Sep
16
2009

Are Obama's Critics Racist? Why Don't We Listen to Them?

Former President Jimmy Carter's statement (NBC, 9/15/09) that "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," has generated widespread discussion in the corporate media. But few of the many analyses of Carter's remarks give you much of a sense of why one might think that many of Obama's foes are motivated by racism. No one can look into another person's heart, of course. But many of Obama's most prominent critics have talked enough about the president and race to provide […]

Sep
16
2009

How to Spread Misinformation

The Drudge Report (9/16/09) is featuring this headline (in scary red type): Obama Admin: Cap And Trade Could Cost Families $1,761 A Year… The link goes to a CBSNews.com post, which declares: A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year. Well,there's one problem: $1,700 is the upper estimate. The second, far more importantproblem: This was an analysis based on a plan […]

Sep
16
2009

NewsHour Poses a Moral Conundrum

PBS's NewsHour's Gwen Ifill (9/15/09), quizzing Richard Goldstone on his U.N. fact-finding mission that found that both Israel and Palestinian fighters had committed war crimes in the Gaza conflict: The term "even-handed" is the problem that Israel has with the conclusions in the report. Your criticism of Israel seems so much harsher than that of the Palestinians. Why is that? CBS News (9/9/09), summarizing a report by Israel's leading human rights group: Well over half of nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel's Gaza war were civilians, including 252 children younger than 16, a leading Israeli human rights groups said Wednesday, […]

Sep
16
2009

Real Journalism Still Exists — Outside of ABC

While within the power-friendly environs of the corporate-funded Newseum, congressmembers John D. Rockefeller IV, Tim Pawlenty and Mary L. Landrieu probably felt pretty good about their ability to field such softballs from ABC's George Stephanopoulos as "What's the problem with the public health option?" But upon leaving corporate TV's criticism-free zone, where such lies as Rockefeller's statement that "Medicare is gonna start going broke in 2017, which is like the day after tomorrow," pass completely unchallenged, they each were questioned by real-life journalist Sam Husseini of WashingtonStakeout.com (9/15/09). Compare the treatment described above with Husseini's calm but determined questioning of […]

Sep
16
2009

Lauding 'Those Who Chose to Look' at Economic Crisis

By now it's old news to any reasonably critical observer that corporate outlets' "business reporters failed to see the crisis in the mortgage and credit markets as it brewed and bubbled," as former City Limits editor Alyssa Katz puts it (CJR.org, 9/14/09), but Katz also gives props to others who noticed how "evidence of its unsustainability was plain to see for those who chose to look": The fact is, and as immodest as it may seem to say, independents were repeatedly ahead of the curve on covering the mortgage and real estate bubble and in connecting the dots between vital […]

Sep
15
2009

Tea Party News Proves MSM Still 'Wired for the GOP'

In citing how Talking Points Memo creator Josh Marshall "has talked many times about the ways in which the Washington establishment is 'wired for the GOP,'" Steve Benen (Political Animal, 9/13/09) notes that "the Washington Post offers a helpful example today"–as posted on Media Matters: "Behold the media's glaring double standard. Today, the Post puts the 'tens of thousands' of Obama-hating tea bagger protesters on A1; makes it the lead story as a matter of fact." Compare and contrast. And just so there's no doubt in people's mind, the blanket coverage the mini-mobs are lapping up (i.e., the mobs are […]

Sep
15
2009

Intersex Athlete Boggles 'Ill-Informed. . .Predatory Press'

Thomas Rogers of Salon's Broadsheet (9/10/09, ad-viewing required) reports that world champion South African runner Caster Semenya recently "was tested (possibly without her consent) by the International Association of Athletics Federations" and "now the results of her gender testing have leaked, and, if the reports are to be believed, they show that she is, in fact, biologically intersex." After an informative look at the real biological meaning of the test findings that "led some media outlets to call her a 'hermaphrodite' (and some even more inaccurately calling her 'a woman — and a man')," Rogers writes that, to him, Caster's […]

Sep
15
2009

'War-Stoking Mindset Is Replicating' in Big Media

Of deteriorating governmental control in Afghanistan, Norman Solomon (Common Dreams, 9/8/09) says that "a stale witticism calls Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai 'the mayor of Kabul.' Now, not even." He points to the "corrupt, inept and–with massive election fraud–now illegitimate" administration as a "notable work product" of "those who believe in making war": After 30 years, the results are in: a devastated city…. Meanwhile, a war-stoking mindset is replicating itself at the highest reaches of official Washington–even while polls tell us that the pro-war spin has been losing ground. For the U.S. public, dwindling support for the war in Afghanistan has […]

Sep
14
2009

Kurtz Scolds Big Media for Not Following Glenn Beck's Lead

Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz (9/14/09) writes of the Van Jones controversy, in which Fox News' Glenn Beck took credit for the resignation of a White House staffer: In the Jones case, there is little question that the traditional media botched the story of an Obama administration official who, wittingly or otherwise, lent his name to those who believe that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney deliberately allowed thousands of Americans to be slaughtered. Some conservatives accused journalists of liberal bias; it is just as likely that their radar malfunctioned, or that they collectively dismissed Beck as a rabble-rouser. […]

Sep
14
2009

NYT 'Fact Checks' Obama

The New York Times (9/13/09) attempted to fact check a Barack Obama speech on healthcare. By all appearances, this is in the regular, non-satirical edition of the paper: Mr. Obama opened his 40-minute speech with what he called "disturbing news": a report from the Treasury Department that, he said, "found that nearly half of all Americans under 65 will lose their health coverage at some point over the next 10 yearsâ┚¬Ã‚ and that 'more than one-third will go without coverage for longer than one year." In fact, that is not precisely what the department found when it analyzed data from […]

Sep
14
2009

Yes, It Is Possible to Exaggerate How Hated Obama Is

"It is difficult to overstate President Obama's unpopularity in most of Louisiana," writes Campbell Robertson in a front-page New York Times article (9/11/09). Yet Robertson managed to pull it off. Robertson continues: "He lost handily to Senator John McCain here, picking up only 14 percent of the white vote. (The state is roughly two-thirds white.)" Fourteen percent? Wow, that is unpopular! But given that black and other non-white people have been able to vote in Louisiana for several decades now, wouldn't it make sense to give the actual share of the vote Obama received? That would be 40 percent, which […]

Sep
14
2009

TV Sports' 'Little, Teeny-Tiny, Super Cute White Hope'

Intern Katy Kelleher at the Jezebel.com blog (9/9/09) has made a worthy attempt at "unpacking all the different levels of sexism and racism that are operating subtly behind the scenes" in recent coverage of professional women's tennis. On the new stardom of relatively diminutive and white Melanie Oudin, Kelleher remarks that "her accomplishments are definitely praiseworthy, but there is something off about the way she is being celebrated": She has been called the "darling" of the U.S. Open, America's "sweetheart," a "pint-sized, freckled-faced blonde from Georgia," the "tiny little savior of women's tennis," everything it seems, save tennis' "Great White […]

Sep
10
2009

Newsweek Continues Wrestling With Aggregators

Under the charming headline "Eliminate the Parasites," Newsweek's Daniel Lyons (9/12/09) advances another brilliant scheme to save corporate media from the menace of Google. Lyons likes the idea put forward by billionaire Ayn Rand fan Mark Cuban: Cuban's advice: declare war on the "aggregator" Web sites that get a free ride on content. These aggregators–sites like Drudge Report, Newser and countless others–don't create much original material. They mostly just synopsize stuff from mainstream newspapers and magazines, and provide a link to the original…. He says the media companies should kill off these parasites by using a little piece of software […]