Eric Alterman

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  • Alterman: "Left and Right Both Do it? Wrong."

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    In June, I touched on the oft-used cop out of the generic report -- "If I'm being attacked by the right and left, I must be doing something right!" -- noting:

    In nearly four years that I've worked at Media Matters, the excuse I've heard most often from reporters and other media types when their work is called into questions is: "look, I get attacked from the right and the left, I must be doing something right."

    Yes, the excuse is worryingly simplistic. The ridiculous assumption being that if a story or a reporter's work in general is getting attacked from both sides of the political spectrum than those attacks must not be valid.

    Eric Alterman -- a senior fellow at Center for American Progress and a Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College -- destroys the excuse in his latest column looking at Andrew Breitbart's smearing of Shirley Sherrod as the jumping off point.

    Excerpts of Alterman's stellar column can be found after the jump but I encourage you to read it in its entirety.

  • Alterman: Post "ousted" Weigel for "bias" but Broder "has clearly showed bias and retains his job"

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Media Matters' Jamison Foser has looked at Washington Post's David Broder extensively, concluding in a February column about the "myth" of the Post's "liberal" op-ed pages:

    Let's start with David Broder -- he is, after all, the much-lauded "dean" of the Washington press corps, and frequently described as a liberal. In the context of the Post's roster of opinion writers, he may be one. But from his 1969 complaint that nasty anti-war activists were out to "break" an unfairly maligned president Nixon to his 2006 description of anti-war activists as "elitists" and his Cheney-esque 2007 slur that Democrats have little "sympathy for" the military, David Broder has made clear that he is no liberal.

    I've previously laid out at some length the case against David Broder's sterling reputation. This is a man who thought that President Clinton should have resigned because he "may have" lied about an affair, but who didn't think President Bush should have done so after he lied his way into a war. Not even when he declared Bush "lawless and reckless" did he think resignation was in order. And, having piously insisted that he and his beltway buddies don't like being lied to when Bill Clinton wasn't telling the truth about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Broder lavishes praise upon Sarah Palin, a politician who only lies when she speaks. And when she writes.

    In his 2006 column declaring Bush "lawless and reckless," Broder seemed more upset with the "vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left" and gratuitously slammed Al Gore and John Kerry for a "know-it-all arrogance rankled Midwesterners such as myself" (no surprise, really: During the 2000 campaign, Broder bashed Gore for the sin of offering too many details about "what he wants to do as president.")

    In 2005, Broder blamed congressional Democrats -- who were in the minority -- for a failure to conduct oversight hearings; in 2007, when Democrats were in charge, he bashed them for doing so. He's against investigating torture, and he was against investigating the outing of a CIA agent. But he's in favor of investigating the Clintons' marriage (not the marriages of Republicans, though!).

    Anyway: there's much more here, including the fact that David Broder praised President Bush's response to Katrina. What more do you need to know?

    Now, Eric Alterman -- a senior fellow at Center for American Progress and a Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College -- writes that the Post "ousted" David Weigel for displaying "bias" in his emails to a private, off-the-record listerserve but they continue to let Broder work despite the fact that he "has clearly showed bias and retains his job."

  • Ted Nugent and his Time 100 fan letter to Sarah Palin

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Each year, Time magazine announces its Time 100 -- a list of what it purports to be the world's most influential "leaders, artists, innovators and icons." These influentials are then profiled in the magazine by other influentials.

    Media Matters has already looked at Sarah Palin's send up of fellow Fox Newser Glenn Beck (she couldn't go four words without lying) but it isn't Palin's only foray on the Time 100 this year. Center for American Progress' Eric Alterman looks at Ted Nugent's profile of the former half-term Governor and absolutely destroys the right-wing rocker:

    "We know that bureaucrats and, even more, Fedzilla, are not the solution; they are the problem. I'd be proud to share a moose-barbecue campfire with the Palin family anytime, so long as I can shoot the moose." That's Ted Nugent on Sarah Palin from the current "100 Most Influential People in the World" cover package of Time.

    I ask you, dear reader, has any other allegedly reputable magazine ever published a stupider article about a putatively serious subject? Nugent also provides a stirring character reference for the quitter of the Alaska governorship: "The tsunami of support proves that Sarah, 46, represents what many Americans know to be common and sensible. Her rugged individualism, self-reliance and a Herculean work ethic resonate now more than ever in a country spinning away from these basics that made the U.S.A. the last best place. We who are driven to be assets to our families, communities and our beloved country connect with the principles that Sarah Palin embodies."

    This coming from a man who terms Hillary Clinton "a worthless bitch," believes "Barack Hussein Obama should be put in jail," and whose credentials in the family values department include once attempting to become the legal guardian of a minor in order to have a romantic relationship with her. He also has been ordered by the courts to pay child support to the mother of his illegitimate son whom he has never met.

    I wonder if Time's fact-checkers, aware of Nugent's penchant for threatening innocent people with guns, were afraid to do even rudimentary fact-checking on this brilliant essay. In fact, the "tsunami of support" for Palin Nugent cites is barely a puddle. As David Cay Johnston reports in his Tax Notes column, based on the latest national polls done by reputable survey organizations and taken shortly before the dreaded tax day, fewer than one in four Americans view Palin favorably. Her approval rating of 24 percent does not even reach half the level of the Internal Revenue Service, which earned a 49 percent rating. (The so-called "Tea Party" movement came in somewhere in the middle at 36 percent, while the IRS was statistically tied with President Obama.)

    You can find more on Nugent here.