Feb
01
2013

FAIR REPORT: 13th Annual Fear & Favor Review

Revealing the hidden influence behind the news

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It’s a fair indication of the current state of play in U.S. media that, in 2012, TV newscasts were acknowledged to be “increasingly seeded with corporate advertising masquerading as news” (Washington Post, 1/3/12)—and the regulatory response was to call, not for an end to the practice of deceiving audiences, but for broadcasters to make note of such arrangements in an online file. While we work on creating the sort of unfettered news media that democracy requires, calling out compromised reporting as we do each year in Fear & Favor is just another way to note where and why the current […]

Jan
01
2013

Dark Money Dominates Election

Campaign--and media coverage--still tainted by Citizens United decision

CBS's president Les Moonves: What's bad for America is "very good for CBS." (Photo cred.: LATimes.com)

“Super PACs may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.” CBS president Les Moonves’ candid comment at an entertainment law conference (Bloomberg, 3/10/12) was one of the few honest things said by someone so deeply involved in the post–Citizens United political ad frenzy. This past election season was dominated by a record amount of ads, including many that were alarmingly misleading, and which raked in record profits for the media corporations who covered the election. Moonves was celebrating what, according to Bloomberg (3/10/12), was a projected boost in profits “by $180 million this year from political advertising,” […]

Dec
07
2012

Michael Ratner on Bradley Manning Hearing, Joe Torres on FCC

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What happened at the Bradley Manning hearings this week? Corporate media don't seem interested; Michael Ratner tells us what they missed. And big media getting... bigger? Joe Torres on the latest at the FCC.

Apr
23
2012

Is 'America Revealed'--or PBS?

Dow-sponsored public TV series tracks Dow's product lines

The four-part series America Revealed, airing on PBS stations this month, looks at big-picture economic issues, from agriculture to transportation to manufacturing. The series underwriter? The Dow Chemical Company, whose commercial interests closely track the subjects covered in the PBS series. The first episode (4/11/12) focused on large-scale agriculture, which is one of the industries in which Dow is a major player. The program featured an extended look at the corn industry, including efforts to control pests. As the program explained, the food industry "needed a game changer" in that fight. And it got one: The "genetically modified organism, better […]

Apr
13
2012

Mark Cooper on e-book price fixing; Milton Allimadi on Gil Noble

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Justice Department has sued Apple and five major book publishers for colluding to fix prices e-book prices, in an attempt to undermine competitor Amazon. What should you know about the suit and its broader implications for, say the music and film industries? We’ll talk to the Consumer Federation of America’ Mark Cooper. Also on the show: Any community icon's passing leaves a void, but when that person is responsible for arguably the single serious TV program engaging the lives and concerns of African Americans, the loss is magnified. Gil Noble, host and producer […]

Mar
01
2012

With Fox News Liberals, Who Needs Conservatives?

They play the left on Rupert Murdoch’s TV

Bob Beckel--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Fox News co-host and contributor Bob Beckel has called for the assassination of WikiLeaks spokesperson Julian Assange (“A dead man can’t leak stuff”—Follow the Money, 12/6/10), for furnishing guns to school children (“If you give your kid a gun, no bullying”—Five, 1/5/12) and for militant opposition to the “War on Christmas,” which is “completely out of hand” (Five, 12/9/11). These views are anything but out of place on Fox News, where hosts and commentators are known for fantasizing about murdering progressives (FAIR Blog, 11/10/10), deifying gun ownership (Beck, 6/29/11) and courageously confronting those who would wish them happy holidays (O’Reilly […]

Nov
01
2011

Uygur Out at MSNBC

Another progressive show canceled for political reasons

Cenk Uygur--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Streamys

When talkshow host Cenk Uygur announced that his short tenure at MSNBC had come to an end due to his criticism of “those in power” (Young Turks, 7/20/11), it highlighted an unsettling pattern at the channel. Uygur’s ouster represented the third time in recent years that a show hosted by someone with progressive ideals and a willingness to challenge the status quo was canceled, despite good ratings. In January of this year Keith Olbermann, well known for his public disputes with right-wing figures, was terminated by MSNBC, just after control of the channel was sold by General Electric to Comcast […]

Oct
01
2011

Media Monopoly Revisited

The 20 corporations that dominate our information and ideas

The introduction of the original 1983 edition of The Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian’s classic investigation of media consolidation, concluded: “When 50 men and women, chiefs of their corporations, control more than half the information and ideas that reach 220 million Americans, it is time for Americans to examine the institutions from which they receive their daily picture of the world.” When the second edition was released in 1987, the number of people controlling half the media was down to 26. By 1993, as the last edition went to print, the number had fallen to 20. To arrive at these alarming […]