Oct
18
2010

Eleanor Clift: Doing the Deficit Rag

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift has a new piece headlined"Math Lessons: How Did a Concept as Unsexy and Complicated as the National Deficit Become the Galvanizing Political Issue of the Day?" Sheasks: "Why is the deficit the top issue in voters' minds?" If she eliminated the word "why," you'd be left with agood question to ponder. The answer would be no, andthe piece could end there. But instead of writing that piece,Clift wrote this: The deficit is really a symbol for the anger that people feel about the amount of money that has been poured into the economy, without any tangible returns […]

Oct
18
2010

The Great Non-Debate on China Trade of 2000

I was struck by Sen. Sherrod Brown's op-ed in the New York Times today (10/18/10): For Our China Trade Emergency, Dial Section 301 By SHERROD BROWN Washington TEN years ago this fall the Senate sold out American manufacturing. By a vote of 83 to 15, it established so-called permanent normal trade relations with China, paving the way for that country to join the World Trade Organization. As a result, Chinese imports to the United States fell under the same low tariffs and high quotas as those from countries like Canada and Britain. Today, though, our trade relations with China are […]

Oct
18
2010

NYT Investigation: Union Leader NOT Satanic Beast

Readers of Saturday's New York Times may have noticed thisthis piece (10/16/10): Despite Image, Union Leader Backs School Change By TRIP GABRIEL In "Waiting for Superman," the new education documentary, the union leader Randi Weingarten is portrayed, in the words of Variety, as "a foaming satanic beast." At a two-day education summit hosted by NBC News recently, the lopsided panels often featured Ms. Weingarten on one side, facing a murderer's row of charter school founders and urban superintendents. Even Tom Brokaw piled on. The article actually doesa pretty good of explaining how Weingarten and others in the union movement have, […]

Oct
18
2010

'Capitalism Saved the Miners'? Part Two

The emerging hero of the Chilean miners' story–in Latin America and elsewhere, if not in the U.S.–is Luis Urzúa, a topographer who took a job at the San José mines as a shift foreman while awaiting the start of new a job in his field. NASA officials working on the rescue called Urzúa "a natural leader," but his most important accomplishment was getting the 33 miners through the first 17 days of their crisis, when all they had was enough food for two days, dirty water and no idea if a rescue effort was even underway. Besides implementing food rationing […]

Oct
15
2010

USA Today Fears Police Brutality Caught on Tape Might Make Cops Shy

USA Today (10/15/10) has a valuable article by Kevin Johnson on citizen's use of video to document police brutality–citing numerous examples where such recording was instrumental in exposing violent behavior on the part of cops. The piece also includes the perspective of cops who don't want to be videotaped, who produce zero evidence for their assertion that such taping "has had a chilling effect on some officers who are now afraid to act for fear of retribution by video." USA Today's editors, though, put those unsubstantiated claims in the article's subhead in the print edition–"Are Incidents Caught on Tape Hindering […]

Oct
15
2010

'Capitalism Saved the Miners'? Only in Wonder Land

After the miners' rescue Wednesday, talk in Chile turned to mine safety and the conduct of Compania Minera San Esteban, the corporation that owns the San Jose mines where the miners were trapped. On Thursday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera publicly addressed safety issues, vowing "fundamental changes in how businesses treat their workers." Stories about San Esteban's horrible record are legion (e.g., here and here). The company has been host to a number of deaths at its mines in recent years, and accusations of safety violations including the charge that it ignored orders to install safety equipment–a condition of its reopening […]

Oct
14
2010

David Broder Pines for the Day When More Pols Were Like Traficant

David Broder–or an automated David Broderesque column-generator–bemoaned once again (Washington Post, 10/14/10) that "As the Gulf Between GOP and Democrats Widens, the Center Is Lost." To illustrate this dire situation, Broder (or the Broderbot) cited congressional voting patterns: Bill Galston, the Brookings Institution's resident political philosopher, was the first of the day to point out that, statistically speaking, the center had already disappeared. He was referring to the congressional voting studies, which I have previously cited, showing that, apparently for the first time, there is no overlap between the most liberal Republican in the House and the most conservative Democrat […]

Oct
14
2010

WPost Columnist: Pay Cuts for Everyone (Except Me)

Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein wrote a piece yesterday (10/13/10) headlined "Wage Cuts Hurt, but They May Be the Only Way to Get Americans Back to Work." The point–in case you didn't catch the drift ofthe headline–is that workers are going to need to take pay cuts in order to get the U.S. economy back on track. U.S. workers simply make too much in comparison to international competitors. Pearlstein cheers the move by some U.S. autoworkers to take a pay cut–the kind of "structural adjustments that are necessary if the U.S. economy is to find a new equilibrium." But taking […]

Oct
13
2010

Dead Afghans, Different Media

USA Today (10/13/10): The Guardian (10/13/10):

Oct
13
2010

Spreading the Word in the Era of Social Media

In the era of social media, the audience itself has a big say in how big the audience is. If you'd like FAIR's messages to reach more people, there's a number of simple things you can do to help. 1. Comment on the blog. A lively comment section draws readers to a blog. If you want an interesting conversation about media criticism, post the kinds of comments you think are interesting. 2. E-mail links to your friends. The simplest way to share content on the Internet–just copy and paste the url and send it to interested parties. 3. Post links […]

Oct
12
2010

WPost Asks Notorious Homophobe to Write About Gay Youth Suicides

In light of the recent and tragic spate of gay youth suicides, the Washington Post's On Faith blog chose to honor National Coming Out day with a guest post (10/11/10) by raging homophobe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The post, titled "Christian Compassion Requires the Truth About Harms of Homosexuality," accused "homosexual activist groups" like the Gay Lesbian and Straight Educators Network (GLSEN) of being the real bullies, pushing kids to come out and believe they can't change, which he argues is "likely exacerbating the very problem they claim they want to solve." As evidence, Perkins cites two […]

Oct
11
2010

WPost: The Midterms and 'Big Government'

Sunday's Washington Post (10/10/10)featured a story by Jon Cohen and Dan Balz that led with this claim: If there is an overarching theme of election 2010, it is the question of how big the government should be and how far it should reach into people's lives. The piece is actually an explanation of the results of a newpoll conducted by the Post along with the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. As Dean Baker noted (10/10/10), "There is absolutely nothing in this article that supports this assertion." He is correct. The Post's report deals with the supposedly conflicted nature of […]

Oct
11
2010

George Will's Bogus Tax Math

Comparing Democratic and Republican tax plans

In his Washington Post column yesterday (10/10/10), George Will offered the kind of analysis one has come to expect from George Will: Today, Barack Obama, a chronic campaigner, is out and about trying to arouse the masses against the inequity of not raising taxes on "the rich." He opposes extending the Bush tax rates–they are due to expire December 31, when a higher rate is restored–for "millionaires and billionaires." And for quarter-millionaires. Expiration would mean an increase for households with incomes of at least $250,000. Obama's $750,000 fudge sweeps many people into the plutocracy. In Obama's Chicago, a high school […]