Sep
04
2009

Big Media Ponder Source of Right's 'Media Firestorms'

One of the items enumerated in Glenn Greenwald's round-up of "Various Matters" for Salon (9/4/09, ad-viewing required) addresses how NBC's "Chuck Todd this week noted the series of petty scandals the right has been manufacturing and remarked: 'The ability of some conservatives to create media firestorms is still much greater than liberals these days'"–which viewpoint Greenwald calls out as really reflective of one of the more irritating media syndromes: their tendency to talk about media coverage as though they have nothing to do with it and can't exert any influence over it; media coverage is just something that happens to […]

Sep
04
2009

Papers Still Deem Reality of War 'in Poor Taste'

Editor & Publisher's Joe Strupp (9/4/09) has an update on U.S. papers' "mixed reaction to the controversial Associated Press photo distributed today of a Marine who died in combat in Afghanistan last month." The picture's inclusion in "a group of images taken by AP photographer Julie Jacobson" predictably was "blasted" by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, whose censure came via "a formal letter of complaint." Strupp reports that the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times ran the photo on its website with an AP story about the images, while the Commercial Appeal in Memphis provided an online photo gallery of all of […]

Sep
04
2009

Media Welcome for 'Baroque Conspiracy Theories' Not Unprecedented

What "surprises" Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik (8/30/09) more than this summer's news full of "baroque conspiracy theories" and "weepy hysteria" is "the idea that these are somehow unprecedented." Hiltzik looks back to an earlier era of supposed presidential "socialism" in the U.S. to see such current claims as "merely the latest examples of a phenomenon that might be called Wirtism"–a label Hiltzik "just coined… to honor the memory of William A. Wirt": Wirt's day in the sun came back in 1934, when the obscure Midwestern blowhard placed himself at the center of a political maelstrom by "discovering" a […]

Sep
03
2009

Big Media Shares Insurers' 'Corrupting Influence'

Having on its debut dethroned Glenn Beck from Amazon's bestseller rankings to become "the No. 1 nonfiction book in all categories," David Swanson's Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union title looks to "how we can reform the systemic weaknesses in our representative government that deny us healthcare and many other things we want." One main "corrupting influence" named by Swanson (Prosperity Agenda, 9/2/09) is corporate media, which had always whited out single-payer and eagerly aired lies and distortions about the public option, moving the center of the debate somewhere to the right of that proposal. […]

Sep
02
2009

'Rumor, Gossip. . . Drivel' as 'Inside Information'

Guernica magazine has a new piece by American Prospect co-founder Robert Reich (8/28/09) describing the important cog that corporate journalism represents in the functioning machinery of Washington, D.C.'s "echo chamber in which anyone who sounds authoritative repeats the conventional authoritative wisdom about the 'consensus' of inside opinion," which they've heard from someone else who sounds equally authoritative, who of course has heard it from another authoritative source. Follow the trail to its start and you often find an obscure congressional or White House staffer who has seen some half-assed poll number or briefing memo, but seeking to feel important hypes […]

Sep
02
2009

'Personal Responsibility' Over 'Legacy of Racism'

Printing a letter to the editor from Leila McDowell (8/26/09), the New York Times has "Another Look at Obama's Speech to the NAACP"–from the group's on vice president of communications. McDowell starts with the fact that the "Times distinguished itself from most major media by virtually ignoring the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, which was started in New York"–and then, "when the Times finally did send a reporter…the resulting article ("Obama Gives Fiery Address at NAACP," July 17) focused on personal responsibility," even though "that was the least prominent part of Mr. Obama's speech": What was noteworthy was his discussion […]

Sep
01
2009

NPR Boosts 'Dominance of Private Health Insurance'

