Jan
25
2012

Newsweek and That Neverending Liberal Media Bias

You may have heard last week that right-wing media critics were howling about this: "Those liberals are calling us dumb!" seemed to be the feeling on the right–a strange reaction to a piece written by conservative Andrew Sullivan. Newsweek is back on the case this week: The response to conservative Sullivan comes from…. conservative writer David Frum. When will the liberal media give conservatives a fair shake, I ask you?

Jan
10
2012

Newsweek's Surprising Media Advice: Watch More Al Jazeera

In its new issue, Newsweek puts this as #4 on their list of "31 Ways To Get Smarter In 2012": 4. Get News from Al Jazeera Don't shut yourself out from new ideas. A 2009 study found that viewers of Al Jazeera English were more open-minded than people who got their news from CNN International and BBC World. That's a nice idea. Someone should tell my cable company, who make me pay way too much for the privilege of having Fox News Channel.

Aug
08
2011

Michele Bachmann: Covers Vs. Coverage

The right is apparently up in arms over this photo of Michele Bachmann that appears on the cover of this week's Newsweek: If someone wants to say this is an unflattering picture, fine. But Bachmann's supporters are unlikely to find much in Lois Romano's article to complain about. On the campaign trail, Bachmann's "simple, black-and-white distillations of complex problems are cheered as refreshing and tough." A campaign speech is a "folksy assault on a bloated federal government." Explaining Bachmann's apparent surge, Romano writes: Just months ago, Bachmann was the butt of jokes on late-night TV for her flawed grasp of […]

Mar
09
2010

Newsweek Wants Accountability for Teachers, Not Editors

Newsweek devotes several pieces this week to public schools. But the lead piece, "Why We Must Fire Bad Teachers," by Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert, lays out the magazine's skewed vision: Teacher unions protect the worst performers, while charter schools offer an easy solution. ("In the past two decades, some schools have sprung up that defy and refute what former president George W. Bush memorably called 'the soft bigotry of low expectations.'") Newsweek even finds the silver lining in Hurricane Katrina: It is difficult to dislodge the educational establishment. In New Orleans, a hurricane was required: Since Katrina, New Orleans […]

Mar
01
2010

Newsweek Blames the People

A headline over an Evan Thomas story in this week's Newsweek (3/8/10) tells us: "We the Problem: Washington Is Working Just Fine. It's Us That's Broken." Thomas blames, among other things, "our 'got mine' culture of entitlement," adding: Politicians, never known for their bravery, precisely represent the people. Our leaders are paralyzed by the very thought of asking their constituents to make short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards. They cannot bring themselves to raise taxes on the middle class or cut Social Security and medical benefits for the elderly. They'd get clobbered at the polls. So any day of reckoning gets […]

Feb
25
2010

Newsweek's Mac Margolis Misleads on Who the World's Arms Merchant Is

Mac Margolis, Newsweek's right-wing Latin America correspondent (Extra!, 1/10), has a small piece in the latest issue (3/1/10) that misleads in a big way. Under the headline "A Killer Deal for Russia," Margolis declares: Russia's campaign to balance U.S. power and prestige around the globe has found a new and willing partner–Latin America–and Washington may be the unwitting facilitator…. Moscow is cutting deals across the region, selling the latest hardware, from rifles to fighter jets, in exchange for influence and access to the area's plentiful oil and gas reserves. And the United States has only itself and its pesky ethics […]

Nov
30
2009

More on Jon Meacham's Strange Cheney Attraction

Newsweek editor Jon Meacham's enthusiasm for Dick Cheney is not a new thing. Appearing on MSNBC back in 2004, Meacham praised the Republican National Convention speeches of Cheney and Sen. Zell Miller: If I taught at the Kennedy School, I would take these two speeches as ur-text of partisan rhetoric. I think it was a brilliant tactical night, one of the most brilliant in the age of television. These were two concise, rather devastating rhetorical hits at John Kerry. And there was just–they did not miss a base. They did not miss anything that they could hit. The remarkable thing […]

Nov
03
2009

Al Gore, Still a Smartypants

In this week's cover story, Newsweek's Sharon Begley seems to think Al Gore's new book is good–but he's still too wonky: To anyone with bad memories of how Gore's fact-filled debate performances against George W. Bush in 2000 failed to connect with voters, it may come as no surprise that Our Choice has a graphic on "how a wind turbine works," and a long section that begins: "Conventional hydrothermal plants are built according to one of three different designs. The steam can be taken directly through the turbine and then recondensed…." A wind turbine GRAPHIC! In a book about green […]

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
19
2009

Wishful Thinking on Latin America Trumps Logic at Newsweek

Mac Margolis, who wrote recently about the "selective zeal for democracy" of those who condemned the Honduran coup, wrote another little piece on Latin America for Newsweek this week: "Latin America Rights Itself" (print only). He argues that "the region now looks on the brink of a rightward shift," pointing to upcoming elections in Chile, Brazil and Uruguay in which the more liberal incumbent party is projected to lose, contrasting that with the great popularity of Colombia's president Uribe, "who enraged the left by befriending the Bush administration." Margolis suggests that "pragmatism is trumping charisma" and concludes: "Castigating the gringo […]

Jul
17
2009

Newsweek's 'Selective Zeal for Democracy'

Newsweek has a rather curious take this week (7/20/09) on the Honduras coup in a short piece headlined "The World Goes Bananas Over Honduras": Poor, hot and fractious, Honduras–the original banana republic–rarely draws a second look from the global community. But on June 28, when President Manuel Zelaya was yanked out of bed by the military and bundled into exile, the world took notice. International leaders unanimously decried the "assault on democracy." The Organization of American States expelled Honduras, the only nation since Cuba to be so disgraced. Venezuela even threatened to send in troops to reinstate Zelaya. But in […]

Jun
11
2009

A Newsweek Story Gets 'Better' for Scarborough–With a Little Help From a Friend

The website Gawker (6/9/09) caught Newsweek making some sneaky changes in an online article–changes that were ordered by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, and which just happened to favor the host of a show that Meacham appears on regularly. On the afternoon of Friday, June 5, Newsweek's website put up an interview with Joe Scarborough, the conservative host of MSNBC's Morning Joe program. The introduction pointed out that Scarborough had once been the defense attorney for an anti-abortion terrorist who murdered a doctor, and noted that the host had been criticized for giving insufficient attention to the murder of Dr. George […]

May
05
2009

On 'Normalized Torture' and Prosecution as a 'Cop-Out'

Even though "James Risen, David Johnston and Neil A. Lewis first told the world about waterboarding in May 2004," Dan Froomkin (WashingtonPost.com, 5/4/09) is having to argue that "that doesn't mean that the rest of us are as guilty as the people who committed the crimes–or that those who ordered those crimes should avoid accountability." While Newsweek's Jacob Weisberg and the Post's own Michael Kinsley are among those "arguing that the nation's collective guilt for torture is so great that prosecution is a cop-out," Froomkin has some "big problems with this argument": While it's true that the public's outrage over […]