The public TV show Nightly Business Report has gone through some serious changes over the past year or so–sold by the public station that had produced it for years to a somewhat mysterious private company run by an entrepreneur whose been the subject of various controversies and lawsuits. The show's been sold once again, and the new owner of public television's premier business newscast is… an investment firm called Atalaya Capital Management. And why not, really.
When the authorities are going out of their way to keep your journalistic colleagues from witnessing what they're up to, yet they reach out to give a ringside seat–what does that say about your reporting? That's the question raised by a blog post by Yves Smith (Naked Captialism, 11/16/11) that makes the case that the NYPD offered special access to journalists from the New York Times, tipping them off ahead of time to the force's secret mobilization at South Street Seaport prior to the pre-dawn November 15 raid. This New York Times photograph appears to be taken under the FDR [...]
Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times today (11/18/11) that the failure of the Congressional supercommittee might be a good thing, and that public understanding of what's really happening is hampered by a familiar media problem. He also makes a pretty safe bet about what coverage is going to look like if they fail to reach a deal: So the supercommittee brought together legislators who disagree completely both about how the world works and about the proper role of government. Why did anyone think this would work? Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of [...]
One more thing about free speech hero Michael Bloomberg's shutdown of Occupy Wall Street. During the early morning raid on the Occupy Wall Street camp journalists were blocked from covering much of what was happening. Josh Stearns from Free Press has a rundown–as he points out, "By dawn, 10 journalists, including reporters from NPR, the Associated Press and the New York Daily News, had been arrested." There was a good local TV news segment about the media clampdown, courtesy of the New York NBC affiliate. It's rare to see an image like this on your TV screen (click the image [...]
The general line in corporate media coverage of the so-called "Supercommittee" tasked with coming up with a long-term budget plan is that both sides aren't willing to budge: Republicans won't agree to raise taxes, and Democrats want to protect "entitlements" like Social Security and Medicare. While some might find the idea of Democrats standing up for Social Security and Medicare, it's not really true–Democrats have offered to make such cuts if there are some tax increases to go along with them. This insistence that a compromise involve a compromise has been depicted, oddly enough, as a refusal to compromise. But [...]
All right, which newspaper posed this question about the Occupy protests today: Is this an occupation or an infestation? Has to be the New York Post, right? Nope–they wouldn't include a question mark. That's the Washington Post, which went on to report that "recent news updates from Occupy protests read like a crime blotter." And that Post's Eli Saslow and Colum Lynch explain that they're not the only ones who feel this way: In the wake of so much controversy, the Occupy movement–which began as a populist uprising to represent all but the wealthiest 1 percent–has begun to lose some [...]
The New York Times, writing about Bloomberg's crackdown on Occupy Wall Street, said this: For the mayor, a champion of the First Amendment…. I am not sure what is required to deserve the title of "champion," but was it a different Michael Bloomberg who was mayor during the 2004 Republican convention, which saw mass arrests, preventive detention and surveillance/infiltration of protest groups? What's next–Bloomberg the Fourth Amendment champion?
Joby Warrick's Washington Post article (11/14/11) on the new International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran goes wrong from the first sentence: When the Cold War abruptly ended in 1991, Vyacheslav Danilenko was a Soviet weapons scientist in need of a new line of work. Well, no. Danilenko is allegedly a nuclear weapons scientist–but neither the IAEA or Warrick present any actual evidence that he was any such thing. Rather, the documents disclosed so far suggest that Danilenko is what he says he is: an expert on the use of explosions to make tiny, industrial-grade diamonds known as nanodiamonds. His [...]
The New York Times (11/13/11) had a Sunday Style section profile of ABC Pentagon correspondent Martha Raddatz that started off on a bad note–only to get much worse. First the bad: If there has been a glamour beat in television news in recent years, it may well be war correspondent. Starting with the original "Scud Stud," Arthur Kent of NBC in the 1991 gulf war, conflict reporters, including the current slate of Richard Engel (NBC), Lara Logan (CBS) and Ms. Raddatz's ABC colleague Alexander Marquardt, have become news media celebrities not just for acting fearless but for looking fabulous. You [...]
The New York Times reports that Chelsea Clinton will be a full time special correspondent for NBC News, starting more or less immediately. Salon's Glenn Greenwald connected this news to the media careers of Meghan McCain (MSNBC), Luke Russert (NBC) and Jenna Bush Hager (NBC), and reached this conclusion about the state of our meritocracy: We all owe our gratitude to NBC News for single-handedly correcting the shameful, long-standing exclusion from our media discourse of the views of young, journalistically accomplished heirs and heiresses to political power and great fortune; it is long overdue that former NYT executive editor Bill [...]
The Michele Bachmann presidential campaign–formerly treated as atop-tier juggernaut by Beltway media–has been floundering for weeks. Which makes right now as good a time as any for them to grab some headlines by shouting about liberal media bias. The Bachmann campaign was furious about email correspondence concerning a possible Bachmann appearance on a CBS Web show after the Saturday night debate. The network's political director, John Dickerson, was lukewarm on the idea, mentioning that Bachmann's poll numbers are quite low and that she wasn't likely to be much of a factor in the debate. Even though Dickerson is correct, these [...]
Just because he wears cowboy boots and drops his G's doesn't mean he's a dummy. Perry may be a small-town boy who went to an ag school (Texas A&M University), but he's an extremely cagey and strategic politician who has been among the state's most successful governors at getting what he wants. Put another way: Even if he's not book smart by University of Chicago standards, he's plenty street smart – and street smart is still smart. The better lens through which to regard Perry is inside vs. outside, establishment vs. anti-establishment, elitist vs. jus' folks. Don't make the mistake [...]
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman (11/9/11) went to India in order to appreciate how the grassroots movement to stamp out political corruption there is superior to Occupy Wall Street. Still, he sees a common thread: The world's two biggest democracies, India and the United States, are going through remarkably similar bouts of introspection. Both countries are witnessing grassroots movements against corruption and excess. The difference is that Indians are protesting what is illegal–a system requiring bribes at every level of governance to get anything done. And Americans are protesting what is legal–a system of Supreme Court-sanctioned bribery in the [...]