Posts filed under ‘Media – General’
I don’t know what to say on this, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. I was against the war before it began and I’ve been against it ever since. I thought we were being lied to all along and it turns out, that’s exactly what was happening.
So much misery.
In my opinion the invasion was one of the greatest tragedies the world has ever seen.
(It’s indicative of the fantasyland George Bush lived in when we’re reminded that Bush gave his “mission accomplished” speech six weeks — SIX WEEKS — after the March 19, 2003 invasion. (The war officially ended on December 15, 2011).)
What “journalists” are doing when they say, “Some people say…” (The examples here are all from Fox “News” but it has spread and lots of so-called journalists are using the phrase now.)
It’s pretty unsettling that our new CIA Director, John Brennan, has so little respect for freedom of the press:
In 1980, a 25-year old graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin wrote a master’s thesis called “Human rights, a case study of Egypt.” In it, he argued that the aim of achieving and maintaining political stability justifies human rights violations by apprehensive governments— including crackdowns on unbridled journalists:
Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship. Inflamatory [sic] articles can provoke mass opposition and possible violence.
Government censorship usually means not telling the citizenry about the nasty things it’s doing. “Inflamatory” [sic] articles” are usually ones that expose those things. If a government doesn’t want what it’s doing to be exposed, it shouldn’t do whatever it fears exposure of.
Freedom of the press is essential to a democracy. No one should head the CIA – or be a leader in our government — who doesn’t believe that in their heart and soul.
26 children and adults were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. We were all outraged.
Here’s what’s happened in the 87 days since:
America would be outraged about this too, if only the “liberal media” would devote as much time and attention (as in 24/7 coverage) to it as it did Sandy Hook.
Republicans Were Against Medicare Cuts Before They Were For Them Before They Were Against Them Before They Were For Them
That title is no joke. Read on:
What Do You do When One Party is This Dishonest?
We’re still waiting for a full rollout of House Budget Chair Paul Ryan’s Republican budget, but there’s confirmation now that it will once again rely heavily on retaining the Medicare cuts passed in the Affordable Care Act (even as Ryan’s budget repeals the rest of the law).
[E]veryone is under-appreciating just how outrageous this is. For the second time in a row, Paul Ryan and the Republicans have run a national election campaign (the 2012 presidential election) in which the main theme was bashing the Democrats … for a policy which Republicans support — and indeed are making a key part of the most important policy blueprint that they will roll out this year.
This is no garden-variety flip-flop. It’s a fundamental decision to govern one way and campaign the exact opposite way.
This is one of those cases where it’s so audacious that reporters just don’t want to believe it.
I really can’t think of any comparably dishonest episode in recent American political history. To base not one but two campaigns on attacking the other party for a policy which, between elections, they support…it’s well beyond chutzpah. Oh, and that’s without even beginning to reckon with the fact that the House GOP’s larger Medicare plans call for much bigger long-term cuts than Obamacare made.
1) This wouldn’t happen if Republicans knew, for sure, without a doubt, that the media would report this kind of bait and switch clearly and repeatedly.
2) We’ve got to invent a new word. Outrageous, audacious, dishonest and chutzpah don’t describe what the Republicans are doing now, and have been doing for years. I guess the big takeway is that they’re willing to lie to the American people and tell them during campaigns they’ll do the exact opposite of what they intend to do if elected.
Way to corrode the democratic process guys.
Checkout this chart Information is Beautiful put together showing the media’s biggest hyped fear-based stories over the last decade. It’s telling that most of them totally fizzled.
I know this screenshot is small. See the original here.
The kids of the beltway punditocracy are all atwitter this morning over a supposed “threat” the White House made to Bob Woodward:
Bob Woodward said [last night] on CNN that a “very senior person” at the White House warned him in an email that he would “regret doing this,” the same day he has continued to slam President Barack Obama over the looming forced cuts known as the sequester.
CNN host Wolf Blitzer said that the network invited a White House official to debate Woodward on-air, but the White House declined.
“It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, ‘You’re going to regret doing something that you believe in,’” Woodward said.
