Sep 01 2008

Media’s ‘Girls Gone Wild’ Fantasies

Pregnant girls ignored in story on ‘pregnancy pact’

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/MestreechCity

When Time magazine (6/30/08; online edition, 6/19/08) reported that “nearly half” of 17 pregnant teenagers at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts had made a pact to have children simultaneously, corporate journalists latched onto the story and scurried to express their dismay on newspaper pages, blogs and 24-hour cable news. Time’s article, which reporter Kathleen Kingsbury largely sourced to school principal Joseph Sullivan, told of a group of girls who repeatedly visited the school clinic for pregnancy tests. The girls, according to the principal, “reacted to the news that they were expecting with high fives.” And “the story got worse,” Kingsbury […]

Sep 01 2008

David Brooks vs. the Real World

Columnist dreams up his own reality


Appearing on MSNBC Live (6/2/08), New York Times columnist David Brooks said that though Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy represented a “big historic movement,” the candidate may lack the common touch: The magic is not felt by a lot of people. It’s not felt, obviously, by a lot of less educated people, downscale people. They just look at Obama, and they don’t see anything. And so, Obama’s problem is he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who could go into an Applebee’s salad bar, and people think he fits in naturally there. The fact that Applebee’s doesn’t have salad bars […]

Sep 01 2008

The Illusion of Immigrant Criminality

Getting the numbers wrong

Photo Credit: Democracy Now!

Immigrants aren’t a crime problem. “The foreign-born commit considerably fewer crimes than the native-born,” as President Herbert Hoover’s National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement concluded in 1931 (National Lawyers Guild Quarterly, 10/39; Immigration Policy Center, Spring/07). While noncitizens now make up more than 8 percent of the U.S. population, the available evidence indicates that they account for no more than 6 or 7 percent of the people incarcerated for crimes in the United States, less than 170,000 of the 2.3 million inmates currently in our federal, state and local penal systems–not including some 30,000 immigrants in administrative detention on […]

Sep 01 2008

Still Taking the Pentagon’s Bait:

Media ‘balance’ critical GAO report with DoD spin

The General Accounting Office released a report June 23 that condemned the Bush administration’s “surge” strategy in Iraq. The same day the Pentagon released its own overwhelmingly positive report, “dated June 13 but not released until yesterday” (Washington Post, 6/24/08), which might reasonably be seen as a blatant White House effort to take the air out of the GAO’s findings. How did the Pentagon do with such a transparent gambit? Lamentably well. In write-ups in both the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, reporters used the Pentagon’s self-assessment just as its producers must have hoped: to counterweigh and cast […]

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 […]