Oct
18
2010

Eleanor Clift: Doing the Deficit Rag

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift has a new piece headlined"Math Lessons: How Did a Concept as Unsexy and Complicated as the National Deficit Become the Galvanizing Political Issue of the Day?" Sheasks: "Why is the deficit the top issue in voters' minds?" If she eliminated the word "why," you'd be left with agood question to ponder. The answer would be no, andthe piece could end there. But instead of writing that piece,Clift wrote this: The deficit is really a symbol for the anger that people feel about the amount of money that has been poured into the economy, without any tangible returns […]

Sep
29
2010

Media Blitz Against the Paycheck Fairness Act

There's a push for the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act before Congress adjourns for the season, which has sparked some pushback from right-wingers given prominent platforms in the corporate media. The Act, which already passed the House, would help enforce and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963; under the law, women would actually be able to find out how much their male colleagues make without either of them facing retaliation. A September 22 New York Times op-ed by Christina Hoff Sommers of AEI and an October 4 George Will Newsweek column both attack it as […]

Sep
22
2010

Robert Samuelson Attacks–and Engages in–'Soundbite Economics'

Newsweek columnist Robert Samuelson (9/18/10) has had it with the way we discuss economics: With every election, we descend into soundbite economics. Rhetorical claims grow more partisan and self-serving…. These debates confirm the dreary state of economic discourse. He points his finger at both the right and the left, but then goes on to basically endorse the right-wing critique of Obama's policies–as in, "Confidence is crucial to stimulating consumer spending and business investment, and Obama constantly subverts confidence." As an example, Samuelson writes that "the moratorium on deepwater drilling kills jobs." It's refreshing tosee that he's not stoopingtopartisan soundbites! A […]

Sep
15
2010

Newsweek Covers the Election in Advance

"Aren't there things Obama & Co. could have done differently?" Howard Fineman writes in the current issue of Newsweek (9/20/10). "Election Day is still seven weeks away–but it's not too early for a 'pre-mortem.'" No, never too early–especially since Fineman's column offers the same advice corporate media pundits have been giving to Democratic politicians for at least the past 30 years: Move to the right. "Obama's 2008 victory was a personal one," Fineman quotes Bill Clinton adviser Bill Galston. "It wasnâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t a vote for a more expansive view of the role and reach of government." You may have thought that […]

Jul
09
2010

For Newsweek's Latin America Correspondent, It's the Stocks That Count

Newsweek's right-wing Latin American correspondent Mac Margolis (7/2/10) is once again playing games with statistics. After the obligatory attack on Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as a "chest-thumping autocrat," Margolis gets down to the business of praising his favorite Latin American country, Colombia, as a country that deserves "lead billing" among the "new stars of the emerging markets": In the past eight years, the Andean nation has gone from dud to dynamo: foreign investment has risen 250percent. Its stock index is up 15percent this year, and 35percent (versus Brazil's 14percent) over the decade. Since Margolis makes the comparison between Colombia and Brazil, […]

Jun
08
2010

Mac Margolis and Chavez's Twitter Repression

Seeing this headline at the Newsweek website– "Chavez Twists Twitter Into Tool of Repression"– means you're likely to read the latest dispatch from the magazine's Latin America correspondent Mac Margolis, who has amassed a stunning record of creating panic about the region's leftist leaders. (See "Newsweekâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s Name-Calling Neoliberal," from Extra!'s January 2010 issue.) Margolis argues that when Iranian protesters used Twitter to criticize their government, it was seen as a "tool of revolution and freedom." Not so in Venezuela, though, where Chavez "hasfigured out how to twist this tool into one of repression." "Far from embracing the democratic spirit of […]

Jun
04
2010

Jon Meacham's Left-Right Blame Game

In his editor's note in the current edition of Newsweek, Jon Meacham surveys the failures of the past decade or so and comes to a completely unsurprising conclusion: the right and leftbothfailed. From the financial sector to the Roman Catholic Church, it has been a bad couple of years for–to borrow a phrase from a BP chieftain–"big, important" players in global life. Going only a bit further back in the decade, the occupation of Iraq and the response to Katrina seem to mark the beginning of an era in which apparently competent institutions have all too often proved incompetent. The […]

