Jul 01 2005

‘The Profit Motive’

CounterSpin Interview with Laurie Garrett

CounterSpin Interview with Laurie GarrettDan Rather got the lion’s share of the attention, but another journalistic retirement has also been cause for discussion in media circles. Award-winning journalist Laurie Garrett announced recently that she won’t be returning to her post at Newsday, the Long Island daily, and she was crystal clear about the reasons why. In an exit memo that quickly made the rounds of journalism websites, Garrett wrote pointedly about the deterioration of journalism at her own paper and in media generally, in the rush to increase corporate profits. “The sad arc of greed” Garrett wrote, “has finally hit […]

Jul 01 2005

Stand by Your Man

Mostly male pundits defend male-dominated science

Mostly male pundits defend male-dominated science[Note: this piece is a sidebar to Opinion Omission] When Harvard president Laurence Summers suggested that “intrinsic aptitude” might be holding women back in math and the sciences, the opinions sparked at major media outlets demonstrated the predictability of a punditocracy that itself lacks gender balance and diversity. In the initial stir toward the end of January, not a single piece that could be deemed a feminist response to Summers’ remarks appeared among the seven Summers-related columns published in the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Most of these were strong defenses […]

Jul 01 2005

Opinion Omission

Women hard to find on op-ed pages, TV panels

Women hard to find on op-ed pages, TV panelsWhen Susan Estrich launched a public attack in February on Los Angeles Times op-ed page editor Michael Kinsley for not including enough women on his pages, it made a brief stir in certain (mostly female) circles of the media. But the problem runs deeper than the op-ed pages of prominent newspapers; female opinions are muted across the media, and progress in recent years has slowed to a crawl. Estrich’s ire was provoked by a Times op-ed (2/13/05) by Charlotte Allen of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum headlined, “Feminist Fatale: Where Are the […]

Jun 01 2005

The Mainstreaming of Antisemitism

Few raise alarms when media bigs attack Jews

Few raise alarms when media bigs attack JewsThe commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, held at the former Nazi death camp in Poland on January 27, featured speakers warning about a new rise in antisemitism. “From broken windows to death camps was the blink of an eye,” said Moshe Kantor of the European Jewish Congress (New York Times, 1/27/05), referring to the brief time between the 1938 “Kristallnacht” attacks on Jewish neighborhoods and the hatching of the “final solution” in 1942. The warnings from Auschwitz come at a time when police records and public opinion surveys […]

Jun 01 2005

World’s Worst Disasters Overlooked

Survey identifies biggest “forgotten” crises

Survey identifies biggest “forgotten” crisesCongo is the site of the world’s worst humanitarian emergency, according to U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland, the organization Doctors Without Borders and most relief professionals. But English-language media have given the crisis minimal attention, according to a study of humanitarian disaster coverage released on March 10. The study was commissioned by web-based Reuters AlertNet, an eight-year-old U.K.-based humanitarian news network. It found that the tsunami that ravaged Indian Ocean coastal regions on December 26, 2004 garnered more English-language media coverage in the first two months after it struck than 10 other “forgotten” emergencies—six of […]

Jun 01 2005

Defeated by Democracy

Reported as triumph, Iraq elections were really Bush team’s nightmare

Reported as triumph, Iraq elections were really Bush team’s nightmareIn the months before the January 30, 2005 elections in Iraq, gloom and dissension began creeping into the media’s usual cheerleading for the war. Casualties were mounting, Iraqi resentment was growing, and the Army was facing an alarming shortage of manpower. In a December column (12/27/04), Washington Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt—a staunch supporter of the invasion—lamented “the deteriorating conditions in Iraq” and warned that “the insurgents . . . are succeeding.” But with the impressive outpouring of Iraqi enthusiasm over the January 30 elections, the “purple revolution,” captured on film […]

Jun 01 2005

The Great Emancipator

Media credit Bush for “democratization” of the Mideast

Media credit Bush for “democratization” of the MideastFailing to find weapons of mass destruction or an Al-Qaeda/Saddam Hussein connection almost two years after it invaded Iraq, the Bush White House fell back on its second-tier justification for the invasion: that occupying the country would start a domino-chain of democratization throughout the Middle East. In the wake of the January 30 Iraq elections, pundits and journalists eagerly spread the new White House-friendly conventional wisdom: Bush’s Iraq policy had inspired pro-democracy activists in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Palestine. Suddenly, the faltering military occupation was proof of the clarity of Bush’s alleged […]

Jun 01 2005

Fuzzy Math

Media buy White House line on “deficit reduction”

Media buy White House line on “deficit reduction”The Washington Post headline on March 18 seemed straightforward enough: “Senate Rejects GOP Budget Cuts; House Deficit-Reduction Moves Thwarted.” The U.S. Senate, in passing its budget bill the previous afternoon, had, reported Post writer Jonathan Weisman (3/18/05), “dealt a slap to President Bush and the Republican leadership, approving a 2006 budget that would gut much of the GOP’s deficit-reduction efforts by restoring requested cuts to Medicaid, education, community development and other programs.” There’s only one problem with this tale of the deficit-busting White House and House Republicans and the defiantly free-spending Senate: It’s […]