Dec 1 2008

Remembering Caution After a Crisis

'Emotional' coverage matters - when it's a wrong emotion

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Mathew Knott

The New York Times may have revealed more than intended with a September 22 piece headlined “Amid Market Turmoil, Some Journalists Try to Tone Down Emotion.” The article, by Richard Pérez-Peña, said that reporters are being very careful in choosing words to describe the ongoing meltdown in financial markets—not because reporters should always choose their words with care, but because financial companies are “uniquely vulnerable” to a “loss of confidence” due to rumor, speculation or fear. The business cable channel CNBC, readers are told, while still prizing “scoops” that can move stock prices, is taking care to “stress that some […]

Dec 1 2008


False Balance, TV Critic Style Trying to make the case that Fox News and MSNBC are (in media analyst Tom Rosenstiel’s words) “reverse images of each other,” New York Times TV reporter Jim Rutenberg (11/2/08) offered quotes from each channel to demonstrate this supposed parallelism—first, Ann Coulter on Fox (10/30/08): “I feel like we are talking to the Germans after Hitler comes to power, saying, ‘Oh, well, I didn’t know.’” And then Chris Matthews on MSNBC (10/29/08), addressing those who wouldn’t vote for Obama because he’s black: “He’s been a good father, a good citizen, he’s paid attention to his […]

Dec 1 2008

CNN, Fox Hype ACORN Threat

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Truthout

On October 7, less than a month from Election Day, Nevada law enforcement officials and the FBI raided the Las Vegas offices of the community activist group ACORN, alleging that it was running an illegal voter registration campaign to steal the election for its officially endorsed presidential candidate, Barack Obama. ACORN’s “fraud” dominated CNN and Fox News reporting for weeks. But instead of pointing out the basic flaws of this charge, corporate media coverage neglected the facts and hammered home a specious story. Viewers were bombarded by reports that across the country, ACORN had turned in thousands of fake registration […]

Dec 1 2008

Sarah Palin: Maverick Feminist?

In the final weeks of the campaign, there was good news for feminists: The women’s movement had a new leader, ready to finish smashing that glass ceiling Hillary Clinton cracked. Yes, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the fresh new face of feminism, even if feminists were too stubborn or elitist to admit it—or so some in the media would have audiences believe. In what would surely be considered a nontraditional marriage, right-wing pundits attempted to wed Palin and feminism. Her incompatible stances on core feminist issues like safe and legal abortions, access to healthcare for working women and their families, […]