Apr
03
2009

Mark Weisbrot on the G20, Gareth Porter on the Afghanistan surge

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama’s military surge in Afghanistan has caught very little flack in the media, even though experts on the region say it doesn’t make sense and distorts realities on the ground in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. We'll talk to journalist Gareth Porter about coverage of the Afghanistan surge, an Obama policy he calls "a stunningly irrational blunder.” Also on CounterSpin today, the G-20 summit in London has attracted a lot of media attention; that this is Barack Obama's first major sit-down with other world leaders is probably one factor. But looming over the event […]

Mar
01
2009

Decoding the Media's Ideological Spin

‘Bipartisan’ warnings and ‘pragmatic’ praise

Even before Barack Obama won the November elections, Newsweek (10/27/08) was warning, “America remains a center-right nation—a fact that a President Obama would forget at his peril.” (See FAIR Blog, 10/19/08.) If Obama reads corporate media, that’s a warning he won’t likely forget. The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib—one of Forbes.com’s “25 Most Influential Liberals in Media” (1/22/09; FAIR Blog, 1/24/09)—lectured Obama right after the election: Some Democrats, seeing the margins of victory they have rolled up, doubtless now will start pushing for new economic policies, new financial regulatory structures, new government plans for healthcare and a new strategy for […]

Feb
03
2009

Bipartisanship = Shifting Right?

Media mull White House failures over stimulus partisanship

Many journalists and pundits have reached one very early verdict about the Obama White House: The new president has not lived up to his campaign rhetoric when it comes to reaching out to Republican lawmakers. The evidence? Not a single Republican voted in favor of the White House-backed economic stimulus bill. Given the concessions made to Republican critics, as well as the high-profile meetings Obama conducted with top Republicans, it's curious that the failure would be portrayed as Obama's. As Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne put it (2/2/09), "What should have been hailed as an administration victory was cast in […]

Feb
01
2009

Let's Talk About Race--or Maybe Not

Coverage of Obama and ethnicity says more about media

There were early indications that corporate media coverage of Barack Obama’s candidacy would be squirm-inducing, putting on display the elite (mainly white) press corps’ murky ideas about race much more than any straightforward reckoning of black Americans’ situation or what an Obama presidency might mean for their concerns. Journalists were sometimes embarrassingly frank about how they interpreted Obama’s blackness and what they hoped his success might mean. “No history of Jim Crow, no history of anger, no history of slavery,” declared NBC’s Chris Matthews (1/21/07). “All the bad stuff in our history ain’t there with this guy.” “For many white […]

Jan
23
2009

Norman Solomon on Obama's inauguration, Ann Jones on Afghanistan

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The inauguration of President Barack Obama was undoubtedly historic, and was covered as such by the corporate media. But what are we to make of the idea that the media have gone gaga for Obama? And what are the pundits and editorial writers pushing for from Obama in the first place? Author and columnist Norman Solomon will join us to talk it over. Also on CounterSpin today: "Major Push is Needed to Save Afghanistan, General Says" was the headline on a recent major daily story. Our guest says reporters need to be asking questions […]

Nov
26
2008

Media Cheer for 'Non-Ideological' Centrists

Corporate media are largely cheering Barack Obama's early appointment of Clinton-era centrists. Many of these nominees have a distinct record of support for the corporate-friendly NAFTA trade pact, gutting public assistance programs under the guise of welfare "reform," and pushing various deregulatory policies in the financial sector (including the elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act). Yet, to hear the media tell it, Obama's centrist nominees inhabit an ideology-free political zone. The praise began with Obama's pick of center-right Clinton Democrat Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff. Time magazine's Karen Tumulty explained (11/13/08): Emanuel is a win-at-any-cost partisan but not an ideologue; […]

Nov
04
2008

Pro-Obama Media?

What talk about media favoritism really means

Whether or not Barack Obama wins the election, there will be a substantial argument from conservatives--and even many centrist pundits and commentators--that the press was overwhelmingly biased in favor of the Democratic candidate and against John McCain (Extra!, 9-10/08). But the main evidence for this charge does not actually support the case. Throughout the campaign, the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) has released reports on the quantity of media coverage of the election--which candidates received more airtime, and so on. Several PEJ studies have also discussed the tone of the coverage, in an attempt to reveal which candidates are […]

Sep
15
2008

The Myth of Pro-Obama Media Bias

Little evidence for self-proclaimed ‘lovefest’

If there has been one unquestioned assumption of the 2008 election, it is that the media love Barack Obama. Rush Limbaugh declared that the media were following Obama with “their tongues dragging along the concrete to the floors.” “Lenin, Stalin never got this kind of coverage from their media,” Limbaugh claimed (7/22/08), which he blamed on the “chickification of our culture and the news business” (7/21/08). Joseph McQuaid, publisher of the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader, wrote an editorial headlined “Obama Orgy” (7/21/08) that denounced “the outrageous imbalance in the major media’s coverage of the candidates.” Such proclamations bolstered a […]