Sep
21
2011

Michael Moore on Progressive Protests and Media Blackouts

Michael Moore on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC (9/19/11): Or, if you prefer reading: But last week when Wolf Blitzer and CNN had that debate, the CNN/Tea Party Express debate, and Wolf sat there and called them his partners–I just thought, this was amazing, because would you ever see the CNN nurses union debate or the CNN teachers union debate? Because I think there are a few more teachers and nurses in this country than there are members of the Tea Party. But we'll never see that in the mainstream media. And liberal organizations which have many more members […]

Sep
21
2011

Obama Tries Hard to Be President Friedman, but Still Isn't Bonkers Enough

Politicians beware: Thomas Friedman is still threatening to launch a third party. In his New York Times column today (9/21/11), Friedman moans: One would hope that our politicians would rise to the challenge by putting forth fair and credible recovery proposals that match the scale of our debt problem and contain the three elements that any serious plan must have: spending cuts, increases in revenues and investments in the sources of our strength. But that, alas, is not what we're getting, which is why there remains an opening for an independent third party candidate in the 2012 campaign. Hmm, spending […]

Sep
21
2011

Tax Facts About Millionaires–and Bill O'Reilly's Threat

Yesterday's AP "factcheck" (9/20/11) of Barack Obama's speech about raising taxes on the super-wealthy cleverly debunked an argument that Obama didn't make. No one is saying that all millionaires pay a lower rate than their secretaries–Warren Buffett drew attention because he said he did, and there are undoubtedly other multi-millionaires in the same boat. As Dean Baker observed at Beat the Press today (9/21/11): President Obama made a simple and true statement in his speech on the budget Monday. He said that there were millionaires and billionaires who pay tax at a lower rate than middle income families. Many news […]

Sep
21
2011

Fox Sports Acknowledges That Lying to Viewers Is 'Misleading'

Fox Sports, covering a football game between the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons (9/11/11), put up a bunch of headlines about Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's knee problems: Cutler Leaves With Injury Cutler Lacks Courage Cutler's No Leader "These are the actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago," announcer Daryl Johnston declared. Wow, were the local papers really that harsh? Reporters from the Chicago Tribune remembered the press being pretty supportive of the injured player, actually, and accordingly suspected funny business. After their search of papers all over Illinois turned up no such headlines, Fox Sports admitted they had just […]

Sep
20
2011

Unfortunately for Michael Barone, 'Sellout to Unions' Actually Helped Economy

Columnist Michael Barone, best known for editing The Almanac of American Politics, wrote a piece (Boston Herald, 9/20/11) declaring that Barack Obama's "Sellout to Unions Staggers Economy." After noting that "some pro-union moves have a certain ritual quality," he got down to the really troubling behavior: Other steps are more important. Fully one-third of the $820 billion stimulus package passed almost entirely with Democratic votes in 2009 was aid to state and local governments. This was intended to keep state and local public employee union members–much more numerous than federal employees–on the job and to keep taxpayer-funded union dues pouring […]

Sep
20
2011

AP's Mangled Tax Factcheck

Yesterday Barack Obama made a speech outlining his deficit reduction plan–focusing attention on a variety of spending cuts and tax increases. The Associated Press, as is their habit, issued a "factcheck" piece by Stephen Ohlemacher that managed to bungle the issues involved, making it sound as if Obama was wrong about the taxes that wealthy people pay. Here's how it started: President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries. "Middle-class families shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires," Obama said Monday. "That's pretty straightforward. It's […]

Sep
20
2011

Rick Perry, Job-Creating Rodeo Cowboy!

The front page of USA Today (9/19/11) tells us that Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is taking "the heat," but not to worry–he says he can handle it. That's especially true with reporters like Susan Page on his side: He's not worried, he said, because only one issue really matters to Americans in this election. It's the one he plans to ride first against his Republican rivals and then against President Obama. Jobs. "I'll be asked about a hundred different issues a thousand different ways," he said in the interview Friday, one of only a few he has done since […]

Sep
19
2011

Rick Perry, Social Security Straight Shooter?

A Washington Post story onSunday (9/18/11)argues that many recipients of Social Security aren't really paying attention to what the GOP presidential front-runners are saying about Social Security. The real story, then, is what kind of narrative the candidates are trying to establish. As reporter Amy Gardner puts it: In many ways, it doesn't matter to the candidates whether people are attuned to what they are actually saying about Social Security. For them, the issue is instead serving as a proxy for the narrative each is trying to establish about himself. For Perry, standing by his brash statements on Social Security–he […]

Sep
19
2011

Finally–a Cable Channel for Rich Guys!

Finally, they will have a voice in the corporate media (New York Times, 9/19/11): When Discovery Communications set out to reformat HD Theater, the nine-year-old home of high-definition documentaries, its executives assessed the crowded cable programming landscape and asked what was missing–where there was "white space," as one later put it. What was missing, they decided, was a channel for the Rich Man–the successful, college-educated man who earns $150,000 or more a year and who wants to know how to spend his time and money. That's how Velocity was hatched. Replacing the low-rated HD Theater on October 4, Velocity is […]

Sep
19
2011

The Palin Campaign in Mark Halperin's Head

Mark Halperin has a feature in Time magazine every week called "The Big Questions." For a process-obsessed campaign reporter, this means a weekly who's up, who's down scorecard, in an easy to followQ-&-A format. This week's questions: Is Sarah Palin in or out? What could hold her back? When does she have to decide? Part of his answer to question one: "Palin remains more interesting to listen to than any other candidate." Coming from a guy who once said, "I'm ready to cancel my vacation to go cover Rick Perry," maybe this isn't surprising. It is worth pointing out that […]

Sep
16
2011

Is the Election Over Yet?

From Time magazine's Rick Perry cover story (9/26/11): When you look at Perry, it's easy to picture him in an old Western. His late arrival in the primary field in August certainly felt like that moment when the big stranger steps through the swinging saloon doors and all heads pivot and the plinky-plunk piano dies away. Wait– there's more! Moreover, Perry doesn't mind kicking over idols in the high church of conventional wisdom, a favorite Tea Party pastime. He's the one who calls Social Security a "monstrous lie," throwing in "Ponzi scheme" for good measure. Social Security is called the […]

Sep
16
2011

Protest Seen and Not Heard

There's a category of media criticism we've often called "Seen and Not Heard." It's usually a protest that's covered via a photo and caption, with no accompanying story to inform readers about what seems like an important issue. I came across this today in the Washington Post (9/16/11)–the caption headline (not pictured here) is "Nurses Rally for a Tax": A little more reporting on what they're talking about would have informed readers about an issue the Post probably doesn't spend much time discussing. (Read this paper by Dean Baker about the $150 billion a speculation tax could raise every year–you'd […]

Sep
14
2011

Bill O'Reilly Polices the 9/11 Boundaries

Fox host Bill O'Reilly knows a thing or two about boundaries. As he told his TV audience Monday night, some "far-left" radicals crossed the line on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote a blog post about how some Republican politicians turned the attacks into a "wedge issue," and referred to George W. Bush and Rudolph Giuliani as "fake heroes." O'Reilly's reaction: Krugman is "insulting his country on the anniversary of 9/11. That is truly despicable." O'Reilly had a little left in tank, so he went after former Times reporter Chris Hedges for […]