In a new column on his Edgeofsports.com website, The Nation sports editor and author Dave Zirin calls for supporting a national boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team because of the recently passed Arizona immigration law.
This will be the last column I write about the Arizona Diamondbacks in the foreseeable future. For me, they do not exist. They will continue to not exist in my mind as long as the horribly named "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act" remains law in Arizona. It's a law that has brought echoes of apartheid to the state.
From Newt Gingrich's Twitter feed, accessed April 25:
Democrats' Long-Held Seats Face G.O.P. Threat
Everybody knows Democrats are facing a touch election cycle, so articles like this will become increasingly common. And on the surface they're completely justified. But the Times piece today is really quite thin in terms of detailing how specific Democratic members of Congress with "long-held seats" face serious threats.
As one example, the article focuses on Rep. David Obey (D-WI) who has won 21 consecutive races and serves as chairman of Appropriations Committee. According to the Times, Obey's in trouble. Well, that's certainly the impression the Times gives readers. (He's "endangered.") But is Obey really in re-election trouble? On that front, the Times never really says.
The newspaper points to no polling data to suggest Obey is. The Times quotes no independent Wisconsin political observers who suggest Obey is. The Times doesn't even quote any local voters who think Obey is. But the daily does quote Republicans who insist Obey is.
This is as far as the Times goes to demonstrate Obey's local woes [emphasis added]:
In the Seventh District of Wisconsin, which covers 17,787 square miles from the middle of the state to Lake Superior, signs of Mr. Obey's service in Congress are found in new bridges, highway expansions and countless other projects. Yet there are fewer signs of Mr. Obey himself. At the Democratic Party office in Wausau, his hometown, campaign placards hang in the window for Senator Russ Feingold, but none for Mr. Obey.
Really? That's the extent of the on-the-ground reporting on this?
I realize the hook here is, OMG somebody like Obey is about to get knocked off in November. And I'm not saying that's not going to happen. (I'm not in the business of forecasting elections seven months out.) But it seems to me that if the Times is going to build a Democratic woes article around Obey, reporters need to offer up more than just claims from Republicans that they're going to defeat lots of Dems with long-held seats.
Media Matters investigative reporter and senior editor Joe Strupp recently reported on criticism that Fox News Watch, the network's media watchdog program, has veered away from being a program that critiques media issues on all networks, including its own. Strupp quoted former Fox News Watch host Eric Burns (no relation to Media Matters President Eric Burns) saying: "The show was getting to be more and more of a struggle to do fairly. There was a progression of interference to try to make the show more right-wing. I fought very hard against it."
The trend continued on Saturday's broadcast, where Fox News Watch again avoided critiquing any of Fox News' growing ethics problems. Here's the show's opening summary of its segments:
The show -- shocker -- did find enough time to critique MSNBC and hosts Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, of whom a Fox News voice-over said: "Nobody really likes him."
It's been noted before, but there's a special irony in having Jon Scott host a media analysis show: Last year, Scott was caught lifting text from a GOP press release and passing it off as his own research. For Fox, that apparently qualifies you to critique other media outlets on ethics.
Like father's employee, like son?
Rupert Murdoch's son James reportedly crashed the London offices of The Independent because the paper had produced promotional ads stating, "Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election. You will."
The Guardian reports:
But [Rupert's] son James seems less ready to turn the other cheek, as it were. And this would seem to be the most plausible explanation for why Murdoch the younger, the chairman and chief executive News Corporation Europe and Asia, caused a media sensation on Wednesday by striding across the editorial floor at the Independent newspaper to berate its editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner.
In common with so many of the unpleasant episodes involving angry young men in modern London, it was a squall about reputation and respect. The newly relaunched Independent had produced a series of relatively innocuous promotional ads assuring readers: "Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election. You will."
There is no evidence that Murdoch senior has even seen the ads, but witnesses report that directly upon seeing Kelner, who was supervising the final production stages of that night's paper, Murdoch the younger began angry remonstrations. "What are you fucking playing at?" was his opening gambit.
The episode left experienced journalists shocked. "They strode in like a scene out of Dodge City," said one. "Murdoch scanned the room, you could almost hear him saying 'Where is he?'"
It looks like the younger Murdoch may be a big fan of Fox News' Bill O'Reilly who has become infamous over the years for ambushing those critical of the conservative network.
