Jul
14
2009

Ben Stein and NYT 'Get Really Seriously Wrong'

Stating quite succinctly how "there is an ongoing issue about whether global warming deniers should be treated seriously by the media, given that they have about as much scientific support for their position as the flat-Earth crew," economist Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 7/11/09) notes how the July 11 "New York Times goes them one better in finding a global warming ignorer": Apparently, Ben Stein has never heard about global warming. How else can someone interpret this paragraph: I don't believe we need to do something radical about energy, but even assuming that we do, why do it right now? […]

Jul
14
2009

On the Limits of 'Reports and Facts' vs Propaganda

Viewing "two excellent pieces by the American News Project about the Fed's astonishing actions during the current meltdown," A Tiny Revolution's Jonathan Schwarz (7/12/09) confirms that "ANP does great work, and I commend them for taking on this subjectâ┚¬”especially since it's covered nowhere else, including on progressive blurms." But he's nonetheless reminded of a June 29 TruthDig piece in which war reporter Chris Hedges tells why "The Truth Alone Will Not Set You Free": The public is bombarded with carefully crafted images meant to confuse propaganda with ideology and knowledge with how we feel. Human rights and labor groups, investigative […]

Jul
14
2009

Media Check Insurance Co. Abuse… Occasionally

Longtime health insurance company bigwig and former holder of "the ultimate PR job," Wendell Potter recently told PBS' Bill Moyers (Bill Moyers Journal, 7/10/09) how he had been "involved in the campaign by the industry to discredit Michael Moore and his film Sicko," and now sees that "the industry is resorting to the same tactics they've used… back in the early '90s, when they were leading the effort to kill the Clinton plan" for national healthcare reform. Potter told Moyers that he "knew that 47 million people were uninsured, but I didn't put faces with that number" until he "picked […]

Jul
14
2009

Even Corporate News 'Isn't Just Another Commodity'

A Seattle Times op-ed column (7/4/09) by Free Press' Victor Pickard and Joseph Torres discussing the fact that "the public's changing media habits have eroded the newspaper industry's monopoly on the local ad market" describes the corporate response thus: "The big media companies are pressuring Congress to prop up their failed business models by allowing more media consolidation and relaxing antitrust laws so they can collude on new 'pay wall' and pricing schemes." Reaffirming that "despite the many shortcomings of newspapers, our democracy requires a free and vibrant press," Pickard and Torres still maintain that these shortsighted measures aren't the […]

Jul
13
2009

NYT's 'Egregious and Absurd' Editorial Priorities

Brad Jacobson is resurrecting the "NYT Front|Back" feature of his Media Bloodhound blog (7/10/09)–spotlighting the New York Times' "penchant for placing a supremely unnewsworthy story on its cover while burying a vital one in its back pages"–only for "the most egregious and absurd examples." The current example being their July 7 front-page headliner, "In Sex Film Industry, Some Long for a Real Plot": No, this isn't satire. It's a cover story on our nation's paper of record…. The article opens: The actress known as Savanna Samson once relished preparing for a role. "I couldnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t wait to get my next script," […]

Jul
13
2009

'No Worries' in Fox Coverage of Murdoch Crimes

News Corpse blogger Mark Howard (7/8/09) has linked to a London Guardian "story that simply must be read": Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories. The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures and to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, […]

Jul
13
2009

John Pilger's 'Historic Opportunity' to Change Media

Independent investigative journalist John Pilger recently (7/6/09) gave Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman his view of the broad media landscape, informed by the fact that "we have many alternative sources of information now, not least of all your own program, though I wouldn't call that alternative": But for most people, the primary source of their information is the mainstream. It is mainly television. Even the Internet, for all its subversiveness, is still a very large component of the mainstream. And that means we're getting still this singular message about wars, about the economy, about all those things that touch our lives. […]

Jul
12
2009

The Gulf Between Africa and 'the West'

In a News Analysis piece (7/11/09), New York Times reporter Adam Nossiter attempts to illustrate the difference between some African countries and more enlightened nations, writing: The gulf separating the West and many African leaders on fundamental issues like human rights was on display just last week. The African Union announced that it would refuse to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its attempt to prosecute the Sudanese president, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, for crimes against humanity, over the mass killings in Darfur. Whatever you think of the ICC's pursuit of Al-Bashir (some human rights observers thought it an unwise […]

Jul
12
2009

Bias 'Packaged as "News" and Endlessly Discussed'

The Women's Media Center has a new action (7/10/09) asking you to support "Media Justice for Sotomayor" against the fact that ,"since the announcement of [her] nomination to the Supreme Court, some in the media have engaged in sexist and racist attacks against her" which are "often packaged as 'news' and endlessly discussed in mainstream media outlets": The Women's Media Center is releasing its new video, "Media Justice for Sotomayor." It documents some of these racist and sexist comments already delivered on high-profile television programs, radio, print and online outlets. As Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings approach on July 13, the […]

Jul
12
2009

Big Media Push Escalation in Afghanistan and at Home

Noting how "the president has set a limit on the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. For now," FAIR associate Norman Solomon is letting Huffington Post readers know (7/9/09) "that's how escalation works. Ceilings become floors. Gradually": A few times since last fall, the Obama team has floated rising numbers for how many additional U.S. soldiers will be sent to Afghanistan. Now, deployment of 21,000 more is a done deal, with a new total cap of 68,000 U.S. troops in that country. Solomon warns that "'escalation' isn't mere jargon. And it doesn't just refer to what's happening outside the United […]

Jul
12
2009

MSM Still Ignoring Bank Bailout Alternatives

A Tiny Revolution blogger Jonathan Schwarz (7/9/09) has posted a reminder that "back in March Phillip Swagel, who'd been assistant treasury secretary under Hank Paulson, wrote a long article about the TARP bailout called 'The Financial Crisis: An Inside View.'" Thinking that maybe "it would be news if Swagel had stated that Paulson, Bernanke and Bush's attempts to foment panic to pass the bailout have 'surely' contributed to the current recession," Schwarz lays out some quotes showing that actually "he did": "The way in which the TARP was proposed and eventually enacted surely must have contributed to the lockup in […]

Jul
12
2009

Colonialism Endures 'Without Being Seen to Do So'

Michael Schwartz' (TomDispatch, 7/9/09) quote from a New York Times Baghdad report that "much of the complicated work of dismantling and removing millions of dollars of equipment from the combat outposts in the city has been done during the dark of night" includes the reason for this secrecy having to "take place at night": "Fewer Iraqis are likely to see that the American withdrawal is not total." To Schwartz, "acting in the dark of night, in fact, seems to catch the nature of American plans for Iraq in a particularly striking way": Last week, despite the death of Michael Jackson, […]

Jul
10
2009

U.S. Press Misses Honduran Official's Racist Assault on U.S. Prez

On June 29, the day he was installed by Honduran coup leaders as the country's new interim foreign minister, Enrique Ortez Colindres repeatedly used racist slurs to describe U.S. president Barack Obama. Using the word "negrito," a well-recognized and profoundly racist epithet, whose literal translation means "little black man" or "little black boy," Ortez referred to Obama as "that little black boy who knows nothing about nothing" ["ese negrito que no sabe nada de nada"] and "a little black man who doesn't know where Tegucigalpa is" ["el negrito, no conoce donde queda Tegucigalpa"]. In another case, he told the Honduran […]