Sep
22
2010

Larry Summers, the 'Anti-Business' Hedge Fund Director

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg (9/22/10), writing about "brusque and brilliant economist" Lawrence Summers stepping down as President Obama's chief economic adviser, cited House minority leader John Boehner's charge that "Mr. Obama's team lacked 'real-world, hands on experience,' a direct shot at Mr. Summers' career as an academic." She followed this by writing, "News of Mr. Summers' departure set off speculation that Mr. Obama would replace him with a corporate executive to counter the impression that he is anti-business." The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery (9/22/10) reported similarly, "Sources said the White House is considering whether to choose a […]

Sep
21
2010

Martin Peretz on the 'Cultural Deficiencies' of Blacks

Martin Peretz, owner/editor of the New Republic, has come under fire recently for his anti-Muslim comments–leading to protests at Harvard, where Peretz is scheduled to be honored with an endowed chair in social studies named for him. Peretz's bigotry has been well-known for years–and is not confined to Muslims or Arabs, though those may be the most frequent targets of his prejudice. Here's a remark made by Peretz at a forum on black/Jewish relations in 1994 (New York Newsday, 3/28/94; Washington Post, 3/28/94; cited in Extra!, 3-4/96): So many people in the black population are afflicted by deficiencies, and I […]

Sep
20
2010

NYT's Carr to Jon Stewart: Get Off the Field!

The New York Times' David Carr (9/20/10) compares involvement by media figures in politics–exemplified by CNBC's Rick Santelli and various Fox News figures fueling the Tea Party movement, and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's dueling answer rallies to said movement–to "a football game where the reporters and commentators, bored by the feckless proceedings on the field, suddenly poured out of the press box and took over the game." Writes Carr: "In politics, it seems as if the media is intent on not just keeping score but also calling plays." Regardless of what one thinks of any particular media figure's political […]

Sep
20
2010

Mediaspeak: 'Divisive Social Issues'

In the New York Times today (9/20/10), Michael Shear writes: But as the first full week of the 2010 general election season opens across the country on Monday, Washington is scheduled once again to debate immigration and gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in the military, two deeply divisive social issues that threaten to polarize the conversation on the campaign trail. Repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is widely supported by the public. Public opinion on immigration policy is somewhat more complex; this story is referring tothelegislation known as the DREAM Act,which would provide a path to citizenship for students who have […]

Sep
20
2010

PBS Ombud on NewsHour's Tea Party

PBS ombud Michael Getler, inspired at least in part by this post on FAIR Blog, addressed Dick Armey's recent appearance on the PBS NewsHour in his September 17 column. Getler wrote that the Armey segment, which was paired with a later interview with Arianna Huffington, "didn't work,"since the guests seemed to havevery different agendas. The pairing wound up as a "big public relations win for Armey as mostly a platform for his views, while Huffington's main point was that 'the solutions are beyond left and right' and spent as much or more time bashing the Obama administration, aside from noting […]

Sep
17
2010

'Super Asinine Propensities'

The current media fervor for austerity measures instead of stimulus policies at a time when the economy is suffering from insufficient demand is nothing new. John Maynard Keynes' media criticism in a 1931 letter to a journalist friend (Fabius Maximus; 6/21/10) could have been issued today: To read the newspapers just now is to see Bedlam let loose. Every person in the country of super asinine propensities, everyone who hates social progress and loves deflation, feels that his hour has come, and triumphantly announces how, by refraining from every form of economic activity, we can become prosperous again. (The quote […]

Sep
17
2010

Sneering, Inaccurate Reporting on French Workers–Again

French protesters took to the streets early this month in opposition to proposed austerity measures that would, among other things, delay the legal age for receiving retirement benefits. The passage of such a bill on September 15 by the lower house of France's legislature, the National Assembly, occasioned further protests. (The bill hasn't come before France's upper house.) Though U.S. news outlets like to claim objectivity, the actual rules of corporate journalism allow for mockery and derision of people and ideas that don't fit a corporate-friendly template. As FAIR has documented throughout the years, U.S. corporate media despise French workers, […]

Sep
17
2010

Michael Moore Remembers How the Iraq War Began

With all the talk of the Iraq War winding down (never mind the ongoing violence, the U.S.troops still fighting, or the continuing U.S. casualties), filmmaker Michael Moore makesan important point about how the war started–specifically, that it happened not despite but because of the way the "liberal media" behaved: But most importantly, they made this war (and its public support) happen because Bush & Co. had brilliantly conned the New York Times into running a bunch of phony front-page stories about how Saddam Hussein had all these "weapons of mass destruction." The administration gleefully fed this false information not to […]

Sep
17
2010

NYT: Public Doesn't Care About the Deficit After All

The New York Times (9/16/10) points out in a write-up of its new poll : The economy and jobs are increasingly and overwhelmingly cited by Americans as the most important problems facing the country, while the deficit barely registers as a topic of concern when survey respondents were asked to volunteer their worries. Huh. The New York Times has spent a lot of time telling readers that the public cared very deeply about this, as FAIR noted in a June 24Action Alert, which asked the paper to provide evidence for assertions like Times reporter Matt Bai's suggestion (6/17/10) that "the […]

Sep
16
2010

How AP Can Make a Poll Say Whatever It Wants It To

An AP piece published across the Web today (9/16/10) carries this headline: AP-GfK Poll: Nearly Half Oppose Tax Hikes for Rich. Well, that's one way of looking at it–just like you could report the results of the 1988 election by saying that Michael Dukakis got "nearly half" of the popular vote. The more logical way of putting it would be that more than half support letting tax cuts expire for the rich: 54 percent to 44 percent. But framing it instead around the minority position lets them focus on how Democrats might worry about "provoking the 44 percent who say […]

Sep
15
2010

Newsweek Covers the Election in Advance

"Aren't there things Obama & Co. could have done differently?" Howard Fineman writes in the current issue of Newsweek (9/20/10). "Election Day is still seven weeks away–but it's not too early for a 'pre-mortem.'" No, never too early–especially since Fineman's column offers the same advice corporate media pundits have been giving to Democratic politicians for at least the past 30 years: Move to the right. "Obama's 2008 victory was a personal one," Fineman quotes Bill Clinton adviser Bill Galston. "It wasnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t a vote for a more expansive view of the role and reach of government." You may have thought that […]

Sep
15
2010

The Politics of News Media Audiences

A recent report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (9/12/10) deals in part with the news outlets sought out by different partisan and ideological groups–Democrats and Republicans; conservatives, moderates and liberals. Which outlets are attractive to which groups–particularly the most polarized groups in the survey, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats–sheds an interesting light on the question of press bias. First, when looking at generic media categories, you see that many of them are more attractive to the right than to the left: When asked which outlets they used regularly, conservative Republicans were more likely than […]

Sep
15
2010

Do Paid-For Local TV Segments Violate the Law?

Los Angeles Times columnist James Rainey (9/15/10) takes a look at "experts" appearing on local newscasts who are actually paid spokespeople for commercial interests–without viewers being made aware of this fact. He focuses on "toy expert"Elizabeth Werner, who makes appearances on local stations to talk up new products–on behalf of a company paid by toy manufactures to doso. Her employer, DWJ Television, saysit tells TV stations that companies are footing the bill for her promotional appearances.If that's true, then the burden is clearly on the stations to tell viewers about this connection. Rainey argues that it's the law, too: Federal […]