“I think they’re confused,” Woodward said of the White House’s pushback on his reporting.
What’s with Bob Woodward? The guy is a media whore who apparently can’t get enough attention because when you read the actual email he’s talking about, it isn’t threatening — in the way he implied — at all:
From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013
I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.
But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying [sic] that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)
I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is diffferent. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.
My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.
Geezus. President Obama takes a three day weekend which, understandably, includes not having any contact with reporters, and Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen over at Politico throw a temper tantrum:
Obama, the Puppet Master
The frustrated Obama press corps neared rebellion this past holiday weekend when reporters and photographers were not even allowed onto the Floridian National GolfClub, where Obama was golfing. That breached the tradition of the pool “holding” in the clubhouse and often covering — and even questioning — the president on the first and last holes.
Gee. I didn’t hear anything about the Bush press corps “nearing rebellion” after they realized the Bush administration lied to their face about WMD in Iraq but Obama not letting the kids into a golf club in Florida? That pushes them over the edge.
Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, Lindsay Graham and Erick Erickson Praise Obama’s Drone Plan/Kill list
They’re all warmongers so if they love it, I don’t!
To wild GOP crowd cheers, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman vehemently defend Obama’s assassination policy.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will offer a resolution next week commending President Barack Obama’s use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki.
We no longer have to transport ourselves to a magical alternate reality to ponder what a love child between Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney would look like. Given a Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News, we can conclude that child would look like none other than President Barack Obama.
“Just kill the terrorists before they kill us.” Land of the free and home of the brave? No. When I saw folks tearing up at the Super Bowl over those words I gagged.
We’re a scared bunch of sheeple. We stood by while almost 60,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam because our leaders told us the commies were coming to get us. Ten years ago yesterday, Colin Powell lied his face off in front of the United Nations Security Council and as a result, we invaded Iraq because they (I’m gagging again) supposedly had WMD and were ready to send a mushroom cloud over the U.S.
None of that was true.
Yet, again, we’re so scared of the lies we’ve told ourselves, all in the name of kill them before they kill us.
Defense spending — our tax dollars! — has doubled since 2001.
Ten years ago there was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security but now we’re dumping untold billions dollars into that agency because it’s supposedly keeping us “safe.
And now we have drones — millions going to defense contractors for their new toys that we’re paying for — AGAIN, out of our tax dollars that — and President Obama’s kill list predicated on his supposed authority to kill Americans without their Constitutional right to be charged and tried by a jury of their piers.
They tell us these drone strikes are keeping us safe. But they aren’t: “Drone attacks are doing nothing but inciting more hatred” say Pakistani protesters. Google it yourself. There’s a whole bunch of info out there about how drone attacks are actually making us less after
So when will be again become the land of the free and the HOME OF THE BRAVE and when will we stop being scared little people who sacrifice their future for defense contractors and politicians who want to enrich them?
Of course we don’t hear about this in the U.S. because it’s well, outside the U.S.:
Australia is bracing for days of “catastrophic” fire and heatwave conditions.
Fires are already burning in five states as a search continued for people missing after devastating wildfires in the island state of Tasmania.
Bushfires were ablaze in five of Australia’s six states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales, and in mountain forests around the national capital Canberra.
Severe fire conditions were forecast for tomorrow (local time), replicating those of 2009, when “Black Saturday” wildfires in Victoria state killed 173 people and caused $4.4 billion worth of damage.
A record heatwave, which began in Western Australia on 27 December and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heatwave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The highest “catastrophic” bushfire temperature conditions are expected tomorrow, said fire officials, under which people are advised to flee if fire threatens, as the blaze is likely to be too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.
In the Australian capital Canberra, hit by a firestorm in 2003 that destroyed hundreds of homes, authorities said they were expecting the worst conditions in the decade since, with a fifth day of searing temperatures and strong winds.
Imagine being told “to flee if fire threatens” because strong winds make any potential fire “too fierce for fire crews to easily extinguish.”
I can relate. This was the view from my living room last June:
The wind wasn’t blowing when I took this photo but it did before the fire was put out. We were all thinking embers. What if flying embers started a fire closer in.
