Oct
29
2009

You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Argue That the Afghan War Prevents Terror–But It Helps

Dick Morris was on the O'Reilly Factor the other night (10/28/09) advocating a troop escalation in Afghanistan–and his argument was characteristically peculiar: Listen, terrorist gangs like Al-Qaeda are like HIV virus. They swim in your bloodstream. They don't make you sick. When they latch on to a cell, a nation state, and they use the DNA of that cell, they then become a threat. When they use the accoutrements of nationhood–secure boundaries, a diplomatic corps, an export and import trade, and air force and navy, a tax system, a conscript population–then they can knockdown the World Trade Center. We have […]

Oct
27
2009

New York Post vs. New York State

"Tax Refugees Staging Escape From New York," a New York Post headline declaredyesterday (10/27/09). In an ordinary newspaper, you might take that as a signal that the story below was prepared to offer evidence that tax refugees were leaving New York–but the New York Post is no ordinary newspaper. Instead, the piece by Andy Soltis (which is likely getting extra attention thanks to link from the Drudge Report headlined "'RICH' NEW YORKERS FLEEING AT ALARMING RATE") describes a report by a branch of the right-wing Manhattan Institute that says that people moving from New York, and particularly from New York […]

Oct
27
2009

Fox-Friendly Poll on Imaginary White House Policies

Ijust received an email (from this guy's PR outfit)with the subject line: President Obama's Attacks on Free Speech Opposed by Most Americans, Zogby/O'Leary Poll Finds Tell me more! Here's one of the "questions" asked in the poll,tailor-made for Fox News Channel: Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions. Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech? It's worth noting that this question only […]

Oct
27
2009

Fox's Phony Debates

When Fox News Channel was developing Sean Hannity's TV show, it was known as Hannity & Liberal To Be Determined. That liberal turned out to be Alan Colmes, who would eventually leave the gig after doing his part by playing the Washington Generals to Hannity's Harlem Globetrotters. It hardly mattered who sat in the "left" chair–they were there to get roughed up by the home team. Until recently, professor Jane Hall was a regular guest on the O'Reilly Factor, debating conservative Bernie Goldberg. She's left Fox, and as she explained to CNN's Howard Kurtz (10/25/09), she never considered herself a […]

Oct
26
2009

WP Opinion Pages Think Someone Else Should Have a Debate on Single-Payer

Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt writes today (10/26/09) on the fear that the public option is a backdoor effort to bring a single-payer system to the United States: Private companies would have to raise their rates, so more people would choose the public plan, so private rates would rise further–and we could end up with only the public option and no competition at all. Single-payer national health insurance may be the best outcome, but we should get there after an honest debate, not through the back door. Post columnist Robert Samuelson on the same theme, also today: Many […]

Oct
26
2009

The WP's Public Option Polling, Continued….

In the Washington Post (10/25/09), reporter Dan Balz has a piece about the "resurrection" of the public option in the Senate negotiations over healthcare reform. But like the Post's trumpeting of its recent poll on the issue, Balz's rationale doesn't make much sense. As he sees it, Senate Democrats "reevaluated the politics of the public option" in part because support was on the rise: Then last week, new polls, one from the Washington Post and ABC News and the other from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found clear majority support (57 percent) for a public option. The Post/ABC News […]

Oct
26
2009

Meet the Press Continues the Non-Debate on Afghanistan

Mark Weisbrot had a good column in the London Guardian (10/23/09) about the highly circumscribed "debate" over the Afghanistan War (FAIR Action Alert, 8/25/09). He breaks down the lineup of a recent Meet the Press (10/11/09): Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, former Army general and drug czar (under President Clinton) turned defense industry lobbyist. In a news article on McCaffrey entitled "One Man's Military-Industrial-Media Complex," the New York Times reported that McCaffrey had "earned at least $500,000 from his work for Veritas Capital, a private equity firm in New York that has grown into a defense industry powerhouse by buying contractors […]

Oct
23
2009

The Lou Dobbs Poll

CNN host Lou Dobbs presented some big news on–wait for it–immigration last night (10/22/09): New evidence that the American public wants action on the illegal immigration crisis in this country. A new CNN poll finds the vast majority of the American public wants illegal immigration stopped and most want illegal immigrants now in the country to leave–Lisa Sylvester with our report. The CNN poll isodd; the main question is, "Would you like to see the number of illegal immigrants currently in this country increased, decreased, or remain the same?" 73 percent chose "decreased." They asked a follow-up to find out […]

Oct
23
2009

Fox's Flawed Football Analogy

The White House's beef with Fox News Channel continues, as do the right-wing cable channel's bizarre attempts to defend their journalistic integrity. Take this example from today's New York Times (10/22/09). Obviously the White House is most offended by the likes of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck; this is unfair, according to Fox: But Michael Clemente, senior vice president for news and editorial programming at Fox, said the White House was conflating the networkâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s commentary with its news coverage. That, Mr. Clemente said, "would be like Fox News blaming the White House senior staff for the Washington Redskins' losing record." […]

Oct
22
2009

Feeding the World: The Expert's Burden

In today's New York Times article, "Experts Worry as Population and Hunger Grow," there's some Green Revolution mythology propagated about how the policies "staved off famines affecting millions." As has been pointed out, though food production did increase, hunger actually increased as well just about everywhere affected by the Green Revolution; the reason the overall numbers showed hunger down was because China, as part of its own revolution including land reform, managed to reduce hunger dramatically. But the overall framing of the article is what bothers me more–the idea that it's "scientists and development experts" who are responsible for "feeding […]

Oct
22
2009

Limbaugh's Selective Outrage Over False Quotations

John K. Wilson (Obamapolitics, 10/16/09) on Rush Limbaugh and fake quotes: When it came to people repeating false quotes about Limbaugh that Limbaugh himself had never bothered to deny, Limbaugh was outraged: "we are in the process behind the scenes working to get apologies and retractions with the force of legal action against every journalist who has published these entirely fabricated quotes about me, slavery, and James Earl Ray." But when it came to his own false quotes, Limbaugh has been entirely indifferent to fake quotes. In one of his books, Limbaugh claimed to be quoting James Madison: "We have […]

Oct
22
2009

WP Poll: Public Evenly Split on Afghan Escalation?

"U.S. Deeply Split on Troop Increase for Afghan War" is the headline on the Washington Post's October 21 report about its latest polling on Afghanistan. The paper reports that "Americans are evenly and deeply divided" over sending 40,000 extra troops: "47 percent of those polled favor the buildup, while 49 percent oppose it." If you've followed polling on this question, these results are striking–most recent surveys show the public is deeply troubled by the war and opposed to sending more troops. The most recent CNN survey (10/16-18/09), to take one example, found 39 percent support for sending more troops, and […]

Oct
22
2009

Breaking ACORN News!!!

Living up to the ridiculous notion that every right-wing slam on ACORN demands coverage in the "liberal media," the Washington Post ("Duo Release Another Video of Their Meeting With ACORN Worker," 10/22/09) runs a storyon the latest from the right-wing activists whose undercover videos shot at local ACORN offices got all the attention in the first place. So what's the news? Well, apparently the duo appeared at the National Press Club to unveil a video of themselves at a Philadelphia ACORN office, where nothing much happened. The video they presented did not include any of the audio from ACORN workers–they […]