Jun
28
2009

Immune-From-Criticismism at the Washington Post

In his evaluation of the Dan Froomkin firing, Washington Post ombud Andy Alexander (6/26/09) confidently asserts that "first, it's not about ideology," then later asserts that Froomkin "was urged not to do media criticism." Clearly, though, the notion that the Post should not be subjected to criticism is a central tenet of the paper's ideology. Alexander quoted with a straight face Post columnist Gene Weingarten questioning whether Froomkin "was as informed and qualified to opine as people who had been actively covering the White House for years." Alexander did not point out that Weingarten writes a humor column, which might […]

Jun
27
2009

The WaPo's Last Flash of 'Accountability Journalism'?

In Dan Froomkin's last column for the Washington Post (6/26/09), he promises to "continue doing accountability journalism"–as good as any self-description to distinguish his work from his typical Post colleague's obsequiousness–and tries "hard to summarize the past five-and-a-half years" in which "George W. Bush was truly the proverbial emperor with no clothes": In the days and weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve…. How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily […]

Jun
27
2009

Former Hannity Associate Upgrades His Hate

Former Sean Hannity show regular Hal Turner recently was arrested for blogging that "we have enough bullets to put… down" those not heeding his "warning to others in government: Obey the Constitution or die." While criminal prosecution most definitely is not the general solution for hateful commentary, the Hartford Courant's Edmund H. Mahony (6/25/09) reports facts that clearly move the Internet radio host's rantings from the realm of First Amendment protection solidly into incitement of violence. Turner, Mahony writes, was arrested again Wednesday on charges that he threatened to assault and murder three federal judges in retaliation for a ruling […]

Jun
27
2009

CNN Covering for U.S. Coup That Even Obama Acknowledges

Proving his memory better (or at least less selective) than that of the institution of corporate journalism, Media Bloodhound blogger Brad Jacobson (6/24/09) is proposing that "It might be more difficult for Republicans to bash President Obama for being 'timid' in his comments about the Iranian government's violence against protesters if the U.S. media didn't consistently censor U.S./Iranian history": Take CNN's recent Iran timeline, titled "A Brief Look at Iran's History." According to the timeline, which begins in 1979, Iran has "been at odds with the West and some of its neighbors" since the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, […]

Jun
26
2009

Policing the Debate on Health Reform

ABC's Diane Sawyer claimed (CNN, 6/22/09) the network's June 24 forum on President Barack Obama's healthcare plan would feature "questions from every single vantage point." Yet, ignoring calls from FAIR (Action Alert, 6/22/09) and advocacy groups such as Health Care Now!, the special did not include a single question from an advocate of single-payer national health insurance–despite the fact that the single-payer option polls well with the public (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09) and is seen by many experts as the best way of expanding coverage to the uninsured while also controlling costs. In the wake of well-publicized flak ABC received […]

Jun
26
2009

Why I Couldn't Say What Dan Froomkin Said Reporters Should Do

I wrote a short item on Dan Froomkin's firing for FAIR's radio show CounterSpin today: One of the bright spots at the Washington Post media enterprise was Dan Froomkin's column, "White House Watch," for WashingtonPost.com. It often struck us that Froomkin had a whole different attitude–skeptical of those in power, and critical of their journalistic enablers–than most of his colleagues at the Post Co. So it was perhaps not too surprising to hear that Froomkin, one of the Post's most popular online writers, had been fired–not long after his column was placed under the authority of editorial page editor Fred […]

Jun
24
2009

Billy Graham Gets Cleaned Up by CBS

Blogger Jonathan Schwarz (A Tiny Revolution, 6/24/09) has noted that when "CBS ran a story about the latest batch of Nixon tapes made public… they included a section of a February 21, 1973 conversation with Billy Graham that showed Nixon at his psycho best," addressing anti-Semitism thus: "This has happened to the Jews, happened in Spain, it happened in Germany, it's happening, and now it's gonna happen in America if these people don't start behaving. It may be they have a death wish." But the real problem comes in CBS's quote of the Graham response: "Well, they've always been through […]

Jun
24
2009

Healthcare Deficit: Bad; War Deficit: Good

Activist David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org, 6/24/09) has some problems with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's and Congressmember Tom Perriello's recent visit "generating a story and big color photo on page 1 of the Charlottesville Daily Progress" under the headline "In UVa Visit, Democrats Call Deficit Reckless": The newspaper reported on Congressman Perriello warning that he could not vote for healthcare without a way to pay for it. There was no mention of the fact that the previous week, the day before Hoyer introduced his bill to fight deficits, both of these gentlemen had voted to spend another $97 billion on wars […]

Jun
24
2009

Fox 'News' Elevates Pandering to Plain Nonsense

Gawker blogger The Cajun Boy (6/24/09) is agog at "How Fox News Educates Its Viewers": Last night Glenn Beck made crude drawings on a chalkboard, and tonight he and Bill O'Reilly used Barbie dolls to explain ACORN. In the course of explaining how Nancy Pelosi is trying to stop noble Republicans from stopping ACORN from destroying America, Beck reached under the table and pulled out a Barbie kit. Now, we watched this demonstration twice and actually don't get what Beck is trying to convey, so either we're stupider than even the basest Fox viewer or our elitists brains just can't […]

Jun
24
2009

'Ardently Protectionist' WaPo Ignores Entire World

Economist Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 6/20/09) has requested you try to "imagine a front-page Washington Post article that talked about how the United States had a shortage of small cars." He reasonable assumes such a piece would address "the limited capacity of the various small-car assembly plants" and "discuss the amount of lead time needed to build new plants. It would also talk about the need to raise small-car prices because it is so much more profitable to build big cars": Imagine that the article never once mentioned the possibility of importing small cars. That's the front-page Washington Post […]

Jun
23
2009

Conservative Media Confused by Obama Doctor Story

After the conservative site Forbes.com published a story headlined "Obama's Doctor Knocks ObamaCare," it was quickly picked up by the right-wing Drudge Report, where, presumably because of its conservative pedigree, right-wing commentators ran with it as if it were a point scored by the right against the White House. Some conservative blogs suggested that the story showed that Obamaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s own doctor opposed "socialized" healthcare, (e.g., here and here). On the popular right-wing site National Review Online (NRO), blogger Mark Hemingway joined in, posting three paragraphs of the Forbes report, followed by the triumphant, one-word commentary: "Ouch." Had Hemingway and his […]

Jun
23
2009

Racist Group Plies Journalists With Honors, Cash

Steven T. Jones and Sarah Phelan are reporting (San Francisco Bay Guardian online, 6/19/09) on San Francisco Chronicle immigration reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken's acceptance of "an award and cash prize (he refuses to say how much) from the Center for Immigration Studies–which a Southern Poverty Law Center report in February 2009 criticized for its overtly racist roots and extreme anti-immigrant agenda": Van Derbeken and Ken Conner, the Chron's assistant managing editor for news (whom the reporter consulted before accepting the award), told the Guardian that they see nothing wrong with accepting the award and they don't see it as validating […]

Jun
23
2009

MSM Has 'Personality Bias, Not a Liberal Bias'

Dirk Smillie's Forbes interview (6/18/09) with veteran news analyst Andrew Tyndall includes the observation that "mainstream press–network newscasts in particular–have been criticized for overly favorable coverage of the Obama administration." Tyndall takes the opportunity to make some important distinctions about this common allegation: There may be a personality bias, not a liberal bias. Since the inauguration, Obama has completely dominated the news agenda. He's a ratings getter. Compare that with George W. Bush's early days in the White House. There was very little news until September 11. It's certainly true that there has been favoritism toward Obama, but only in […]