Plenty of pundits play the role of partisan warriors in cable TV studios. But that’s not their real job—or at least not the one where they likely make their real money.
Search Results for: Nick Porter
Powerful interests are often pundits’ real bosses
Craven on Daisey First, I usually enjoy reading every word of every issue. But, second, the editor’s note on Mike Daisey (Extra!, 5/12) is craven to a fault. 1. Judging Daisey by journalistic standards is like criticizing a left fielder for his tackling ability. The fundamental problem stems from whoever’s decision put him on the wrong field. 2. Daisey is a theatrical person and never represented himself as anything but. Nobody goes to the theater to watch the New York Times, although with the right background music and soft lighting it might be pleasant enough. 3. Theater tells a different […]
On reigning issues, convergent perspectives
While it would be naive to accept the newspaper business’s implication that it keeps its news entirely factual by segregating opinion to its own section, the op-ed pages do state opinion more explicitly and help make visible the range of opinions allowed in the rest of the paper. What kind of writers do the major papers put on their staff? Who gets to speak on these pages, and who gets left out? Extra! looked at the writers represented on the op-ed pages of three major, nationally significant newspapers: the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. The time […]
Military budget, not social spending, prompts media concern
The failure of the Congressional “supercommittee” to come up with a $1.2 trillion, 10-year deficit reduction plan means that automatic “trigger” cuts might take place in discretionary spending—roughly half of which is supposed to come from the military budget. Corporate media have given extensive time to panicked warnings about the dangerous impact of military cuts, but made little mention of the effects of cutting other spending. Under the “trigger” plan, the military budget is supposed to be reduced by almost $600 billion over the next decade—a move Republican politicians have vowed to block. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been quoted […]
Pentagon seeks to spin, squelch stories on female fatalities
More than 140 U.S. military women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military has officially placed nearly 50 of these deaths in the ambiguous “non-combat” category (Democracy Now!, 7/23/08). Some women’s veterans and advocacy groups, such as VETWOW (Veteran Women Organizing Women), say at least 20 of these non-combat deaths are suspicious, and their families are speaking out to some degree, questioning the military’s official explanations. In at least two of the 20 deaths under scrutiny, the military has tried to strongarm media that were questioning the official ruling —in one case threatening to pull military advertising if […]
Should a newspaper op-ed cancel a UN investigation of Gaza crimes?
When it was released in September 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council investigative document known as the Goldstone Report offered a detailed, shocking accounting of Israel’s 2008-09 invasion of the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of civilians were killed, scores of buildings were leveled, and water and sanitation infrastructure was attacked. The meticulous cataloguing received modest coverage in the corporate media. Then on April 3, 2011, the report’s namesake—retired South African judge Richard Goldstone, who headed a four-person investigative commission—took to the pages of the Washington Post op-ed section to announce he’d had a change of heart. (The Post, perhaps sensing […]
How power shapes the news
U.S. media consumers are used to magazines where ads outnumber stories, to on-air hosts who contractually consume brand-name drinks, to “consideration provided by” this and “brought to you by” that. But when it comes to the news, many still maintain at least the kernel of expectation that reports in the paper or on TV have more to do with journalistic judgment than with anything else. The Fear & Favor report is about some of the things that come between that image and reality on a daily basis. From pushy advertisers to heavy-handed owners and local power players, there are a […]
Shows aimed at selling, not storytelling
The Hub, a new cable TV channel co-owned by a toy company whose toys star in its shows, and Zevo-3, a new TV show with characters based on a shoe company’s ad campaign, are signs of the cost of leaving the creation of cultural and educational content mainly to profiteers. The makers of this programming are unapologetic about marketing to children, while the journalists reporting the developments offer little beyond rote expressions of concern. It’s as if it’s been decided that there is no public interest value broadcasters need honor if there is money to be made. The Hub is […]