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
25
2014

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 […]

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

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 […]