• An Alex Rodriguez prediction

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    MSNBC -- among other news outlets -- is showing signs of obsessing over Alex Rodriguez' steroid use.

    Here's betting that their coverage doesn't spend much time on the fact that Rodriguez' test results were supposed to remain confidential, and the labor relations implications of the fact that they didn't. Millions of employees across the country are subjected to drug testing, presumably with some assurances that the results will be private. If employers don't keep those assurances to millionaire baseball players, why should anyone think they will be any more careful with a minimum-wage-earning janitor? What consequences will there be for Major League Baseball's failure to keep Rodriguez' test results confidential?

    Rather than merely focusing on the fact that someone who was already one of the 2 or 3 best baseball players in the world used steroids for a few years, news reports -- particularly those that don't appear in the sports pages -- should keep in mind that there's more to this story than what Alex Rodriguez did, regardless of what you think of him. Maybe they could sprinkle in the occasional privacy expert among the indignant sports radio hosts.

  • But I want to watch tv's The Bachelor!

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Hullabaloo's Digby and Washington Monthly's Steve Benen look at the media hysterics surrounding tonight's Presidential press conference on the economy – they networks are upset because broadcasting the press conference will amount to $9 million in lost ad revenue.

    I for one – and I may get in trouble for saying this – think the nets are right. The Bachelor, The Big Bang Theory, House and Chuck, are obviously far more important than a major presidential press conference about the dire economic condition of our nation.


  • Video killed the radio star... and intelligent debate of the stimulus

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Washington Monthly and Truth Dig look at the fundamentally flawed coverage of the President's economical recovery plan.

    Responding to a new Gallup poll, Washington Monthly notes:

    Two quick thoughts on this. First, I'm a little surprised by these results. Not only have conservative Republicans been dominating the discourse, but the critics' talking points have been largely internalized by journalists covering the debate. There's at least some data suggesting Americans actually want less stimulus in the stimulus bill. It's at least possible, then, that the Gallup results are an outlier. (It's also possible that the numbers are connected to Obama's personal popularity -- Rasmussen doesn't include the president's name in its stimulus polling, while Gallup did.)

    Second, Gallup noted "the degree to which Obama appears to be maintaining the upper hand over his opponents." If only that were true. Given what we've seen of late, there's no reason to believe Republicans' conduct is in any way connected to the demands of voters. The president would have the upper hand if the minority party were swayed by public opinion, but at least for now, the GOP is more interested in standing on the party's "core principles" than anything else.

    From Truth Dig:

    ...watching TV news may actually shrink your brain. Well, that's not fair, but it certainly won't teach you much about stimulating the economy. That's because the personalities that populate the airwaves—and not just Fox News—are given license to repeat untruths over and over again.

  • Will the press try to clear up GOP misinformation?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    That's what blogger Bob Cesca wonders, noting that's it's become clear Republicans, with the help of Matt Drudge, seem to be purposely conflating Obama's stimulus bill with the separate, pending attempt to bailout out struggling banks.

    Cesca notes:

    Recently, there's been pundit chatter about how some Americans are inadvertently confusing the two (very different) government plans. It now appears as if the Republicans will be seizing upon this confusion in order to further diminish public support for the recovery bill.

  • Ann Coulter: Economic Expert?

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    News Hounds takes apart Ann Coulter's recent appearance on Fox News' Hannity:

    It seems that on FOX News, the only credentials a guest needs are a willingness to viciously malign Democrats. How else to explain the appearance of Ann "Boombox" Coulter on last night's (2/6/09) Hannity as an expert to discuss the Senate's compromise on the stimulus plan?

    …Coulter, who has no discernible expertise in economics, provided just the kind of thoughtful and insightful analysis of the stimulus plan you'd expect from her.

    First, she declared the three Republican Senators (Snowe, Collins and Specter) who are supporting the Democratic plan, "literally, a couple of the stupidest, most traitorous Republicans."

    Then Coulter displayed her money mojo. "The government doesn't do anything," Coulter said. "It doesn't make money."


