May 01 2011

Chris Christie, the ‘Churchill’ of New Jersey

Republic governor's union-bashing style wins media praise

Chris Christie--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone

Republic governor’s union-bashing style wins media praiseNew Jersey’s most important TV star isn’t on MTV’s Jersey Shore. Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s YouTube showdowns with his critics—especially the state’s public school teachers—have made him a fast-rising Republican star, lionized by the likes of the Weekly Standard (4/26/10), National Review (4/16/10), Glenn Beck (5/14/10) and George Will (4/22/10). Mere months after his election, pundits were weighing his presidential chances in 2012, and Rush Limbaugh (2/12/10) was declaring: “Is it wrong to love another man? Because I love Chris Christie.” That enthusiasm is not confined to the right-wing echo chamber. The NBC Today […]

May 01 2011

ABC’s ‘Made in America’ a Shoddy Product

Holding consumers, not corporations, responsible for missing jobs

Photo Credit: ABC World News

Holding consumers, not corporations, responsible for missing jobsABC World News’ five-part “Made in America” series (2/28-3/4/11) purported not so much to explore as to answer the question of how to create jobs for unemployed Americans, by exhorting those same Americans to buy more U.S.-manufactured products. Not just any jobs, but “America’s manufacturing workforce, our true grit,” contended anchor Diane Sawyer (2/17/11). And at near negligible cost: “If every one of us spent an extra $3.33, just $3.33 on U.S.-made goods every year,” Sawyer (estimated annual income: $12 to $15 million) told viewers, “that would create almost 10,000 new jobs in […]

Apr 01 2011

Surprised by Solidarity in Wisconsin

Media erred in assuming public shared their distaste for unions

Media erred in assuming public shared their distaste for unionsOne of the early assumptions in media coverage of the Wisconsin protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed anti-labor legislation was that the public wouldn’t sympathize with “overpaid” public-sector workers. But soon enough, reality intervened. The New York Times’ Matt Bai (2/27/11) recommended that “taking the fight to the unions is a good way to bolster your credentials as a gutsy reformer with voters who have been losing faith for years in public schools and government bureaucracies.” In the March 7 Time, Amanda Ripley wrote that hating public workers is a historical […]

Apr 01 2011


Not Too Far Right—or Hef Larry King replacement Piers Morgan was interviewed about his new job by Broadcasting & Cable (2/28/11): B&C: What kind of feedback have you gotten from CNN? Morgan: They’re thrilled. They just tell me not to forget it’s an intelligent audience. And to remain independent. And being independent right now is a really good thing. Being too far right or left right now is a bit dangerous, given what’s going on in the Middle East. What Americans need is facts. The night before this interview was published, Morgan (2/27/11) had on as his guest Hugh Hefner […]

Apr 01 2011

In Madison, a Numbers Game

The Wisconsin story, we were often told, comes down to numbers: a giant multi-billion dollar budget deficit and a Republican governor trying to fix it. But does it add up? Careful readers may have been confused by much of the reporting on the scale of the problem in Wisconsin. The current deficit was $30 million, though a “far greater shortfall of $1.5 billion is expected next year,” according to the Washington Post (2/19/11). The two-year projected deficit was even larger: $3.6 billion. But as Laura Dresser of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy told CounterSpin (2/25/11-3/3/11), those figures, which came from […]

Apr 01 2011

Not Much Value in ‘Value-Added’ Evaluations

NYT seeks teacher data, ignores own reporting

NYT seeks teacher data, ignores own reportingOn September 21, Los Angeles teacher Rigoberto Ruelas killed himself, jumping 100 feet from a bridge into the Angeles National Forest below. His suicide came about a month after the Los Angeles Times posted ratings of over 6,000 L.A. teachers on its website (8/14/10). Ruelas was poorly ranked, pegged as “less effective than average overall.” But he was much beloved, and his sense of self was deeply tied up with the work he did in South L.A.’s poor and largely Latino Miramonte Elementary School. The L.A. Times rating was certainly devastating. It may have […]

Apr 01 2011

Letters to the Editor

A Student’s Take on Education Issue After reading September’s issue of Extra!, I had to say that this was my favorite issue and one that I felt a personal connection to, being that I’m a high school student. The idea that tests and charter schools are beneficial to students like me is ridiculous. (Is anything whose goal is profit beneficial to a large number of people?) FAIR’s analysis of this subject was extremely helpful for me in understanding the structure that our educational system has. One idea that particularly struck me was Jonathan Kozol about tests and how they limit […]

Apr 01 2011

Anonymous Soldiers as Medical Experts?

Only when the NYT covers Israel killing a Palestinian

Jawaher Abu Rahmah--Photo Credit: Electronic Intifada/Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

Only when the NYT covers Israel killing a PalestinianU.S. media coverage of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah reflected how the corporate press routinely covers high-profile civilian deaths caused by Israel. The Israeli government, it seems, can count on U.S. media to print its anonymous claims—no matter how baseless. Two days after Abu Rahmah, a Palestinian woman from the West Bank village of Bil’in, died from tear-gas inhalation during a December 31 demonstration against the separation wall, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) went into spin mode. Anonymous “senior officers” in the Israeli army pushed a number of theories about her […]