Apr
28
2009

CNN's Full Scope of Journalistic 'Genius'

The Daily Howler's Bob Somerby has a look (4/27/09) at how Newsweek bigshot Fareed Zakaria "pandered and fawned in dragging out yesterday's panel" on his CNN show Zakaria: As I was thinking about the smartest people I could gather to talk about the first stage of Barack Obamaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s presidency, I thought of that wonderful quotation from Oscar Wilde: "Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it." So today, I'll be talking with a panel of geniuses. Each of them has books and accomplishments too numerous to mention. I'll talk about a few. The others will […]

Apr
28
2009

The 'Important Historical Context' of Torture Punditry

Quoting Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter's strong words on the Keith Olbermann show about how "it's important, historically, to look at the context of" the "effort in these OLC memos to try to dress [torture] up as something else," Hullabaloo blogger digby takes issue (4/24/09) with his statement that "Dick Cheney stands almost alone" in still publicly defending the memos: Yes, Dick Cheney is forlorn and all alone. Many of the people who advocated taking the gloves off are leaving him out there hanging today. And one of them is Jonathan Alter. See, he forgot to mention–and Keith apparently didn't know–that […]

Apr
27
2009

Zakaria: Obama in the Middle

Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria is giving Obama high marks on his first 100 days in office in the magazine's May 4 issue. What's interesting, though, is when Zakaria explains why. He writesthat while the country is more liberal than its been in 20 years, he(predictably enough) zeroes in on Obama's geniusin charting a "middle course": no changes to NAFTA, noserious challenge to corporate power ("the old Democratic hostility to big business doesn't resonate so strongly anymore"), no real challenge to Wall Street ("he has steered a careful middle course on the bank bailouts") and noaccountability for Bush-era torture ("he does not […]

Mar
29
2009

An Order of Paul Krugman–Hold the Economics

It's to self-described "establishment" journalist Evan Thomas' credit that he calls attention (Newsweek, 4/6/09) to economist Paul Krugman's progressive criticism of the Obama administration's financial bailout plan; corporate media generally pay much more attention to critics from the right. But the same shallowness that renders most media policy discussions virtually useless infects Thomas' article, which seems more interested in analyzing Krugman's personality than his economics. "A lot of what he says is wrong and not considered," asserts George Mason economist Daniel Klein. Such as? Thomas doesn't say (nor does he allude to Klein's right-wing politics). "In areas outside his expertise […]

Mar
06
2009

Newsweek: None of Us Are Really Socialists, Still

Real-life socialist Paul Street (ZNet, 3/5/09) takes issue with a Newsweek cover story "about the Obama administration's economic recovery and bailout plan… that '…has already–under a conservative Republican administration–effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries.'" Though the piece bore "the remarkable title 'We are All Socialists Now,'" Street lists "four key things missing from this remarkable Newsweek report": 1. Any remotely accurate understanding of socialism as it is grasped and advanced by its modern-day adherents: democratic workers' and peoples' control of economic and political life in the interests of social use, equality, and the common good instead of private gain […]

Feb
18
2009

Noam Chomsky Excavates the George Will Memory Hole

In a blog post about how it must have been "So Much Nicer To Be George Will Before The Internet" (2/17/09), A Tiny Revolution's Jonathan Schwarz looks back over how "on Sunday George Will made things up so he can claim global warming isn't happening" to "a funny story of Noam Chomsky's from the book Understanding Power about a column Will wrote in 1982": [A] few years ago George Will wrote a column in Newsweek called "Mideast Truth and Falsehood," about how peace activists are lying about the Middle East, everything they say is a lie. And in the article, […]

Feb
17
2009

Most Famous Pundits = Most Wrong

"Pointing out how often pundits' predictions are not only wrong but egregiously wrong" is, in Newsweek science columnist Sharon Begley's view (2/14/09), "like shooting fish in a barrel, except in this case the fish refuse to die. No matter how often they miss the mark, pundits just won't shut up." Citing "the fact that being chronically, 180-degrees wrong does not disqualify pundits is in large part the media's fault: Cable news, talk radio and the blogosphere need all the punditry they can rustle up, track records be damned," Begley looks at Stanford psychologist Philip Tetlock's methodical attempt to "identify those […]

Feb
10
2009

Now Obama Is French!

Newsweek's current coverdeclares, "We Are All Socialists Now." But it's actually another story from the magazine that pushes the notion that Obama is likely heading the country in a (gasp!) European direction. Michael Freedman'spiece certainly doesn't start off on the right foot: Have you noticed that Barack Obama sounds more like the president of France every day? Newsweek laments the"distinctly continental sniff" of Obama's economic rhetoric, which apparentlyevokes"business bashing and protectionism" that was, until recently, "largely relegated to the far left." The real problem, though, is what it's going to do to us Americans: Slow growth could kill rugged American […]

Nov
24
2008

Newsweek's 'Other Holocaust'

There are two major conflicts in Africa that receive U.S. media attention. In Congo, it is estimated that 5 million people have died in a conflict that has raged for about 12 years. In the Darfur region of Sudan, estimates can range from 200,000 to 400,000. The Darfur conflict, though, has received much more press attention than Congo–which serves to explain why Newsweek magazine would run a (short) article about Congo under the headline "Africa's Other Holocaust."