Apr
29
2009

USA Today and the Meaning of Dissent

USA Today had a remarkable headline (4/29/09) on a story about Pennsylvania's Sen. Arlen Specter switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party: Leaving GOP, Specter Gives Dems a Boost in Stifling Dissent The headline writer does not seem to understand the meaning of the word "dissent," which is the expression of opposition to reigning policies, not the ability to prevent policies from being enacted even when they're supported by a majority of elected representatives. This same misunderstanding is found in the article itself, which reports, "As a minority in the House and without the votes to filibuster the Senate, […]

Apr
29
2009

Al Neuharth and 'What You Do for Children'

Rosamunda Neuharth-Ozgo

We're not in the habit of linking to Accuracy In Media–and here's an Extra! article that explains why–but I thought this piece, by the apparent though unacknowledged daughter of USA Today founder Al Neuharth, deserved an exception. Writing in response to a USA Today column by Neuharth (3/20/09) celebrating his six adopted children, Rosamunda Neuharth-Ozgo writes: My mother, Betty Moore, met Mr. Neuharth in St Paul, Minn., in 1962, at an Associated Press convention. At the time, he was a young editor with the Detroit Free Press and my mother was a Paris-based translator in town on business. I am […]

Mar
17
2009

USA Today's Afghan Poll

People dislike the Afghan war more than ever, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll; 42 percent of Americans now think invading that country was a mistake. For some reason,the paper'sfrontpage write-up of the poll (3/17/09) quotes two experts: John Naglof the Center for a New American Security and Thomas Donnellyofthe American Enterprise Institute. Both of them support sending additional troops to Afghanistan. USA Today is showing, once again, that it's very difficult for them to entertain debate over the Afghanistan war in their news pages.

Mar
11
2009

Immigrants Stealing the Stimulus?

That's what USA Today seems to think–and it's a message that CNN anchor Lou Dobbs unsurprisingly latched on to as well. The factoid was born at the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies, which released a report saying that 300,000 construction jobs created by the stimulus package would go to undocumented immigrants. That report found its way to USA Today on March9 ("Illegal Immigrants Might Get Stimulus Jobs, Experts Say"). The paper made it seem like this conclusion was not at all controversial– "experts on both sides of the issue" agree. But that seemed a stretch: The pro-immigrant source, Jorge-Mario Cabrera […]

Feb
18
2009

USA Today: Obama's War, No Critics Allowed

USA Today's "Obama's War" cover story today (2/18/09) is long by that paper's usual standards, but can't seem to find any space for critics of the plan to send 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Quoted in the piece: –Barack Obama –Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution –political scientist Richard Eichenberg of Tufts University –White House press secretary Robert Gibbs — Joe Biden –Robert Gates, Pentagon –Sen. Joe Lieberman, "a leading hawk on both wars." –Richard Holbrooke, Obama's special adviser on Pakistan and Afghanistan –Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic & International Studies –U.S./NATO commander David McKiernan USA Today does note, however, […]

Jan
16
2009

Still Getting the Simplest Gaza Facts Wrong

Two newspaper stories today provide a false account of the context of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The Washington Post: Hamas and its allies have fired thousands of rockets into Israel in the past eight years. The pace accelerated after the Islamist movement, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, routed forces loyal to the rival Fatah party in June 2007 and seized control of the narrow coastal strip. Since then, Israel has implemented a crushing economic blockade and carried out regular military raids that it has said were a response to rocket fire. This is an extremely selective history. The […]

Jan
07
2009

USA Today: Obama's Lesson to Black Mothers

One might not expect much from a USA Today editorial headlined "How to Turn Obama's Success Into Gains for Black Boys," but it's hard to get past the first two graphs without feelingill: You can see the message on brick wall murals in inner cities: Yes we can. You can hear it in the music of Black Eyed Peas' frontman will.i.am: Yes we can. You can imagine hearing it pass the lips of thousands of black mothers, perhaps after awakening their sons early to complete homework before they head off to school, just as President-elect Barack Obama's mother did: Yes […]

Dec
11
2008

How to Get a Job as a TV Leftist

Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel are, by mainstream media standards, ideological opposites. Thomas is a far-right pundit, and Beckel is what you might call a Fox News Democrat. They spar in the pages of USA Today from time to time, though the point generally seems to be finding "common ground." The headline of today's installment (12/11/08) captures the essence of their relationship: Centrist in Chief? Cal and Bob like what they see and hear–so far–from President-elect Obama. A good sign: the left-wingers aren't getting their way. More interesting, though, is Beckel's actual analysis: I am amazed how many conservatives are […]

Dec
03
2008

Silver Lining in Economic Crisis: Obama Can Betray Voters

The media trope that presidents-elect ought to break progressive campaign promises really displays the anti-democratic and pro-corporate biases of the press at their most glaring. Who cares what you told the voters? Here's what the interests that really matter want you to do. The latest instance in this sad series is a USA Today editorial (12/2/08), which eagerly spots a silver lining in the economic crisis: During his campaign…Obama endorsed a number of smaller bore ideas more for the sake of their political appeal than for their economic usefulness. The financial crisis gives the incoming president a compelling rationale to […]

Nov
07
2008

Why Have Elections, Anyway?

Today's USA Today editorial: How Obama Can Be a Uniter If Barack Obama wants to show he meant what he said about bridging the blue state-red state divide, there's an easy way do it: Ask the best of President Bush's appointees to stay on and adopt some of Sen. John McCain's better ideas. If Obama really meant the things he said, then he would not do some of the things he said, and instead do the things John McCain said.