It appears the Washington Times is far from out of the woods following more than a year of problems including massive staff lay-offs and (unfounded?) rumors about the right-wing paper's pending sale:
Politico's Patrick Gavin reports that Jonathan Slevin, the paper's president and publish, will be out of a job soon after just six months. Gavin writes:
I've learned that Washington Times Publisher and President Jonathan Slevin is out after just six months in the position. His contract was not renewed.
Slevin's tenure was marked with uncertainty: He took over as Executive Editor John Solomon parted ways with the paper in a very mysterious and acrimonious fashion, leaving the Times without its previously-hyped Washington Post hire. The paper also wrestled with a lawsuit from former Editorial Page Editor Richard Miniter. Large layoffs were announced in January. The sports section was axed as the paper announced a focus on national, international and cultural issues. 401k contributions were suspended. In all, Slevin's tenure was surrounded by one single question: Would the Washington Times survive?
In an update to Gavin's post, a Times spokesman denied reports of Slevin's impending departure though Gavin updated his post further in the afternoon noting:
Sources reconfirm Slevin's contract not being renewed. "He's out," says an editor. Multiple calls to Don Meyer have gone unreturned.
Remember, the Times has reportedly never turned a profit with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon (who claims to be the returned son of god) instead bankrolling the paper's bottom line for years at a cost estimated at well over $1 billion.
Talk about free-market conservatism!
We made note earlier this month of Fox News host Mike Huckabee's interview with College of New Jersey newsmagazine The Perspective in which the former Arkansas Governor drew "parallels between homosexuality" and drug use, incest, and polygamy while also defending his home state's ban on same-sex couples becoming adoptive or foster parents saying, "we should act in the best interest of the children, not in the seeming interest of the adults...children are not puppies."
Now it seems Huckabee may be singing a (slightly) different tune on same-sex couples adopting. As Towleroad notes, Huckabee sat down for an interview with Rosie O'Donnell on the comedian's Sirius radio program:
Says Huckabee: "Well, you know Rosie, again, I think people have to make their own decision about what a family ought to look like and I'm not going to judge you or judge anybody else because I know there are so many loving people who are in same-sex relationships and they have adopted children and they love those kids. I'm not going to judge them. I'm simply not going there."
O'Donnell goes on to say: I haven't mentioned marriage once Mike. I'm mentioning that there are half a million kids in foster care in America. And 99% of them were raised by heterosexual parents. And if there are homosexual people that want to take in and love these discarded children that the state is not raising and taking care of, to have public officials deem homosexuals unworthy of parenting is disastrous for the nation, for equality, and for humanity, and Mike, for Christianity."
By the way, last week a circuit court judge struck down Arkansas' Act 1 which, passed in 2008, banned same-sex couples and single people from adopting in the state.
As Media Matters noted in a special report released this week:
In recent years, at least twenty Fox News personalities have endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or causes, or against Democratic candidates or causes, in more than 300 instances and in at least 49 states. Republican parties and officials have routinely touted these personalities' affiliations with Fox News to sell and promote their events.
Now the Associated Press is reporting that Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) -- whose prospects for reelection in November are considered a "toss-up" by prominent political analyst Charlie Cook -- is slated to participate in Fox News host Glenn Beck's traveling road-show today when it touches down in Texas:
With his Republican primary victory safely behind him, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is still working hard to court conservative voters.
Perry, who is running for a third full term in office, is scheduled to speak Saturday night at conservative radio and television talk show host Glenn Beck's "Taking Back America" town hall event in Tyler.
Beck loves Perry. In fact, just this week he praised the Texas Governor saying he has "made [him] want to move to Texas" because Perry is "saying a lot of the right things right now."
That's quite a compliment as far as I'm concerned. As Media Matters president Eric Burns says in the piece, "Stewart does a great job of using comedy to expose the tragedy that is Fox News, and he also underscores the seriousness of it."
Stewart remains one of the few media figures who have been willing to consistently hold Fox News accountable for its political activity and shaky ethical standing. No, I'm not confusing him with a member of the "news media" though those in the "news media" could certainly learn a thing or two from him.
Fox News is not a legitimate news outlet. Rather than circling the wagons when Fox is criticized, members of the press would be better served covering the right-wing outlet for what it is: a partisan political operation.
From the April 24 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends Saturday: