Apr
01
2014

Sunday Morning Snow Job

Beltway talk shows’ flaky climate coverage

ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, L. A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, ABC business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and Climate Central climatologist Dr. Heidi Cullen.

On February 16, 2014, all three Sunday morning programs featured the climate change topic prominently. Unfortunately, quality didn’t match quantity, reflecting the “balance as bias” framework of years past, with scientists debating nonscientists and facts vying with opinions and political platforms—sometimes to the point of incoherence.

Apr
01
2014

Leading Papers’ Sources Tilt Toward TPP

Sparse, slanted coverage of corporate-friendly deal

TPP

Critics call it a corporate coup, an assault on the public interest and a threat to democratic sovereignty. It’s the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a commercial treaty currently being negotiated in secret between the US, NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada, and nine more Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Though it sounds like a big story, it’s not—at least for US corporate media. Last month, Extra! (3/14) revealed that national TV news on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News simply ignored the story. MSNBC’s Ed Show, hosted by Ed Schultz, was […]

Apr
01
2014

Cable Monopoly’s Gain Is Community Media’s Loss

Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger threatens local voices

Stop the Merger

Critics have rightly argued that if the merger is approved, customers will experience less choice and higher cable bills as a result of increasing media monopolization. What tends to fly under the radar in this debate are further dangers that disproportionately impact underserved communities.

Apr
01
2014

With Marijuana, the Obvious Is Incendiary

It’s hard to argue pot is riskier than alcohol—but many pundits did

Barack & the Weed Talk

American society devotes significant resources to a punitive approach to one substance, while fully legalizing and normalizing other far more dangerous and addictive substances.

Mar
01
2014

When Transgender Is a Plot Twist

Grantland failed to treat its source as a human being

Grantland: Dr V's Magical Putter

  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 […]

Mar
01
2014

‘There Really Is a Double Standard’

Drew Hudson on NPR fracking coverage

NPR fracking coverage

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, […]

Mar
01
2014

CNN’s Dúo Dinámico

Ana Navarro and Alex Castellanos as the voices of Latinos

Alex Castellanos

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 […]

Mar
01
2014

Imaginary Organisms

Media tout benefits of GMOs that never were

As it turned, out, this rice couldn’t save any kids—its Vitamin A content wasn’t high enough.

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