Sep
25
2012

Ted Koppel's Terrible Media Criticism

koppel

TV news veteran Ted Koppel has done two pieces on NBC's Rock Center that attempt to critique the partisanship of today's media system. But what the reports really illustrate is that some people aren't very good at playing media critic–especially when they feel obligated to suggest that "both sides" are equally at fault. Koppel's first report (9/13/12) looked at right and left watchdogs, "an industry out there on both sides monitoring and recording anything that could hurt the political opposition." That "industry" consists of the liberal¬† Media Matters for America and the right-wing Media Research Center. As Koppel explains, "You […]

Jun
29
2012

Is Limbaugh Sure He Wants Lying to Be a Crime?

The Supreme Court decided on Thursday that lying about medals and military service, while "contemptible," is protected under the First Amendment's free speech clause. The court said the federal "Stolen Valor" law was overly broad and imposed a chilling effect on free speech. This news enraged Rush Limbaugh, who¬†responded on is radio show with disdain, facetiously wondering, "I don't know if they legalized pedophilia or not." An interesting non sequitur, but back on point: Limbaugh's comprehension of freedom of speech has always been a crabbed affair, pretty much limited to the view that he and his conservative allies–people who enjoy […]

Mar
23
2012

The New Campaign to 'Silence' Rush Limbaugh

Conservative talker Rush Limbaugh used to tell his listeners that the government was trying to silence him, based on a completely bogus tale about what the Fairness Doctrine would do. This time around, it's an ad campaign by the liberal group Media Matters for America directed at some of the stations that air Limbaugh's show. The group is encouraging citizens to contact stations and let them know they object to Limbaugh's degrading, sexist comments about Sandra Fluke. So what's the controversy? Fox News host Bill O'Reilly thundered (3/22/12) that "the far-left is a primary source of censorship in America." He […]

Mar
09
2012

Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher Are Alike–and Also Very Different

As he loses advertisers by the handful over his comments about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh's supporters (there are a few!) and a few other commentators have found what I guess they believe is a good counter-argument: If you're so offended by Limbaugh's sexist, demeaning rants, they why are you silent about Bill Maher? Some see a clear double standard. Fox News liberal Kirsten Powers wrote a column denouncing the left's near-silence on the misogyny of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi and Ed Schultz. And as one adviser to a Gingrich Super PAC put it, "Did USA Today […]

Mar
06
2012

Sandra Fluke Controversy: Distraction or Revelation?

There seems to be a popular line emerging in the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy that says his comments are especially harmful because they distract attention from the real issues. Kathleen Parker (Washington Post, 3/4/12): Inadvertently, Limbaugh also helped advance the argument from the left that Republicans are waging a war against women…. He has given his "feminazis" justification for their claims that conservatives hate women. Peggy Noonan (ABC's This Week, 3/4/12): But what he said was also destructive. It confused the issue. It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women. No, they don't, but he […]

Mar
05
2012

Rush and the Right: The 'Clown' GOP Leaders Fear

Rush Limbaugh's attack on Georgetown student Sandra Fluke–calling her, among other things, a "slut" for advocating for contraceptives coverage–has caused some stirrings on the right that are worth looking at. One outcome is the idea that Limbaugh's an outlier who sensible people repudiated. Kathleen Parker's Washington Post column on Saturday (3/2/12) cheered Limbaugh for uniting all decent people in opposition to his crude attacks: Who'd have thought that Rush Limbaugh would become the great uniter in this divisive political season? Indeed, he has united decent people of all stripes and persuasions with his vile remarks about a Georgetown University law […]

Nov
23
2011

A Fox News Blacklist?

Conservative David Frum writes in the new issue of New York: Back in 2009, I wrote a piece for Newsweek arguing that Republicans would regret conceding so much power to Rush Limbaugh. Until that point, I'd been a frequent guest on Fox News, but thenceforward some kind of fatwa was laid down upon me. Over the next few months, I'd occasionally receive morning calls from young TV bookers asking if I was available to appear that day. For sport, I'd always answer, "I'm available–but does your senior producer know you've called me?" An hour later, I'd receive an embarrassed second […]

Oct
13
2011

Is Glenn Beck Working for Reuters? UPDATED

That might explain the piece the wire service ran today, under the headline, "Who's Behind the Wall Street Protests?" Reporters Mark Egan and Michelle Nichols suggest that Glenn Beck's demented chalkboard scribbles might have actually been on the right track; the protests "may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world's richest men"– George Soros. They write: One name that keeps coming up is investor George Soros, who in September debuted in the top 10 list of wealthiest Americans. Conservative critics contend the movement is a Trojan horse for a secret Soros agenda. Soros and the protesters […]

Oct
03
2011

New CNN Host a Rush Limbaugh Favorite

A full-page ad in USA Today reminded me that today is the debut of Erin Burnett's CNN show OutFront. Burnett gained a following at CNBC, and came to the attention of many conservatives with a report on the Today show (7/17/07) that managed to touch on almost every conservative myth about the economy, earning praise from Rush Limbaugh in the process. After a clip of Hillary Clinton saying that soaring corporate profits were "like trickle-down economics but without the trickle," Burnett made these claims: But while the rich are getting richer, you may be, too. Here's why: More than half […]

Jun
10
2011

To WaPo, Planet's Fate Is a 'Second-Tier Issue'

The Washington Post had a piece yesterday (6/9/11) on Mitt Romney's views on global warming. It serves as a reminder that Republican political candidates are under enormous pressure from the right-wing base of the party on this issue–any politician who's ever suggested that climate change is a problem, or backed efforts to address it, is in trouble. This is an important thing to point out. But that doesn't mean the Post thinks climate change is important. See the article's lead sentence: It seemed like a straightforward question on a second-tier issue: Would Mitt Romney disavow the science behind global warming? […]

Oct
20
2010

When Limbaugh Demonizes Obama, Some Listeners Take Him Literally

Rush Limbaugh (10/18/10), holding a photo montage from Drudge up to the "Dittocam," went off on a bizarre rant that suggested that Obama was possessed by supernatural evil (Mediaite, 10/19/10): Folks, these pictures, they look demonic. And I don't say this lightly. There are a couple pictures, and the eyes, I'm not saying anything here, but just look. It is strange that these pictures would be released…. It's very, very, very strange. An American president has never had facial expressions like this. At least we've never seen photos of an American president with facial expressions like this. It's not the […]

Apr
16
2010

In Discussion of Mine Disaster Coverage, Only Imaginary Unions Allowed

Andrew Tyndall makes a good point about how the network newcasts covered the Upper Big Branch mining disaster (flagged by Liz Cox Barrettat CJR): Not once, in all five days of coverage, did a single reporter mention the organization that has worked hardest over the decades to make sure that mining management does not cut safety corners and that miners can monitor their own working conditions with impunity. The union went unmentioned, as did the fact that the Upper Big Branch workforce went unorganized. Rush Limbaugh, for his part, did mention the miners union–to bash the non-existent union at Massey […]

Mar
11
2010

A Part of the National Psyche

Victor Davis Hanson notes that one reason for American exceptionalism may be that we did not inherit from England "a large underclass of only quasi-free people attached to barons as serfs." Sadly, a worse institution took root here, but never became part of the national psyche. –Rich Lowry & Ramesh Ponnuru (National Review Online, 3/8/10, via Crooked Timber, 3/9/10) So, David Paterson will become the massa who gets to appoint whoever gets to take [Rep. Eric] Massa's place. So, for the first time in his life, Paterson's gonna be a massa. Interesting, interesting. –Rush Limbaugh (Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/9/10, via […]