Sep
01
2009

Legal Transparency Another Victim of Ailing MSM

Adam Liptak of the New York Times (8/31/09) says that we can thank Riverside, California's Press-Enterprise for having "fought ferociously" in multiple Supreme Court battles ensuring "the press and the public have nearly an absolute constitutional right to attend jury selection in criminal cases." According to Liptak, "news organizations used to consider those kinds of lawsuits a matter of civic responsibility": "For the last four decades, maybe longer, citizens have been able to rely on small, medium and large news organizations, mostly newspapers, to fight their access battles on their behalf," said Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters […]

Aug
29
2009

Way Cleared for More 'Excessive Media Consolidation'

On news that "today, a federal court threw out the Federal Communications Commission's rule to cap cable ownership at 30 percent," Free Press (8/28/09) comments "the rule served as an important consumer protection from media consolidation and growing cable cartels, and encouraged diversity in ownership in the cable industry." The media advocacy group's Ben Scott further calls it regrettable that the court tossed out an important public interest protection against excessive media consolidation. Congressional intent in the Cable Act of 1992 is very clear–the goals of federal policy in the cable industry are to promote competition, consumer choice and a […]

Aug
05
2009

New Bill to Keep Internet Open, Discrimination-Free

Free Press's newest release (7/31/09) touts some fresh congressional legislation that "Would Protect Net Neutrality Once and for All." According to the media reform activists, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 "would protect Network Neutrality under the Communications Act, safeguarding the future of the open Internet and protecting Internet users from discrimination online." Policy director Ben Scott explains how the future of the Internet as we know it depends on maintaining freedom and openness online. This crucial legislation will help to ensure that the public–not big phone and cable companies–controls the fate of the Internet. The rules that govern […]

Jul
13
2009

NYT's 'Egregious and Absurd' Editorial Priorities

Brad Jacobson is resurrecting the "NYT Front|Back" feature of his Media Bloodhound blog (7/10/09)–spotlighting the New York Times' "penchant for placing a supremely unnewsworthy story on its cover while burying a vital one in its back pages"–only for "the most egregious and absurd examples." The current example being their July 7 front-page headliner, "In Sex Film Industry, Some Long for a Real Plot": No, this isn't satire. It's a cover story on our nation's paper of record…. The article opens: The actress known as Savanna Samson once relished preparing for a role. "I couldn't wait to get my next script," […]

Jul
12
2009

Bias 'Packaged as "News" and Endlessly Discussed'

The Women's Media Center has a new action (7/10/09) asking you to support "Media Justice for Sotomayor" against the fact that ,"since the announcement of [her] nomination to the Supreme Court, some in the media have engaged in sexist and racist attacks against her" which are "often packaged as 'news' and endlessly discussed in mainstream media outlets": The Women's Media Center is releasing its new video, "Media Justice for Sotomayor." It documents some of these racist and sexist comments already delivered on high-profile television programs, radio, print and online outlets. As Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings approach on July 13, the […]

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
28
2009

Political Prosecutions Bumped by Death, Sex

Addressing Bush-era Department of Justice investigations, David Swanson (6/26/09) is asking OpEd News readers the provocative question, "Did you know the United States has in recent years prosecuted hundreds of people for political reasons?" This is a crime, or rather a crime wave, that has thus far been addressed primarily by ignoring it. You can read a lot about it from bloggers like Larisa Alexandrovna or Scott Horton. But you won't hear the president mention it on TV. In an attempt to convince the corporate media that this issue ranked right up there with governors' sex lives and celebrities' deaths, […]

Jun
04
2009

Media Love 'Horrendous' – if False – Card Check Impact

Washington Monthly contributing editor Art Levine has a piece for In These Times (5/31/09) reporting on economist Anne Layne-Farrar's recent congressional appearance in which she warned about the horrendous impact of the Employee Free Choice Act. Its potential to increase union membership from between five and 10 percent, she said, 'would result in an increase in the unemployment of around one and a half to three percentage points.' Levine tells us how "Fox 'Fair and Balanced' News, naturally, in its TV report neglected to mention that her 'research' was funded by the corporate-friendly, anti-union 'Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs,'" […]

Jun
02
2009

Sotomayor Coverage the Very 'Antithesis of Journalism'

Progressive critic Dr. Roberto Rodriguez has a new commentary (New America Media, 6/2/09) demonstrating how the miserable press reaction to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's U.S. Supreme Court "nomination clearly shows us is that what this nation needs is more incisive journalism, not less." But, Rodriguez laments, "to be sure, the rise of right-wing media, which include Fox News and virtually all the known right-wing radio talkshow hosts, is the antithesis of journalism": Their coverage of the Sotomayor nomination points to the need for honest debate, not simply on the issues of race, but on the right wing's aversion to truth. It […]

Jun
02
2009

Pundits, and Thus Pols: 'Pathologically' Blameless

Writing on Salon (5/31/09, ad-viewing required) of the "controversy surrounding Jeffrey Rosen's New Republic anonymity-driven smear attack on Sonia Sotomayor's intellect and character," Glenn Greenwald sees more evidence that the one trait that defines establishment pundits more than any other is a pathological inability ever to accept blame or admit error. That's because they work in the most accountability-free profession in America, where people like Bill Kristol (with a record like this) and Jeffrey Goldberg (with a record like this) get promoted despite no retractions or remorse, and establishment media stars in general can pretend that they bear no responsibility […]

Jun
02
2009

From Africa to the Amazon — Big Oil Gets a Pass

Veteran actor and activist Peter Coyote (SFChronicle.com, 5/30/09) writes about big media's overriding response to the "Largest Environmental Lawsuit in History–Silence." Taking a look at "the practices that are going on behind Chevron's carefully cultivated 'green' image" as they "drill for oil in the jungles of the Ecuadorian Amazon," Coyote does give credit to the Washington Post reporting of "several damning letters" like "an internal 1972 memo…instructing Texaco [now Chevron] officials in Ecuador to report only spills that attracted the attention of the news media." Nonetheless: This is a case of epic proportions, where our commons, the lungs of the […]

May
30
2009

Sotomayor Not 'Normal' Like 'Unbiased' White Pundits

Claiming that he doesn't "know at this point whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a good choice for Supreme Court justice or a bad one," critic Dave Lindorff (ThisCantBeHappening.net, 5/28/09) does note that she "is a lousy judge for writers and other creative people" for ruling "that the [New York] Times and periodical publishers could reprint, without any additional compensation, any freelance works they contracted." Then Lindorff proceeds to get to the real problem at the core of so much of the media criticism directed toward Sotomayor: But the elite–the white male editors and TV commentators, the white male politicians, and […]

May
23
2009

NYT: Ex-Prisoners 'Return' to Terrorism Never Charged

Remembering all too well how the New York Times "helped sell the Iraq War with a bogus story about aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges and withheld evidence of illegal spying on Americans for more than a year," Consortium News editor Robert Parry (5/21/09) tells how the paper "is again mishandling a sensitive story in a way that panders to the right." Pointing to a May 21 Times headline and lead "reporting that a Pentagon study has concluded that 'about one in seven of the 534 prisoners' transferred out of the Guantanamo Bay prison 'returned to terrorism or militant activity,'" Parry […]