Jan
24
2011

GE Goes to the White House: How Does GE Report the News?

On Friday it was announced that General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt would be the chair of the White House's Council on Competitiveness and Jobs. Given the fanfare of the announcement (Obama toured a GE plant with Immelt as part of the official rollout), it was considered big news. But let's compare two nightly news broadcasts. The first program mentioned that between 2007-2009 GE laid off 21,000 U.S. workers and closed 20 factories. The report quoted critic Scott Paul of the business-labor partnership Alliance for American Manufacturing. And it also mentioned the issue of conflicts of interest: GE has $3 billion […]

Jan
24
2011

NYT Disappears Public Support for Military Spending Cuts

Today the New York Times reports on the debate over spending, deficits and the State of the Union (1/24/11): The public itself seems split, or perhaps confused. Americans overwhelmingly say that in general, they prefer cutting government spending to paying higher taxes, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll published last week. Yet their preference for spending cuts, even in programs that benefit them, dissolves when they are presented with specific options related to Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch millions of lives and are the biggest drivers of the long-term deficit. Social Security is not […]

Jan
21
2011

Fox News Is Outraged by Nazi Analogies–and Other Big Lies

It is bizarre to see Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly denying that pundits from her network compare people to Nazis–contrasting this reticence to Rep. Steve Cohen (D.-Tenn.), who said calling healthcare reform a "government takeover of healthcare" was "a big lie. Just like Goebbels." In fact, such comparisons are common currency on Fox News and in much of right-wing media, as FAIR has documented (Action Alert, 1/16/04; FAIR Blog, 4/2/09, 8/9/09, 4/28/10; Extra!, 3/10). Fox's Glenn Beck, a leader in this trend, compared the auto bailout to "the early days of Adolf Hitler" (4/1/09), said that Barack Obama's plans to […]

Jan
21
2011

NYT Hits Deficit Panic Button (Again)

Big news in the New York Times today (1/21/11): According to their new poll, Americans overwhelmingly support slashing military spending. Wait–that's not the news. According to the story by Jackie Calmes and Dalia Sussman (headlined "Poll Finds Willingness to Cut Spending, Just Not Medicare or Social Security"), the real story is that people don't like the idea of cutting these entitlement programs, but arereally worried about the budget deficit: While Americans are near-unanimous in calling deficits a problem–a "very serious" problem, say 7 out of 10–a majority believes it should not be necessary for them to pay higher taxes to […]

Jan
21
2011

Concern for Human Rights Starts at the Water's Edge

As Sam Husseini noted, one of the things we'll miss about print newspapers is ironic juxtaposition of stories. The front page of Yesterday's New York Times (1/20/11) provided a classic example: There was a story about Chinese President Hu Jintao visiting the White House, headlined (in the late print edition) "Obama Raises Human Rights, Pressing China." And right next to it was an article about how the Obama administration was acknowledging that Guantanamo would stay open indefinitely, with some prisoners to be held forever without trial, while others would be tried by military tribunal instead of a civilian court because […]

Jan
20
2011

Terrorism and Spokane

Someone wanted to set off a bomb at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Washington. Luckily the suspicious bag holding the bomb was spotted,which likelysaved lives. As the Washington Post reported today: "The device appeared to be operational, it appeared to be deadly, and it was intended to inflict multiple casualties," said Special Agent Frederick Gutt, a spokesman for the FBI's Seattle field office. Law enforcement sources familiar with the device, which is being analyzed at the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., said it had a remote detonator and was positioned so that any blast would have […]

Jan
20
2011

Glenn Beck's Dangerous Obsession With Frances Fox Piven

In addition to his repeated murder fantasies, Glenn Beck harbors apocalyptic fantasies of mass death–suggesting, for instance, that if the direction of the country doesn't change, "God will wash this nation with blood." (Barack Obama, are you listening?) But the Fox News host harbors many deranged obsessions. He has long obsessed over Frances Fox Piven, the 78-year-old distinguished professor at the City University of New York. Central to Beck's lies about Piven is the charge that a Nation article she co-wrote with Richard Cloward in 1966 somehow holds the blueprint for a violent leftist takeover of the United States. Beck's […]

Jan
20
2011

No Room in NYT for Single-Payer Doctors, but Right-Wing Cranks Are OK

When I saw the headline (1/19/11), "Vocal Physicians Group Renews Health Law Fight," I thought maybe–just maybe–the New York Times might be talking about Physicians for a National Health Program, the group comprised of "18,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance." But no. The Times story is about the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons,a3,000-member organization that is on the far right of the healthcare debate, and is garnering coverage now because they support repeal of the new healthcare law. How far? These excerpts from the Times piece should give you some idea: Founded […]

Jan
20
2011

Don't Joke About Sarah Palin: How to (Maybe?) Get Booted From Fox News

From comedian Joan Rivers' Twitter feed (read from the bottom up if you can): Fox says, for the record, that Rivers wasn't canceled due to the joke; the show was overbooked, and she'llbe rescheduled. As someone who has been booked–andthen canceled–by Fox a couple of times, I'm skeptical of Fox's story here.

Jan
20
2011

Charlie Rose Talks China with Kissinger

With Chinese leader Hu Jintao in Washington, you got some of what you might expect inright wing media outlets–Rush Limbaugh doing a fake Chinese accent, and Bill O'Reilly opening his Fox show last night with crack about a Chinese dinner that wasn't take out. Meanwhile, on public television's Charlie Rose Show, the hour was spent with… Henry Kissinger. I had to go back to the Extra! archives to remember the Kissinger/China connection, which includes most notably his defense of the Chinese crackdown on Tienanmen Square. From Extra!, 10-11/89: In recent months, Kissinger has used his high media profile in a […]

Jan
19
2011

Beck: Murder Fantasies Are Funny

Glenn Beck has expressed on-air desires to strangle Michael Moore with his own hands, beat Charles Rangel to death with a shovel, and once aired a sketch on his Fox News show that had him poisoning then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Appearing on the Today show this morning (1/19/11), responding to questions about his frequent murder fantasies (a specialty of Fox News personalities), Beck told host Meredith Vieira that he was just being funny. Beck said the host should ask Jon Stewart and the Simpsons the same question. "Comedy is comedy," he explained. Vieira did not point out that […]

Jan
18
2011

CBS News Still Covering for Ronald Reagan?

In his new book, Ron Reagan says he saw early signs of Alzheimer's disease in his father, Ronald Reagan, while the late president was still in the White House. When he said as much on ABC's 20/20 last Friday (1/14/11), he infuriated many on the right, including his older brother Michael Reagan. Over the weekend, the older Reagan son took to Twitter, writing over the course of several messages, "My brother seems to want [to] sell out his father to sell books…. My father did not suffer from Alzheimer's in the '80s…. Ron, my brother, was an embarrassment to my […]

Jan
18
2011

Did We Say Job-Killing? We Meant Job-DESTROYING: The New 'Civil' DC

Under the headline "Lawmakers Aiming to Increase Civility," the New York Times (1/17/11)reports from the front lines of theimproved, post-Tucsonpolitical climate: And the House speaker, John A. Boehner, used the phrase "job-destroying" instead of "job-killing" in reference to the Democrats' healthcare overhaul in a speech to colleagues on Saturday–a subtle but pointed shift in tone, though not in substance. Change is in the air! On a serious note, this would suggest a shift from a mean-sounding,unsupported-by-the-factsattack on one's opponents to a slightly less mean-sounding, still fact-free attack on the Democrats and the Obama White House. As Dean Baker wrote at […]