Oct
31
2011

Up Is Down, Down Is Up: Bill O'Reilly Explains OWS

On his Friday night show, Bill O'Reilly took his viewers to a magical place–one where the right-wing Koch brothers have no connection to the Tea Party movement, while Occupy Wall Street is a secret project directed and financed by the likes of Moveon.org, SEIU and George Soros. At the top of his broadcast, O'Reilly wondered if we are now in "phase two of the campaign to undermine America"–this would apparently be the phase where activists protest against police brutality, with an assist from "the radical MoveOn organization, which is funding some of the occupiers." As he explained his conspiracy theory: […]

Oct
28
2011

The Nonconspiratorial Worldview of Michael Gordon

In Wednesday's New York Times (10/26/11), Michael Gordon wrote a piece headlined "Papers From Iraqi Archive Reveal Conspiratorial Mind-Set of Hussein," about some Iraqi archives that give an inside-the-bubble picture of Saddam Hussein's rule. Not surprisingly, Hussein comes off as paranoid, incompetent and so on. Gordon begins the story noting that Hussein was troubled by the Iran/Contra story, interpreting the U.S. deal with his Iranian enemies as some sort of "conspiracy against Iraq." Gordon calmly explains, free of a conspiratorial mind-set, that Iran/Contra was just an operation "to open a private channel to the new leadership in Tehran and to […]

Oct
28
2011

Occupy Charlie Rose!

With the bad news we've been talking about on the public broadcasting front, it's worth pointing out a bright spot: On Monday (10/24/11), Charlie Rose featured a discussion of Occupy Wall Street with Chris Hedges and Amy Goodman. Goodman made an important point about media coverage of the protests: CHARLIE ROSE: Does it have anything in common with the Tea Party? AMY GOODMAN: Well, it's interesting you ask that. When the people gathered on September 16 and 17–what, 2000 people–hardly any coverage they got. If it was 2000 Tea Party activists who gathered on Wall Street, I would dare said […]

Oct
28
2011

NYT: Trade Deals Are Big Job Creators

A New York Times story today (10/28/11) by Jennifer Steinhauer on the state of bipartisanship in Washington noted: Outside of a few recent flashes of light–the passage of three trade bills this month, and an agreement on patent reform–there have been no big bipartisan jobs initiatives in this Congress. The idea that trade deals with Colombia and South Korea are "big" job creators is not a fact–it's an argument that proponents of the deals make. But a corporate media that gives a thumbs-up to anything labeled "free trade" are going to be just as eager to call these deals job […]

Oct
26
2011

Iraq, Finally Learning to Ride Its Bike

Richard Engel on NBC Nightly News (10/21/11), speaking about the end of the Iraq War: The training wheels off, Iraq will have to succeed or fail without American troops on the ground to guide the way. That's quite a metaphor–invading and occupying a country for eight years as "training wheels." Engel's report includes this reference to the death toll: Iraqi deaths, almost 150,000, but many Iraqis believe it's a million. Of course it's not just Iraqis who believe this–the British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB), which has worked for the BBC, the British Conservative Party and the International Republican […]

Oct
26
2011

PBS Makes Time for the One Percent

Sending a letter to PBS NewsHour in response to their pro-inequality segment? Leave a copy of your letter in the comments section below.

Oct
26
2011

NYT Misses News in New NYT Poll

The New York Times has a fascinating new poll out today (10/26/11); too bad the paper doesn't emphasize the most newsworthy findings. The headline is: New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government That's based on the poll's finding that the public doesn't have much faith in government. But paragraph four offers a more striking finding: With nearly all Americans remaining fearful that the economy is stagnating or deteriorating further, two-thirds of the public said that wealth should be distributed more evenly in the country. Seven in 10 Americans think the policies of congressional Republicans favor the rich. Two-thirds object […]

Oct
26
2011

A Tax Plan Favoring the Wealthy? That Would Never Fly

When he's not sharing his thoughts about Barack Obama's birth certificate, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is apparently unveiling a tax plan. It's a flat tax, with a few other details explained by the Washington Post (10/26/11): Perry also would reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent; eliminate taxes on dividends and capital gains; make deep, unspecified cuts in federal spending; and establish individual retirement accounts outside the Social Security system. The article, by Karen Tumulty, gets approving quotes from a Republican adviser and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. But it also says this, in the reporter's […]

Oct
26
2011

Occupy Oakland Crackdown: Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets…and Cats

Last night by many reports the police crackdown on the Occupy Oakland encampment was severe: Tear gas and flash-bang grenades were used to disperse a crowd trying to retake the park. Reading about the events in the nation's capital, though, and you got a different impression. The Washington Post–no stranger to minimizing the Occupy protests–ran a short AP dispatch under the headline "Protesters Wearing Out Their Welcome Nationwide." As if that weren't dismissive enough, take a look at the photo the Post ran:

Oct
25
2011

ABC to Affiliates: Don't Interview That Movie Star–Yet!

No matter where you live, local TV newscasts tend to be pretty awful: a mash-up of crime, spectacle and celebrity–along with sports and weather. According to an item in the Hollywood Reporter, though, ABC has told its local affiliates not to cover one celebrity in particular: actor Johnny Depp. The actor is doing interviews to promote a new film called The Rum Diary, based on a book by Hunter S. Thompson. But according to the Reporter, Disney-owned ABC seems to think interviewing him about a movie that isn't part of the Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise would be bad […]

Oct
25
2011

Richard Cohen: OWS Isn't Anti-Semitic–Just Clueless, Repugnant

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (10/24/11), tipped off by at least one of his Post colleagues, decided to pay a visit to Liberty Plaza to see the festival of anti-Semitism firsthand. Lo and behold, he found none: Reckless Jew that I am, I muscled my way into the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan despite multiple reports of virulent and conceivably lethal anti-Semitism. Projecting an unvarnished Semitism, I circled the place, encountering nothing and no one to suggest bigotry–not a sign, not a book and not even the guy who some weeks ago held up a placard with the […]

Oct
25
2011

Meet the Press Panel: From GE to Morgan Stanley

There's an old joke about how the pundit spectrum in corporate media debates goes from GE all the way to GM. On Sunday's Meet the Press, viewers got a chance to see that joke come to life. On the panel was conservative former GE CEO Jack Welch, conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks and NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell. The left end of the spectrum must have been former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., best known for his time leading the center-right Democratic Leadership Council. Nowadays Ford is a TV pundit (the "liberal" who advises Democrats to move further right) […]

Oct
21
2011

Conservative Pundit Thinks Listeners Deserve Someone More Conservative

Conservative writer/commentator David Frum–the man responsible for writing the Bush "axis of evil" speech–has been doing left/right debates for the public radio show Marketplace. Until now, that is. This week (Marketplace, 10/12/11), Frum came to the conclusion that while he's still conservative, he doesn't do a good job representing the right-wing position in that kind of discussion anymore: Well, we've been doing a point/counterpoint here between me and Bob Reich for a couple of years. And it's been a lot of fun. I've certainly learned a lot from it. But I think that there's a kind of expectation that when […]