Feb
01
2008

SoundBites

Corporate Media’s Green Politics

“That’s going to be a major part of CBS next year. We’re seeing a very robust amount of money. We like the fact that there are a lot of candidates. And we like a lot of candidates with a lot of money. We do not want election reform.”

CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves on political advertising (Forbes.com, 12/4/07)

Snarking Up the Wrong Tree

The Washington Post (12/6/07) reviewed a John Edwards TV ad that asked, “Do you really believe if we replace a crowd of corporate Republicans with a crowd of corporate Democrats that anything meaningful’s going to change?” Since the ad couldn’t be proven false, the Post instead struck the popular media pose of sneering at Edwards for being a wealthy person who advocates for the poor: “In this narrative, the former plaintiff’s lawyer and hedge fund adviser casts himself as the populist outsider who’ll take on greedy corporations.” Actually, there’s nothing at all unusual about a plaintiff’s lawyer taking on greedy corporations; that’s largely what they do—and it’s why they’re so despised by corporate media (Extra!, 3-4/04).

No Job? No Trouble

USA Today (12/14/07) “fact-checked” John Edwards’ November 13 debate statement: “One of the reasons that we’ve lost jobs, we’re having trouble creating jobs . . . is because corporate power and greed have literally taken over the government.” The paper’s “reality”: “Edwards is wrong about job creation. There were 94,000 new jobs created in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since August 2003, 8.35 million jobs have been created.” USA Today, though, didn’t mention that the U.S. population increases every year—that in the time frame it chose, the number of people increased by almost 13 million. The rule of thumb is that in order to keep pace with population growth, the economy has to add 150,000 new jobs every month—in other words, more than half again as many as were created in November 2007. And the economy has lost about 3 million manufacturing jobs since 1998—most of them since 2000. But apparently that doesn’t meet USA Today’s definition of “trouble.”

Big All-White Tent

Under the headline “The Closing of the American Mind” (12/31/07), Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas expressed nostalgia for Jim Crow-era politics:

The middle of the 20th century was a bit better on the question of cooperation. Back then the political parties tried to be big tents. The Democrats numbered conservative Southerners as well as liberal Northerners. The Republicans had some big-city liberals as well as rural conservatives. But then, starting in the 1960s, when Presidents Kennedy and Johnson bravely embraced civil rights, Southern conservatives deserted the Democrats. By the ’80s, Democratic strength was centered in the big cities and along the coasts, and liberal interest groups had taken over the party. Neither party tried as hard to reach out to the ideologically diverse.

Yes, those were the days, when the Democratic Party was “ideologically diverse” enough to include people who thought blacks shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

It’s the Slices, Not the Pie

Newsweek (12/17/07) carried a column by right-leaning British Labour MP Denis MacShane making a familiar plea for French anti-labor policies (Extra!, 9-10/05; FAIR Media Advisory, 4/4/06). It began: “In Paris this week I am shocked at the number of homeless people sleeping in the cold and rain in doorways of the richest arrondissements. . . . You have to thread your way over beggars and the homeless, victims of the French indifference to expanding their economy. Indeed, the crisis in France can be summed up simply: A quarter century ago, the French economy was 15 percent bigger than Britain’s and growing faster. Today, the French economy is 10 percent smaller than Britain’s and is slowing down—again.” In 1981, France’s per capita GDP was $19,744 (in 2002 dollars—adjusted for purchasing power). In 2006, it was $29,253; over the past 25 years, the average French person has become almost 50 percent wealthier. So if there are more homeless people today in France than there were 25 years ago, clearly the problem is distribution and not growth.

‘Doves’ of a Feather

The Los Angeles Times article “Doves Find Fault With Iran Report Too” (12/7/07) is another example of corporate media’s strangely hawkish definition of “doves” (Extra! Update, 4/03): “Former professor at the National War College and National Defense University” Ray Takeyh “agrees with Bush that Iran’s nuclear program is a continuing threat,” though he says “his own politics are left of the president’s”—which covers a lot of ground, of course. (Takeyh turns out to be a contributing editor to the National Interest, a magazine published by the Nixon Center and founded by noted peace activist Irving Kristol.) Another “dove,” Clinton administration official Gary Samore, was a prominent advocate of “The Case Against Iraq” (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 9/9/02) in the run-up to the 2003 invasion.