Jul
13
2010

At Wall Street Journal, Reporting Assault Through Israel's Eyes

In a news report on the Israeli military's investigation of its own deadly raid on the Gaza aid flotilla, the Wall Street Journal (7/13/10) passes off as fact, with no qualifier, the Israeli government's claim that members of IHH, a Turkish humanitarian organization, "attacked the Israeli soldiers as they boarded the ship." While it's true that activists on board the Mavi Marmara tried to defend themselves against Israeli naval commandos and fought with the Israelis (War in Context, 6/6/10), the Journalâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s framing of the incident gets what happened on board the ship backwards, implying that it was the activists who […]

Dec
17
2009

NBC's Bogus Tea Party Poll

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is getting attention for one rather unusual finding: that the right-wing Tea Party movement is more popular than either the Democratic or Republican parties. The point was made on MSNBC's First Read website and on the channel's Morning Joe program this morning (12/17/09). Don't buy it. The MSNBC headline– sure to be repeated everywhere on Fox News today– is straight-forward: "Tea Party More Popular Than Dems, GOP." The numbers tell you that Republicans are viewed positively by 28 percent of the public, the Democrats are at 35 percent, whilethe Tea Party is at 41 […]

Aug
16
2009

Shallow Press Longs for Shallow President

WashingtonMonthly.com blogger Steve Benen (Political Animal, 8/12/09) has words for corporate pundits lambasting Barack Obama's "Attention to Detail" as "going "into the weeds": A few weeks ago, MSNBC's First Read had an item questioning whether President Obama "knows too much" about healthcare policy. The piece complained that the president is willing to offer Americans details about reform…. The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman raised a similar concern today, arguing that Obama cares too much about policy details…. This, apparently, is criticism, not praise. The president who inherited a devastating economic crisis is interested in U6 numbers–a measure that includes the […]

Jun
30
2009

'Happy-Face' Reporting Turns Debt Payments Into 'Savings'

Posting on Canada's Centre for Research on Globalization website (6/29/09), economic historian Michael Hudson notices that "Happy-face media reporting of economic news is providing the usual upbeat spin on Friday's debt-deflation statistics. The Commerce Departmentâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) for May show that U.S. 'savings' are now absorbing 6.9 percent of income": I put the word "savings" in quotation marks because this 6.9 percent is not what most people think of as savings. It is not money in the bank to draw out on the "rainy day" when one is laid off as unemployment rates rise. The statistic […]

May
07
2009

'Civilian Deaths Imperil Support for Afghan War'

In the wake of the release of the U.S. military's own figures showing a record number of bombs were dropped by U.S. warplanes in Afghanistan during April, newspapers are reporting today on a particularly deadly bombing attack on Monday that killed over 100 civilians, according to Afghan officials and witnesses. Anonymous U.S. military officials of course vigorously denied that they were responsible, instead blaming the deaths on Taliban grenades. As one anonymous offiical put it in an interview with the Washington Post, "the Taliban went to a concerted effort to make it look like the U.S. airstrikes caused this;" however […]

Mar
18
2009

On Groupthink and 'Financial Infotainment'

Editorializing in the Wall Street Journal (3/18/09) on how "Financial Journalists Fail Upward," Wrecking Crew author Thomas Frank sees the "world of financial infotainment" as its own "market where accountability does not seem to exist" and in which "the old order discredits itself, but the old order persists nevertheless": This needs to be repeated every time someone pleads, "Who could have known?" Plenty of people did see the disaster coming. Most of them were marginalized, however, laboring at out-of-the-way econ departments, blogs and B-list think tanks. They were excluded and even ridiculed because their larger understanding of the economy was […]

Mar
10
2009

WSJ Furthers Common Card Check Distortions

Writing that someone needs to "Tell the WSJ: Workers Can Already Unionize Without a Secret Ballot Election" (Beat the Press, 3/10/09), Dean Baker details how big media still gets this wrong: Okay, let's see if we can teach the Wall Street Journal something this morning. In an article reporting on the prospects for the Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate, the WSJ told readers that "the bill would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot, giving employees the power to organize by simply signing cards agreeing to join." Wrong! The current law already allows workers to organize […]

Mar
10
2009

How Many Votes Does It Take to Pass a Senate Bill?

Writing about the Employee Free Choice Act, Melanie Trottman and Brody Mullins of the Wall Street Journal write (3/10/09): At least six Senators who have voted to move forward with the so-called card-check proposal, including one Republican, now say they are opposed or not sure–an indication that Senate Democratic leaders are short of the 60 votes they need for approval. It really is worth being specific on this: It does not take 60 votes to pass an ordinary bill in the Senate; it takes a majority of the senators voting. If everyone is present, it takes 51 votes, or 50 […]

Nov
12
2008

Rupert Murdoch Did WHAT?!?!

The Wall Street Journal has named right-winger Gerard Baker (formerly at the Times of London) its new deputy editor-in-chief. This reaction I find somewhat puzzling: It would be one thing for Baker to move to the conservative editorial page, but the self-described "right-wing curmudgeon" will have a role overseeing news coverage, a move that surprised some staffers because of his strong, right-wing political views. Wait a second. You mean to tell me that Rupert Murdoch is going to use one of his media platforms to promote his right-wing politics!?