Sep
10
2009

Newsweek Continues Wrestling With Aggregators

Under the charming headline “Eliminate the Parasites,” Newsweek‘s Daniel Lyons (9/12/09) advances another brilliant scheme to save corporate media from the menace of Google. Lyons likes the idea put forward by billionaire Ayn Rand fan Mark Cuban: Cuban’s advice: declare war on the “aggregator” Web sites that get a free ride on content. These aggregators–sites like Drudge Report, Newser and countless others–don’t create much original material. They mostly just synopsize stuff from mainstream newspapers and magazines, and provide a link to the original…. He says the media companies should kill off these parasites by using a little piece of software […]

Aug
31
2009

The Fabulously Unsurprising Lies of Glenn Beck

Eva Paterson (Huffington Post, 8/28/09), president and founder of the Equal Justice Society, has a response to Glenn Beck’s assertion that “I want to point out the silence; no one has challenged these facts” after having been “smearing White House special advisor Van Jones for days on his show.” Being “the person who first hired Van Jones,” Paterson finds herself “in a unique position to know the truth.” And falling squarely in the fabulously unsurprising category is that “the truth is: Beck is fabricating his facts”: For instance: several times on his show, Beck has said or implied that Van […]

Jul
17
2009

On Google, HuffPo and the Business of Conveying Information

I give Peter Osnos credit for not being as nutty as Richard Posner or as self-pitying as Dana Milbank; his piece from CJR on “Whatâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s a Fair Share In the Age of Google?” (7-8/09) is the most reasonable version I’ve seen of the news industry’s case against the search engine company. Still, I can’t help but think that he’s missing the point in a fundamental way. One of Osnos’ key examples of the unfairness of Google involves Sports Illustrated‘s website, SI.com, and a story it ran (2/7/09) on pitcher Alex Rodriguez testing positive for steroids. Osnos relates SI.com‘s grievance: Though […]

Jul
16
2009

When Reporters Are Present, Yet ‘Fail to Bear Witness’

Arianna Huffington’s latest column (Huffington Post, 7/13/09) presents a compelling portrayal of the power of new democratic media–versus the self-preserving corporate model of news gathering–in the Chinese government response to major riots last week: “It choked off the Internet and mobile phone service, blocked Twitter and Fanfou (its Chinese equivalent), deleted updates and videos from social networking sites, and scrubbed search engines of links to coverage of the unrest.” But here’s the rub: “At the same time, it invited foreign journalists to take a tour of the area”: That’s right, it slammed the door in the face of new media–and […]

Jul
12
2009

Big Media Push Escalation in Afghanistan and at Home

Noting how “the president has set a limit on the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. For now,” FAIR associate Norman Solomon is letting Huffington Post readers know (7/9/09) “that’s how escalation works. Ceilings become floors. Gradually”: A few times since last fall, the Obama team has floated rising numbers for how many additional U.S. soldiers will be sent to Afghanistan. Now, deployment of 21,000 more is a done deal, with a new total cap of 68,000 U.S. troops in that country. Solomon warns that “‘escalation’ isn’t mere jargon. And it doesn’t just refer to what’s happening outside the United […]

Jul
07
2009

Who Actually Clicks on Those Pesky Links Anyway?

Considering how, “in recent months, news aggregators like the Huffington Post have received heated criticism from some who believe theyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢re stealing valuable traffic and ad revenue from newspapers,” with even “appeals court Judge Richard Posner recently wr[iting] a widely-linked post arguing that copyright law should be changed in order to bar linking to websites and paraphrasing their content,” media blogger Simon Owens (Bloggasm.com, 7/6/09) has conducted an experiment to evaluate the premise of corporate media management “that news aggregators simply repackage news so thereâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s little incentive to click on the actual link”: So how much traffic does a large news […]

Jun
14
2009

On the WaPo’s ‘Tacit Faith in Massive Violence’

Writing that “it takes at least tacit faith in massive violence to believe that after three decades of horrendous violence in Afghanistan, upping the violence there will improve the situation,” FAIR associate Norman Solomon (Huffington Post, 6/8/09) tells us that, when last Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post printed the routine headline “Iraq War Deaths,” the newspaper meant American deaths–to Washington’s ultra-savvy, the deaths that really count. The only numbers and names under the headline were American. Ask for whom the bell tolls. That’s the implicit message–from top journalists and politicians alike. A few weeks ago, some prominent U.S. news […]

May
26
2009

L.A. Times: Transforming Reform into ‘Reform’

Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post, 5/25/09) is offering, as “a particularly egregious example” of corporate media as “enabler of the transformation of real reform into D.C. ‘reform,’” a May 23 L.A. Times editorial she thinks “might as well have been written by industry lobbyists (the way many ‘reform’ bills are).” After her initial reaction to the subhead, “Stung by the excesses of the financial services industry, Congress is striking back”–“Actually, it wasn’t Congress that was ‘stung’ by those ‘excesses’–it was the entire world. And why is regulation of out-of-control markets ‘striking back’?”–Huffington warns us that “it gets worse”: “Rather than trusting […]

Apr
01
2009

The ‘Serious Journalistic Conflicts’ of Fox’s Van Susteren

Blogging on “Greta Van Susteren’s defensive response” to reports “saying that one of the reasons that Sarah Palin has been caught up in a ‘series of public relations gaffes’ is because she is ‘taking advice from Greta and her husband,’” major GOP booster John Coale, the Huffington Post‘s Geoffrey Dunn (3/29/09) thinks the Fox News host “Doth Protest Too Much”: Let me give Van Susteren her due. This is a serious charge of direct professional misconduct, and there should have been more than a throwaway line from an unnamed source to back it up. The allegation begs further questioning. But […]

Feb
27
2009

Fox Leads Immigration ‘Race to the Bottom’

Immigrant rights advocate and independent journalist Roberto Lovato is worried (Huffington Post, 2/26/09) that Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Department Detective Aaron Douglas “deals with the world’s media more than most” when flacking for Joe Arpaio–“America’s Toughest Sheriff”–“Though he is a local official, his is often the first voice heard by many of the foreign correspondents covering immigration in the United States”: The proliferation of stories in international media and in global forums about the Guantánamo-like problems in the country’s immigrant detention system–death, abuse and neglect at the hands of detention facility guards; prolonged and indefinite detention of immigrants (including children […]

Feb
17
2009

On the Affinity of For-Profit News for ‘Colorful Lies’

Regular Huffington Post media critic Marty Kaplan finds something especially “discomfiting” (Jewish Journal, 2/16/09) about recent stimulus bill coverage and “what it says about the role that the media have carved out for themselves in American public life”: If the job of the press were to help the public understand what’s really important, and to distinguish propaganda from facts, then Republican attempts to sink the bill by defining it as liberal pork would have gone nowhere. The endangered mouse that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was allegedly earmarking billions to protect; the Las Vegas supertrain that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) […]