Dreamers Shut Out of Shutdown Commentary
Out of 34 op-eds and editorials in three leading papers from three days before to three days after the government shutdown (1/17–25/18), only one—by New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg (1/22/18)—criticized Democrats for selling out the Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who had been granted limited protection by the Obama administration, by agreeing to end the government shutdown in exchange for a vague promise of a future vote.
Most of the op-eds and editorials in the Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, a survey by Joshua Cho (FAIR.org, 2/2/18) found, argued that giving up on the Dreamers was an inevitable or smart choice for the Democrats, or that securing a resolution for the Dreamers wasn’t worth a government shutdown.
The 20 columnists and op-ed contributors were 90 percent white (and 80 percent male); none were Latino, the ethnicity most associated with the Dreamers. There were no contributions from immigration activists or from Dreamers themselves.
Monsanto Flak ‘Seems Genuine,’ Newsweek Says
“The Campaign for Organic Food Is a Deceitful, Expensive Scam” ran in Newsweek (1/19/18) under the byline of Henry I. Miller, who lost his platform at Forbes last year after the New York Times (8/1/17) revealed that Miller had published an article in Forbes under his own name that was actually written by Monsanto. His Newsweek piece used pesticide industry sources to go after organic farming, and attacked people who were named on a target list that had been developed by Monsanto and Jay Byrne, Monsanto’s former director of corporate communications, who was quoted in Miller’s piece with no mention of the Monsanto affiliation (US Right to Know, 1/23/18). Nor did the author disclose his own connection to the agrochemical giant, though he did spend several paragraphs attacking Danny Hakim, the New York Times reporter who revealed his ghostwriting scandal.
Asked about these documented conflicts, Newsweek opinion editor Nicholas Wapshott said Miller had denied them when asked, and “he seems genuine” (FAIR.org, 2/2/18).
‘Wave of Optimism’ Pulls NYT Under
In“The Trump Effect: Business, Anticipating Less Regulation, Loosens Purse Strings,” the New York Times (1/1/18) declares:
A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.
Economist Dean Baker (FAIR.org, 1/2/18) pointed out that the 6.2 percent investment growth rate in the first three quarters of 2017 is not particularly fast—the comparable rate was 11.4 percent from the first quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012, for example, and averaged 8.9 percent over the eight years of the Clinton administration. To the extent that investment is up, it’s largely due to increased investment in fossil fuel extraction—a result of higher oil prices, not a “Trump effect,” and in any case not something that a planet experiencing an ongoing climate catastrophe should be cheering about.
Tapper Goes to Bat for Trump’s Jerusalem Move
When the UN General Assembly voted 128-9 to condemn the Trump administration’s declaration that it would move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, CNN’s Jake Tapper (12/21/17) cried foul: “Among the 128 countries that voted to condemn the US on this issue were some countries with some questionable records of their own.” He listed Official Bad Guy countries Venezuela and Syria, along with Yemen—although Yemen’s UN votes are cast by a government-in-exile that isn’t responsible for much of anything these days.
It’s unclear why a UN resolution endorsed by a majority of the world’s nations—including most of the US’s European allies—should be judged by a handful of countries Tapper dislikes. Nor did he explain why he failed to examine the human rights records of any of the eight countries that sided with the US—including Honduras, whose government remains in power through blatant vote fraud and death squad violence, and Israel itself, whose illegal annexation of Jerusalem was the reason for the vote in the first place.
NYT Op-Ed Secretly Decries Itself
The New York Times ran an op-ed (12/13/17) by Michael J. Abramowitz, president of the right-wing advocacy group Freedom House, that charged that in various countries “governing parties used paid commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites and propaganda outlets to inflate their popular support,” employing “surreptitious techniques pioneered in Moscow and Beijing.” Warning against “efforts by government authorities to shape and control online discussions” and “the fabrication of grass-roots support for government policies,” Abramowitz called for greater transparency, including requirements that “online political ads…indicate who sponsored them.” The op-ed concluded that people “need to be on guard against propaganda masquerading as truth,” as “The future of democracy may well rest on our ability to tell the difference.”
One thing missing from this exhortation against surreptitious government-sponsored propaganda: Any acknowledgement that 86 percent of Freedom House’s budget comes from the US government (FAIR.org, 12/13/17).
Judge: Broadcasting a Protest Can Land You in Prison
“Yes, he was there filming. There is no evidence in the record that that was for a purpose inconsistent with participation in the riot.…
“He played a role that furthered the purposes both of the conspiracy and of the riot itself, which was to advertise it, to broadcast it, to live-stream it such that others could be recruited to join in…. For all these reasons, a reasonable juror could find Mr. Wood guilty of destruction of property.”
—Judge Lynn Leibovitz, explaining why independent journalist Alexei Wood could be criminally prosecuted for reporting on the J20 inauguration protests (Real News, 12/14/17). Wood was later acquitted on all charges.