Aug
16
2009

Shallow Press Longs for Shallow President

WashingtonMonthly.com blogger Steve Benen (Political Animal, 8/12/09) has words for corporate pundits lambasting Barack Obama's "Attention to Detail" as "going "into the weeds": A few weeks ago, MSNBC's First Read had an item questioning whether President Obama "knows too much" about healthcare policy. The piece complained that the president is willing to offer Americans details about reform…. The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman raised a similar concern today, arguing that Obama cares too much about policy details…. This, apparently, is criticism, not praise. The president who inherited a devastating economic crisis is interested in U6 numbers–a measure that includes the […]

Aug
09
2009

Left's Non-Smears Worse Than Right's Nazi Talk?

Glenn Greenwald has responded via his regular Salon feature (8/6/09, ad-viewing required) to Rush Limbaugh, "speaking to his audience of 15 million, compar[ing] Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler and Nancy Pelosi to Nazi leaders," by asking you to instead compare (a) the way that a single anonymous person's comparison of Bush and Hitler swamped our political discourse and forever altered the image of MoveOn with (b) what the (non)-reaction will be to the identical comparison coming from the leader of the Republican Party who spouts his hate-mongering to an audience of 15 million people. Within that comparison one finds many […]

Aug
05
2009

Dobbs OK Because Not 'Actually Questioning the Facts'

Reporting for Associated Press (7/3/09), David Bauder has an update on CNN's insistence on "standing behind" Lou Dobbs, who has "become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and…on top of all that, his ratings are slipping." Bauder asks outright: "How does Lou Dobbs keep his job" while plugging the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama "wasn't born in the United States despite convincing evidence to the contrary"? Dobbs' work has been so unpopular that even Ann Coulter has criticized him. Dobbs has acknowledged that he believes Obama was born in Hawaii. But he gives airtime to disbelievers, and has […]

Aug
05
2009

Obama Has Sweets, but No Questions, for Helen Thomas

FAIR associate Sam Husseini has blogged his reaction (Husseini.org, 7/4/09) to a Barack "Obama Photo Op with Helen Thomas" in which the president "came with cupcakes to wish Helen Thomas a happy birthday": "Now, if only he'd take her questions." Obama claimed they have a "common birthday wish"–for a "real healthcare reform bill"–but Thomas is not in favor of Obama's plan, she's for single-payer. Last week I bumped into Helen Thomas at her stomping ground, Mama Ayesha's restaurant in Washington, D.C., and she stressed the single-payer failure on the part of Obama. I asked her if I was right, that […]

Aug
03
2009

Some Conspiracy Theories More Equal Than Others

AlterNet's Liliana Segura has traced (7/28/09) the "nasty little rumor" that "Barack Hussein Obama is not a legitimate president because he is not really an American citizen" from "the early days of the presidential race" to its current status as "a full-blown conspiracy theory" that does "nonetheless enjoy increasingly high-profile political support, and media coverage '9/11 truthers' could only dream of": Last week the "birthers" became big news again, after a video emerged showing Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., confronted at a town hall meeting by a woman who angrily accused him of being complicit in the coverup of Obama's true […]

Aug
03
2009

Race-Baiting on Fox, 'Over and Over and Over Again'

The anti-racism Color of Change organization has sent out an email blast (8/30/09) warning that "more and more, right-wing talkshow hosts are bringing race-based fear mongering into the mainstream." Still, they claim that "Fox's Glenn Beck just took it to another level" with his July 28 statement that "this president has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people…. This guy is, I believe, a racist." It's part of a larger argument Beck has been making: that President Obama is using the White House to serve the needs of […]

Jul
24
2009

Healthcare One of 'Two Human Rights We Lack'

