Jim Lehrer is hopping mad. The New York Times (10/2/12) reports that the PBS anchor "has been seething. He said he was outraged by suggestions that he was a 'safe' and uninspired choice to moderate the first of four debates." The focus of the Times piece is the fact that people have more ways to express their opinions about the presidential debate moderators: In the Twitter age, when anyone can immediately render swift and harsh judgment, the stress of hosting an event as politically charged as a presidential debate is heavier than ever. While the New York Times seems bothered by the "partisan rancor in this hyper-politicized climate," it's difficult […]
Debate process needs more scrutiny, not less
Concocting an 'origin story' for VP hopeful's character
As corporate media tell and retell Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan's life story, one theme emerges above all others: His "self-reliance. "David Fahrenthold and Paul Kane in the Washington Post (8/11/12) asserted that Ryan’s big ideas bear the stamp of his own story: They stress independence and self-reliance, the qualities that took him from the mailroom to a spot on his party’s presidential ticket. What government owes its citizens, Ryan says, is not a guarantee of happiness--only a fair shot to pursue it....“ He lost his father early and had to grow up sooner than he wanted to,” said Rep. Jeff […]
Paul Ryan according to Beltway media
Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his Republican running mate has unleashed yet another torrent of fawning coverage touting Ryan's intelligence and bravery for advocating a fiscal plan of massive government spending cuts and massive tax breaks for the wealthy.
In election attacks, 'working' trumps true
Sometimes the problem with corporate media’s coverage of elections is the absence of factchecking. And then there are times when the problem is more fundamental than that–when reporters suspend a minimal level of critical judgment in order to allow a political campaign to set a preferred storyline. Recent campaign coverage has focused on a supposed Barack Obama “gaffe” that was made to appear to be an attack on small business owners.
GOP tax claims should be factchecked
Barack Obama's July 9 announcement that he would extend the Bush tax cuts for income below $250,000 prompted the expected response from Republican politicians and presidential candidate Mitt Romney: This is a tax increase on "small businesses." That is false. But most news reports won't say so. The New York Times (7/10/12) told readers that Obama said that 98 percent of households and 97 percent of small businesses would receive a tax cut under his plan. But Republicans said the president’s proposal would amount to a broad tax on small businesses because many business owners report their profits as personal […]
CBS sold 'scandal' on false premises
If you've paid much attention to media reports about the "Fast and Furious" scandal, you may be under the impression that government agencies inexplicably allowed guns to be purchased in the United States and shipped across the border to drug lords in Mexico, where they ended up being connected to the December 2010 death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Soon after Terry's death, the story bloomed into a political scandal, with conservative lawmakers demanding to know who was behind the program. Barack Obama has claimed executive privilege to block the release of internal Justice Department communications about the […]
NYT piece raises questions, but not a media conversation
The New York Times' lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama's drone "kill list" should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama's criticism of the Bush administration's "war on terror" policies? Is the White House covering up the killing of civilians by labeling them "militants"? Why is the United States continuing an assassination policy described as Al-Qaeda's top "recruiting tool"? But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts around the rest of the media. One of the co-authors of the Times piece, Scott Shane, appeared on the PBS NewsHour and on […]
Media treat killings as PR problem for occupation
The news that a U.S. Army sergeant killed 16 civilians, most of them children, in southern Afghanistan early Sunday morning was treated by many media outlets primarily as a PR challenge for continued war and occupation of that country. "Afghanistan, once the must-fight war for America, is becoming a public relations headache for the nation's leaders, especially for President Barack Obama," explained an Associated Press analysis piece (3/12/12). Reuters (3/12/12) called it "the latest American public relations disaster in Afghanistan." On the NBC Today show (3/11/12) the question was posed this way: "Could this reignite a new anti-American backlash in […]