Mar
01
2010

Inside the TV Wars

The battles to watch over what you can watch

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/bennthewolfe

The real fight to watch isn’t on television—Conan vs. Leno, Olbermann vs. O’Reilly. Rather, it’s about television, and the future of online video—a fight that pits cable and content companies against consumers. Instead of being glued to our favorite shows, we’d be wise to pay attention to the various battles, mergers and backroom deals happening between big media corporations who are trying desperately to cling to a sinking broadcast media model—and pull the public down with them. Cable and broadcast companies see the writing on the wall, and it no longer spells “media empire.” Although a majority of Americans are […]

Mar
01
2010

Playing the Nazi Card

Comparing Obama to Hitler becomes a standard right-wing trope

Comparing anyone to Hitler is egregious. During the 1980 presidential campaign, Walter Mondale released a letter that Ronald Reagan had written to Richard Nixon 20 years earlier, in which Reagan compared John F. Kennedy to Hitler and Karl Marx—though Reagan contended he was only speaking of Kennedy’s economic proposals (UPI, 10/23/84). In 2004, the Bush camp created a video juxtaposing “Wild-Eyed” Democrats like John Kerry and Al Gore with Hitler (Slate, 6/28/04). The frequency of such thoughtless comparisons popping up online prompted author and attorney Mike Godwin to coin Godwin’s Law (Wired, 10/94): “As an online discussion grows longer, the […]

Mar
01
2010

'America Was Safer Under Bush'

Journalists accept GOP’s screwy terrorism scorecard

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Karsun Designs

That George W. Bush kept America safer from terrorism than Barack Obama is a conservative article of faith these days—and corporate media seem little inclined to challenge the blatant falsehoods used to advance this childish GOP talking point. The most prominent example came on Good Morning America (ABC, 1/8/10) during a discussion of the failed Christmas Day “underwear bomb” plot, when former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told anchor George Stephanopoulos: “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.” Get that? So-called terrorism expert Giuliani, who can barely finish a sentence without mentioning September 11 […]

Feb
24
2010

CounterSpin Interview: Mark Weisbrot on the Haitian Earthquake

‘Are you going to reconstruct the country without a state?’

Mark Weisbrot--Photo Credit: CEPR

Much of the reporting on Haiti disaster relief has portrayed the U.S. as doing its best, under near-impossible circumstances, to bring food, water and medical aid to earthquake-stricken Haitians. And indeed, many American efforts have given aid and comfort to Haitians—but Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, says the U.S. is in many ways hindering relief. FAIR’s radio show CounterSpin interviewed Weisbrot for its January 29 show. CounterSpin: Americans, including many U.S. journalists, have been showing their compassion for Haitians in this latest hour of need, and you come along in this feel-good moment—at least […]

Feb
01
2010

The New 'Forgotten' War

Iraq occupation falls into media shadows

“The Western world that slaughtered Iraq and Iraqis, through 13 years of sanctions and seven years of occupation, is now turning its back on the victims. What has remained of Iraq is still being devastated by bombings, assassinations, corruption, millions of evictions and continued infrastructure destruction. Yet the world that caused all this is trying to draw a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq.”—Maki Al-Nazzal, Iraqi political analyst As Afghanistan has taken center stage in U.S. corporate media, with President Barack Obama announcing two major escalations of the war in recent months, the U.S. occupation of Iraq has fallen […]

Feb
01
2010

NPR Puts Right-Wing Hate in Howard Zinn's Obit

A double standard for deaths on left and right

Howard Zinn--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/vaXzine

When progressive historian Howard Zinn died on January 27, NPR’s All Things Considered (1/28/10) marked his passing with a declaration that his life’s work was worthless. After quoting positive assessments from Noam Chomsky and Julian Bond, NPR’s Allison Keyes turned to far-right activist David Horowitz, a practitioner of what the Nation (11/12/07) calls the New McCarthyism, for a ritual denunciation. “There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn’s intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect,” Horowitz proclaimed. “Zinn represents a fringe mentality which has unfortunately seduced millions of people at this point in time. So he did certainly […]

Feb
01
2010

Letters to the Editor

Israel Is Not Iran You call attention in your January 2010 issue (“NYT’s Double Standard on Nuclear Proliferation”) to the “unfair” treatment of Iran in comparison to Israel regarding the nuclear issue. You forget that Iran is a signatory to the international non-proliferation treaty. Israel is not. Neither the IAEA nor the international community can compel Israel to adhere to a treaty which it did not sign. How about hard-assing Pakistan and India on non-proliferation? The present Iranian regime wants to destroy Israel. Israel doesn’t give a damn whether Iran exists or not. Only that it should not be dangerous. […]

Feb
01
2010

SoundBites

Newspeak 2010 “The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.” —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (1/21/10), granting corporations the power to spend untold billions to do our thinking for us ‘Back to Basics’ Here’s a cable news discussion of the Massachusetts Senate race (noted by Political Animal, 1/19/10): Ad exec-turned-pundit Donny Deutsch described Scott Brown, the winning Republican, as a “traditional-looking middle-aged white male” and suggested that voters might be “going back to basics” after electing an African-American president and “we’ve had the female candidates and whatnot.” Deutsch said Brown “looks like the traditional view of a candidate,” […]