Search Results for: John L. Hess

Mar 1 1997

That Fuzzy Gorilla

A daily misdemeanor of our media is their election of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) as the voice of the nation’s elderly. A quick visit to any good newspaper morgue would reveal that this is a fiction. AARP was exposed by Consumer Reports in 1976 (1/76) and by 60 Minutes in 1978 (5/14/78) as a front for a mail-order racket, selling rip-off insurance to the elderly. Its boss, Leonard Davis, beat a felony rap and retired enormously rich, but his business continued and thrived. Its wares– insurance, a mass magazine and a wide range of services– appear now […]

Mar 1 1997

A Crusader in Clover

Pete Peterson, Enemy of Social Security, Counts Journalists as Friends

Where does the man find the time to earn all that money? You can’t turn on the tube but there’s Peter G. Peterson, telling some awestruck talking head that Social Security and Medicare are gobbling up our kiddies’ porridge. Or he’s writing it on your favorite op-ed page, or in magazines, or relaying the message through a thousand media converts. Or he’s presiding over the Council on Foreign Relations or the Concord Coalition, or gracing the society page in a dinner jacket, at all the really important social functions, sometimes as host. Or you can find him more informally at […]

Sep 1 1995

A Skeptical Look at ‘Cynical’ Reporters

Talk about being hoist on your own petard! That indispensable tool of modern journalism, the opinion poll, has dealt us journalists a cruel blow. And our own journalistic establishment–the Tunes Mirror Center for the People and the Press, and how much more poohbah can you get?– paid for the poll. The poll determined, scientifically as all get out, that the American public is nearly twice as “cynical” (they mean skeptical) as journalists. To be precise, 77 percent of the people but only 40 percent of the Washington press corps give low marks to politicians for honesty and ethics. Shocking. And […]

May 1 1995

Desperately Seeking Difference:

ABC Finds Biology Is Destiny

With the February 1 ABC News special, Boys and Girls Are Different: Men, Women and the Sex Difference, reported by correspondent John Stossel, hormonally induced haircut prices joined gay brains and race-based IQ as the politically charged science of the media moment. The show asked the eternal question, “Are men and women supposed to be the same, or are we different creatures right from birth?” Stossel argues that any remnants of sexism in today’s egalitarian society can’t explain noticeable sex differences in our behavior (“men are obsessed with sports, women have more friends”), nor account for women’s failure to reach […]

May 1 1995

Seeing the Bright Side at the New York Times

For those fearing inflation, analysts said, one of the most reassuring elements of today’s report [of rising employment] was that average hourly earnings declined by 2 cents, after an October surge of 7 cents. —New York Times, Dec. 3, 1994 A common complaint is that the media favor bad news, but that isn’t fair. Given that news, as Voltaire says of history, is “indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind,” it’s hard for mainstream reporters to be upbeat, but they do try. One way is by euphemism, like calling the military budget “defense […]

Mar 1 1995

AM Armies

Government "Cleansing"

Tired of easy listening? If you’re in Colorado Springs, you can tune into KVOR, where talkshow host Chuck Baker mimics the sound of a firing pin–“kching-kching”–as he raves against the government and talks to listeners about shooting members of Congress and forming guerilla cells. Baker’s three-hour talk show piggy-backs Rush Limbaugh, forming a solid bloc of conservative talk five days a week. But Baker’s show took a radical turn to the right last summer, when he found that more callers were associated with the “patriot” movement than the Republican Party. “Patriot” is a generic term for an anti-government movement that […]

Dec 1 1992

Voters Fail Pundits’ Test on Entitlements

Back last summer, when the editors of the Atlantic put Bill Clinton through an oral exam, they awarded him an over-all pass, but flunked him on one subject: entitlements. “Every ‘A’ student who has thought about the federal budget knows that if you don’t find some way to limit Social Security and Medicare, you will never, ever reduce the budget deficit,” they wrote. On the same subject, a true “A” student would have to give the Atlantic an “F” (if not a “Z,” for publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, the real estate tycoon). Unlike Atlantic editors and most mainstream journalists, “A” students […]

Jan 1 1992

Finding Gold in Grey Hair

The New York Times was up to a bit of demagoguery recently (11/3/91), under the headline “Why Older People Are Richer Than Other People.” Reporter Iver Peterson began by presenting awell-established fact–“the notion that some Americans will be the first generation to live at a lower level than their parents”– as a campaign slogan being used by “some Democratic candidates.” Who are the lucky Americans who are living at a higher level? The answer the Times gave was not a class, nor a gender, nor a race, but an age group: The favorites of fortune are people over 65. Selected […]