Sep
30
2010

Why 'Congress Has Cooled on Colbert'

Politico has a story about how congressmembers and their staffs are avoiding the Colbert Report that contains this anecdote: "My experience with that show is like herpes. It never goes away, and it itches and sometimes flares up," said a former aide to Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, after his boss appeared on the show in 2006. The conservative Georgia Republican, co-sponsor of a bill requiring that the 10 Commandments be displayed in Congress, was skewered by Colbert in a segment of "Better Know a District" for appearing to be able to name only three of the commandments. The episode has "haunted" […]

Sep
29
2010

The Lessons Learned From Killing Afghans

An important story is happening right now that's not getting a whole lot of media attention. A military court is investigating claims that members of a U.S. Army Stryker unit randomly killed Afghan civilians. Some of the soldiers say they were pressured by a commanding officer into participating in the crimes. There are also reports that soldiers took photos of the dead Afghans, along with body parts. One of earliest accounts I'd read of the story appeared in the British media (Guardian, 9/9/10). The basic outline of the story was recounted in a New York Times story on September 27. […]

Sep
29
2010

James O'Keefe, Now Even Creepier

You may remember James O'Keefe as the video hoaxter who fooled media into thinking ACORN gave tax advice to a man wearing a pimp costume (FAIR Action Alert, 3/11/10). Or as the miscreant whose attempts to interfere with Sen. Mary Landrieu's office phones got him arrested (Extra!, 4/10). Now O'Keefe has a new claim to fame as the guy who tried to turn sexual harassment into reality TV. CNN is reporting today (9/29/10) that one of its reporters, Abbie Boudreau, was the target of a bizarre, misogynistic scheme by O'Keefe's video production team–"Project Veritas"–to lure her on to a boat […]

Sep
29
2010

Media Blitz Against the Paycheck Fairness Act

There's a push for the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act before Congress adjourns for the season, which has sparked some pushback from right-wingers given prominent platforms in the corporate media. The Act, which already passed the House, would help enforce and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963; under the law, women would actually be able to find out how much their male colleagues make without either of them facing retaliation. A September 22 New York Times op-ed by Christina Hoff Sommers of AEI and an October 4 George Will Newsweek column both attack it as […]

Sep
28
2010

It's Publishers' Greed, Not E-Books, That's Pinching Authors

Jeffrey Trachtenberg, writing for the Wall Street Journal (9/28/10), reports in "Authors Feel Pinch in Age of E-Books" that electronic publishing is ruining authors: It has always been tough for literary fiction writers to get their work published by the top publishing houses. But the digital revolution that is disrupting the economic model of the book industry is having an outsize impact on the careers of literary writers. Priced much lower than hardcovers, many e-books generate less income for publishers. And big retailers are buying fewer titles. As a result, the publishers who nurtured generations of America's top literary-fiction writers […]

Sep
28
2010

AFP Runs With Wikipedia Founder's 'Crazy Information' About WikiLeaks

Agence France Presse (9/28/10) has an interview with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales about WikiLeaks–apparently because of their proximity in alphabetical order. Wales says that he wishes WikiLeaks didn't have "wiki" in its name–fair enough; he's free to wish that. But he goes on to say: In the most recent round of leaks, the New York Times…actually redacted certain information that could put people in harm's way whereas WikiLeaks is planning to publish absolutely everything…. I think it is really important, when we have sensitive information, that we do rely on responsible journalists to sort through it for us…. It's much […]

Sep
27
2010

How Not to Have a Debate on Obama's Economic Team

Two things that are true: –The discussion of Larry Summers leaving his job as director of the White House Economic Council often failed to provide any sense of progressive criticism of his tenure, or of White House policy. (Republican criticism was well-represented, though.) –The Washington Post's "Topic A" op-ed features are often terrible. On Sunday (9/26/10) it all came together, with a Post "Topic A" discussion about the performance of Obama's economic team. The Post got responses from former Bush economic adviser N. Gregory Mankiw andMcCain economics adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who are both unsurprisingly critical. The paper also sought comment […]

Sep
27
2010

WashPost Editorial Page (Sort of) Tells the Truth About Venezuela 'Debate'

Longtime Hugo Chavez critic Jackson Diehl leads his Washington Post column today (9/27/10) Debate in Washington about Hugo Chavez –to the extent that it exists–generally centers on whether the Venezuelan strongman is a genuine threat to the United States or a buffoonish nuisance who is best ignored. This narrow debate over Chavez's rule in Venezuela is something FAIR has documented on the country's top op-ed pages. Of course, Diehl's point is that Chavez is a genuine threat, so anyone who takes the other position–that he's merely an annoying buffoon–is naive.

Sep
24
2010

Meet the New Boss–Glenn Beck's Old Boss

CNN president JonKlein is out–replaced byKen Jautz, who was theboss at Headline News. He is, among other things, the guy who brought Glenn Beck to television: CNN's Headline News has hired radio talkshow host Glenn Beck to host a one-hour primetime show, according to a Daily Variety report (1/17/06). Variety quotes CNN Headline News president Ken Jautz's description of Beck: "Glenn's style is self-deprecating, cordial; he says he'd like to be able to disagree with guests and part as friends. It's conversational, not confrontational." As Klein leaves,I can't help but rememberthat back in 2005 he explained to Charlie Rosethat there […]

Sep
24
2010

Support This Blog!

We're really proud of the FAIR Blog; it's the easiest, fastest way for us to post short, sharp critiques of the corporate media. And it's a place where our readers can chip in, too–to point us to new information, or to tell usthey think we're completely missing the point. The blog, like everything else FAIR does, isn't supported by corporate advertising. It's up to our readers and supporters to keep it going. Right now FAIR is in the midst of a fall fundraiser to make sure we can keep doing what we do as wehead into our 25th year. For […]

Sep
24
2010

Unsurprising Raves for 'Waiting for Superman'–a Big-Screen Version of Media's Education Spin

The media accolades that have greeted the new documentary Waiting for Superman confirm what FAIR documented in the September issue of Extra!–that the corporate media debate over education "reform" is heavily tilted in the direction of those who bash teachers' unions, cheer the White House's Race to the Top grants and charter schools, and lionize "reformers" like D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee. Dana Goldstein's review of the film in the Nation (9/23/10) is worth reading. As she puts it right at the beginning: Here's what you see in Waiting for Superman, the new documentary that celebrates the charter school movement […]

Sep
24
2010

NewsHour's Tax Cuts Series Off to a Bad Start

On Wednesday night's broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (9/23/10), Gwen Ifill announced: "Now to the first of several conversations on whether or not to extend tax cuts that expire at the end of the year." The first guest was Republican Glenn Hubbard, who Ifill told viewers "was the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and he helped to design those cuts." Not surprisingly, he is a big supporter of extending the tax cuts, and gave the usual laundry list of reasons why, and criticized Obama for creating uncertainty in the markets and so on. […]

Sep
22
2010

Robert Samuelson Attacks–and Engages in–'Soundbite Economics'

Newsweek columnist Robert Samuelson (9/18/10) has had it with the way we discuss economics: With every election, we descend into soundbite economics. Rhetorical claims grow more partisan and self-serving…. These debates confirm the dreary state of economic discourse. He points his finger at both the right and the left, but then goes on to basically endorse the right-wing critique of Obama's policies–as in, "Confidence is crucial to stimulating consumer spending and business investment, and Obama constantly subverts confidence." As an example, Samuelson writes that "the moratorium on deepwater drilling kills jobs." It's refreshing tosee that he's not stoopingtopartisan soundbites! A […]