My thoughts are with the folks in Australia tonight because it’s tomorrow there now. Wind, fire and drought are an awful, terrifying mix.
Good luck Australia. And h/t to the U.S. media for their total failure at ah, delivering news. Not to mention mentioning that thing called CLIMATE CHANGE.
The corporatocracy (this time as in the NRA and its buddies, the corporate media) win again:
On the day of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., we published a chart showing the Sisyphean nature of the national gun control discussion. In the immediate aftermath of a shooting, such as the one that took place in Aurora, Colo., mentions of the term “gun control” spike in the news media. In a matter of days, that discussion all but disappears.
This time was supposed to be different. “It is hard to believe this will not be a watershed moment when we start to talk about, deal with and even perhaps legislate on guns,” ABC News’s Z. Byron Wolf wrote. He was one among many in the media who believed the momentum for gun control legislation was strong enough to turn the tide on a familiar pattern.
Blame it on the fiscal cliff, blame it on Christmas, blame it on our ability to forget, but the national discussion about gun control has once again ebbed. Mentions of the term “gun control” on television, in newspapers, and in online media are down to pre-Sandy Hook levels, according to the Nexis database.
So, on to the next massacre.
The Koch brothers think of everything in their attempt to influence coverage of environmental issues and to buy people off. What I wonder is, why would the Society of Environmental Journalists accept their money?
Notorious Polluters Sponsor a Conference for Environmental Journalists
In October, while finishing up my story “Kochworld” on oil refineries in Corpus Christi owned by billionaires Charles and David Koch I received an invitation to participate in a journalism conference in Lubbock, held by the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), the nation’s oldest and most venerable journalism organization for reporters who cover the environment.
I was happy to have been invited. Hundreds of environmental journalists were attending the conference which would be hosted by Texas Tech University. Some reporters had come from as far away as Europe and Latin America.
But first I’d have to finish my story. All I needed were the comments I was waiting on from Koch Industries. Imagine my surprise when I get an email back from Koch Industries’ spokesperson Katie Stavinoha: “I am working on it. Have been at a SEJ deal.”
My first thought was, “What’s Koch Industries doing at a conference filled with environmental reporters?”
Turns out Koch Industries was a sponsor. The SEJ and Koch struck me as an odd match. Not only are the Koch brothers top spenders on global-warming-denial organizations and Washington lobbyists, they also publicly attack reporters, on their web site KochFacts.com, who criticize their environmental record and business practices, and publish Internet ads on high traffic sites attacking reporters. (I would soon be subjected to this treatment.)
I probably wouldn’t have ever known the Kochs were sponsoring the conference if I hadn’t gotten that email from their public information officer. You’d be hard pressed to figure it out in the SEJ program. On page 33 of the 34-page conference booklet was a list of “generous contributors that made it possible for Texas Tech University to host the conference.”
Toward the end of that sponsor list was Matador Ranch. But no mention that the 130,000-acre ranch is owned and operated by Koch Agriculture Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. The ranch has hunting and deer breeding operations, as well as commercial and registered cattle, and Quarter horses.
Read more here about the “Devil’s bargain” the SEJ made with Texas Tech and the Koch brothers.
I see the problem but this kind of thing has got to stop. If I were a member of the SEJ, I’d be repulsed by this.
Maybe they could have their conferences online.
I apologize but I have to break my vow not to put up another post about the faux life-as-we-know-it-could-come-to-an-end crisis known as the “fiscal cliff.” These two short paragraphs from the wonderful Frank Rich are, well, too rich to pass up:
The fiscal cliff talks are (surprise, surprise) at an impasse. President Obama has now rejected the GOP’s latest uncompromising compromise and insisted that he won’t make a deal unless tax rates on the top 2 percent rise. How do you see this standoff playing out?
The breathless and phony countdown to the fiscal cliff — What if they can’t agree? What if we fall off? Can America possibly survive? — is media hype, a desperate effort to drum up a drama to keep viewers and readers tuned in now that the election is over. It’s a Road Runner cartoon, Beltway-edition. And it’s going to end with a whimper like the similarly apocalyptic, now long-forgotten Y2K scare of the turn of the millennium.
