Mar
28
2009

D.C. Press Corps Boring Itself to Death

Want to know if "the media did a great job" covering Barack Obama's second major presidential press conference? Jason Linkins says (Huffington Post, 3/25/09) you can "just ask the media! Because they'll tell you!" But "at the same time, the media is also quick to point out that the press conference was 'totally boring!'" Among those bemoaning what Linkins deems "certainly a strange coincidence" is NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who thought that "more than anything else, Obama's news conference last night resembled a campaign TV ad," and asked, "how many times did we hear Obama mention his […]

Mar
27
2009

NYT: Home of the 'Insanely Selfish and Greed-Addled'

The New York Times editorial page's lending of space to former AIG financial vice president Jake DeSantis' plea for "us all to reconsider our anger toward the poor overworked employees of his unit" has incurred some of Matt Taibbi's trademark wrath (Alternet, 3/26/09): He acts like he's a victim because he didn't get to keep his after-tax bonus of $742,006.40 in the middle of a global depression. And he really loses his fucking mind when he writes: None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes […]

Mar
27
2009

'Noble' Media Effort Still Reinforces Domestic Violence

Guest blogging at Women In Media & News (3/25/09), professors Jamii Claiborne and Susanne Gubanc write that, while most "mass media voices had good intentions" and "seemed genuine in their desire to make the alleged February domestic violence incident between the seemingly perfect young celebrity couple, singers Rihanna and Chris Brown, into a 'teachable moment,'" for this "noble effort" they still "are not applauding." By focusing the majority of attention on what Rihanna could have done differently before the alleged attack or should definitely do now after the violence has come to light, this loud, mass media echo chamber has […]

Mar
27
2009

WaPo Op-Eder Unnamed as AIG Flack

Responding to a Washington Post op-ed in which one Martin Feldstein "explains how Obama's proposed limitation on the deductibility of charitable contributions by upper-income taxpayers is a horrible idea," Jonathan Schwarz (A Tiny Revolution, 3/25/09) asks What does Feldstein have to say about the tax code change? Well: In effect, the change would be a tax on the charities, reducing their receipts by a dollar for every dollar of extra revenue the government collects. It is hard to imagine a rationale for taxing schools, hospitals, medical research budgets and arts organizations in this way…. The proposed tax change would apply […]

Mar
27
2009

Media's Deficit Hawk Fixation Yields. . . Record Deficits

Listening to "budget hawk" media figures who urge President Obama "to commit to spending cuts and/or tax increases" because they are "upset that the deficits projected for 2013 or 2019 are too large," Dean Baker (TPM Café, 3/25/09) finds it especially annoying to hear the whining from this group of deficit hawks since their whining in prior years helped to drown out serious discussion of the dangers posed by an $8 trillion housing bubble. While some of us were yelling at the top of our lungs about the imminent disaster that would hit the economy when the housing bubble burst, […]

Mar
27
2009

'Freedom' Means Using the Name They Tell You To

For the New York Post (3/27/09), it's "Free Dumb Tower." For the same day's New York Daily News, it means "No More Freedom." They're talking about 1 World Trade Center, which is what the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced it was calling the skyscraper it's building on the site of the old World Trade Center destroyed on September 11–rather than Freedom Tower, as it had been previously referred to. And the tabloids, naturally, are outraged. "Freedom is out of fashion at Ground Zero," declared the Post. "Once hailed as a beacon of rebirth in the aftermath […]

Mar
27
2009

WaPo's Prescription for War Without End

Considering the fact that, "while the Obama administration says that the problems of the region cannot be solved by military means, the basic approach is reliance on heightened military means," FAIR associate Norman Solomon (Huffington Post, 3/24/09) thinks that "we desperately need a substantive national debate on U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan." Solomon notes that one attempt at such a debate, an open letter that "lays down a clear line of opposition to the rationales for stepping up the warfare," garnered signatures from only "14 members of the House (eight Democrats, six Republicans)." But the U.S. Congress looks […]

Mar
27
2009

Howard Kurtz: Media Critic and Comedian

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an explanation (3/23/09, ad-viewing required) for why he thinks that Howard Kurtz's belief that the image of corporate reporters as "just a bunch of cozy Washington insiders" is not "that big a deal"–because "there's such a built-in adversarial relationship between the press and the pols"–constitutes "an extremely funny joke today, showing why he is the 'media critic' for both the Washington Post and CNN": That is some very penetrating media criticism there. The media and political leaders are at each other's throats so viciously, they have such sharply conflicting interests, that it's a wonder they can […]

Mar
27
2009

NPR's Salvadoran History Lesson

Proving that the Washington Post is not the only purportedly "liberal" outlet interested in whitewashing the dark history of U.S. involvement in Latin America, Mytwords (NPR Check, 3/23/09) has blogged NPR's March 21 episode of Weekend Edition Saturday, in which the show returned to the scene of the crimes of El Salvador's 1980s bloodbath–a U.S.-nurtured extreme-right orgy of torture and murder against organized labor, the poor, church leaders and leftists (and their families, friends, associates or potential associates). There were a few problems with the report. Jason Beaubien's reporting isn't great; he does a little plastic surgery on history, claiming […]

Mar
27
2009

Brit Hume Lives Up to His William F. Buckley Award

News Corpse blogger Mark Howard goes deep into the belly of the beast (3/21/09) with a look at some revealing comments from Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume upon receiving the William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence: "Thanks to Brent [Bozell] and the team at the Media Research Center…for the tremendous amount of material that the Media Research Center provided me for so many years." Hume's subsequent admission that "it was a daily buffet of material to work from, and we certainly made tremendous use of it" makes Howard think it sounds like the MRC was Fox […]

Mar
26
2009

'Hold Us Accountable!' Says Unaccountable Darfur Pundit

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof issued a call in his column today for pundit accountability. After making a problematic argument about knowledge and experience being overrated, Kristof correctly pointed out that in the media, "the marketplace of ideas for now doesn't clear out bad pundits and bad ideas partly because there's no accountability," and he concluded his article with a call for action: "Hold us accountable!" Does this mean Kristof will now acknowledge the error of his prediction last month that the president of Sudan would not kick out aid groups in Darfur if the International Criminal Court issued […]

Mar
25
2009

Holding Fox Accountable for O'Reilly's Harassment

A new FAIR action alert calls on the Fox News Channel to answer for host Bill O'Reilly's pattern of ambushing his critics. O'Reilly (O'Reilly Factor, 3/23/08) recently targeted Think Progress blog editor Amanda Terkel while she was on vacation, sending his producer Jesse Watters to confront Terkel in one of the ambush-style interviews that he specializes in. Terkel had dared to point out that O'Reilly, who was invited to speak at a fundraiser for a foundation for rape survivors, had previously suggested that a "moronic" rape/murder victim had invited assault by her drinking and the way she was dressed. FAIR's […]

Mar
24
2009

The Demise of Newspapers and the Walter Reed Scandal

An exchange from the Chris Matthews Show (3/22/09)–featuring the host, columnist Kathleen Parker, NBC's Mark Whitaker and Time columnist Joe Klein–about the threat to investigative reporting in the wake of corporate media's current financial woes: MATTHEWS: The Washington Post did it with that… WHITAKER: Right, the Washington Post. MATTHEWS: You know when we found out about how they were treating our veterans coming back from Iraq over at Walter Reed? PARKER: Right. MATTHEWS: Because of Dana Priest. PARKER: The–Priest. KLEIN: Right. WHITAKER: Right. (Unintelligible) MATTHEWS: Because she had the backing to go do it. Not to take anything away from […]