When the Washington Post hired Greg Sargent a few months ago, I wrote this about Sargent:
He has demonstrated both an understanding of many of the ways political reporting has failed its consumers, and a willingness to write about it -- a rare combination among professional journalists, as Bob Somerby frequently points out.
Here's a good example of that: On Friday, Sargent called attention to the odd disparity in David Broder's level of outrage about Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
It's hard to overstate how revered the Washington Post's David Broder is among the Establishment media. He's known as the "dean" of the Washington Press corps; he has won the Pulitzer; he has been described as the best and most respected political reporter in the country.
Needless to say, Washington Post reporters simply do not publicly criticize David Broder. When he was at the Post, Jim VandeHei (now at Politico) described him as "the best of the best." Post reporter Chris Cillizza placed Broder alongside the late David Halberstam as "titans of journalism." In short, your typical Post reporter is probably more likely to ask Broder for his autograph than to question his perspective.
Which isn't to say Broder's work doesn't deserve criticism; it often does. (Those interested in examples can find plenty in a column I wrote two years ago examining Broder's inconsistencies and shortcomings.) But he doesn't get that criticism from his peers and colleagues -- many of whom reflexively agree with his narrow Establishment views. Others probably just don't want step on any toes.
In light of that, Sargent's post on Friday is a reminder that his hiring is one of the more encouraging moves the Post has made in years.
Here's what we know: Fox News has gone all in with the "tea party" movement, which means Fox News is now synonymous with the "tea party" rallies. It owns them. Which also means that come April 16, Fox News is not going to be able to disassociate itself from whatever radical rhetoric is inevitably unfurled at the anti-Obama mob events.
The conservative site Little Green Footballs, which has been sounding a very loud alarm about Beck and what his loopiness means to the conservative movement (hint: it's not good), highlights an early Beck-affiliated "tea party."
Buckle up folks, April 15 is going to get ugly.
From LGF, which posts the video:
At a "Project 912 Glenn Beck Tea Party," an unnamed speaker rants about "infiltration by the Communist Party" (a John Birch Society talking point), says that digital cable boxes are "brainwashing machines" planted in our homes by the government, and swears to stop paying taxes. The rant begins at about 1:58.
This is some really deranged stuff, and the audience is eating it up.
Differing opinions about the not-so slow motion collapse of American newspapers.
Markos at Daily Kos says good riddance:
Newspapers like to see themselves as "essential to democracy" or some other such bullshit, but they've long been part of a much broader media landscape, in which broadcast and the internet have become the most efficient delivery mechanisms. And pretty soon, with convergence, they'll be one and the same. Newspapers have refused to adapt, or they've pissed away money buying baseball teams, or they've squeezed the value out of their product by demanding 30 percent profit margins, or they've expanded at unsustainable rates, or all of the above.
Baldwin, writing at HuffPost, doesn't see it that way:
Some friends of mine in the media business say the newspaper model as we know it is in its death throes. Papers will fold or go digital. The Times will survive only online. I hope that is not true. I hope that one does not need to own a computer and a high speed connection in order to stay connected with the world of news and opinion. The Times, like many other important journals, is not perfect. Sometimes its writing and its priorities are downright awful. But that is rare.
I still think people should read a newspaper every day and that children should be taught the importance of doing so in school. Television news can be good. It just isn't as good as the New York Times. And now more than ever.
Since President Obama's election, several conservative media figures have warned their audiences that Obama is planning to, in the words of Glenn Beck, "slowly but surely take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun" or have suggested that a government effort to ban guns is likely. Worse still, they've often floated crazy conspiracy theories about the government's intention to do some pretty whacky things.
We've got a great new video out today hammering home some of the recent work we've been posting. Check it out:
We'd ask not why the media fail to describe Coleman as a "sore loser", but rather, why it is that
particularly since Tuesday's final count of any remaining, lawfully cast, previously uncounted absentee ballots
the media fail to describe Coleman as the loser at all, much less a sore one.
It's true. The press won't even come out and say Coleman lost the election, even though the state, and courts, of Minnesota have unequivocally announced that Franken got more votes. Last time we checked that meant Coleman lost.
Go read the whole item. Along with the press critique, there's lots of interesting legal details regarding the state of Coleman's recount challenge.
The New York Times goes deep today on it's-all-a-hoax point man Marc Morano, the former flack for Sen. Senator James Inhofe. Morano's got a new six-figure job pushing out misinformation (our words, not the Times') about global warming and trying to aggressively influence the media as the issue of curbing carbon dioxide emissions gets debated in Congress.
The Times piece is mostly helpful in letting readers know that Morano is in no way an independent or reliable source about global warming. Instead, he's a purely political player. Reporters should be clear about that when quoting him in coming weeks and months.
P.S. Favorite oxymoron from the Times article: "After college, Mr. Morano worked as a reporter for Rush Limbaugh."
Here is today's daily Red Scare Index -- our search of CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC for uses of the following terms: Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communistic, Marxism and Marxist.
Here are the numbers for yesterday, Thursday, April 9, 2009:
Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 32
Communism, Communist, Communistic: 26
Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 1
Communism, Communist, Communistic: 3
CNN Headline News: 4
Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 0
Communism, Communist, Communistic: 4
Fox News Channel: 17
Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 7
Communism, Communist, Communistic: 10
Fox Business Network: 18
Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 16
Communism, Communist, Communistic: 2
Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 5
Communism, Communist, Communistic: 7
Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 3
Communism, Communist, Communistic: 0
The above numbers are the result of a TVeyes.com power search for these terms on these networks.
Maybe that's the future of conservative media criticism: pan the evil liberal media for its coverage before it happens.
Here's Cavuto yesterday, hyping next week's, right-wing anti-Obama rallies:
You might have heard we're going to be out in Sacramento a week or so from now to cover the tea party protest on the 15th. You might have heard a lot of news organizations are not going to be there. I know why we are there. I'm not sure why they are not. Apparently these populist protests don't count much for them. Millions concerned that they are being taxed to death concerns them even less.
So Cavuto has inside information on how news orgs across the country are going to cover an event "a week or so" from now? That's a nifty trick.
P.S. Did Cavuto really predict that "millions" will participate in the anti-government events next week?
Considering that it's a lazy and inaccurate description.
Yet the inappropriate tag pops up everywhere. Time's "Glenn Beck: The Fears of a Clown," is an interesting read and he raises lots of worthy points. But it's just hard to get past this:
The new populist superstar of Fox News has made a refrain of predicting that government policies are leading to disaster — dark, ruinous, blood-in-the-streets kind of disaster.
On what planet does the guy who defends the AIG bonuses automatically win the "populist" tag? (How about "elitist"?) Or the guy who claims the new president is going to take away your guns? (How about, "fearmonger"?) Or the the guy who does this.
Stop playing nice with Beck. Just be factually accurate instead.