Mar
07
2012

On CNN: From the Left…a Corporate PR Strategist

I was struck by an election night panel I saw on CNN last night (3/6/12). "Contributors here on the left and the right," as host Anderson Cooper told viewers. On the right: former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer and right-wing blogger Erick Erickson. On the left? Frequent TV pundit and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and… Hilary Rosen. Who? Rosen might be best known for her years at the Recording Industry Association of America, the music industry's lobbying powerhouse. She briefly held the title of Washington editor-at-large for the Huffington Post. But the site cut ties with her in 2010 because she […]

Nov
18
2011

Don't Commit Journalism at the National Press Club

When former FAIR staffer Sam Husseini found out that Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Sa'ud would be speaking at the National Press Club, he thought it might be a good chance to ask a tough question. The National Press Club apparently didn't like that idea. Husseini writes: Before the end of the day, I'd received a letter informing me that I was suspended from the National Press Club "due to your conduct at a news conference." The letter, signed by the executive director of the Club, William McCarren, accused me of violating rules prohibiting "boisterous and unseemly conduct or language." Want […]

Mar
02
2011

The Embarrassing Corrections of the NYT's Newest Op-Ed Columnist

New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera is being promoted to the Times' op-ed page, where he'll appear twice weekly. Regular FAIR Blog readers may recall Nocera as the star of this item (7/1/10): On Saturday (6/26/10), Times business columnist Joe Nocera argued against a proposed moratorium on deepwater drilling. One of his main points was that deepwater drilling–except for, you know, that current problem in the Gulf of Mexico–is remarkably clean, and that other drilling methods were worse: Which also leads to a great irony: importing more oil via tankers will actually create more risk, not less. Between 1964 […]

Oct
22
2010

LA Public TV, Direct From–WHOSE Studios??

The L.A. Times has an interesting piece (10/22/10) about KCET, the local PBS affiliate that is bolting from PBS because it says it can't afford to pay the fees PBS wants to charge them. What happened is that KCET, for a little while at least, was very good at raising corporate money; the PBS fee formula required them to pay more as a result, even though that corporate underwriting was supposed to be used for producing programming. Who did the money come from? Oil giant BP.So much money that, as the Times noted, "in gratitude KCET bosses renamed their historic […]

May
28
2010

The BP Spill Is Not as Complicated as David Brooks Wants You to Think

David Brooks (New York Times, 5/28/10) informs us that the idea that "government should have more control over industry" is one of the "predictably partisan and often puerile" reactions to the oil spill. The lesson that smart people derive from the spill, Brooks says, is "that humans are not great at measuring and responding to risk when placed in situations too complicated to understand." What follows is, as Matthew Yglesias pointed out (5/28/10), largely cribbed from a 1996 New Yorker essay by Malcolm Gladwell (1/22/96) that argued that "accidents are not easily preventable" because of various psychological pitfalls that humans […]

May
27
2010

Managed News From the Gulf of Mexico

A troubling article from Newsweek (5/26/10) reports on efforts by both BP and government officials to limit media access to the aftermath of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials–working with BP–who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible. More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging […]

May
26
2010

White House Whistleblower!

President Barack Obama does not like leaks coming out of his White House. Luckily, most of what is passed to reporters is not so damaging. Take this passage from the Washington Post (5/26/10): Although senior administration officials have voiced growing disapproval of BP, the company operating the rig and responsible for the cleanup, the mission of the Friday trip is not to declare war on the firm, said one senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations. Instead, the official said, the trip will demonstrate that Obama is "on top of it." […]

May
20
2010

NYT Tale on Oil Spill: From Bad to Worse

The New York Times ran a story on May 4 that advanced a rather unusual argument: BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill was probably bad, but not that bad. Helping the paperflesh out that line was a group called the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, which the Times dubbed"a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Texas. " As we pointed out, ProPublica blogger Marian Wang did some digging, and found that"at least half of the 19 members of the group's board of directors have direct ties to the offshore drilling industry." The Times published an Editor's Note admitting that they should have […]

Apr
30
2010

PBS Oil Spill Deja Vu?

When FAIR released a study of the PBS's NewsHour (then known as the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour) in 1989, one finding stood out: The Exxon Valdez oil spill was the major environmental story of the period. MacNeil/Lehrer had seven segments on the spill; not one included an environmental representative. Several discussions were limited to Exxon officials and friendly officials: The March 30, 1989 program, for example, featured Exxon's chairman and Alaska's governor ("The chairman of the board of Exxon, I think, has been to heavy on his own company"). Andthe summaryof a segment from last night's broadcast of the NewsHour (4/29/10): Costs […]