Sep
01
2008

When a 'Flip-Flop' Is a Badge of Honor

Switching positions can be good—if McCain does it

When is a “flip-flop” evidence of moral character rather than a moral failing? To many in the corporate media, it seems, it’s when the perpetrator is John McCain. While Barack Obama was roundly disparaged for his “flip-flop” on public financing—criticism that largely ignored Obama’s actual promise to pursue an agreement on public financing with his Republican opponent (Extra! Update, 8/08)—the media deeply downplayed McCain’s reversal on the same issue. McCain’s transgression, unlike Obama’s, may have actually been illegal: McCain had pledged to accept public financing for the primary elections, and used that forthcoming public money as collateral for a $3 […]

Sep
01
2008

CounterSpin Interview: The Media Ignore Their Core Duty

Arianna Huffington & Glenn Greenwald on media accountability

Arianna Huffington--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/jdlas

From Iraq to Enron, from Hurricane Katrina to No Child Left Behind, from torture to civil liberties to healthcare and much more, it would be hard to overstate the role the U.S. media played in enabling many of the policy debacles of the Bush years. And yet media accountability rarely goes beyond the half-hearted internal investigation, followed by, if we’re lucky, the half-hearted mea culpa. That the media are not prone to self-criticism isn’t a new thing. As crusading journalist George Seldes said decades ago, “The most sacred cow of the press is the press itself.”   CounterSpin talked to […]

Sep
01
2008

Letters to the Editor

Dubious Responses Jacqueline Bacon’s article on the debates (“Dubious Debates,” Extra!, 7-8/08) only further documents my reaction as I watched them. My question, however, is: Why did the candidates meekly put up with those questions? When someone is asked why he still runs when polls show he has very weak support, the answer should have been something like this: That’s a question only the voters can, and should, answer. They want to know what my positions are. Then they can decide if they want to support me. Ask questions about what I want to do about healthcare, the economy, or […]

Sep
01
2008

Meanwhile, in Iraq . . .

When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki called for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troop (Der Spiegel, 7/19/08), U.S. corporate media coverage of his statement displayed a remarkable condescension. The New York Times' Steven Lee Myers (7/10/08) suggested that al-Maliki didn't mean what he was saying and was just doing what Iraqi politicians have to do, explaining that the prime minister's announcement "is partly a nod to Iraqi political realities, since Iraqi politicians must call for the end of the American occupation. No one in Iraqi realistically expects to throw out the Americans anytime soon--and few in Iraq […]

Sep
01
2008

Media Push an Unpopular Trade 'Centrism'

Contradictory counsel for Obama

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/BorderExplorer

As America heads toward a critical presidential election, “free trade” advocate Robert Reich, who as Bill Clinton’s labor secretary in 1993 fought hard for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), glumly admitted that the constituency for “free trade” has severely eroded. “I’m still a free trader, although I will tell you . . . there are fewer and fewer of us,” he told MSNBC host Chris Matthews wanly (Hardball, 10/8/07). “It’s a very unpopular position.” Unpopular with the public, but certainly not the media. Leading pundits and editorial writers for corporate media have persisted in counseling Democratic […]