Analyzing "The Art of Framing at NPR" on his NPR Check blog, Mytwords (8/29/09) thinks that "there are many ways you could frame the role of Sen. Kent Conrad, one of the gang of six senators who are working very hard to preserve the profitable dominance of private health insurance in the U.S.–such as "marvel[ing] at why six senators representing less than 3 percent of the U.S. population are controlling the fate of health insurance reform," or possibly by taking a serious "look at the obscene amounts of campaign cash flowing into these senators' coffers from the for-profit health insurance […]

Sep
01
2009

Legal Transparency Another Victim of Ailing MSM

Adam Liptak of the New York Times (8/31/09) says that we can thank Riverside, California's Press-Enterprise for having "fought ferociously" in multiple Supreme Court battles ensuring "the press and the public have nearly an absolute constitutional right to attend jury selection in criminal cases." According to Liptak, "news organizations used to consider those kinds of lawsuits a matter of civic responsibility": "For the last four decades, maybe longer, citizens have been able to rely on small, medium and large news organizations, mostly newspapers, to fight their access battles on their behalf," said Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters […]

Aug
31
2009

The Fabulously Unsurprising Lies of Glenn Beck

Eva Paterson (Huffington Post, 8/28/09), president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has a response to Glenn Beck's assertion that "I want to point out the silence; no one has challenged these facts" after having been "smearing White House special advisor Van Jones for days on his show." Being "the person who first hired Van Jones," Paterson finds herself "in a unique position to know the truth." And falling squarely in the fabulously unsurprising category is that "the truth is: Beck is fabricating his facts": For instance: several times on his show, Beck has said or implied that Van […]

Aug
31
2009

Corporate Media 'Default Position': 'War Must Go On'

Media Monitors Network has the latest column from Norman Solomon (8/26/09), in which the longtime analyst of corporate media boosterism for U.S. wars considers a recent swath of stories that "have compared President Johnson's war in Vietnam and President Obama's war in Afghanistan." True, "the comparisons are often valid," Solomon finds, "but a key parallel rarely gets mentioned–the media's insistent support for the war even after most of the public has turned against it": This omission relies on the mythology that the U.S. news media functioned as tough critics of the Vietnam War in real time…. In fact, overall, the […]

Aug
29
2009

Way Cleared for More 'Excessive Media Consolidation'

On news that "today, a federal court threw out the Federal Communications Commission's rule to cap cable ownership at 30 percent," Free Press (8/28/09) comments "the rule served as an important consumer protection from media consolidation and growing cable cartels, and encouraged diversity in ownership in the cable industry." The media advocacy group's Ben Scott further calls it regrettable that the court tossed out an important public interest protection against excessive media consolidation. Congressional intent in the Cable Act of 1992 is very clear–the goals of federal policy in the cable industry are to promote competition, consumer choice and a […]

Aug
28
2009

Still More Pentagon Lies, News Manipulation

Stars and Stripes reporters Charlie Reed, Kevin Baron and Leo Shane III (8/27/09) have an update on the military paper's recent exposure of Iraqi National Congress fabricators the Rendon Group helping the Pentagon in Screening New Embeds in Afghanistan "to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light." A reporter profile obtained by Stars and Stripes "evaluates work published as recently as May, indicating that the rating practice did not in fact cease last October" as claimed by a Pentagon representative, and "explicit suggestions contained in the Rendon profiles detailing how best to manipulate […]

Aug
28
2009

'Meaningful Change' at the New Republic

Glenn Greenwald (8/27/09, ad-viewing required) of Salon's series of New Republic quotes morphing from condemning a perceived "anti-Lieberman jihad" to calling for "knocking off Democrats like Conrad and Joe Lieberman" charts the outlet's "rapid and total reversal–one effectuated without the slightest acknowledgment that it even occurred." Calling the change "just the accountability-free nature of Beltway punditry," Greenwald also spies "a more important point highlighted here": namely, it is a sign of how dysfunctional the Democratic Party is–and how meaningless is their glorious super-majority–that even the New Republic, which long prided itself on safeguarding the party from nefarious left-wing influences, is […]