May
11
2010

NBC's Curious Definition of Diversity

Correspondent Pete Williams last night on NBC Nightly News (5/10/10) gave viewers the scoop on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's record as dean of Harvard law school: "She diversified the faculty, hiring prominent conservatives." Kagan also hired almost no people of color and very few women, in a historically white and male faculty. It's an interesting definition of "diversify."

May
11
2010

WaPo: There Goes the Neighborhood

According to a Washington Post article (5/10/10) on the front page of its metro section, the traditional image of the U.S. suburb is being spoiled as they become less wealthy, white and native-born. No, really. Carol Morello's story began: Ozzie and Harriet, R.I.P. The idealized vision of suburbia as a homogeneous landscape of prosperity built around the nuclear family took another hit over the past decade, as suburbs became home to more poor people, immigrants, minorities, senior citizens and households with no children, according to a Brookings Institution report to be released Sunday. As Atrios asked, "Nobody noticed what's wrong […]

May
11
2010

Remembering Newsweek's Glory Days

Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam writes of his first job in journalism, at "now-foundering Newsweek," which he describes as being "like an upside-down journalism school, where I learned an astonishing number of bad habits." But it clearly gave him some valuable insights into how corporate journalism works: I was an editorial assistant/fact-checker, with duties analogous to those of an 18th-century cabin boy in the Royal Navy…. In addition to pouring vodka I checked facts, a process that left me bleakly cynical about journalistic accuracy. We would publish whole stories that were lies–Francois Mitterrand's plan to destroy the French economy was […]

May
11
2010

Washington Post's Sexist TV Critic

Washington Post critic Tom Shales (5/11/10) didn't think much of the debut of the PBS show Need to Know. Given the reactions from viewers at the Need to Know website, and those published by PBS ombud Michael Getler, he's not the only one who found the show a disappointment–or, as Shales put it,a "monstrosity"and "a specious wheeze." But he seemed to save a special kind of scorn for co-host Alison Stewart. Responding to the show's fawning interview with Bill Clinton, Shales wrote that "she looked as though she would have been much more comfortable in Clinton's lap." Uh huh. When […]

May
07
2010

Chris Matthews, Iraq Truth-Teller

On May 4, 2010: What killed President Bush's credibility? His utter claim that the reason we went to war in Iraq was to search for nuclear weapons. Because he and his people were dishonest enough to make that claim, he ended up looking like an incompetent when we fought our way into that country and are still fighting our way out, only to find there were no nuclear weapons on hand. The incompetence became downright staggering when the commander in chief pranced on to an aircraft carrier with that "Mission Accomplished" banner flying overhead. The bozos couldn't even get the […]

May
05
2010

Newsweek: Stop Blaming Robert Rubin

Newsweek's Jacob Weisberg is tired of people picking on Robert Rubin. Sure, his critics to point to his involvement in the financial deregulation of the 1990s and his disastrous tenure at Citibank, but they're wrong. At least that's what Weisberg tries to argue in his column "In Defense of Robert Rubin" (5/10/10). Weisberg admits early on that he "helped Rubin write a memoir," but not to worry–this column is all Weisberg. And hewrites: "To me, the most wrong-headed accusation is that Rubin prevented effective regulation during the Clinton years." This is a false chargebecause Rubin's "view has always been that […]

May
05
2010

Historical Fraudster a Regular on Glenn Beck's Show

  Glenn Beck says progressives are trying to "fundamentally transform the country" by rendering the Constitution "irrelevant" ("In 1920, they stopped studying the Constitution in law school and started studying case law!"), and by expunging from history the role "religion and morals" played in our founding. On his April 28 show, Beck announced the launch of Founders Fridays segment, a special feature by which Beck intends to counter these progressive lies with…the truth: Every Friday is going to be Founders' Fridays on the program, at least for the next month. And if nobody watches, well, then, we'll keep doing it […]

May
05
2010

O'Reilly Speaks Out for Bias and Backlash

You just never know what will set Bill O'Reilly off. Last night, it was a perfectly reasonable remark by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who, following the arrest of a Pakistani suspect in the Times Square car bomb plot, cautioned against turning Pakistanis or followers of Islam into scapegoats: I want to make clear that we will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers. All of us live in this city. And among any group, there's always a few bad apples. O'Reilly angrily lashed out at Bloomberg: Well, maybe somebody should remind the mayor […]

May
04
2010

O'Reilly's Non-Existent Arizona Immigrant Crime Wave

Fox host Bill O'Reilly searched around for a reason to support Arizona's harsh new immigration law, and seemed to settle on the fact that there is a crime wave in Phoenix (5/3/10): Arizona had to do something. In the capital city Phoenix, crime is totally out of control. For example, last year New York City– with six times as many residents as Phoenix–had just 16,000 more reported crimes. San Diego is the same size as Phoenix. It has 60 percent less crime. There are only three small problems with this explanation. For one, there's no evidence that immigrants are liable […]

May
04
2010

NYT Has No Space to Tell You It's an Oil Industry Group Saying That Spills Aren't So Bad

The formula for "contrarian" journalism was aptly summed up by Wonkette (1/6/09): Take a widely accepted belief (e.g., "Dogs make good pets") and write a cool 600 words arguing why its opposite is SECRETLY truer ("Why all dogs should die"). Of course, it helps if the upside-down world you're proposing turns out to be one that is surprisingly cozy to powerful corporate interests. Thus the piece that appeared on the front page of the New York Times today (4/4/10) arguing that maybe we're all a little too worried about that oil spill in the Gulf. To back up this counterintuitive […]

May
04
2010

Time's Influential Antiwar Activist Too Antiwar?

It was a surprise to see Afghan feminist activist Malalai JoyaonTime magazine's"Top 100 Most Influential People in the World" list. Not as surprising, though, to see her views criticized. Joya is a fierce opponent of the U.S. presence in her country, which does not sit well with some in the corporate media. Joya's Time entry was written byAyaan Hirsi Ali, who is perhaps best knownin this countrythanks to U.S. conservatives' embrace of hercriticismof Islam.Her write-up wishes that Joya would learn to love the U.S. occupation. Malalai, 31, is a leader. I hope in time she comes to see the U.S. […]

May
04
2010

NewsHour Finds Drilling Critic

We noted last week that the PBS NewsHour's coverageof the Gulf oil disaster one night includeda one-on-one interview with a spokesperson from BP. Going through the show's coverage since then, a remarkable fact emerged: The show hadnot interviewed an environmental advocate opposed to the White House plan to increase offshore oil drilling. The reticence to talk about this obvious policy angle was bizarre–though not at all limited to PBS. Well, last night the NewsHour hosted a debate between Greenpeace's Kert Davies and Sara Banaszak of the American Petroleum Institute. So let the record show that the NewsHour has opened up […]

May
03
2010

Defending Arizona: It's U.S.'s Fault for Not Wrecking Lives, Damaging Economy

Ross Douthat has a New York Times column today (5/3/10) criticizing those who are "impugning the motives" of the new Arizona immigration law, which has been denounced as a "Nazi" or "near-fascist" law, a "police state" intervention, an imitation of "apartheid," a "Juan Crow" regime that only a bigot could possibly support. Really, says Douthat, the Arizona law is an understandable if unfortunate response to the federal government's failure to "regain…control of its southern border. There is a widespread pretense that this has been tried and found to be impossible, when really it's been found difficult and left untried." Douthat […]