Feb
01
2012

Gingrich Refuses to Face the Fact That Voters Don't Matter

From Amanda Terkel in the Huffington Post (2/1/12): Newt Gingrich Florida Primary Results 2012: The Candidate Who Refuses to Operate Within Reality …From the beginning to the end of Gingrich's election night party, the campaign and its supporters seemed to be operating outside of realities, denying the importance of this large state's primary contest and insisting that victory was going to be theirs as soon as voters opened their eyes and truly saw Florida winner Mitt Romney as a "Massachusetts moderate." Gingrich, in fact, never even congratulated Romney on his win. I'm a fan of Terkel's work, but this genre […]

Jan
24
2012

Mother's Health News, Brought to You by Carcinogenic Baby Shampoo

Arianna Huffington had an announcement (1/19/12) about a new section in her Huffington Post: I'm delighted to announce the launch of Global Motherhood, a new section within HuffPost Impact dedicated to the health and well being of mothers and babies around the world, and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. It goes without saying that it's a bad idea in general to have a corporation in the health industry sponsoring health coverage; the potential for conflict of interest is obvious. But given that these kinds of special sections are typically created to meet an advertiser's need–an impression strengthened by the fact […]

Nov
22
2011

Does the Lie in Mitt Romney's TV Ad Matter?

Huffington Post reporterJon Ward did what reporters should do when covering political campaign ads. He told readers, at the top of his story, that the new Mitt Romney ad was based on a lie: The 60-second Romney ad quoted Obama as saying, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." It sounds like Obama is talking about his own chances in 2012. But it's actually a clip of Obama mocking his 2008 opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), for not wanting to talk about the economy in the final stretch of that election. McCain's response to the collapse […]

Jan
28
2011

Jay Carney, Revolving Doors and the Beltway Bubble

Jay Carney was a Time magazine reporter, bureau chief and frequent TV talking head. He is married to ABC reporter Claire Shipman. He left journalism to be Joe Biden's communications director, andwas just namedBarack Obama's next press secretary. It used to bemore common to see people criticize thismedia/politics revolving door. Journalists who jump over the supposed divide between the supposed watchdogs andthe powerful institutions they're watching do little to dispel the sense that the Beltway is one big cocktail party. (Read "Party Like a Beltway Insider Journalist!"–FAIR Blog, 4/26/10–for some sense of the terrain.) Which brings me to Howard Fineman's […]

Sep
10
2009

Newsweek Continues Wrestling With Aggregators

Under the charming headline "Eliminate the Parasites," Newsweek's Daniel Lyons (9/12/09) advances another brilliant scheme to save corporate media from the menace of Google. Lyons likes the idea put forward by billionaire Ayn Rand fan Mark Cuban: Cuban's advice: declare war on the "aggregator" Web sites that get a free ride on content. These aggregators–sites like Drudge Report, Newser and countless others–don't create much original material. They mostly just synopsize stuff from mainstream newspapers and magazines, and provide a link to the original…. He says the media companies should kill off these parasites by using a little piece of software […]

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 […]

Jul
17
2009

On Google, HuffPo and the Business of Conveying Information

I give Peter Osnos credit for not being as nutty as Richard Posner or as self-pitying as Dana Milbank; his piece from CJR on "Whatâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s a Fair Share In the Age of Google?" (7-8/09) is the most reasonable version I've seen of the news industry's case against the search engine company. Still, I can't help but think that he's missing the point in a fundamental way. One of Osnos' key examples of the unfairness of Google involves Sports Illustrated's website, SI.com, and a story it ran (2/7/09) on pitcher Alex Rodriguez testing positive for steroids. Osnos relates SI.com's grievance: Though […]

Jul
16
2009

When Reporters Are Present, Yet 'Fail to Bear Witness'

Arianna Huffington's latest column (Huffington Post, 7/13/09) presents a compelling portrayal of the power of new democratic media–versus the self-preserving corporate model of news gathering–in the Chinese government response to major riots last week: "It choked off the Internet and mobile phone service, blocked Twitter and Fanfou (its Chinese equivalent), deleted updates and videos from social networking sites, and scrubbed search engines of links to coverage of the unrest." But here's the rub: "At the same time, it invited foreign journalists to take a tour of the area": That's right, it slammed the door in the face of new media–and […]

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
07
2009

Who Actually Clicks on Those Pesky Links Anyway?

Considering how, "in recent months, news aggregators like the Huffington Post have received heated criticism from some who believe theyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢re stealing valuable traffic and ad revenue from newspapers," with even "appeals court Judge Richard Posner recently wr[iting] a widely-linked post arguing that copyright law should be changed in order to bar linking to websites and paraphrasing their content," media blogger Simon Owens (Bloggasm.com, 7/6/09) has conducted an experiment to evaluate the premise of corporate media management "that news aggregators simply repackage news so thereâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s little incentive to click on the actual link": So how much traffic does a large news […]

Jun
14
2009

On the WaPo's 'Tacit Faith in Massive Violence'

Writing that "it takes at least tacit faith in massive violence to believe that after three decades of horrendous violence in Afghanistan, upping the violence there will improve the situation," FAIR associate Norman Solomon (Huffington Post, 6/8/09) tells us that, when last Sunday's edition of the Washington Post printed the routine headline "Iraq War Deaths," the newspaper meant American deaths–to Washington's ultra-savvy, the deaths that really count. The only numbers and names under the headline were American. Ask for whom the bell tolls. That's the implicit message–from top journalists and politicians alike. A few weeks ago, some prominent U.S. news […]

May
26
2009

L.A. Times: Transforming Reform into 'Reform'

Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post, 5/25/09) is offering, as "a particularly egregious example" of corporate media as "enabler of the transformation of real reform into D.C. 'reform,'" a May 23 L.A. Times editorial she thinks "might as well have been written by industry lobbyists (the way many 'reform' bills are)." After her initial reaction to the subhead, "Stung by the excesses of the financial services industry, Congress is striking back"–"Actually, it wasn't Congress that was 'stung' by those 'excesses'–it was the entire world. And why is regulation of out-of-control markets 'striking back'?"–Huffington warns us that "it gets worse": "Rather than trusting […]

Apr
01
2009

The 'Serious Journalistic Conflicts' of Fox's Van Susteren

Blogging on "Greta Van Susteren's defensive response" to reports "saying that one of the reasons that Sarah Palin has been caught up in a 'series of public relations gaffes' is because she is 'taking advice from Greta and her husband,'" major GOP booster John Coale, the Huffington Post's Geoffrey Dunn (3/29/09) thinks the Fox News host "Doth Protest Too Much": Let me give Van Susteren her due. This is a serious charge of direct professional misconduct, and there should have been more than a throwaway line from an unnamed source to back it up. The allegation begs further questioning. But […]