Jun
01
2010

Newsweek Still Pushing Phony Climate Controversy

Newsweek's "environmental issue" has an article (5/28/10) by correspondent Stefan Theil declaring climate change to be "Uncertain Science." Giving the Reader's Digest condensed version of the denialist case, Theil refers to "e-mails and documents suggesting that researchers cherry-picked data and suppressed rival studies to play up global warming"–without mentioning that after sensationalistic media stories suggested a scientific conspiracy, subsequent academic investigations cleared the researchers of wrongdoing (Extra!, 2/10 ; FAIR Blog, 4/19/10). He talks about a U.S. scientist "under investigation for allegedly using exaggerated climate data to obtain public funds"–without mentioning that the scientist, Michael Mann, is being investigated by […]

May
27
2010

Managed News From the Gulf of Mexico

A troubling article from Newsweek (5/26/10) reports on efforts by both BP and government officials to limit media access to the aftermath of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: As BP makes its latest attempt to plug its gushing oil well, news photographers are complaining that their efforts to document the slow-motion disaster in the Gulf of Mexico are being thwarted by local and federal officials–working with BP–who are blocking access to the sites where the effects of the spill are most visible. More than a month into the disaster, a host of anecdotal evidence is emerging […]

May
12
2010

Newsweek and the Criminal Immigrants Next Door

Newsweek has another installment in the don't-blame-Arizonans coverage of the state's new immigration law (FAIR Blog, 4/28/10, 5/3/10, 5/4/10). Under the charming headline "Mexican Standoff," reporter Eve Conant writes: Some accuse lawmakers and the 70 percent of Arizonans who support the bill of acting like Nazis, or of turning Arizona into an apartheid state. But spend some time in Arizona, and you may come to see why so many Arizonans want this. The bulk of what follows is Conant's account of a month worth of ride-alongs with Arizona law enforcement officials, who showed her a number of ostensibly immigrant-related crimes. […]

May
11
2010

Remembering Newsweek's Glory Days

Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam writes of his first job in journalism, at "now-foundering Newsweek," which he describes as being "like an upside-down journalism school, where I learned an astonishing number of bad habits." But it clearly gave him some valuable insights into how corporate journalism works: I was an editorial assistant/fact-checker, with duties analogous to those of an 18th-century cabin boy in the Royal Navy…. In addition to pouring vodka I checked facts, a process that left me bleakly cynical about journalistic accuracy. We would publish whole stories that were lies–Francois Mitterrand's plan to destroy the French economy was […]

May
05
2010

Newsweek: Stop Blaming Robert Rubin

Newsweek's Jacob Weisberg is tired of people picking on Robert Rubin. Sure, his critics to point to his involvement in the financial deregulation of the 1990s and his disastrous tenure at Citibank, but they're wrong. At least that's what Weisberg tries to argue in his column "In Defense of Robert Rubin" (5/10/10). Weisberg admits early on that he "helped Rubin write a memoir," but not to worry–this column is all Weisberg. And hewrites: "To me, the most wrong-headed accusation is that Rubin prevented effective regulation during the Clinton years." This is a false chargebecause Rubin's "view has always been that […]

Apr
26
2010

Someone Has to Defend Goldman Sachs

And that someone is Fareed Zakaria, in columns published in the Washington Post ("Cool the Goldman Rage") and in the Post-owned Newsweek. Zakaria is unimpressed by the SEC's fraud case against Goldman Sachs; he likens the firm's mortgage securities bonds to someone placing a bet against the New York Yankees. Then he writes: But the rage surrounding the Goldman case can cloud our perspective and distort public policy. We're going through a familiar part of America's boom-and-bust cycle. Having been mesmerized during the go-go years, having unduly lionized and feted industries, firms, and people as they rode the wave, we […]