The thing is, all this faux drama on the part of the media is having the opposite effect on me. I can’t stand it anymore. I’m turning the TV off and I hope other people are too. It’d be nice to send them a message — via their ratings — that we aren’t THAT stupid.
My Tweet of the Day:
From what I’ve read, Petraeus spent a lot — a LOT — of time schmoozing with reporters which, when you think about it, was a brilliant move on his part given the relationship “journalists” have with the Washington power base these days. They’re in awe. They’ve forgotten that if someone they’re supposed to be objectively watching/reporting on makes them “feel special,” a huge warning sign should go off in their head.
Burnett has been seduced but apparently she doesn’t know it, even now, in retrospect.
She’s a groupie, not a journalist.
Here’s a link to the people-press.org poll cited.
So, Romney-leaning seniors are keen on preserving their benefits but not on cutting the deficit, yet they’re leaning Romney because why exactly? Romney’s VP has risen to the top of the GOP heap on his supposed miracle budget that slashes $700 billion in Medicare benefits in order to cut the deficit.
So, I’m trying to wrap my head around this. Why are Romney-leaning seniors leaning Romney if they want to preserve their benefits? Because all they’re seeing are propagandistic campaign ads (thanks to the Republicans on the Supreme Court and the Citizens United ruling) and the fact that so-called-news organizations don’t do news — as in facts – as inform us — anymore.
Heading into this new week I’m already exhausted because all the attention in the US media is on Wednesday night’s second presidential debate. Nobody knows what will happen of course. It’s all about speculation. Predictions. What ifs. Could be. This or that.
We’re watching talking heads justify their own existence and their own paychecks.
A friend of mine had some simple advice for me last week: Don’t watch any of the debates so you can…sleep.
I’m thinking she’s right.
And another thing: So much is going on in the world but in order to save/make money, the MSM has laid off their foreign correspondents and the campaign is all they’ve got.
So, here we are. The Debates. That’s it.
If only we could train them to to think we care about real news.
This from Michael Calderone, Senior Media Reporter for the Huffington Post:
We hear endless reports about how news organizations are “scaling back” and cutting their budgets (the excuse for why we get almost no international news around here anymore). Yet these same organizations have the money to send 3,000 journalists to the debates, which they could cover just as well if they watched them on TV?
Makes no sense to me.
Seems to me the results of this annual Gallup poll get worse and worse for the MSM ever year:
Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.
The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012, also means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year. This reflects the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior. The current gap between negative and positive views — 20 percentage points — is by far the highest Gallup has recorded since it began regularly asking the question in the 1990s. Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s.
View a larger version of this graph and get more info and see more graphs here.
It drives me nuts that Gallup doesn’t stipulate what it means by “the media.” I presume it’s the mainstream media as defined by ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, MSNBC and print media but it might not be. A lot of people don’t think of cable as “the media” and a lot of people think only of television news (as in the “big three”) as “the media.” Are they including, say, Internet news sites? Who knows.
So in a way, it’s hard to know what to make of this other than people think “the media,” however they define it, stinks.
All three cable news channels are live right now, covering a shooting near the Empire State building in NYC where “several people” have been shot. I’m hoping nobody has been killed and that the victims recover.
But I wonder why this isn’t BREAKING NEWS:
Nineteen people were shot across the South and West sides from Thursday evening through early Friday morning — 13 of them wounded over a 30-minute period, authorities say.
The overnight shootings peaked between 9:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. That’s when eight people, many of them teens, were shot at 79th Street and Essex Avenue about 9:30 p.m.
Then two men were wounded in the Ida B. Wells / Darrow Homes complex at about 9:25 p.m., police said. The men, 27 and 33, were shot in the 600 block of East 37th Street and taken to the University of Chicago Hospitals, police said. The younger man was shot in the head and the other in the right arm, Gaines said.
Around the same time, two other men were wounded in the arms in a drive-by shooting in the 2900 block of West 39th Place in the Brighton Park neighborhood.
