Aug
28
2009

WSJ 'Scumbag' Columnist Gets Predictably Slimy

Noticing that Democratic strategist Mark Penn "is the Wall Street Journal's 'Microtrend'-spotting columnist" and "also CEO of PR giant Burson-Marsteller," Gawker blogger Hamilton Nolan (8/26/09) posits that "only a scumbag would abuse the former to drum up business for the latter." Alas, "Scumbag spotted!" is Nolan's cry when writing that Penn's latest (old, and none too insightful) "Microtrend" column is about "glamping"–glamorous camping. It ran last weekend. By Monday, according to an internal email obtained by Gawker, Burson was already trying to recruit companies from the industry featured in the column as clients. Nolan goes on to remind us that […]

Aug
24
2009

WaPo Pundit: Mass Transit Good for Others, Not U.S.

"Robert Samuelson Doesn't Like Trains" is what Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 8/24/09) takes to be "the unifying theme from his column today, since his arguments against high-speed rail do not make a lot of sense." In his August 24 broadside against what he dubs Barack Obama's "Rail Boondoggle," Samuelson trots out the tired argument against "almost $35 billion in subsidies into Amtrak" that "the federal government has poured" in the last four decades–with the usual corporate pundit omissions, like the fact that, as long ago as 1994 it was determined that "hidden subsidies for drivers amount to well over […]

Aug
24
2009

Telecoms' 'Fake Grassroots' Push Net Misinformation

Diligent media reformers Free Press (8/19/09) have announced a nifty new "online interactive tool to expose phony grassroots groups hired by big phone and cable companies to advance their political agenda." They're talking about "'astroturf' organizations–many of which also work for the health insurance, energy and tobacco industries"– that "are mobilizing to spread misinformation about Network Neutrality and Internet policies." The group's graphic presentation "tracks the huge amounts of money that phone and cable companies spend on lobbyists and campaign contributions" and reveals the contradictory and dishonest claims about Net Neutrality and other issues from top industry executives; and it […]

Aug
24
2009

Thanking Murdoch's Journal for More of Rove's Lies

OpEd News has published an open letter from attorney Dana Jill Simpson (8/20/09) to "Mr. Murdoch and all the editors at the Wall Street Journal," in which she expresses her wish to "thank you from the very bottom of my heart for running Karl Rove's delusional article, 'Closing In on Rove,' on August 20, 2009": The reason I want to thank you is that Mr. Rove has clearly lied about me in this article. You have captured and printed it without even checking to see if it is so or not. The lie he has told is and I quote, […]

Aug
24
2009

On Liberal Media's Single-Payer Failings

Longtime friend of FAIR Sam Husseini (Husseini.org, 8/21/09) has a new blog post responding to Robert Kuttner's recent Washington Post column, in which the American Prospect magazine editor "asks 'Where are the liberal protesters?'": It seems like a good question. Until one considers the source of the complaint–and that rather helps answer the question. Maybe the "liberal protests" are where the American Prospect's cover story of the "Baucus 13" is.Or the where the American Prospect's lengthy piece on Linda Allision's exchange with Obama is. Since clicking on the above links yields absolutely zero results in the American Prospect coverage, Husseini […]

Aug
21
2009

Fox Still Leads in Misinforming Viewers

Think Progress' Matt Corley (8/19/09) has the depressing, if predictable, news that recent polling shows "'all the misinformation out there' about health care reform proposals in Congress is taking root with many Americans." Corley is discouraged to see that, "for instance, 45 percent believe the false claim that legislation includes 'death panels' while 55 percent believe the false claim that coverage will be extended to illegal immigrants"–and an MSNBC passage says that, in particular, self-identified viewers of Fox News are disproportionately misinformed": In our poll, 72 percent of self-identified Fox News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to […]

