Aug
31
2009

The Fabulously Unsurprising Lies of Glenn Beck

Eva Paterson (Huffington Post, 8/28/09), president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has a response to Glenn Beck's assertion that "I want to point out the silence; no one has challenged these facts" after having been "smearing White House special advisor Van Jones for days on his show." Being "the person who first hired Van Jones," Paterson finds herself "in a unique position to know the truth." And falling squarely in the fabulously unsurprising category is that "the truth is: Beck is fabricating his facts": For instance: several times on his show, Beck has said or implied that Van […]

Aug
31
2009

Corporate Media 'Default Position': 'War Must Go On'

Media Monitors Network has the latest column from Norman Solomon (8/26/09), in which the longtime analyst of corporate media boosterism for U.S. wars considers a recent swath of stories that "have compared President Johnson's war in Vietnam and President Obama's war in Afghanistan." True, "the comparisons are often valid," Solomon finds, "but a key parallel rarely gets mentioned–the media's insistent support for the war even after most of the public has turned against it": This omission relies on the mythology that the U.S. news media functioned as tough critics of the Vietnam War in real time…. In fact, overall, the […]

Aug
29
2009

Way Cleared for More 'Excessive Media Consolidation'

On news that "today, a federal court threw out the Federal Communications Commission's rule to cap cable ownership at 30 percent," Free Press (8/28/09) comments "the rule served as an important consumer protection from media consolidation and growing cable cartels, and encouraged diversity in ownership in the cable industry." The media advocacy group's Ben Scott further calls it regrettable that the court tossed out an important public interest protection against excessive media consolidation. Congressional intent in the Cable Act of 1992 is very clear–the goals of federal policy in the cable industry are to promote competition, consumer choice and a […]

Aug
28
2009

NYT Stands Up for the Little Insurance Company Employee

It's about time someone stood up for the poor insurance companies! The New York Times today delves into what it's like to be "Dealing With Being the Healthcare 'Villains,'" eliciting sad stories from nice people who work for big insurance companies and feel they're under attack. Times reporter Kevin Sack tells us, "Some workers said that unlike other contributors to the country's healthcare problems–the doctors who overprescribe, the hospitals that fail to control infection, the consumers who do not take care of themselves–insurance companies are faceless, impersonal and distant." Sack and the NYT to the rescue! Let's put a face […]

Aug
28
2009

Still More Pentagon Lies, News Manipulation

Stars and Stripes reporters Charlie Reed, Kevin Baron and Leo Shane III (8/27/09) have an update on the military paper's recent exposure of Iraqi National Congress fabricators the Rendon Group helping the Pentagon in Screening New Embeds in Afghanistan "to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light." A reporter profile obtained by Stars and Stripes "evaluates work published as recently as May, indicating that the rating practice did not in fact cease last October" as claimed by a Pentagon representative, and "explicit suggestions contained in the Rendon profiles detailing how best to manipulate […]

Aug
28
2009

'Meaningful Change' at the New Republic

Glenn Greenwald (8/27/09, ad-viewing required) of Salon's series of New Republic quotes morphing from condemning a perceived "anti-Lieberman jihad" to calling for "knocking off Democrats like Conrad and Joe Lieberman" charts the outlet's "rapid and total reversal–one effectuated without the slightest acknowledgment that it even occurred." Calling the change "just the accountability-free nature of Beltway punditry," Greenwald also spies "a more important point highlighted here": namely, it is a sign of how dysfunctional the Democratic Party is–and how meaningless is their glorious super-majority–that even the New Republic, which long prided itself on safeguarding the party from nefarious left-wing influences, is […]

Aug
28
2009

WSJ 'Scumbag' Columnist Gets Predictably Slimy

Noticing that Democratic strategist Mark Penn "is the Wall Street Journal's 'Microtrend'-spotting columnist" and "also CEO of PR giant Burson-Marsteller," Gawker blogger Hamilton Nolan (8/26/09) posits that "only a scumbag would abuse the former to drum up business for the latter." Alas, "Scumbag spotted!" is Nolan's cry when writing that Penn's latest (old, and none too insightful) "Microtrend" column is about "glamping"–glamorous camping. It ran last weekend. By Monday, according to an internal email obtained by Gawker, Burson was already trying to recruit companies from the industry featured in the column as clients. Nolan goes on to remind us that […]

Aug
25
2009

The Downside to Murdoch's Plan to Control Online News

The problem with Rupert Murdoch's proposal to create an online news consortium, in which major publishers would all band together to put their news content behind pay walls (L.A. Times, 8/21/09), is that it's not illegal to discuss news events online. And you don't want to make it illegal to discuss news events online. And yet, absent a law forbidding such discussions, there's nothing to stop someone from buying subscriptions to the various pay news sites and starting a website (like this one, but more so) in which they write about what they've learned from them–thus offering for free what […]

Aug
25
2009

Take Action for a Real Debate on Afghanistan War

In the wake of growing public dissatisfaction with the war in Afghanistan, FAIR is challenging the Sunday morning shows to include war critics and peace advocates as guests on their programs. Click here to read FAIR's action alert about these shows' complicity in government officials' efforts to reverse the trend of declining public support for the war; then add your voice to our call for a real debate on Afghanistan by writing to the Sunday morning talkshows. (Email contacts are provided in the alert.) You can share your letters by pasting them in the comments section below.

Aug
24
2009

WaPo Pundit: Mass Transit Good for Others, Not U.S.

"Robert Samuelson Doesn't Like Trains" is what Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 8/24/09) takes to be "the unifying theme from his column today, since his arguments against high-speed rail do not make a lot of sense." In his August 24 broadside against what he dubs Barack Obama's "Rail Boondoggle," Samuelson trots out the tired argument against "almost $35 billion in subsidies into Amtrak" that "the federal government has poured" in the last four decades–with the usual corporate pundit omissions, like the fact that, as long ago as 1994 it was determined that "hidden subsidies for drivers amount to well over […]

Aug
24
2009

The Debate Over Afghanistan–Newspapers Are Full of It

In his Week in Review piece wondering if Obama's Afghanistan policy is akin to LBJ andVietnam, New York Times reporter Peter Baker notes that the public mood is seeping into the media: That growing disenchantment in the countryside is increasingly mirrored in Washington, where liberals in Congress are speaking out more vocally against the Afghan war and newspapers are filled with more columns questioning Americaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s involvement. Newspapers are filled with what now? It doesn't feel that way to me, but surely Baker must havesome evidence. Which he does: The cover of the latest Economist is headlined "Afghanistan: The Growing Threat […]

Aug
24
2009

Screening New Embeds in Afghanistan

As if journalists "embedding" with U.S. troops isn't troubling enough, Stars and Stripes is reporting that reporters looking to embed with U.S. troops in Afghanistan will face some troubling screening: As more journalists seek permission to accompany U.S. forces engaged in escalating military operations in Afghanistan, many of them could be screened by a controversial Washington-based public relations firm contracted by the Pentagon to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light. U.S. public affairs officials in Afghanistan acknowledged to Stars and Stripes that any reporter seeking to embed with U.S. forces is subject […]

Aug
24
2009

Chuck Todd, Meet Jeremy Scahill

Scahill and Todd on Bill Maher

Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill (The Nation, Democracy Now!) appeared on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher alongside NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd. Because Jeremy isn't the type to let such an opportunity to go to waste, he used some of his time to castigate the corporate media for failing to question the White House about the reliance on private contracting firms like Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he also brought up Todd's opinion that investigating Bush-era abuses would be a distraction. Scahill shared with Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald what happened off camera: Right as we walked off stage, he […]