Mar 1 2013

Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

An irreplaceable activist for freedom of information

It’s always difficult to write about a death. If it’s after a lifetime of accomplishments, how do you sum that up in a few brief paragraphs? When a life has been cut cruelly short, it’s even worse—trying hopelessly to convey the sense of lost possibilities. With Aaron Swartz, who died on January 11 by his own hand, you have the worst of both worlds. At the age of 26, he had already achieved so much in so many different arenas as to baffle an obituary writer: taking part in creating the RSS protocol when he was just 14 years old, […]

Mar 1 2013

Second Term Socialist

Obama's 'starkly liberal vision' a media mirage

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (cc photo: Jennifer Cogswell/City Year)

As he moved into his office as Barack Obama’s budget director in 2010, Jack Lew took down a portrait of Alexander Hamilton—“the father of American finance,” the Washington Post (1/21/13) told readers—and “put up paintings of New York City by jobless artists who had been hired into the New Deal’s public works program.” It was, the Post admitted, a “small gesture”—but one that friends say “speaks volumes” about Lew’s mindset. What really speaks volumes is that the Post in 2013 would offer this three-year-old office-decor anecdote as evidence that, as the headline put it, “Nominee to Lead Treasury Values Social […]

Mar 1 2013

The Self-Defense Self-Delusion

Owning guns doesn't actually help stop gun violence


There are instances where guns are successfully used for self-defense or protection, but those are isolated anecdotes, vastly outweighed by the numbers of gun crimes, and the fact that a gun in your home is far less likely to successfully defend against an attacker than it is to kill or harm you or a family member.

Mar 1 2013

Fox News’ Civil Rights ‘Expert’

Network's Michael Meyers defends racism

Fox News' Michael Meyers

During the Barack Obama presidency, questions of race and racism have become highly visible and hotly debated on corporate media. While the president himself has had little to say on these issues, Fox News has its own stable of guests and panelists ready to raise the topic—some of them wearing a “liberal” label, though Extra! readers (3/12) know to take such descriptions with a grain of salt. Among Fox’s race analysts, perhaps none is as effective and credentialed as Michael Meyers, the network’s resident black “liberal” civil rights commentator, a New York Post columnist and head of the New York […]

Mar 1 2013

Debunking the Debunkers of October Surprise

Magazines mangled facts to dismiss Reagan campaign collusion with Iran

America's Stolen Narrative

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from investigative reporter Robert Parry’s new book, America’s Stolen Narrative. One of the book’s storylines examines corporate media’s role in squelching investigation into whether Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1980 went behind President Jimmy Carter’s back to contact Iranian officials then holding 52 Americans hostage, a controversy dubbed the October Surprise. When the possibility of a serious October Surprise investigation emerged in the latter half of 1991, an intimidating phalanx of powerful players was arrayed against it, from Ronald Reagan’s many defenders, to the sitting President George H.W. Bush, to David Rockefeller’s business and […]

Mar 1 2013

Seizing the Airwaves

Radio by and for the people


Today, after years of activism, a new law on low-power FM (LPFM) radio is paving the way for the greatest expansion of FM radio in decades. This is a huge victory for media justice.

Mar 1 2013

Industry as Victim in Workers’ Deaths

Deflecting blame for Bangladesh factory fires

Child workers in Bangladesh

What should be done to prevent incidents like the January 26 fire at the Smart Fashion Export factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which at least seven garment workers (three of them teenage girls) were killed, their escape impeded by a blocked exit and the absence of the most rudimentary fire safety equipment? The answer for many would be: whatever is necessary. But to hear elite media tell it, it’s complicated—so much so that it’s not even clear who the victims were: the women crushed to death escaping flames, or the system that exploits and endangers them. Or else why would […]

Mar 1 2013

‘Sparing’ the 98 Percent–by Taxing Them

Media fumble impact of 'fiscal cliff' deal

Source: Citizens for Tax Justice

When congressional Republicans and the White House agreed to their long- awaited “fiscal cliff” tax deal early on January 1, the news media celebrated it as a compromise that raised taxes on the rich while protecting everyone else. As NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell (12/31/12) put it, negotiators had crafted “a genuine compromise on taxes [where] rates would go up for couples earning above $450,000 a year and stay the same for everyone else.” Echoed Nightline’s Terry Moran (ABC, 1/1/13): “This late compromise, it will prevent many of the dreaded effects of the cliff. Only the top 2 percent of Americans […]