Aug
24
2009

Telecoms' 'Fake Grassroots' Push Net Misinformation

Diligent media reformers Free Press (8/19/09) have announced a nifty new "online interactive tool to expose phony grassroots groups hired by big phone and cable companies to advance their political agenda." They're talking about "'astroturf' organizations–many of which also work for the health insurance, energy and tobacco industries"– that "are mobilizing to spread misinformation about Network Neutrality and Internet policies." The group's graphic presentation "tracks the huge amounts of money that phone and cable companies spend on lobbyists and campaign contributions" and reveals the contradictory and dishonest claims about Net Neutrality and other issues from top industry executives; and it […]

Aug
24
2009

Thanking Murdoch's Journal for More of Rove's Lies

OpEd News has published an open letter from attorney Dana Jill Simpson (8/20/09) to "Mr. Murdoch and all the editors at the Wall Street Journal," in which she expresses her wish to "thank you from the very bottom of my heart for running Karl Rove's delusional article, 'Closing In on Rove,' on August 20, 2009": The reason I want to thank you is that Mr. Rove has clearly lied about me in this article. You have captured and printed it without even checking to see if it is so or not. The lie he has told is and I quote, […]

Aug
24
2009

On Liberal Media's Single-Payer Failings

Longtime friend of FAIR Sam Husseini (Husseini.org, 8/21/09) has a new blog post responding to Robert Kuttner's recent Washington Post column, in which the American Prospect magazine editor "asks 'Where are the liberal protesters?'": It seems like a good question. Until one considers the source of the complaint–and that rather helps answer the question. Maybe the "liberal protests" are where the American Prospect's cover story of the "Baucus 13" is.Or the where the American Prospect's lengthy piece on Linda Allision's exchange with Obama is. Since clicking on the above links yields absolutely zero results in the American Prospect coverage, Husseini […]

Aug
21
2009

AP and CNN Go Tabloid on South African Runner's Gender

Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya, a runner from South Africa, just blew away the competition in the women's 800-meter world championship race. But the news reports yesterday weren't about that–they were about whether she's "really" a woman or not. And supposedly serious outlets like the AP and CNN are sinking to tabloid levels of coverage on the issue. The AP video of the controversy, posted on the L.A. Times website, kicks off: "Quick! Man–or woman?" The piece includes slow pans over Semenya's body, more tabloidy commentary ("She–and yes, SHE claims to be a woman"), and the offering of her voice as some […]

Aug
21
2009

Fox Still Leads in Misinforming Viewers

Think Progress' Matt Corley (8/19/09) has the depressing, if predictable, news that recent polling shows "'all the misinformation out there' about health care reform proposals in Congress is taking root with many Americans." Corley is discouraged to see that, "for instance, 45 percent believe the false claim that legislation includes 'death panels' while 55 percent believe the false claim that coverage will be extended to illegal immigrants"–and an MSNBC passage says that, in particular, self-identified viewers of Fox News are disproportionately misinformed": In our poll, 72 percent of self-identified Fox News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to […]

Aug
21
2009

NYT Love Letter to Longtime NYT Food Critic

Eater blog editor Amanda Kludt (8/20/09) has a sneak look at an embarrassingly fawning New York Times review of a new book by their own recently resigned food critic, Frank Bruni–and, "according to a tipster with a copy (not yet online), it's a looooovefest": Exhibit A: His writing has always been muscular and clear. Now that I have devoured his memoir, I hold him in even greater estimation, not only for his discernment and his accomplished prose but for his bravery. OK, Dominique Browning, so you're impressed. But how about sending some more kisses Bruni's way? Exhibit B: The love […]

Aug
20
2009

The Disproportionate Compassions of Corporate Media

Seeing all the press attention given to pitbull-fighter and NFL star Michael Vick's return to football, David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org, 8/19/09) can't help but think that Vick should have tortured humans instead of dogs. Then we would have been told to overlook it for the sake of moving forward. Better yet, he should have killed humans rather than only torturing them. Then we would have been told next to nothing about it at all. It might have been reported, but it wouldn't have become a hot topic, an echo-chambered story to be dismissed only after a great deal of hand-wringing. It […]