David Swanson (OpEd News, 7/22/09) has "another name for 'what's called a single-payer system'"–namely: "healthcare as a human right, not a commodity to be purchased. Many humans have this right. They just aren't Americans." Of Barack Obama's July 22 news conference "mention of single-payer in passing, as something that would be better than anything else, but something that mysteriously lies out of reach," Swanson notes that the same view "is typical of the very few mentions of single-payer healthcare in the U.S. corporate media": I just did some searches in the Lexis Nexis databases of major U.S. and world publications, […]

Jul
13
2009

John Pilger's 'Historic Opportunity' to Change Media

Independent investigative journalist John Pilger recently (7/6/09) gave Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman his view of the broad media landscape, informed by the fact that "we have many alternative sources of information now, not least of all your own program, though I wouldn't call that alternative": But for most people, the primary source of their information is the mainstream. It is mainly television. Even the Internet, for all its subversiveness, is still a very large component of the mainstream. And that means we're getting still this singular message about wars, about the economy, about all those things that touch our lives. […]

Jul
12
2009

Big Media Push Escalation in Afghanistan and at Home

Noting how "the president has set a limit on the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. For now," FAIR associate Norman Solomon is letting Huffington Post readers know (7/9/09) "that's how escalation works. Ceilings become floors. Gradually": A few times since last fall, the Obama team has floated rising numbers for how many additional U.S. soldiers will be sent to Afghanistan. Now, deployment of 21,000 more is a done deal, with a new total cap of 68,000 U.S. troops in that country. Solomon warns that "'escalation' isn't mere jargon. And it doesn't just refer to what's happening outside the United […]

Jul
10
2009

U.S. Press Misses Honduran Official's Racist Assault on U.S. Prez

On June 29, the day he was installed by Honduran coup leaders as the country's new interim foreign minister, Enrique Ortez Colindres repeatedly used racist slurs to describe U.S. president Barack Obama. Using the word "negrito," a well-recognized and profoundly racist epithet, whose literal translation means "little black man" or "little black boy," Ortez referred to Obama as "that little black boy who knows nothing about nothing" ["ese negrito que no sabe nada de nada"] and "a little black man who doesn't know where Tegucigalpa is" ["el negrito, no conoce donde queda Tegucigalpa"]. In another case, he told the Honduran […]

Jun
28
2009

On 'Trial Balloons' and MSM's 'Veil of Anonymity'

Salon's Greenwald (6/27/09, ad-viewing required) has taken a hard look at Washington Post and ProPublica journalists Peter Finn's and Dafna Linzer's report–"relying exclusively on three Obama officials speaking behind a veil of anonymity"–"that the White House is 'crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely.'" Finding it "revealing" that "the article quotes two Bush national security officials justifying the need for detention without charges," Greenwald writes of how "anonymous trial balloon articles like this one are difficult to comment on because it's obviously designed to announce that a certain policy is being […]

Jun
27
2009

CNN Covering for U.S. Coup That Even Obama Acknowledges

Proving his memory better (or at least less selective) than that of the institution of corporate journalism, Media Bloodhound blogger Brad Jacobson (6/24/09) is proposing that "It might be more difficult for Republicans to bash President Obama for being 'timid' in his comments about the Iranian government's violence against protesters if the U.S. media didn't consistently censor U.S./Iranian history": Take CNN's recent Iran timeline, titled "A Brief Look at Iran's History." According to the timeline, which begins in 1979, Iran has "been at odds with the West and some of its neighbors" since the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, […]

Jun
23
2009

MSM Has 'Personality Bias, Not a Liberal Bias'

Dirk Smillie's Forbes interview (6/18/09) with veteran news analyst Andrew Tyndall includes the observation that "mainstream press–network newscasts in particular–have been criticized for overly favorable coverage of the Obama administration." Tyndall takes the opportunity to make some important distinctions about this common allegation: There may be a personality bias, not a liberal bias. Since the inauguration, Obama has completely dominated the news agenda. He's a ratings getter. Compare that with George W. Bush's early days in the White House. There was very little news until September 11. It's certainly true that there has been favoritism toward Obama, but only in […]