Apr
29
2011

Boss Bashing: Does Lawrence O'Donnell Have a Fallback Job?

MSNBC host has been receiving praise for going after his NBC bosses–as the L.A. Times noted today (4/29/11): MSNBC commentator Lawrence O'Donnell escalated attacks on NBC executives this week. On his MSNBC show the Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell Wednesday night, he accused NBC (another division of his own company) of allowing the Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump to spread "racist" lies against President Obama in demanding that Obama produce his long-form birth certificate…. "NBC has created a monster who is using his NBC fame to spew hatred reeking with racist overtones and undertones," O'Donnell said on his show. This […]

Apr
29
2011

NYT and the Threat of Egyptian Democracy

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick filed a report today (4/29/11) on one apparent problem with the move towards democracy in Egypt–the country might pursue policies more in line with what the Egyptian public supports. The most important news here is that Egyptdoesn't want to maintain a blockade on its border with Gaza. In the Times,this newsis filtered through the perspective of Israel– thusthe headline: In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel's Foes And then there is this description of the crippling economic blockade that was enforced with the help of the Mubarak regime: Israel had relied on […]

Apr
29
2011

White House Threatens to Blacklist Paper for Covering Protest

The San Francisco Chronicle is apparently in trouble with the White House for posting video of a protest against the White House's treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. The Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead reports: The White House threatened Thursday to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle editor Ward Bushee said. White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights […]

Apr
28
2011

WashPost Touts KIPP's 'Extra Edge'–Which Turns Out to Be Money and Dropouts

Is the Washington Post hoping readers only read headlines? At a glance, "Study: KIPP Charter Schools Have Extra Edge" (3/31/11) would seem to be just another in the Washington Post Co.'s toutings of charter schools in general and KIPP schools in particular (Extra!, 9/10) Readers who actually click through though, might be surprised to learn what the "edge" consists of: A study by researchers at Western Michigan University found that the KIPP network "benefits from significant private funding and student attrition." Students receive more than $5,000 a year per pupil through private donations on top of regular sources of public […]

Apr
28
2011

Everyone Cares About the Royal Wedding

A USA Today headline (4/28/11): Americans, Here and There, Get Swept Up by the Royal Wedding Much further down in the piece, evidence of that sweeping feeling: Polls initially indicated that most Americans were underwhelmed by the royal nuptials, but interest has spiked as the wedding day nears. U.S. media outlets are publishing twice the amount of coverage as the British media, according to a new Nielsen study. So people don't care about it, but the media care a lot–which is evidence of, well, something. And more on that: Jane Seymour, the actress-turned-correspondent for ET, says she hasn't met anyone […]

Apr
28
2011

Donald Trump's Mysterious Control of the Media

Some mystical power forces the corporate mediato cover Donald Trump. In the New York Times today: But White House officials concluded about a month ago that the falsehoods had moved from "the nether regions of the Internet" into the mainstream political arena, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mr. Trump, the real estate developer and reality television host who has used the issue as a media magnet. Dan Balz of the Washington Post elaborated on the PBS NewsHour: I mean, I think that the press probably does bear some responsibility for this but there's no question that what […]

Apr
27
2011

When NYT Talks About Ron Paul's 'Foil'–Do They Mean Tin Foil?

The New York Times's Michael Shear (4/27/11) has this odd reference to Ron Paul's presidential campaign: Surveys suggest that Mr. Paul's support remains low. In most recent polls, Mr. Paul receives just over 5 percent of the support from potential Republican voters. That is similar to the level of support he received in contests four years ago, when he served mostly as a foil for discussion during the debates. It's not clear what Shear's criteria for "low" polling is–according to Real Clear Politics, Paul averages 6 percent in recent polls, within three or four points of Sarah Palin and Newt […]

Apr
27
2011

NYT Explains–But Doesn't Name–U.S. Terrorism

Today the New York Times describes the state of the war in Libya: WASHINGTON – NATO plans to step up attacks on the palaces, headquarters and communications centers that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi uses to maintain his grip on power in Libya, according to Obama administration and allied officials. This "more energetic bombing campaign" included "a separate raid on Monday that temporarily knocked Libyan state television off the air." As the Times' Thom Shanker and David Sanger explain: Officials in Europe and Washington said the strikes were meant to reduce the Libyan government's ability to harm civilians by eliminating, link by […]

Apr
27
2011

WashPost's Hot Air on Haiti's 'Fresh, Vital Force'

Washington Post editorialist Lee Hockstader wrote a puff profile on Haiti's thuggish President-elect Michel Martelly ("Haiti's 'Sweet Micky' Martelly Turns Presidential," 4/24/11), whom he depicts as a fresh, vital force on the political scene, bringing with him energy and a new (mostly untested) crop of advisers, unbeholden to any recent political establishment. Little wonder that in the runoff election, Martelly, who is 50, beat a professorial 70-year-old former first lady 2 to 1. How can you write about Martelly's run-off "victory" without noting that both rounds of the election had historically low turnout–not just for Haiti, but for the Western […]

Apr
26
2011

Public Unsure Trump Was Born in United States

Today the Drudge Report (4/26/11) screams: SHOCK POLL: ONLY 38% SAY OBAMA 'DEFINITELY' BORN IN USA The all-caps headline links to a USA Today story that quotes that 38 percent figure, courtesy of a new Gallup poll. For the record, the poll also asked respondents the same question about Donald Trump. Forty-three percent say they are definitely sure he was born in the United States.

Apr
26
2011

WashPost Explains 'Reality' to Europe: You're Rich and Must Tighten Your Belt

Working in a time-honored corporate media genre (Extra!, 9-10/97, 9-10/05, 7/10), the Washington Post's Edward Cody (4/24/11) tells us that Europe just can't afford its generous social programs: From blanket health insurance to long vacations and early retirement, the cozy social benefits that have been a way of life in Western Europe since World War II increasingly appear to be luxuries the continent can no longer afford. Lest you think "appear" provides some wiggle room, Cody makes clear that, no, he's talking about objective truth here: In the new reality, workers have been forced to accept salary freezes, decreased hours, […]

Apr
26
2011

Reading Guantanamo: NYT vs. Guardian

The New York Times and London Guardian both published stories yesterday (4/25/11) examining the WikiLeaks documents about the Guantanamo prison. While obviously just a snapshot, it is interesting to see how the papers have headlined their findings. The Guardian: The New York Times: And today the Times stresses the potential danger allegedly posed by those imprisoned there: This is not to suggest that the Times' pieces are particularly bad. But the difference in emphasis is striking–and reminiscent of how differently the papers treated previous WikiLeaks disclosures.

Apr
26
2011

Someone at the LAT Really Likes Paul Ryan

At his Beat the Press blog (4/23/11), Dean Baker caught this in the L.A. Times (4/23/11): Congress is on its first recess since Republican leaders unveiled a plan to end the federal deficit by dramatically changing Medicare, cutting other government programs and reducing taxes. As Baker points out, what the paper is referring to–the Paul Ryan budget proposal–does not "end the federal deficit." As he put it: This is like saying they had a plan to fly to moon because they said they would build a rocket. The whole point is the specifics. How would they build a rocket? How […]