Oct
13
2011

Is Glenn Beck Working for Reuters? UPDATED

That might explain the piece the wire service ran today, under the headline, "Who's Behind the Wall Street Protests?" Reporters Mark Egan and Michelle Nichols suggest that Glenn Beck's demented chalkboard scribbles might have actually been on the right track; the protests "may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world's richest men"– George Soros. They write: One name that keeps coming up is investor George Soros, who in September debuted in the top 10 list of wealthiest Americans. Conservative critics contend the movement is a Trojan horse for a secret Soros agenda. Soros and the protesters […]

Oct
13
2011

Bait-and-Switch Boosterism on Trade Pacts

Corporate media's incredibly uncritical boosterism of so-called "free trade" deals has been remarked on many times, and continues to be remarkable. What else but blind faith would allow a story to carry a line like one in the October 12 New York Times, about textile industry opposition to the new deal with South Korea: "The production of shirts and sheets has shifted steadily from the United States to countries with lower-cost labor. Economists argue that this process strengthens the economy as companies and workers shift to more productive and lucrative kinds of work." Of course, if the Times has evidence […]

Oct
12
2011

About That Iranian Plot…

Without further evidence, the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States is rather hard to believe. See Glenn Greenwald's take, for example, to appreciate the need for skepticism about U.S. claims–and the eagerness of many elite pundits to take the government story more or less at face value. Jim Lobe's piece on how Iran experts are reacting is worth reading too. Juan Cole's post has a provocative, almost unbelievable headline–"Is an Iranian Drug Cartel Behind the Assassination Plot Against the Saudi Ambassador?"–but then again, the Official Story is pretty out there, too. One can never […]

Oct
12
2011

USA Today: Finally People Are Protesting Wall Street!

I think people are genuinely surprised by the corporate media's shift on Occupy Wall Street: Things went from apathy, scorn and derision to front-page news rather quickly. USA Today's editorial today (10/12/11) is headlined "Five Good Reasons Why Wall Street Breeds Protesters." It has the usual caveats–"The protesters' rhetoric against capitalism and 'corporate greed' is over the top, and they seem devoid of remedies," the paper notes–but on balance, the message is that there's plenty to protest. What's galling is the sense that USA Today's been outraged all along. As when they explain: Through lobbyists and campaign contributions, the banking […]

Oct
11
2011

Afghan War: NBC Lets the Generals Do the Talking

NBC Nightly News (10/7/11) marked the 10th anniversary of the Afghan War on October 7 with a segment that linked the war to the Occupy Wall Street protests. As anchor Brian Williams put it in the introduction: Tonight protesters remain in the streets of a dozen U.S. cities, angry over what's happened to their lives and our country; and a big part of that, over these last 10 years, the two wars we've been fighting, starting 10 years ago today. This is the anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan, longer now than World War II and the […]

Oct
11
2011

David Gregory: Demonizing Banks Is Dangerous

NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory, interviewing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday (10/10/11): GREGORY: What's going on in the streets of Occupy Wall Street? EMANUEL: Yeah. GREGORY: Complaining about the unfairness, railing against Wall Street. The president has sympathized with those protesters in the street. Is demonizing Wall Street the way to create an environment… EMANUEL: Well… GREGORY: …to get the banks to hire? EMANUEL: The–it's not… GREGORY: Is this not a reverse tea party tactic?

Oct
11
2011

ABC Interviews OWS Activist–and Media Critic

ABC's This Week (10/10/11) had a normally tilted panel on Sunday talking about, among other things, Occupy Wall Street. The show had three different types of conservatives (former Bush adviser Matthew Dowd, fixture George Will and columnist Peggy Noonan) along with Democratic pundit Donna Brazile. But then host Christiane Amanpour actually interviewed someone involved with Occupy Wall Street–DailyKos blogger Jesse LaGreca. He is perhaps best know as the guy who was interviewed by Fox News Channel at the protest–and took the chance to bash Fox News Channel. And he did media criticism on This Week too: LAGRECA: I mean, the […]

Oct
11
2011

David Brooks Gets Occupy Wall Street and Al-Qaeda in Same Sentence

New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote a tedious column today (10/11/11) about how the real radicals are the centrists, not the Wall Street occupiers. (Read Dean Baker to see what Brooks is getting wrong.) But this jumped out at me: A third believe the U.S. is no better than Al-Qaeda, according to a New York magazine survey. How would someone "survey" a leaderless, ever-shifting mass of protesters? I am not sure, and it's not really what New York did. They asked a series of questions–some of them obviously cheeky–to 100 activists at Liberty Plaza. As you can see: Rank […]

Oct
10
2011

NYT Finds the Guy Who Wants You to Cut His Jobless Benefits

Leave it to the New York Times (10/7/11) to find a guy collecting unemployment who opposes the extension of unemployment benefits. He's "Dan Tolleson, a researcher and writer with a Ph.D. in politics…whose last good job was working for a group that aims to replace the income tax with a national sales tax." But don't think reporter Shaila Dewan picked some unrepresentative oddball to highlight just to make a political point about "how divisive the question has become of providing a bigger safety net to the long-term jobless." Oh no–quite the contrary: Even among those struggling to find work, Mr. […]

Oct
07
2011

You Can't Take Politics Out of the Public Broadcasting Debate

In the When Will They Learn? department, incoming National Public Radio president Gary Knell seems to suffer from the same misunderstanding that has plagued public broadcasting executives for years. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik reports that Knell says he hopes to "calm the waters a bit" at NPR after recent political controversies, and to "depoliticize" debate over the future of public radio. Knell is quoted saying, "It's not about liberal or conservative; it's about fairness…. We've got to make the case we're delivering a fair service." Sigh. It's as if he doesn't see the road behind him strewn with efforts […]

Oct
07
2011

Is Glenn Beck Back at Fox News Channel?

It sounded like it, but it was just Bill O'Reilly channeling Beck's Soros/MoveOn/Big Labor paranoia, minus the chalkboard: On Wednesday in New York City, there was another far-left demonstration as a bunch of people marched on Wall Street. Why? We aren't exactly sure. What we do know is that these folks are zealots who are being organized by some very interesting people. Does the name MoveOn.org mean anything to you? How about George Soros? Well, for the first time, MoveOn, funded in part by Soros, has openly allied itself with the protesters. In addition, we have some unions in the […]

Oct
05
2011

Tom Friedman's Chris Christie Crush Crumbles

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn't running for president after all. This is bad news for the journalists who seemed so eager to promote his candidacy, but also for establishment pundits like New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, who thought a Christie/Obama contest would have been a victory for…. wait for it… centrism! He writes today (10/5/11): Had Christie–a moderate on gun control, climate change and immigration who has also backed Simpson/Bowles–run and won significant support, he would have forced Obama back to the center. Then, instead of a race between the Democratic left and the Republican right–in which […]

Oct
05
2011

Erin Burnett Hears the Critics–But Still Misses the Point

Last night (10/4/11) CNN host Erin Burnett noted that her fact check of the Occupy Wall Street protests had drawn some criticism. But she still doesn't seem to get it. "Well, our story got noted documentarian Michael Moore, who watched the show last night," she reported before playing a video response from Moore: I just don't understand that piece, you know, that new show. These companies, these banks, Goldman Sachs up here, they took billions and billions of dollars of citizens' money, and they ask us to pay for their crime and we're supposed to be OK because some of […]