Sep
04
2009

Media Welcome for 'Baroque Conspiracy Theories' Not Unprecedented

What "surprises" Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik (8/30/09) more than this summer's news full of "baroque conspiracy theories" and "weepy hysteria" is "the idea that these are somehow unprecedented." Hiltzik looks back to an earlier era of supposed presidential "socialism" in the U.S. to see such current claims as "merely the latest examples of a phenomenon that might be called Wirtism"–a label Hiltzik "just coined… to honor the memory of William A. Wirt": Wirt's day in the sun came back in 1934, when the obscure Midwestern blowhard placed himself at the center of a political maelstrom by "discovering" a […]

Jul
24
2009

Domestic Honduras PR's 'Amazing Job' Misinforming

The L.A. Times has published a commentary from Center for Economic and Policy Research co-director Marc Weisbrot (7/23/09) furthering recent exposés on the damaging influence of U.S. lobbyists hired by unlawful regimes throughout the world. Under a headline about "The High-Powered Hidden Support for Honduras' Coup," Weisbrot invites us to meet Lanny Davis, Washington lawyer and lobbyist, former legal counsel to President Clinton and avid campaigner for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential bid. He has been hired by a coalition of Latin American business interests to represent the dictatorship that ousted elected President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in a military coup […]

May
28
2009

Spinning the Sotomayor Abortion Debate in the NYT

Charlie Savage did some good reporting on the Bush signing statements, but his front-page story in today's New York Times on reproductive rights groups' reaction to Sotomayor is way off course. His lead explains that abortion rights advocates are worried about Sotomayor, because "when she has written opinions that touched tangentially on abortion disputes, she has reached outcomes in some cases that were favorable to abortion opponents." OK, so what are those opinions? Here's what he names: She ruled in favor of the Bush administration's reinstatement of the global gag rule; she ruled that anti-abortion protesters could take police to […]

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 […]

Mar
24
2009

Black Newspapers' 'Heroic History' Imperiled

Reporting that "L.A. Times blogger Andrew Malcolm started a web freakout" by suggesting "that the White House was blocking press access to a ceremony with the National Newspaper Publisher's Association," American Prospect blogger Adam Serwer (3/20/09) writes that, "in fact, part of the ceremony was an exclusive interview which naturally, the NNPA didn't want other reporters to have access to." But Serwer sees an entirely different, more substantive story here: Lost in the hubbub is the fact that the NNPA is an association of a formerly thriving breed, the black community newspaper. Obviously the decline of the newspaper has hurt […]

Mar
13
2009

LAT False Equivalence: Michael Moore = Limbaugh

Over on Media Matters' County Fair blog (3/12/09), Jamison Foser asks, "Is there any major-newspaper reporter who is more consistently wrong than Andrew Malcolm?" The latest gaffe by the Laura Bush flak-turned-L.A. Times writer comes in response to filmmaker Michael Moore's explaining what he sees as the difference between Democratic framing of Rush Limbaugh as the GOP's real leader and Republicans' similar claim about Moore and the Democratic Party: But some commentators (Richard Wolffe of Newsweek, Chuck Todd of NBC News, etc.) have likened this to "what Republicans tried to do to the Democrats with Michael Moore." Perhaps. But there […]