Nov
09
2012

FAIR TV: Obama's 'Non-Mandate,' Final Factchecking Fail, Climate Science

This week on FAIR TV: How does Obama's "non-mandate" compare to Bush's 2004 "mandate"? Does corporate media factchecking need a reality check? And we look at how superstorm Sandy failed to generate talk about climate change on the Sunday shows. Please watch it–and share it with your friends.<!–preview-break–>

Nov
09
2012

Joe Klein: Obama's 'Moderate' Mandate

joeklein

Time magazine's Joe Klein found the lesson (11/7/12) in Obama's re-election. And it involves… wait for it… moving to the right: It will, and should, be argued that the election was a mandate for moderation. The last month of Mitt Romney‘s campaign, when he rushed to the center and suddenly made it a race, ratified the real will of the people: a sensible centrism that runs deeper than the over-caffeinated bluster that seems to dominate the media. The election hinted that the third rail of American politics–the certain death that comes to those who question entitlement programs like Social Security […]

Nov
08
2012

Mittmentum: Reporters Thought He Might Win Because He Said So

Asked about the pre-election sense that Mitt Romney might win the election, CNN reporter Candy Crowley told viewers (11/7/12): There was an optimism in the Romney camp. But it wasn't based on the numbers. It was based on the feel of things. And one thing you know when you cover a campaign, the feel of things can be really deceiving. She's not alone–others had the same sense that the numbers couldn't be what they were. A Politico story (10/31/12) reported that this feeling was fairly widespread among elite media: Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign says it still has momentum. President Barack […]

Nov
07
2012

Has Nate Silver Ruined Campaign Journalism?

silver

The results are in: Nate Silver won the election. The New York Times' polling/stats wonk was projecting an Obama victory, and it looks like he basically nailed it. Of course, this outcome thrills Silver's many fans, and has shown pretty clearly that the people the corporate media rely on to make election predictions aren't really good at the thing they're supposed to be good at doing. This is revealing, and should raise the usual questions about why some of these people continue to appear on television as election experts. But since it's very hard to lose your Pundit License, it's […]

Nov
07
2012

Pundits: In Victory, Obama Must Accommodate His Opponents

Matt Bai (photo by Nicole Mays)

With the election over, you're seeing familiar corporate media advice about the need for Obama to move to the right and learn to compromise with Republicans. Some of this is based on a frankly nonsensical view of the polarization that accompanied his first term. Matt Bai of the New York Times writes (11/7/12): There are, of course, plenty of explanations for why Mr. Obama's election did not usher in a less contentious political moment. Republicans say he squandered his opportunity to remake the political climate by adopting a traditionally liberal agenda. They point to his first big initiative, the stimulus […]

Nov
06
2012

It's Awkward for NBC When MSNBC Tells the Truth

The New York Times has a news piece today (11/6/12) reporting that MSNBC is just like Fox News, and isn't that awful. Now, MSNBC, for all its flaws, is not really anything like Fox News. And most of Times reporter Jeremy Peters' evidence for their similarity comes from a Pew study of "positive" and "negative" news coverage–the kind of study that will only be meaningful after someone comes up with an objective scale for measuring how positive or negative reality is. But I was struck by this anecdotal example of the Fox-like "partisan bitterness" supposedly on display on MSNBC: In […]

Nov
06
2012

Final Factcheck: Political Lying Perfectly Balanced

Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler had his last election piece in the Sunday edition of the paper (11/4/12)– and it made you glad there won't be any more. The article promised, in the headline at least, "The Best–or Worst?–Pinocchios of This Presidential Race." What it delivered was something else: Eight themes of lying and deception (like "Silliest Blooper" and "Worst Math Skills"), each with one example drawn from each side. In other words, lying was perfect balanced. And the piece closes with this bizarre attempt at "balance": Most complex subject for spinning–bipartisan effort The Obama administration's memo saying it […]

Nov
06
2012

Yes, You Can Talk About Climate Change on TV

hayes-sandy

FAIR's new alert takes aim at the Sunday morning chat shows (Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday) for ignoring climate change this weekend– right after "superstorm" Sandy devastated the East Coast. As we noted, NBC host David Gregory said early on his program: "Should more attention be paid to a changing climate's impact on the severity of these storms?" That was the last mention of climate change on the show. I know a lot of people might say, "Well, with the election around the corner, politics shows have to stick to electoral politics." I […]

Nov
05
2012

I Predict Dana Milbank Will Continue to Personify False Balance

After establishing that Republican operative Karl Rove is a terrible political prognosticator, Dana Milbank (Washington Post, 11/2/12) does the false-balance thing and attacks polling blogger Nate Silver: Rove is an easy target because his motive–conveying a false sense of momentum for Republicans–is so transparent. But he has plenty of company among prognosticators who confidently predict that which they cannot possibly know. There's Nate Silver, a statistician-blogger at the New York Times, who predicts with scientific precision that President Obama will win 303 electoral votes and beat Romney by 2 percentage points in the popular vote. He gives Obama an 81 […]

Nov
05
2012

Schieffer's Nightmare World Didn't Look So Bad at the Time

Electoral College map, 2000 presidential election (Wikipedia)

CBS's Bob Schieffer revealed his greatest fear on yesterday's Face the Nation (11/4/12): Let me just say, David Gergen, I think the worst of all worlds would be if one of the candidates won the popular vote and other won the Electoral College. As the two made clear, they were talking about the possibility that Mitt Romney would win the popular vote and still not be president. But it must be nice to know that the most terrible thing that could ever happen has already happened–as it did in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote by 300,000 votes […]

Nov
05
2012

Worst Media Moment on Hurricane Sandy?

CNN's Erin Burnett (screengrab by mroach)

CNN reporter Erin Burnett's comment (10/29/12) that it was "kind of neat" to see New York City break its flooding record as the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded Battery Park was bizarre, to say the very least: I just want to give everyone an update of where we are right now in terms of the record books. This is one for the record books. In terms of the storm surge here in Manhattan, Lower Manhattan where I am right now, almost a three-foot record, three feet. We're at 12.75 feet, as you can see, it's above my ankles now […]

Oct
25
2012

NPR Could Use Some 'Energy Independence' of Its Own

NPR's Tom Gjelten

NPR's Tom Gjelten had a story on Morning Edition today (10/25/12) that made an important point about a prominent fallacy in the energy debate–and then spent the second half of the story falling into the exact same fallacy. The story questioned the constant use of the phrase "energy independence" in political discussions of U.S. energy policy. Gjelten noted: In truth, it would be virtually impossible for any country to be totally independent where energy is concerned. Not only would it have to produce all its own oil; it would also have to be independent of the global economy. Like sugar, […]

Oct
24
2012

Did Twitter Kill Media Diversity?

Remember how corporate media's campaign coverage used to offer wide-ranging, diverse perspectives? Me neither. But Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank apparently thinks that's the way the world used to work, until Twitter came along and the press corps turned into one giant exercise in groupthink. He writes today (10/24/12) that campaign reporters have one eye on the actual debates, and one eye on social media: This was to have been the campaign when Twitter and other social media allowed new voices to enter the debate, delivering a more diverse array of opinion and helping candidates reach beyond the media filter. […]