Nov
07
2006

Demand Coverage of GOP 'Robocall' Deception

Missing coverage of the Republican Party's November Surprise

In closely contested districts across the country, voters report getting automated calls that begin, "Hi, I'm calling with information about [name of Democratic candidate]." If you listen to the rest of the message, you hear a litany of negative claims about the candidate. If you hang up--as do many voters, overwhelmed by so-called robocalls this election season--you're left with the impression that the Democrat has just called you. And unless you listen to the entire call, the machine calls you back again and again, giving you the impression that the Democrat is harassing you (Talking Points Memo, 11/6/06). These ads […]

Nov
06
2006

Midterms and the Media

Was the press fair to voters?

Tomorrow's midterm elections are surely among the most closely watched and hotly contested in many years. The media coverage has thoroughly discussed the latest polls and approval ratings, as well as the barrage of negative advertising. But when a "botched" joke receives wall-to-wall coverage, it is a good time to ask whether political reporting is actually delivering citizens the information they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box. To hear some major media figures tell it, performing some of the basic functions of political journalism are not that important. Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources (11/5/06), CBS reporter Jim […]

Nov
03
2006

Justin Levitt on voting, Richard Kim on 'values voters'

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The political commissar at a major TV network says if reporters treat charges of voter disenfranchisement (charges often coming from Democrats, advocates for the poor and immigrants) as being more important than charges of voter fraud (which come most often from the GOP) that’s proof of liberal bias—whether or not there is, in reality, more evidence of disenfranchisement than fraud being beside the point. With reporters having trouble seeing past the partisan to get to the public interest, we’ll talk to Justin Levitt of the Brennan Center for Justice about where concerns about the […]

Oct
01
2006

NY1 Silences Debate

Challenger didn’t have enough of the stuff Time Warner gave his opponent

There is a heated debate among Democrats about the direction of the party, with centrist politicians facing challenges from the left, particularly on the Iraq War. But New York voters had a difficult time seeing this debate play out, with New York City cable news channel NY1 (owned by Time Warner) blocking challenger Jonathan Tasini from a Democratic primary race debate against incumbent Sen. Hillary Clinton. As an antiwar candidate challenging Clinton’s pro-war record, Tasini (a one-time contributor to Extra!—Summer/90) would appear to have offered something that Democratic voters say they want: A Zogby poll (8/9/06) showed that 78 percent […]

Aug
23
2006

NY1 Responds to FAIR

Cable station stands by debate rules

NY1 general manager Steve Paulus has responded to FAIR activists challenging the New York cable news station's decision to exclude Jonathan Tasini from a debate with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton (FAIR Action Alert, 8/4/06; Activism Update, 8/18/06). Tasini is running against Clinton for the Democratic senatorial nomination, and has 13 percent support in the latest Marist poll (7/11-14/06). While that amount of public support is more than enough for NY1 to consider him a viable candidate, Tasini apparently lacks a more important type of support: money. NY1 has determined that Tasini should not be allowed to participate in a […]

Aug
18
2006

NY1 Dismisses Calls for Tasini-Clinton Debate

(NOTE: Please see the related further Activism Update.) On August 4, FAIR issued an action alert calling for New York cable news channel NY1 to allow Democratic antiwar candidate Jonathan Tasini to debate incumbent Sen. Hillary Clinton as part of its series of televised primary debates. NY1, which is owned by Time Warner, had created rules for participation that required candidates to not only stand at 5 percent in polls (Tasini has reached 13 percent) but to have raised or spent at least $500,000. NY1 senior vice president Steve Paulus has responded (Associated Press, 8/15/06) that while $500,000 "seems like […]

Aug
11
2006

Jeff Cohen on Lamont-Lieberman, Chuck Collins on Mexican election

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: the battle over ballots. In Connecticut, Democratic voters tossed aside Senator Joe Lieberman in favor of anti-war newcomer Ned Lamont. Lieberman has long been the poster boy for media-friendly centrism in the Democratic Party. So what are pundits and political reporters, who've long advised moving the party to the right, saying about the Lamont victory? We'll talk it over with FAIR founder and author Jeff Cohen. Meanwhile in Mexico the fight to recount the ballots in the country's presidential election continues, with a partial recount underway. Will this satisfy supporters of leftist candidate Andres […]

Aug
04
2006

NY1 Silences Debate

Refuses to allow Clinton challenger Tasini in television primary debate

(NOTE: Please see the Activism Update regarding this alert.) There is a heated debate among Democrats about the direction of the party, with centrist party stalwarts facing challenges from the left on issues like the Iraq War. But New York City voters will have a more difficult time seeing this debate play out, as New York City cable news channel NY1 (which is owned by Time Warner) has blocked the anti-war Democratic challenger Jonathan Tasini from a primary race debate against incumbent Sen. Hillary Clinton. In a statement (Village Voice, 8/2/06), the channel said it had "established criteria to identify […]