Oh, wait. I know why the Chicago shootings aren’t breaking news. Because chances are good the victims there are African-American.
Mika Yamamoto was a reporter for Japan Press. She was killed yesterday while covering the — what to call it — conflict in Syria.
Japanese news agency Japan Press releases the footage shot by journalist Mika Yamamoto in the hours before she was shot dead in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Yamamoto gave her life to bring news of what’s happening in Syria to the world.
Mitt Romney seems unable to open his mouth without lying. It’s gotten so bad, I essentially shrug my shoulders when I hear about them and move on. But this one is really outrageous. It’s so outrageous I’m going to call my local station(s) if they air it:
It’s important to realize this is as dishonest an ad as you’ll ever see — in 2012 or in any other campaign cycle.
For those who can’t watch clips online, the ad shows President Clinton signing welfare reform into law in 1996, “requiring work for welfare.” The spot then argues, however, that President Obama “quietly announced a plan to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements.” The voiceover tells viewers, “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check…. and welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare.”
We then learn, “Mitt Romney will restore the work requirement because it works.”
Romney’s lying. He’s not spinning the truth to his advantage; he’s not hiding in a gray area between fact and fiction; he’s just lying. The law hasn’t been “gutted”; the work requirement hasn’t been “dropped.” Stations that air this ad are disseminating an obvious, demonstrable lie.
All Obama did is agree to Republican governors’ request for flexibility. That’s it. Indeed, perhaps the most jaw-dropping aspect of this is that Romney himself, during his one gubernatorial term, asked for the same kind of flexibility on welfare law that Obama agreed to last month. Romney, in other words, is attacking the president for doing what Romney asked the executive branch to do in 2005.
The entire line of attack is simply insane.
In case you missed it, the United States isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. Here’s why:
Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America’s Not the Greatest Country Any Longer… But It Can Be.
I don’t think this needs any splanin’:
Americans’ confidence in television news is at a new low by one percentage point, with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year and from 46% when Gallup started tracking confidence in television news in 1993.
For some reason I find this pretty surprising. I would have thought the number of people who have confidence in our so-called news would be higher. So, good on us for our skepticism. The, again, so-called news outlets deserve it with their lazy, if it leads it bleeds reporting.
Mexico’s biggest television network sold prominent politicians favourable coverage in its flagship news and entertainment shows and used the same programmes to smear a popular leftwing leader, documents seen by the Guardian appear to show.
The documents – which consist of dozens of computer files – emerge just weeks ahead of presidential elections on 1 July, and coincide with the appearance of an energetic protest movement accusing the Televisa network of manipulating its coverage to favour the leading candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto.
The documents, which appear to have been created several years ago, include:
• An outline of fees apparently charged for raising Peña Nieto’s national profile when he was governor of the state of Mexico.
• A detailed media strategy explicitly designed to torpedo a previous presidential bid by leftwing candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador, who is currently Peña Nieto’s closest rival.
• Payment arrangements suggesting that the office of former president Vicente Fox concealed exorbitant public spending on media promotion.
Thing is, the big “news” organizations in the U.S. don’t sell favorable coverage to favored candidates and smear popular leftwingers, they do it for free!
I love this perfect description of what passes for “news” in the U.S. these days. It’s a quote from Aaron Sorkin, the creator of The West Wing who will debut a new show on HBO on June 24 called, The Newsroom:
The thing that I worry about more is the media’s bias toward fairness. Nobody uses the word lie anymore. Suddenly, everything is “a difference of opinion.” If the entire House Republican caucus were to walk onto the floor one day and say “The Earth is flat,” the headline on the New York Times the next day would read “Democrats and Republicans Can’t Agree on Shape of Earth.” I don’t believe the truth always lies in the middle. I don’t believe there are two sides to every argument. I think the facts are the center. And watching the news abandon the facts in favor of “fairness” is what’s troubling to me.
But back to my point. It seems very important that if someone on the right in the news screws up in a really bad way, that the media find someone on the left who screwed up in some kind of way so that we can have a “One From Column A, One From Column B” kind of situation. And that if there are five from Column A, there can’t be only three from Column B, because then they’ll be accused of liberal bias.
