The headline above this USA Today op-ed read like a slightly wordier version of a Sarah Palin bumper sticker slogan: "Cut the Red Tape: Free Up Oil Drilling in Alaska." The author is former George H.W. Bush Secretary of State James Baker, and he writes: Even more domestic offshore drilling will be required if our country is to increase its stable and secure energy. One reasonable place to accomplish that goal lies beneath the waters off of Alaska's northern shores. He tells the tale of an underdog corporation fighting the good fight–only to be stymied by government bureaucrats: An effort [...]
Seymour Hersh reports in the New Yorker (6/6/11–subscription required) that there is s virtually no evidence Iran has a nuclear weapons program, despite huge efforts on the part of the U.S. to prove otherwise. Though Hersh's findings do not contradict the past two National Intelligence Estimates, they do fly in the face of long-held official and corporate media views. Corporate media routinely treat the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program as a matter of fact. New York Times reporter Michael Gordon has done it at least twice (2/24/03, 10/19/04), in one case suggesting that a U.S.-friendly regime in Iraq might pressure [...]
A headline today at the Washington Post (6/3/11) reads, "A Reprieve for Higher-Ed Companies?" A more honest headline might have been, "A Reprieve for Us?" The story discusses congressional action on a bill that would increase oversight of private, for-profit colleges, since many students take out government-subsidized student loans in order to attend such schools. Critics argue that the schools do a poor job of preparing students for the workforce. The Post discloses its interests, though a bit late–in the 14th paragraph of a 22-paragraph story: "Half a dozen leading firms in for-profit education–including the Washington Post Co. on behalf [...]
On the Daily Show on June 1, Bill Moyers talked about the types of outsider guests he preferred to interview on his TV show. As he put it at one point: "The worst hour that I ever put on, was many years ago, with Henry Kissinger…. I vowed after that never to do an hour with any official. None." Interviewing guests who challenge or question the conventional wisdom or the status quo is exactly what we should be seeing on public television. Two nights before the Moyers interview (5/30/11), Charlie Rose offered a reminder that we've got a long way [...]
The New York Times' Alan Cowell had a piece (6/2/11) about public opposition to nuclear power in Germany, and the fact that the country's political leadership has decided to establish policies that conform to that sentiment. It apparently left the Times a bit perplexed: But the German move also raised a question whose answer seemed elusive: What is there in this land of 82 million people that has, over decades, bred an aversion to nuclear energy that seems unrivaled among its economic peers, defying its reputation for reasoned debate? Cowell reveals that Germans overwhelmingly oppose nuclear power, especially after the [...]
Of the 24 members of Congress who have appeared three or more times in 2011 on any of the five Sunday morning shows (i.e., CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox or CNN), according to Roll Call's ongoing tally, 16, or two-thirds, have been Republicans. Just seven, or 29 percent, have been Democrats. (The other one was Sen. Joe Lieberman.) We've looked at the right-wing slant on Sunday morning before (Extra!, 9-10/01, 12/10), but this more-than-2-to-1 bias is extreme. For the record, Democrats control one of the two houses of Congress. You can probably guess who the Sunday shows' favorite congressional guest is.
The roundtable panel on ABC's This Week (5/29/11) spent some time talking about the politics of Medicare, specifically the idea that the recent Democratic victory in a special Congressional election in New York could mean that Paul Ryan's Medicare plan might be a tremendous liability for the GOP. One of the most prevalent talking points from the Republican side is to complain that while Ryan's plan might have its flaws, at least they have something–unlike the Democrats. It was a point that ABC reporter Jonathan Karl passed along as fact: [Bill Clinton] said that I hope Democrats don't use this [...]
The Sarah Palin hostage drama continues. In case you haven't heard, Palin is taking a bus tour up the East Coast, visiting various sites of historic interest. Which naturally means that every media outlet is forced to follow along, covering this series of non-events as if they are of tremendous importance, asking the pertinent questions: Is she running for president? Hasshe launched a crafty non-campaign that appears much like a campaign, without really being a campaign? On Sunday (5/29/11), CNN host Howard Kurtz wondered: Is the press in danger of being bamboozled by somebody who, in the end, is probably [...]