May
14
2013

Dead Journalists and the Newseum Scandal

newseum-memorial

A memorial for journalists who died while reporting the news wouldn't seem to be the kind of thing that would attract controversy, but that's exactly what's happened with an exhibit at the Newseum.

May
10
2013

L.A. Times' Distorted Report on USAID

Evo Morales in the L.A. Times

"USAID Develops a Bad Reputation Among Some Foreign Leaders," read a May 7 Los Angeles Times headline, followed by the subhead: The U.S. Agency for International Development doesn't just offer aid to the poor, it also promotes democracy, which is seen as meddlesome or even subversive. Fighting poverty and spreading democracy–what's not to like? And so, the report seems to suggest, there's something a little off about foreign leaders, nine in recent years, who've expelled the agency.  Why else would Bolivian President Evo Morales expel an anti-poverty group from his "impoverished" country, if he wasn't just a little bit crazy? […]

Apr
12
2013

Jeff Cohen on Media Missing the Costs of Militarism

Protester: I Want Education Not War (United for Justice With Peace)

"Today there's an elephant in the room: a huge, yet ignored, issue that largely explains why Social Security is now on the chopping block…. That problem is U.S. militarism and perpetual war."

Apr
08
2013

WikiLeaks: Was Chavez Right About U.S. Meddling?

It's no secret that U.S. media loathed the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Much of that was purely political; sure, Chavez could have given shorter speeches and been nicer to his political opponents–but it's hard to imagine that would have mattered much to, say,  the Washington Post editorial board. One thing that turned up constantly in Chavez coverage over the years was his suspicion that the United States government was looking to undermine his rule. As a Washington Post news article (1/10/13) put it: A central ideological pillar of Chavez's rule over 14 years has been to oppose Republican and […]

Mar
20
2013

Bill Maher Urges Vilification of Bill Maher

Bill Maher

On his last HBO show, Bill Maher complained about how much he and his wealthy cohort pay in taxes. But he's unlikely to get much sympathy from the 2010 version of Bill Maher.

Mar
18
2013

Howard Fineman Looks Back on Iraq

r-HOWARD-FINEMAN-large570

Howard Fineman–formerly at Newsweek, now at Huffington Post–tries to come to terms with his Iraq War failures, seemingly with good intentions. But he falls short of addressing a record that shows a remarkable level of enthusiasm for the job of advocating for Bush's "eyes-on-the-prize decisiveness."

Feb
22
2013

Fox News 'Liberal' Isn't So Sure About College Rape

fox-five-beckel

In most places, a record like Bob Beckel would probably lead your employer to tell you to take your act elsewhere. But if you're running a right-wing propaganda network, he's a pretty valuable "leftist" to keep around.

Feb
08
2013

At Beliefnet, 'Everyone' Doesn't Include Feminists

BN Media directors

The religious-themed website Beliefnet bills itself as offering "something for everyone" with a "broad editorial point of view." Unfortunately, as playwright and pastor Kristine Holmgren found when she was offered a chance to blog there, in Beliefnet's eyes, "everyone" does not include feminists.

Jan
16
2013

Journalism by–and for–the Sponsors

atlantic-scientology

The headline of a recent article posted at the website of the Atlantic–"David Miscavige Leads Scientology to Milestone Year"–probably tipped readers that something was more than a little off. It wasn't an article, really; above the headline, in a yellow box, was the phrase "Sponsor Content." But is what the Atlantic did–and quickly apologized for–really unusual?

Jan
14
2013

Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

Aaron Swartz (photo: NIck Gray)

It's always difficult to report on someone's death. If they've had a lifetime of accomplishments, how do you sum that up in a few brief paragraphs? When a life has been cut cruelly short, it's even worse–trying hopelessly to convey the sense of lost possibilities. With Aaron Swartz, who died this past weekend, reportedly by his own hand, you have the worst of both worlds

Dec
04
2012

Julian Assange, Erin Burnett and the Battle Over Press Freedom

burnett-assange

There seems to be an expectation in the Assange case that a dissident must take refuge with a government with a sterling human rights record. This message is conveyed by journalists whose own country has detained, harassed and killed their journalistic colleagues.

Nov
08
2012

Mittmentum: Reporters Thought He Might Win Because He Said So

Asked about the pre-election sense that Mitt Romney might win the election, CNN reporter Candy Crowley told viewers (11/7/12): There was an optimism in the Romney camp. But it wasn't based on the numbers. It was based on the feel of things. And one thing you know when you cover a campaign, the feel of things can be really deceiving. She's not alone–others had the same sense that the numbers couldn't be what they were. A Politico story (10/31/12) reported that this feeling was fairly widespread among elite media: Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign says it still has momentum. President Barack […]

Nov
05
2012

I Predict Dana Milbank Will Continue to Personify False Balance

After establishing that Republican operative Karl Rove is a terrible political prognosticator, Dana Milbank (Washington Post, 11/2/12) does the false-balance thing and attacks polling blogger Nate Silver: Rove is an easy target because his motive–conveying a false sense of momentum for Republicans–is so transparent. But he has plenty of company among prognosticators who confidently predict that which they cannot possibly know. There's Nate Silver, a statistician-blogger at the New York Times, who predicts with scientific precision that President Obama will win 303 electoral votes and beat Romney by 2 percentage points in the popular vote. He gives Obama an 81 […]