Bingo. Exactly right.
And then there’s this bonus quote — from the show — that is hilarious:
In one episode of Newsroom, we hear Will say, “I’m a registered Republican—I only seem liberal because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure and not by gay marriage.”
Gotta remember that!
Check out this infographic about media consolidation in the U.S., and worldwide. Six companies control — get this — 90% of what we read, watch or listen to. News Corp. is one of the six:
Depressing and dangerous.
Again, see more at the link above.
The “news” media reached a new, historic low today when the PressMentor out of Newton, Illinois published an article titled: Reis Objects to Attorney General’s Support of Lawsuit, published as straight news and written by…Illinois State Respresentative David REIS. Here’s Reis quoting himself:
State Representative David Reis (R-Ste. Marie) is calling upon Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to recuse herself and the resources of her taxpayer-funded state office from supporting two lawsuits questioning the constitutionality of Illinois’ gay marriage ban.
“As Attorney General, it is her office’s duty to support the Illinois Constitution. Statutorily, it has been long established in Illinois that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Reis said. “Madigan’s use of scarce taxpayer resources is an injustice to the oath of office she swore to uphold.”
Check it out. He goes on and on and on in an article he wrote, that is totally favorable to his pov, that is, again, presented as straight news. The worsd “editorial” or “op-ed” are no where to be found
Oh, and they call themselves the Press Mentor? Heaven help us.
Demonstrations surrounding the NATO meeting in Chicago have begun. This pic was posted about an hour ago:
What’s happening here is the Chicago Police Department, whose salaries we pay for with Our Tax Dollars, are standing against We the People. They work for us, not the corporatocracy. Ah, do they know that?
A cause for concern.
More NATO/ Occupy things happening tomorrow and Monday in Chitown. If there’s a riot*, the “liberal media” will cover it. Otherwise, crickets.
* Per Martin Luther King, Jr.; “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
Norm Ornstein is a Republican who’s as inside-the-Beltway as you can get so this is really something:
Last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published an Op ed and a book making the extremely controversial argument that both parties aren’t equally to blame for what ails Washington. They argued that the GOP — by allowing extremists to roam free and by wielding the filibuster to achieve government dysfunction as a political end in itself — were demonstrably more culpable for creating what is approaching a crisis of governance.
It turns out neither man has been invited on to the Sunday shows even once to discuss this thesis. As Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum note, these are among the most quoted people in Washington — yet suddenly this latest topic is too hot for the talkers, or not deemed relevant at all.
I ran this thesis by Ornstein himself, and he confirmed that the book’s publicity people had tried to get the authors booked on the Sunday shows, with no success.
“Not a single one of the Sunday shows has indicated an interest, and I do find it curious,” Ornstein told me.
Ornstein also noted another interesting point. Their thesis takes on the media for falling into a false equivalence mindset [also known as "fair and balanced"] and maintaining the pretense that both sides are equally to blame. … What’s more, some reporters have privately indicated their frustration with their editorial overlords’ apparent deafness to this idea.
“The piece focused on press culpability — it would be hard to find a more sensitive issue for the media than the question of whether they’re doing their job,” Ornstein said. “We got tons of emails from some of the biggest reporters in the business, saying, `We’ve raised this in the newsroom, and editors just brush it aside.’”
This is curious. Is “experts confirm that, yes, one side is more to blame than the other, and journalists should say so” really too hot a topic for the Sunday shows?
This is so illustrative of the media’s obsession with presenting e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in a “fair and balanced” way. Sometimes one side or another is more responsible than the other for a thing that happens but that can’t be acknowledged because the media is terrified of being called biased. No, they’re terrified of being called “liberal,” thanks to Republicans jumping down their throat at any hint of that for the last 30 years. We live in an era of “he said, she said” or “Democrats said, Republicans said” journalism.
Facts are facts and Ornstein and his co-author Thomas Mann have made a case that Republicans are largely responsible for the deadlock in Washington but in the “liberal media,” that’s untouchable because it isn’t “fair and balanced.”