Mar
31
2010

Beck: No to Censoring Foes, Yes to Violent Death

Appearing on the O'Reilly Factor (3/25/10) to discuss being named by Joy Behar as one of the media figures the View panelist (3/22/10) says are inspiring hate among Tea Party activists ("There is a difference between free speech and hate speech, and we've been listening to it from Beck and Limbaugh now. And these people are all juiced up by these two. That's what's happening"), Glenn Beck attempted to demonstrate his tolerance for his political foes in the following exchange: BECK: Have you or I ever said Michael Moore shouldn't be allowed to make a movie? O'REILLY: No. BECK: Michael […]

Mar
31
2010

Fox News Commentators Find 'Common Ground' in Praising Fox News

One of USA Today's regular op-ed features is a "right-left" conversation between conservative columnist Cal Thomas and "liberal" Democratic strategist Bob Beckel in which they seek "Common Ground"–the name of the op-ed feature–on "issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot." Last week (3/25/10) Thomas and Beckel tackled the issue of "Bias and Fox News"–and really, what could be a better subject of debate for two paid Fox News commentators? Incredibly, they were able to overcome their great differences to defend the network that pays their bills. Some of the highlights: Cal: What the Obama administration and Raines and many at the […]

Mar
31
2010

Without Info on Oil Price Non-Effect, Offshore Drilling Reports Are Just Gas

Implicit in much coverage of the offshore drilling debate is that such oil has the potential to lower gasoline prices. The L.A. Times' report (3/30/10) on the Obama administration's new offshore drilling plan provided this context: The announcement will come in the run-up to summer driving season, as gasoline prices have begun a national march toward $3 a gallon, and beyond that in California…. Energy companies and conservatives have clamored for increased drilling since gasoline prices spiked during the 2008 presidential campaign. Like virtually all offshore-drilling coverage (CEPR, 9/08), the L.A. Times doesn't note that drilling in coastal areas will […]

Mar
30
2010

An 'Ignoble Attempt' to Smear the Pope?

The Vatican is lashing out at mounting news reports suggesting that, before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger used his positions to cover up the the church's sex abuse scandals, with little regard for the child victims of the abusers or the law. A Vatican spokesperson denounced the reporting as an "ignoble attempt" to smear the pope "at any cost." In fact, increased U.S. media interest in the pope's role in church scandals should be a welcome development. Following Benedict's 2008 visit to the U.S.–intended, among other things, to address the abuse scandals–Extra! (7-8/08) chided U.S. media for fawning […]

Mar
26
2010

One GOP Lawmaker Says Dems Are 'Ratcheting Up Rhetoric,' While Another Calls for Beating Enemies to Pulp

Articles like "Accusations Fly Between Parties Over Threats and Vandalism" in the New York Times today (3/26/10) are fairly useless. Are Republicans "fanning the flames with coded rhetoric," as a Democratic lawmaker says, or is a Republican representative right that it's Democrats who are "ratcheting up the rhetoric"? Readers are really left to judge based on their own partisan predilections, since Times reporter Michael Cooper gives them almost nothing else to go on. The article reports that "some Democrats accused the Republicans of stoking anger on the right with their fierce language during the healthcare debate," but it only gives […]

Mar
26
2010

Health Reform and the Imaginary Conservative Majority

One of the main assumptions of the final weeks of coverage of the congressional debate over healthcare reform was that the public was opposed to the White House plan. But some polling analysis shows that this wasn't the case. Barry Sussman noted this at the Nieman Watchdog on March 5. A McClatchy/Ipsos poll from late February told the usual tale: 41 percent supported the plan, 47 opposed. Sussman wrote: But the pollsters went a step further, asking those opposed–509 people in all–if they were against the proposals because they "don't go far enough to reform healthcare" or because they go […]

Mar
25
2010

GritTV: The Witch Hunt Against ACORN

FAIR's Jim Naureckas appeared on GritTV yesterday to discuss media coverage of ACORN:

Mar
23
2010

Newsweek Not Sure If Remote-Control Assassinations Are 'Awful' or 'Awesome'

Newsweek has a regular feature called "The Index" where the magazine picks out three current news events and maps them a 100-point scale, from Awful (1) to Awesome (100). The latest installment in the March 29 issue (which is not online) goes like this: AWESOME (80): Dennis Kucinich, who has voted against a slew of Democratic initiatives (from the left), pledges to reverse himself on health care after previously voting no. OK–a left-wing Democrat plays nice with the party and flip-flops on a key issue. Not hard to see why corporate media would think that's awesome. Next: AWFUL (16): Oh, […]

Mar
23
2010

NYT Admits It Was Wrong About ACORN, But Still Gets It Wrong

The New York Times, thanks in large part to FAIR activists, printed an ACORN correction today (3/23/10): Several articles since September about the troubles of the community organizing group ACORN referred incorrectly or imprecisely to one aspect of videotaped encounters between ACORN workers and two conservative activists that contributed to the groupâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s problems. In the encounters, the activists posed as a prostitute and a pimp and discussed prostitution with the workers. But while footage shot away from the offices shows one activist, James Oâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢Keefe, in a flamboyant pimp costume, there is no indication that he was wearing the costume while […]

Mar
22
2010

If Chris Matthews Were Capable of Embarrassment

…he would have to take a leave of absence to recover from the shame of having heaped ridicule on a guest who tried to explain to him how Congress could and would pass a healthcare reform bill. Daily Kos (3/22/10) recalled the January 22 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, in which guest Rep. Alan Grayson (D.-Fla.) pointed out that the Senate had already passed a healthcare bill, and that the House could approve it and then pass amendments that the Senate could accept via reconciliation. Matthews' response: "OK, OK. OK, you know, this show is about reality." Matthews continually mocked Grayson […]

Mar
22
2010

Noam Chomsky on Healthcare and the Media

Via an interview with Raw Story (3/22/10): The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor added that it's a damning referendum on American democracy that one of the most highly supported components of the effort nationally, the public insurance option, was jettisoned. He partly blamed the media for refusing to stress how favorably it's viewed by the populace. "It didn't have 'political support,' just the support of the majority of the population," Chomsky quipped, "which apparently is not political support in our dysfunctional democracy." The provision has consistently polled well, garnering the support of 60 percent of Americans across the nation in […]

Mar
19
2010

This Week on CounterSpin: Jemima Pierre on Haiti, Megan Tady on TV Wars

This week on CounterSpin: The network camera crews have mostly packed up and gone home, but the political fights over reconstruction and rebuilding in Haiti are only just getting started. University of Texas professor Jemima Pierre was part of a delegation that recently visited Haiti, and she wrote about what she saw for the Nation. She'll join us to talk about what she found, and where the Haiti story is headed next. Also on the show: Media technology can put more control in consumers' hands over the gathering and sharing of information and entertainment. But some folks, frankly, would rather […]

Mar
18
2010

Things That Are Funny to Dana Milbank: Kenyans, Hawaiians, Short Democrats

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank (3/18/10) returns from his excursion into mocking right-wingers to return to his natural role of ridiculing single-payer advocates. His target today is Rep. Dennis Kucinich. You know what's funny about him? He's short! Or, in Milbank's words, he's a "little man," a "little guy," a "diminutive figure" and–because he announced his support for the healthcare bill on St. Patrick's Day–a "leprechaun." Actually, Kucinich is the exact same height–5 foot 7–as John McCain, whom Milbank can somehow write about without any elf jokes. Milbank also includes a sneering reference to how Kucinich "led the city into […]