Oct
01
2007

Murdoch's Journal

Less than meets the eye?

Once Rupert Murdoch's bid to purchase the Dow Jones Company was made public, media watchers were nearly unanimous in bemoaning the ramifications of the deal. Observers warned that Dow Jones' most important asset--the venerable Wall Street Journal--would be transformed from a respectable business-oriented national newspaper into a down-market, New York Post-style tabloid. As advocates for a more diverse media, we know anything that expands the control of a media giant is troubling--and there are obvious reasons to specifically oppose Murdoch's expanding control over the media. Murdoch's penchant for using his holdings as vehicles for his personal business interests (and his […]

Oct
01
2007

Protecting the 'Surge' With War 'Critics'

When Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, came back to Washington in September to defend the current troop escalation, his path was smoothed in the media by two unlikely "critics." On July 30, Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack of the Brookings Institution penned a New York Times op-ed headlined "A War We Just Might Win." Two long-time advocates of the Iraq War declaring that they still support the war might not seem particularly newsworthy; but many U.S. media outlets presented the pair as war critics who had come to reconsider their opposition, and as a clear sign […]

Oct
01
2007

SoundBites

Time Reporter's Genius Fails Him You can't expect much from a story about undervaluing intelligence that starts by noting that a 14-year-old girl "has the looks of a South American model." Time's "Are We Failing Our Geniuses?" lives down to that beginning, with reporter John Cloud (best known for his defense of Ann Coulter--Time, 6/9/06) offering a polemic on how America is spending too much on the wrong kids. Noting that schools spend $8 billion on the mentally disabled vs. a "generous calculation" of $800 million on gifted programs, he writes, “It can't make sense to spend 10 times as […]

Aug
01
2007

MSNBC's 'Truth Squad'

Democrats labeled 'untruthful' for criticizing Bush

After the August 7 Democratic debate, MSNBC reporter David Shuster weighed in with what the cable channel called a "truth squad" segment, ostensibly intended to fact-check various claims by the candidates. But the result had less to do with clarifying the facts than with protecting Bush from harsh criticism. In concluding his report, Shuster singled out two candidates who "gave some untruthful descriptions of the Bush administration." He noted that Sen. Hillary Clinton, when asked "the first thing you would do as president to improve the recovery in New Orleans," responded that "the first thing I would do would put […]