Notingthat policies like the stimulus plan tend to poll pretty badly, New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes (7/16/10) that Obama says he has pursued such policies because they're "the right thing to do for America." To Stolberg, that sounds familiar: It is an argument that sounds eerily similar to the one Mr. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, made to justify an unpopular war in Iraq as he watched his own poll numbers sink lower. Mr. Bush and his aides often felt they could not catch a break; when the economy was humming along–or at least seemed to be [...]
New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner (7/15/10) writes a news analysis of why "peace talks" between Israel and the Palestinians are at a virtual standstill, despite the "upbeat atmosphere" in Washington following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama's recent meeting. When she attempts to contextualize the "peace talks," Kershner throws in this misleading history: Mr. Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert made a far-reaching proposal in late 2008 to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. It included an Israeli withdrawal from 93.5 percent of the West Bank, with land swaps and a safe route for Palestinian travel between Gaza and the West [...]
I think Jim Naureckas' Erick Erickson/David Duke equation (FAIR Blog, 7/14/10) is overdrawn. Erickson was playing off remarks by King Samir Shabazz, the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) member who stood in front of the largely African-American polling place in Philadelphia with a night stick in his hand. Shabazz is on record in another context saying that black men should kill white people, including children: "You want freedom, you're going to have to kill some crackers. You're going to have to kill their babies." So Erickson is not, as Jim says, "hallucinating" this kind of language–just exploiting it. Erickson and [...]
The fact that the Federal Reserve could be doing much more to stimulate the economy–but so far has chosen not to do so–is finally getting some prominent corporate media attention. The New York Times wrote today (7/15/10), referring to Fed chair Ben Bernanke: As Mr. Bernanke pointed out in a speech in 2002, when he was a Fed governor, a central bank that has run out of ordinary tools to prop up the economy, like lowering short-term interest rates, still has other options to prevent deflation. It's good to see discussion of disagreements within the Fed. But these would be [...]
When he got a gig doing political commentary for CNN, hate-blogger Erick Erickson assured Howard Kurtz that he had realized that "I had to grow up in how I write." And Erickson convinced the New York Times that he had become a kinder, gentler pundit. But hating is what Erickson does. That's why it's unsurprising to find him on his blog (7/13/10) whipping up racial animus in the crudest possible terms, using the sort of rhetoric associated with actual brownshirts like David Duke. In the post, Erickson urged the Republicans to turn the New Black Panther "scandal" into the "21st [...]
Reuters (7/14/10) has a report today on the efforts by senators Blanche Lincoln (D.-Arkansas) and Jon Kyl (R.-Arizona) to greatly reduce the amount wealthy estates owe in federal taxes. Under current law, after a one-year suspension, the federal estate tax rate will return to its pre-2001 level of 55 percent, with the first $1 million exempt. Lincoln and Kyl's proposal would change the rate to 35 percent and exempt the first $5 million of an estate. This change would save millionaires $440 billion in its first decade, and add the same amount to the federal deficit. How does Reuters report [...]
The right-wing Newsmax site has a notably positive profile of CNN anchor John King. Why would they take such a liking to a member of the dreaded Liberal Media Establishment? Newsmax's Ron Kessler gives his reason: When contributor Erick Erickson of RedState.com leaves out a point that might buttress his conservative arguments, King gladly supplies it.
To hear some of the Beltway media tell it,on Sunday White House press secretary Robert Gibbs predicted that the Democrats could lose their congressional majority in the November midterms. The L.A. Times captured some of the sense of crisis (7/14/10), noting that party leaders also tried to improve the gloomy prognosis. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, reversing course from comments he made over the weekend, said Tuesday he now believed Democrats would retain control of the House, a sentiment shared by the House majority leader, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland. It's odd, then, tolook at what actually Gibbs [...]
No, that's not a typo: Only 1.6 percent of sports coverage on L.A.'s three major network affiliates went to women's sports. On ESPN Sportscenter, it's 1.4 percent. It's just slightly higher when you add in ticker-tape coverage. And it's getting worse, not better: Those numbers are down from about 5 percent in 1989. And a major part of that drop, according to study co-author Michael Messner of the University of Southern California, is because of a drop in "insulting or trivialization or humorous sexualization of women athletes, like a nude bungee jumper or leering court reports on tennis players like [...]
In a news report on the Israeli military's investigation of its own deadly raid on the Gaza aid flotilla, the Wall Street Journal (7/13/10) passes off as fact, with no qualifier, the Israeli government's claim that members of IHH, a Turkish humanitarian organization, "attacked the Israeli soldiers as they boarded the ship." While it's true that activists on board the Mavi Marmara tried to defend themselves against Israeli naval commandos and fought with the Israelis (War in Context, 6/6/10), the JournalÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s framing of the incident gets what happened on board the ship backwards, implying that it was the activists who [...]
FAIR has a new Action Alert (7/12/10) out about PBS airing a completely uncritical three-hour documentary about Reagan-era Secretary of State George Shultz–paid for by corporations with close ties to Shultz. You can leave copies of your messages to PBS, or comments on the alert, in the comment thread of this post.
Newsweek's right-wing Latin American correspondent Mac Margolis (7/2/10) is once again playing games with statistics. After the obligatory attack on Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as a "chest-thumping autocrat," Margolis gets down to the business of praising his favorite Latin American country, Colombia, as a country that deserves "lead billing" among the "new stars of the emerging markets": In the past eight years, the Andean nation has gone from dud to dynamo: foreign investment has risen 250percent. Its stock index is up 15percent this year, and 35percent (versus Brazil's 14percent) over the decade. Since Margolis makes the comparison between Colombia and Brazil, [...]
Octavia Nasr has been a Mideast correspondent for CNN for 20 years, and was their senior editor of Mideast affairs. Until yesterday. On hearing of the death of a Hezbollah leader, she posted the following on her Twitter feed: Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot. This expression of sympathy offended some, who were outraged that a journalist would say anything likethat about anyone associated with Hezbollah. Nasr explained in a follow-up on CNN's website: I used the words "respect" and "sad" because to me, as a Middle [...]