Aug
21
2009

NYT Love Letter to Longtime NYT Food Critic

Eater blog editor Amanda Kludt (8/20/09) has a sneak look at an embarrassingly fawning New York Times review of a new book by their own recently resigned food critic, Frank Bruni–and, "according to a tipster with a copy (not yet online), it's a looooovefest": Exhibit A: His writing has always been muscular and clear. Now that I have devoured his memoir, I hold him in even greater estimation, not only for his discernment and his accomplished prose but for his bravery. OK, Dominique Browning, so you're impressed. But how about sending some more kisses Bruni's way? Exhibit B: The love […]

Aug
20
2009

The Disproportionate Compassions of Corporate Media

Seeing all the press attention given to pitbull-fighter and NFL star Michael Vick's return to football, David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org, 8/19/09) can't help but think that Vick should have tortured humans instead of dogs. Then we would have been told to overlook it for the sake of moving forward. Better yet, he should have killed humans rather than only torturing them. Then we would have been told next to nothing about it at all. It might have been reported, but it wouldn't have become a hot topic, an echo-chambered story to be dismissed only after a great deal of hand-wringing. It […]

Aug
20
2009

Courant Lousy With Bedbugs, Advertiser Influence

Laura Northrup of Consumerist.com (8/15/09) reports that, after 40 years at the Hartford Courant, consumer affairs columnist George Gombossy now says he "'was fired for doing [his] job,' after his last column exposed the bedbug-infested mattresses sold by a major Courant advertiser." The Connecticut paper killed Gombossy's account of an Attorney General investigation into Sleepy's–though it has published a stock defense that "our advertisers have no influence on what we report, including stories that may include them." Gombossy exposes "some issues of credibility" when responding to the Courant's further claim that he "knew his job was being eliminated while we […]

Aug
19
2009

Healthcare Debate as Lobbyist's Own 'Business Interests'

According to Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald (8/18/09, ad-viewing required), pro-coup lobbyist and frequent news show guest Lanny Davis is merely "masquerading as a 'political analyst' and Democratic media pundit," when really he "is unmoored from any discernible political beliefs other than: 'I agree with whoever pays me.'" Greenwald's present example is a new Politico and the Hill commentary in which Davis warns of "The Dangerous Joining of the Far Right and Far Left" and declares it "time for the vast center-left and center-right of this country to speak up and call them out" because "silence is no longer acceptable by […]

Aug
19
2009

How 'Death Panels' Became a 'Justifiable Political Claim'

Columnist Rick Perlstein has a new analysis of "Birthers, Town Hall Hecklers and the Return of Right-Wing Rage" in the Washington Post (8/16/09). In it, he tells why "liberals are right to be vigilant about manufactured outrage," and particularly about how the mainstream media can too easily become that outrage's entry into the political debate. … Conservatives have become adept at playing the media for suckers, getting inside the heads of editors and reporters, haunting them with the thought that maybe they are out-of-touch cosmopolitans and that their duty as tribunes of the people's voices means they should treat Obama's […]

Aug
16
2009

From Lie to Official History, via 'Simple Repetition'

Consortium News Robert Parry (8/13/09) is citing media-promoted "'deathers' who claim that President Barack Obama's healthcare plan would promote euthanasia," along with how the U.S. "population was persuaded that Iraq was some lethal threat" and "fear-mongering about Iraq somehow sending small remote-controlled airplanes across the Atlantic" as strong arguments against "hopeful slogans that 'the truth will out.'" To Parry, "truth is a battle" and "the reality is that there are no automatic mechanisms for stopping lies and distortions": What I have seen during more than three decades in Washington is that many truths remain effectively hidden, even if technically they […]

Aug
16
2009

'Why Women Need to Be at the Freaking Table'

Women In Media & News has reposted Veronica Arreola's (8/15/09) elucidation of exactly "why women need to be at the freaking table, in the newsroom and holding the editor's red pen." To her, "it's just as simple as women see things differently. Not better, not worse, just differently": The latest example is the WaPo "Mouthpiece Theater" fiasco that ended with WaPo pulling the plug. Two men thought that calling the secretary of State a "bitch" was funny. Not only was it not funny, and not because the joke flopped, but it's old and tired. Seriously, guys, can't you come up […]