May
01
2007

SoundBites

Non-Euclidian Journalism "The parallels are striking," declared an April 4 New York Times article comparing the current dispute over Iraq War funding and the 1995 deadlock over Medicare and other federal spending, which resulted in a government shut-down. "Bold new congressional majorities swept into power by public dissatisfaction with White House policies. The administration and Congress digging in for a test of wills over federal spending. A watershed presidential election looming." The upshot: Yet another article warning the Democrats not stand up too much to George W. Bush, since the '95 shutdown is seen as a political debacle for House […]

May
01
2007

Letters to the Editor

The Eichenwald Storm I appreciate Jessica Wakeman's coverage (1-2/07) of the storm provoked by my opinion piece that ran in Salon for several hours last summer until it was removed following Kurt Eichenwald's threats to sue Salon and me. Overall, Wakeman accurately reprised the issues. An omission and an error, however, need clarification. Wakeman mentioned that Salon's lawyer told me I libeled Eichenwald. But she didn't add that I disagreed with the lawyer. I wrote an open letter (published in CounterPunch, 9/23/06) protesting determinations that Salon made about my article without allowing me decision-making input. Wakeman erred when she quoted […]

May
01
2007

Transmission Accomplished

Propagandizing the short-lived Iraq War ‘victory’

While much has been written about how credulous reporting about the Bush administration’s bogus weapons claims paved the way for the Iraq War, it’s important to remember that media cheerleading for the war only intensified once the bombs started falling—a dismal performance documented here with examples from the first celebration of “shock and awe” to the swooning over George W. Bush’s declaration of “Mission Accomplished.” These quotes are excerpted from “Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline,” published on FAIR.org (3/19/07). An awesome performance “We don’t want to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we’re gonna […]

May
01
2007

In Denial on Climate Change

Leading pundits reject science on global warming

Mongolian drought (cc photo: Asian Development Bank)

The prevailing body of scientific evidence for climate change more or less holds sway in news reports, but opinion journalism—where the policy agenda is defined and debated—is dominated by those who question or reject that evidence.

May
01
2007

Standing by Their Racist Friend

Before firing, pundits defended Imus

In the aftermath of the racist, misogynist outburst that got talkshow host Don Imus dropped from CBS radio and MSNBC—referring to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos”—a Washington Post editorial (4/10/07) posed a question many critics have been asking for years: How do prestigious journalists defend their cozy relationship with a well-known bigot? As the Post put it: “But those who bask in the glow of his radio show ought to consider whether they should continue doing so. After all, you’re judged by the company you keep.” Since discovering Imus’ long record of bigotry, misogyny and homophobia is […]

May
01
2007

A Pinch of Fascism

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to The Media's Mayor.] No national media figure has been more fawning toward Giuliani than MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews. On the Tonight Show in 2006 (7/18/06), more than two years before the national election, Matthews predicted that “the next president of the United States will be Rudy Giuliani.” Matthews has credited Giuliani with everything from being “the perfect candidate” (Hardball, 6/14/06) to getting “the pee smell out of the phone booths in New York” (Imus in the Morning, 2/7/07). Even a little fascism was to be welcomed in the capable hands of New […]

May
01
2007

Asleep at the Wheel

Press ignores congressional OK for martial law

On October 17, 2006, when George W. Bush signed the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2007—a $538 billion military spending bill—he enacted into law a section called “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.” In the view of many, this Act substantially changed fundamental laws of the United States, giving Bush—and all future U.S. presidents—new and sweeping powers to use the U.S. military anywhere in the United States, virtually as he sees fit—for disaster relief, crowd control, suppression of public disorder, or any “other condition” that might arise. News coverage of these significant changes in […]

May
01
2007

Sidebar: Charity Cases

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to Bono, I Presume?] Even when it’s not an entertainment celebrity that brings the cameras to Africa, nearly as many TV news Africa stories are about Americans or other Westerners “making a difference” in Africa. Whether it’s a high-profile figure like Bill Gates fighting malaria (ABC, 10/31/05), a 12-year-old American boy raising money for AIDS orphans in Africa (NBC, 12/8/06) or the wife and daughter of an NFL football coach missing his big day in the Super Bowl to volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (ABC, 2/3/06), these segments tell the story […]