Ryan Grim's new book sheds new light on the establishment media's 1996 effort to discredit Gary Webb's Contra crack revelations by talking to some of the key players. They sleep very well, they want you to know.
There's no doubt that the sex scandal that prompted CIA director David Petraeus's sudden resignation late last week is a big story. New details–verified or not–seem to arrive almost by the hour. But the reason it seems to have shaken so many media figures is because Petraeus was uniquely beloved by many in the corporate media, who considered him both an accessible source and a war hero. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called him (11/9/12) a "a man of such sterling reputation," and confided on the air to one guest that "it is impossible to be a member of […]
On the subject of why politicians aren't worried about corporate media factcheckers, a New York Times article from last week (8/31/12) by Alessandra Stanley is worth a second look. Under the headline, "How MSNBC Became Fox's Liberal Evil Twin," Stanley wrote: "You can agree with everything that Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz say on MSNBC and still oppose their right to say it." Stanley's problem was that "all that attitude" on MSNBC "leaves fewer choices for viewers who like their election coverage with informed commentary without a twist of bias": All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up […]
Writing in Newsweek, Peter Beinart has a pretty good idea: America's foreign-policy debate desperately needs some measure of accountability. I'm not suggesting that politicians and pundits who got Iraq wrong be banished from public life. (This standard would leave me looking for other work.) But neither should they be able to flee the scene of the disaster. Imagine if every time Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton or John Bolton or John McCain or William Kristol was interviewed about military intervention in Iran or Syria, the interviewer began by asking what they've learned about the subject from their experience supporting the […]
There seems to be a lot of attention to a new study from the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) study that finds Barack Obama to be much more harshly covered than the Republicans competing to run against him this fall. "Obama Has Received Least Favorable News Coverage So Far During 2012 Election Cycle" reads the headline at Think Progress (4/23/12). At the Daily Beast, Howard Kurtz writes, "During the bruising Republican primaries, there was one candidate whose coverage was more relentlessly negative than the rest"–that candidate, it turns out, is Barack Obama. A study like this is a handy […]
There's a popular verb in headlines about climate researcher Peter Gleick's admission that he used trickery to get damning documents out of the climate change-denialist group the Heartland Institute: "Activist Says He Lied to Obtain Climate Papers" (New York Times, 2/21/12); "Scientist Peter Gleick Admits He Lied to Get Climate Documents" (L.A. Times, 2/21/12); "Climate Researcher Says He Lied to Obtain Heartland Documents" (WashingtonPost.com, 2/21/12). What you wouldn't gather from all these pants-on-fire condemnations is that there is a long and honorable tradition, from Nellie Bly feigning madness to expose mistreatment of the mentally ill to the Chicago Sun-Times' Mirage […]
Is Fox News Channel going soft? In an election year? Some media figures seem to think the hard-right channel is going to the "middle," but this seems to be a figment of the centrist imagination. New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman has a short piece trying to make this case. His first bit of evidence is that Fox granted backstage access at its recent Republican debate to a New York Times reporter–as Sherman put it, "Fox's decision to allowTimes scribe Jim Rutenberg into the building to confront the candidates in person." That sounds rather aggressive, and Sherman sees this as some […]
The Sarah Palin hostage drama continues. In case you haven't heard, Palin is taking a bus tour up the East Coast, visiting various sites of historic interest. Which naturally means that every media outlet is forced to follow along, covering this series of non-events as if they are of tremendous importance, asking the pertinent questions: Is she running for president? Hasshe launched a crafty non-campaign that appears much like a campaign, without really being a campaign? On Sunday (5/29/11), CNN host Howard Kurtz wondered: Is the press in danger of being bamboozled by somebody who, in the end, is probably […]