Aug
20
2009

Courant Lousy With Bedbugs, Advertiser Influence

Laura Northrup of Consumerist.com (8/15/09) reports that, after 40 years at the Hartford Courant, consumer affairs columnist George Gombossy now says he "'was fired for doing [his] job,' after his last column exposed the bedbug-infested mattresses sold by a major Courant advertiser." The Connecticut paper killed Gombossy's account of an Attorney General investigation into Sleepy's–though it has published a stock defense that "our advertisers have no influence on what we report, including stories that may include them." Gombossy exposes "some issues of credibility" when responding to the Courant's further claim that he "knew his job was being eliminated while we […]

Aug
19
2009

Wishful Thinking on Latin America Trumps Logic at Newsweek

Mac Margolis, who wrote recently about the "selective zeal for democracy" of those who condemned the Honduran coup, wrote another little piece on Latin America for Newsweek this week: "Latin America Rights Itself" (print only). He argues that "the region now looks on the brink of a rightward shift," pointing to upcoming elections in Chile, Brazil and Uruguay in which the more liberal incumbent party is projected to lose, contrasting that with the great popularity of Colombia's president Uribe, "who enraged the left by befriending the Bush administration." Margolis suggests that "pragmatism is trumping charisma" and concludes: "Castigating the gringo […]

Aug
19
2009

Healthcare Debate as Lobbyist's Own 'Business Interests'

According to Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald (8/18/09, ad-viewing required), pro-coup lobbyist and frequent news show guest Lanny Davis is merely "masquerading as a 'political analyst' and Democratic media pundit," when really he "is unmoored from any discernible political beliefs other than: 'I agree with whoever pays me.'" Greenwald's present example is a new Politico and the Hill commentary in which Davis warns of "The Dangerous Joining of the Far Right and Far Left" and declares it "time for the vast center-left and center-right of this country to speak up and call them out" because "silence is no longer acceptable by […]

Aug
19
2009

How 'Death Panels' Became a 'Justifiable Political Claim'

Columnist Rick Perlstein has a new analysis of "Birthers, Town Hall Hecklers and the Return of Right-Wing Rage" in the Washington Post (8/16/09). In it, he tells why "liberals are right to be vigilant about manufactured outrage," and particularly about how the mainstream media can too easily become that outrage's entry into the political debate. … Conservatives have become adept at playing the media for suckers, getting inside the heads of editors and reporters, haunting them with the thought that maybe they are out-of-touch cosmopolitans and that their duty as tribunes of the people's voices means they should treat Obama's […]

Aug
18
2009

CBS Re-Airs Drone Propaganda

Back in May, CBS' 60 Minutes aired a terrible report on the Air Force's use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan– see FAIR's action alert for all the details. CBS never responded to the criticism, but they did re-air the segment this past Sunday, without any major changes. To let CBS know how you feel about this one-sided reporting, here's the contact info: CONTACT: CBS 60 Minutes 524 West 57th St. New York, NY 10019 Email: 60m@cbsnews.com Phone: (212) 975-3247

Aug
18
2009

Robert Novak, from the FAIR Archives

Conservative columnist and TV pundit Robert Novak died this morning at the age of 78. While Novak will likely be best remembered for his involvement in the Valerie Plame scandal, it's worth recalling some of his other notable contributions to the public debate. As we pointed out here on the FAIR Blog, Novak pronounced himself unimpressed by Barack Obama's margin of victory in the 2008 election (writing that "he neither received a broad mandate from the public nor the needed large congressional majorities.") But in 2004, somehow George W. Bush's 51 percent margin was different (CNN's Capital Gang, 11/6/04): MARK […]