Apr
12
2011

David Gregory Loves the Republican Obama

NBC anchor David Gregory on NBC Nightly News (4/9/11) explaining how sees Obama's 2012 strategy: And I thought what was striking about what the president said, if you listen to his comments made Friday night, he sounded very much like a Republican talking about the need to cut spending. That's the re-election play here. He wants the American people to know, particularly those independent voters, that he is in line with what a lot of Americans want, which is less government, trimming down the size and the scope of government. He wants to be able to say, "Look, I brought […]

Apr
12
2011

Media and Nuclear Energy: Interlocking Industries

While the Fukushima nuclear disaster has gotten plenty of attention on network programming, the debate has consistently overlooked the most fundamental question of whether nuclear power can be harnessed safely (FAIR Blog, 3/14/11). In asking why this question remains muted, a look at their boards of directors reveals that all three major broadcast networks share at least two members with companies that produce or transmit nuclear energy. With nuclear powerhouse General Electric as co-owner of NBC, it's not surprising that GE's CEO Jeffery Immelt and CFO Keith Sherin both sit as directors on the network's board. But it's not the […]

Apr
11
2011

Media Mobilize for Royal Wedding

Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune writes: One estimate has 8,000 TV and radio reporters and support staff from around the world in London covering the nuptials. CNN alone is said to be sending 50 U.S. staffers to complement 75 from its London bureau. It's bound to be better television than the federal government's budget negotiations. In any case, it provides a momentary diversion from the Middle East, Japan and whatever the next crisis turns out to be. "There are a lot of other more important stories going on in the world. That's clear," said Jon Banner, the executive producer […]

Apr
11
2011

Timelines and 'Trading Blows' in Gaza

A headline in yesterday's New York Times (4/10/11): Violence Rises as Israel and Hamas Trade Blows This "blow trading" has resulted in18 deaths, all in Gaza–roughly half civilians and half militants. On the Israeli side, one boy was seriously injured. The Times account tells us: The Israeli military said that if civilians were hit, it was because militants shot from among them. But the deaths on Friday of 19-year-old Nidal Qudeh, who was studying to be a medical secretary, and her mother, Najah, 40, outside the southeastern city of Khan Yunis did not fit that pattern, witnesses said. It would […]

Apr
11
2011

WashPost: Obama/GOP Budget Cuts Are What the People Ordered

Washington Post reporter Dan Balz (4/10/11) presents the Obama/GOP budget deal asevidence that the White House wasmerelyrespondingto public opinion: Most important was showing the country that he could make Washington work. "Like any worthwhile agreement, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them," he said. At the same time, knowing that the public also favors reduced spending, Obama pointed to the size of the cuts in the new agreement while noting that his priorities had been preserved. The budget, he said, would "invest in our future." Balz also notes that "the […]

Apr
11
2011

NYT 'Obama to the Center' Headline Apparently Serious

This New York Times piece by Jeff Zeleny on the budget deal was actually headlined: President Adopts a Measured Course to Recapture the Middle Zeleny explained: President Obama opened the week by calling on Democrats to embrace his re-election campaign. He closed it by praising Republicans for forging a compromise to cut spending this year and avert a government shutdown. The juxtaposition made clearer than ever the more centrist governing style Mr. Obama has adopted since his party's big losses in November and his recapture-the-middle strategy for winning a second term. If "centrism" is defined as mostly cedingthe budget argument […]

Apr
08
2011

The Missing Economic Context of Budget Impasse Reports

In coverage of the budget negotiations in Washington, which have largely revolved around how much money will be cut from the federal budget, it's rarely acknowledged that the standard economic assumption is that reducing government spending at a time of diminished economic activity will destroy jobs. As a rule of thumb, every $1 billion in spending cuts eliminates roughly 10,000 jobs. (The Economic Policy Institute provides a slightly more sophisticated explanation here.) Given the the public consistently tells pollsters that job creation should be the country's top priority–often picked over deficit reduction by wide margins–this information should be included in […]

Apr
08
2011

NYT Calls for Protecting Libyan Civilians by Escalating War–Like in Fallujah

Afraid of NATO killing civilians in Libya? The New York Times editorial page (4/8/11) sees the way forwardby ramping up the war: There is a much better option: the American A-10 and AC-130 aircraft used earlier in the Libya fighting and still on standby status…. But no other country has aircraft comparable to Americaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s A-10, which is known as the Warthog, designed to attack tanks and other armored vehicles, or to the AC-130 ground-attack gunship, which is ideally suited for carefully sorting out targets in populated areas. AC-130s were used frequently in the Iraq War, particularly in the bloody fight […]

Apr
08
2011

Paul Ryan, Serious Numbers Geek (Aside From His Fuzzy Numbers)

The uncritical coverage of Paul Ryan's budget plan continues.In the new issue of Time magazine,Michael Crowley and Jay Newton-Smalltell us that Ryan is "the new face of federal frugality": Just 41 years old, with jet black hair and a touch of Eagle Scout to him, the House Budget Committee chairman unveiled an ambitious package of huge budget cuts designed to dig the country out of its crippling debt crisis. For Ryan, reining in spending is nothing less than an act of patriotic valor. Valor. Eagle Scout. Great hair! Ryan'scritics have notedthat his plan actually does very little about the "crippling […]

Apr
06
2011

The Washington Post and Paul Ryan's Wonky Math

Dean Baker's Beat the Press is the best Early Warning Media Mythbuster. It's simple: You read it every morning before you read the papers (he is up before you are, trust me) and you're well prepared to deal with the economic nonsense you'll be subjected to. Today (4/6/11) he proposes this headline for stories about Rep. Paul Ryan's budget blueprint: Representative Ryan Proposes Medicare Plan Under Which Seniors Would Pay Most of Their Income for Healthcare Baker writes: "That is what headlines would look like if the United States had an independent press." He explains that the central idea in […]

Apr
06
2011

Can I Skip the 2012 Election?

A Drudge Report headline today (4/6/11) representsthe tip of the rotten iceberg: RACE BASE: Obama looks to Rev. Al Sharpton for help in re-election…

Apr
06
2011

NPR: And Now, a Word From Our Sponsor

NPR Morning Edition (4/5/11) keeps its audience informed about important business news (that just so happens to be about an image-burnishing campaign by the company whose heiress gave them a 9-figure bequest a few years ago): RENEE MONTAGNE: And our last word in business today comes from another Illinois-based employer. The word is McJobs. That word has meant low-paid work at a particular fast food chain. But McDonald's is trying to, quote, "turn the word on its ear," as one marketing executive put it to Ad Age magazine. Yesterday, McDonald's launched a McJobs campaign, with the goal of recruiting 50,000 […]

Apr
05
2011

Is There Really a Goldstone 'Retraction'?

The big Israel-Palestine news of the weekis Richard Goldstone's op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday (4/3/11). The short version you pick up from the media is that Goldstone has "retracted"his UN-sponsored report on war crimes during Israel's Operation Cast Lead war in Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. The "retraction" language is fairly common–as in the New York Times headline (4/4/11),"Israel Grapples With Retraction on UN Report." But is there any realretraction? Goldstone, a retired South African judge, chaired a four-person fact-finding commissioninvestigating crimes committed by both sides. As he explains in his Post column, the Israelis refused […]