Feb 01 2008

Money Is the Real Green Power:

The hoax of eco-friendly nuclear energy

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/EnvironmentBlog

Nuclear advocates in government and the nuclear industry are engaged in a massive, heavily financed drive to revive atomic power in the United States—with most of the mainstream media either not questioning or actually assisting in the promotion. “With a very few notable exceptions, such as the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. media have turned the same sort of blind, uncritical eye on the nuclear industry’s claims that led an earlier generation of Americans to believe atomic energy would be too cheap to meter,” comments Michael Mariotte, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “The nuclear industry’s public […]

Feb 01 2008

Media on Healthcare

Saying what they don’t mean

At the end of an unusually long editorial headlined “The High Cost of Healthcare,” the November 25 New York Times dismissed the idea of publicly funded universal healthcare, which all other industrialized countries use to provide medical treatment to all of their citizens while spending much less per capita than the U.S. Framing a public health insurance system as a sentimental lefty dream, the paper’s editorialists wrote that “deep in their hearts, many liberals yearn for a single-payer system.” But single-payer, the paper assures us, is “no panacea for the cost problem” and has “limited political support.” Knocking down the […]

Feb 01 2008

The Humanitarian Temptation:

Calling for war to bring peace to Darfur

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Genocide Intervention Network

In the Darfur region of Sudan, truly horrific atrocities have taken place in recent years: Roughly 200,000 people have died from violence, disease or hunger (Science, 9/15/06), and well over 2 million have been driven from their homes, resulting in a severe humanitarian crisis. Such crises often go criminally ignored by a mainstream media seldom interested in the plight of those who suffer the double invisibilities of being distant and dark-skinned. But Darfur is a little different: Propelled by a well-developed activist campaign and persistent appeals from both major celebrities and the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof, Darfur has managed […]

Feb 01 2008

The NYT’s Nuclear ‘Promised Land’

Note: This is a sidebar to “Money is the Real Green Power” (Extra!, 1-2/08). The New York Times is not alone in promoting a revival of nuclear power. But as the U.S. paper of record, it sets the media tone. Its pro-nuclear editorial culture began decades ago when the Manhattan Project and its corporate contractors (notably General Electric and Westinghouse, which became the major manufacturers of nuclear power plants) sought to perpetuate what was established during World War II, by making other things atomic. Because of the Times’ importance, Manhattan Project director Gen. Leslie Groves personally arranged for its reporter, […]

Jan 01 2008

Mark Weisbrot on the Venezuelan Referendum

'It wasn't any surprise when Chávez conceded'

It isn’t easy to find U.S. press coverage of Venezuela that isn’t colored to some extent by the official U.S. distaste for President Hugo Chávez and his populist policies. Coverage of Venezuela’s recent referendum (12/2/07) on proposed constitutional amendments was no exception. In the wake of the narrow defeat of the reforms by a national vote, viewers could find Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC‘s Hardball (12/4/07) crowing that Chávez “getting it thrown back in his face this week” made them feel like “it’s Christmas three weeks early.” CounterSpin host Janine Jackson interviewed Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center […]

Jan 01 2008

Get Carter

NY Times punishes an ex-president for criticizing Israel

Though the New York Times ignored Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid when it was first published–it didn’t review the book until it had already been on the Times’ bestseller list for five weeks–that didn’t stop the paper from running an article about a former Carter employee who didn’t like the book. The December 7, 2006 article began by reporting that Kenneth W. Stein, a former executive director of the Carter Center in Atlanta, had resigned, “citing concerns with the accuracy and integrity of Mr. Carter’s latest book.” It quoted Stein charging the book was “replete with factual errors, […]

Jan 01 2008

Are People a ‘Special Interest’?

Media language equates citizens and money

We are raised on the notion that people are paramount in democracy–that it’s all about citizens who, through public discussion, campaigns and elections, decide who will lead and which policies will be pursued. But that notion is often undermined by political reporting and commentary, which often seems designed to get people out of the process and into a spectator role. One way this happens is when media use labels that disparage popular political involvement, while often giving corporate and moneyed political players a pass. In the media’s lexicon of political pejoratives, “pander” and “special interests” are in common usage. Examining […]

Jan 01 2008

Hollywood’s Media–and Washington’s

Rendition highlights the limits of torture discussion

“Guantánamo, a prison in no way ready to close, is at the heart of a conversation that almost no one seems willing to open.” Since September 27, 2007, when Karen Greenberg closed an article on TomDispatch.com with that observation, a media conversation about torture has unexpectedly taken off. The New York Times (10/4/07) published a lengthy exposé about the long turmoil at the Department of Justice caused by the Bush White House’s insistence that “enhanced interrogation” was key to fighting its “war on terror.” PBS’s Frontline (10/16/07) explored how Dick Cheney’s office secretly pushed the idea that the president could […]