases" after Obama's promise to close the illegal prison: As the conservative judge and George W. Bush appointee Richard Leon discovered in the habeas corpus reviews of five Bosnian Algerians… in many cases "the complexity and dangers" are nothing more than unsubstantiated rumors, and the evidence itself cannot be substantiated. With this in mind, it was, frankly, negligent of the Washington Post to cite the opinion of […]

Feb
18
2009

The Media's Real Problem: Media Critics!

ANew Republic editorial (3/4/09)about the decline of the mainstream media points a finger squarely at media critics: The master narratives of both the right and the left have come to include the same villain: the hypocritical, biased elite media. And their combined grouching has helped foment the anti-media backlash. Both sides do it–now there's a new one. The magazine uses Bernie Goldberg's skimpy(and error-filled)book Bias as an example of right-wing media criticism, then moves on to the left: A mirror version of this critique emerged on the left. In this telling, it was the timid, lazy press corps that failed […]