Today FAIR announces its annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, a rundown of some of the corporate media's stinkiest moments in 2010. Is there something we missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
David Ignatius of the Washington Post (12/29/10): I've seen Petraeus give many briefings over the years, and it's a bit like watching a magician at work. Even though you've seen the trick before, and you know the patter, you still get mesmerized. He has the ability to make people believe the impossible might be doable, after all. That sounds bad, but then I remembered this from ABC's Martha Raddatz (6/23/10): A warrior and a scholar, Petraeus is sometimes jokingly referred to as a water walker, since almost everything he touches seems to turn to gold. Joke's on us, I guess.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg has an article in the New York Times (12/26/10) about what President Obama's trips to Hawaii say about him: "Mr. Obama's disappearance behind the palm trees reveals much about his presidential style, and also his thinking about how to balance work and play." She contrasts these trips to his birth state with his rejection of the traditional presidential vacation spot: "He rarely goes to Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, and when he does, it is not to conduct business." One problem with Stolberg's analysis: Since taking office, Obama has been to […]
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Last night on Fox News (12/22/10), Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly attempted to defend GOP opposition tothe James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, whichwould providehealth care for 9/11 Ground Zero workers. In his final broadcast of the year (12/16/10), Comedy Central's Jon Stewart devoted the entire show to lambasting the Republican opposition.Stewart's attention to the issue seems to have pushed other media outlets to pay attention to this issue. (With any luck, we'll remember this the next time there's a "debate" aboutpeople watchinga comedy show instead of "real" news.) Rove and O'Reilly'sdefense of GOP intransigence is hardly […]
At a press conference in 2009, Barack Obama said, "America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world toward peace and prosperity." He also proclaimed that America has core values that make it exceptional. Based on those comments, right-wing pundits and politicians reached a conclusion:Barack Obama does not believe in "American exceptionalism." And since they say this all the time, reporters feel obligated to cover it as if it were an actual, serious argument. Hence Susan Page's front-page article in USA Today (12/21/10): Over White House objections, they're accusing him of not embracing the concept of American exceptionalism, saying […]
Today's Washington Post (12/21/10) brings a story by Janine Zacharia headlined, "Aid groups decry Israel's Gaza constraints." The lead: Despite recent moves by Israel to ease construction in the Gaza Strip, restrictions on building materials are hampering international humanitarian efforts while doing little to impede the Hamas-led government they are designed to weaken, aid and nongovernmental groups say. The groups say thatIsrael is "snarling the delivery of materials to international relief organizations struggling to build much-needed housing, schools and infrastructure projects." Zacharia goes on: But even as Gaza's economy shows signs of improvement, its humanitarian needs remain widespread. Thousands of […]
Washington Post columnistDana Milbank (12/19/10) derides WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for being "insufferable"–apparently because he emerged from prison talking about prisonconditions. Milbank sarcastically noted, "As if nine days in an English jail fighting extradition to Sweden on sex charges made him a regular Nelson Mandela." You can decide for yourself whether that's insufferable. (Assange said, "I had time to reflect on the conditions of those people around the world also in solitary confinement, also on remand, in conditions that are more difficult than those faced by me. Those people also need your attention and support." Milbank ended this quote after […]
Today's New York Times (12/20/10) brings the latest from the WikiLeaks cables, an interesting pieceabout how Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) went to Honduras after the coup to praise the new government and hopefully arrange business deals for his friends. Unfortunately the Times bungles the story of the coup itself: Honduras had grabbed international headlines starting in June 2009, when its president at the time, Manuel Zelaya, was detained and then sent into exile, based on a fear by other elected officials there that he was scheming to remain in office despite a one-term limit in HondurasÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢ Constitution. Mr. Rohrabacher, challenging […]
One recently released WikiLeaks cable stated that Cuban officials had banned Michael Moore's healthcare documentary Sicko. Critics of Moore's work pounced, delighted thata film that spent timepointingoutthat Cuba's national system has some merits would be banned in thatcountry. The problem is that… well, it wasn't.Which is something that anyone could have known if they'd done a moment of factchecking.Like Michael Moore did (though, to be fair, he probably knew this stuff without having to check): Sounds convincing, eh?! There's only one problem–Sicko had just been playing in Cuban theaters. Then the entire nation of Cuba was shown the film on […]
In a column (12/19/10) devoted to attacking others for "the intentional manipulations of language to obscure truth," Washington Post columnist and CNN host Kathleen Parker spends most of her time targeting Democrats over the tax cut debate: Democrats are equally guilty of obfuscation through language distortion. How many times throughout the tax bill debate have you heard some variation of the following? Giving tax breaks to the rich will add to the deficit. Pardon? How does money in someone's own pocket add to another's debt? This sort of logic is possible, of course, only under confiscatory rules of wealth redistribution. […]
In FAIR's recent study of the PBS NewsHour, we found that discussions of the Afghan War were incredibly narrow–no opponents ofa war that isbroadly unpopular among the American public were allowed to make their case. Last night's NewsHour (12/16/10) offered a chance to see that narrow sourcing yet again. The showfeatured areported segment on the administration's much-anticipatedreview of the progress (or lack thereof) in Afghanistan.The NewsHour quoted Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A wide range of views from inside the administration. For the debate segment, anchor Jim Lehrer presented "two views of […]
Time's Mark Halperin (12/27/10) joins his punditry colleagues in cheering Barack Obama's wealthy-friendly tax plan as a great way for the president to end a rough year: But by ending the year with a bipartisan-compromise tax deal, Obama showed he is capable of delivering the kind of change that was supposed to be the hallmark of his Administration. Indeed– I beta lot of people watching Obama duringthe 2008 campaign werethinking, "I hope he doesn't mean it when he says he'll get rid of those tax breaks for the wealthy." More Halperinian analysis: To avoid seeing the economy stall again, the […]