We Could Keep Government Small if Only the Old Weren’t Getting So Much Healthcare

Grandparents (cc photo: Ben Smith)

McClatchy wants us to be alarmed that Obama’s budget plan would move the federal government’s share of the economy from 20.9 percent today to 22.2 percent in 2024–a trivial redistribution of what is expected to be a much larger economic pie.


A New Turn in the War on Whistleblowers & Journalism?

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

It’s hard to see how a move to criminalize routine discussions between government officials and members of the press is anything but an attempt to shut down such conversations.


Drones, the Media and Malala’s Message


Corporate media were very interested in Malala Yousafzai’s message about standing up to the Taliban. But her comments about US drone strikes? Not so newsworthy.


John Kerry’s Very Precise Death Toll: Where Does It Come From?


Media reports emphasize the number John Kerry gives for the number of Syrians killed in the apparent chemical attack. But where does that number come from–and why is substantially higher than other estimates?


Syria and Sarin: Skepticism Still Warranted

David Gregory (cc photo: CSIS)

When it comes to Syria, corporate media typically betray a lack of skepticism when it comes to government claims about the WMDs of “enemy” countries. But there are notable exceptions.


Did Obama’s Speech Really ‘Narrow’ the War?


If you followed the coverage of President Barack Obama’s May 23 speech at the National Defense University, you would think something big happened to the “war on terror.” That was probably the message the White House wanted the press to send. But is true?


Syria and the ‘Red Line’ Nonsense

Red line (cc photo: Michael Lusk)

The pundits’ message on Barack Obama’s talk of a “red line” on Syria is that they are concerned about the credibility of the president’s threats of violence–much more so than about the credibility of his evidence.


Pentagon Budgets and Fuzzy Math

By the tone of some of the media coverage, you might have thought Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a plan to slash military spending yesterday. On the front page of USA Today (1/27/12), under the headline “Panetta Backs Far Leaner Military,” readers learn in the first paragraph: The Pentagon’s new plan to cut Defense spending means a reduction of 100,000 troops, the retiring of ships and planes and closing of bases–moves that the Defense secretary said would not compromise security. The piece quotes critics of the cuts like Sen. Joe Lieberman and an analyst at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. […]


NYT on WikiLeaks: Move Along, No Atrocity to See Here

(UPDATE: Today’s Times includes a story about the WikiLeaks Iraq cable, under the somewhat strange headline “Cable Implicates Americans in Deaths of Iraqi Civilians.” Still very little in the rest of the press– nothing on television, according to a search of the Nexis database). One of the main media tropes regarding WikiLeaks‘ release of State Department cables last year was that there was either nothing new to be learned, or that private conversations they revealed were remarkably consistent with what U.S. officials were saying publicly. That was totally misleading, but for many pundits the story seemed to end there. Now […]


On Journalism’s ‘Long Line’ of ‘Everyday Extremists’

Reading Mark Landler’s and Elizabeth Bumiller’s New York Times “tidbit out of an overheated Washington last week: ‘President Obama and his top advisers have been meeting almost daily to discuss options for helping the Pakistani government and military repel the [Taliban] offensive,’” Tom Engelhardt (TomDispatch, 5/7/09) decides to toss some cold water on “this kind of atmosphere that naturally produces the bureaucratic equivalent of mass hysteria”: Reports indicate that Obama’s national security team has been convening regular “crisis” meetings and having “nearly nonstop discussions” at the White House, not to mention issuing alarming and alarmist statements of all sorts about […]


Newspaper Profits Win Out Over Racial Progress

Reporting on last week’s closure of the 150-year-old Denver Rocky Mountain News, Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!, 2/27/09) give us the financial backstory behind the fact that “the newspaper industry is going through a major, major upheaval in these last few days”: “A lot of the papers ended up being bought in recent years, and their owners took on heavy debt to buy these papers out, and now they’re finding now that the debt, the burden of the debt, plus the declining ad revenues, is creating major problems for them.” That said, Gonzalez tells why he is “especially […]