Extra! March 2014

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    SoundBites March 2014

    Pete Seeger, 1919–2014 Q: Does the media do its job? A: Of course not. It’s hard for me to talk about the media without getting angry. Because if the United States or the world goes down in disaster, I would blame the media first of all, because the people running it are intelligent people. They know very well how evil they are. And when they say, “Oh, I’m just giving the people what they want.” Sure—so do the drug pushers. —Musician and activist Pete Seeger, interviewed by public radio (WAMC, 4/01) Chris Christie, a Bully? No Way Under the headline …

    When Transgender Is a Plot Twist

      The first (and longest) section of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics is titled “Seek Truth and Report It.” It encourages reporters to be “honest, fair and courageous” in their work and to “test the accuracy of information from all sources.” This is what journalists do: They dig. When sports writer Caleb Hannan found out about an unusual new putter in the golf world, he decided to dig, and he discovered that its inventor, Dr. Essay Anne Vanderbilt, had fabricated some rather fantastical education and work history to help sell her supposedly scientifically superior golf club. He …

    ‘There Really Is a Double Standard’

    It’s distressing enough for people concerned about the environment to hear stories on National Public Radio that present hydraulic fracking as not just a source of safe energy but also an economic boon. When that’s combined with the network airing ads from the fracking industry, the questions only multiply. One activist group expressed those concerns in a petition to NPR that collected some 45,000 signatures—but they didn’t stop there. In December, they went to NPR, expecting to meet with the ombud, and they wound up with an opportunity to speak with the CEO. Drew Hudson, executive director of Environmental Action, …

    Letters to the Editor

    Missing Context: Capitalism I have been a faithful reader and subscriber for several years. I appreciate your careful analysis of corporate media distortions, standing their upside down coverage on its feet. But recently I’ve concluded that you are guilty of some of the same distortions for which you criticize the mainstream media—an absence of context. You have rightly criticized the MSM for covering bizarre weather without mentioning global climate change (“Weather—Without Climate,” 12/13). By the same token, your analysis of reporting on social and economic problems fails to address their foundation. Capitalism and the capitalist form of ownership are at …

    CNN’s Dúo Dinámico

    As comprehensive immigration reform continues to stall in Congress and the GOP scrambles to appeal to a growing Latino population, two seasoned Republican operatives frequent the airwaves on mainstream media as purported voices of Latinos in America. But while Ana Navarro and Alex Castellanos may give an impression of diversity on cable television, what they really show is that both cable TV and the Republican Party have a shallow bench, relying heavily on two commentators—largely out of touch with majority Latino opinion—when they need a Latino voice. Today you’ll find them all over cable TV, mostly on CNN but also …

    Imaginary Organisms

    Media often tout ‘breakthroughs’ in genetic modification that don’t turn out to be breakthroughs at all.

    Hyping the ‘Chinese Threat’

    US media have played up “the Chinese threat” to an irrational degree—by omitting context, adopting incendiary language and occasionally using simply inaccurate data.

    Jeff Bezos and the Imperial Paper

    Amazon’s Jeff Bezos paid $250 million for the Washington Post—but Amazon is being paid more than twice that by the CIA.

    TPP—‘The Largest Corporate Power Grab You’ve Never Heard Of’

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership would seem to be a major story with significant real-world impact. But despite its apparent newsworthiness, there were no stories about TPP on the three major network news shows.