    Next, Coulter revealed her grasp of international economics – by repeating a false conservative talking point: "Japan tried it and if the Japanese can't pull it off..." She switched gears to add this patriotic thought, "As Charles Murray has pointed out, they DO have higher IQ's. If they can't pull off this kind of spending your way into an economic recovery, then we certainly can't."

  • Media out of touch on "bipartisanship," part IV

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Earlier, I noted that a Gallup poll showing broad public support for President Obama's handing of the stimulus package and broad disapproval of the GOP's performance undermines the media meme that it is the Democrats who have been insufficiently "bipartisan" in their approach.

    Turns out a CNN poll provides even better evidence that the media and the public are far apart:

    Three out of four poll respondents said that Obama is doing enough to cooperate with Republicans in Congress, but only 39 percent feel that congressional Republicans are cooperating enough with the president.

  • Media Group-Think on Counter-Terrorism Policy

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Glenn Greenwald from Salon notes that "establishment journalists are repeatedly reciting the Pentagon's recidivism claim without an ounce of skepticism, without even noting the ample disputes surrounding this claim."

    He continues:

    Using the prevailing media-logic applied to Bush's counter-terrorism policies such as torture and Guantanamo (i.e., if a country is attacked by Terrorists, its Government then does X, and there are no Terrorist attacks for some period of time thereafter, then that is "proof" that "X stops Terrorism"), I believe these events in Spain constitute proof that the way to stop Terrorism and to keep the citizenry safe is to stop invading and occupying Muslim countries and take accused Terrorists and put them on trial with full due process rights before putting them in cages for life. After all, that's what Spain did, and there's not been another Terrorist attack for five years. Therefore, those policies have kept the Spanish people safe.

  • WoldNetDaily and Fox News "bearing false witness" on Recovery Plan

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    ConWebWatch and News Hounds pick up on WorldNetDaily and Fox News promoting the misguided notion that the President's recovery bill would prohibit religious activity in schools accepting Federal funds.

    From ConWebWatch:

    A Feb. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeats claims by Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice that a clause in a provision in the stimulus bill that bans federal funding of construction of school facilities whose primary purpose is religious is an "attempt to censor religious speech and worship on school campuses across the nation." Unruh makes no apparent attempt to seek out a response to Sekulow and Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, whom Unruh also quotes opining on the issue.

    Too bad, because Sekulow and DeMint appear to be lying.

    From News Hounds:

    There is a saying that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" and "Grapevine" is a stunning example of that aphorism; as it offers short sound-bites on information that is presented as Fox "fact" without analysis or rebuttal.


    The February 4th article began with a sentence sure to get the pitchfork gang salivating: "Democrats in Congress have declared war on prayer, say conservative groups who object to a provision in the stimulus bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last week. The provision bans money designated for school renovation from being spent on facilities that allow "religious worship." It has ignited a fury among critics who say it violates the First Amendment and is an attempt to prevent religious practice in schools." Naturally, the head of the religious right Liberty Counsel, Matthew Staver, was quoted at length. The article provided a brief rebuttal (Barry Lynn From Americans United for Separation of Church and State and a sentence summing up the ACLU position) but bookended the article with more commentary (whining) from "The Traditional Values Coalition." The religious right had already set in motion their pre-emptive strike against the evil Democrats – see People for the American Way's "The 'Big Lie' Strategy: Religious Right Stokes False Fears of Religious Persecution" which details how the religious right "ratcheted up the rhetoric" of a "phony crisis" in advance of Republican Senator Jim DeMint's amendment to strip church/state protections from the bill and how they spun the resulting defeat of the amendment. The Fox News article was part of a culture war skirmish which even included Fox fave Michelle Malkin who indignantly stated, on her blog, that the defeat of the DeMint amendment was another reason not to support the stimulus package.


    I guess the religious right and Republican Senator Jim DeMint don't have a problem with "bearing false witness" because their attempts to galvanize the base by demonizing Democrats are a bold, fresh pile of steaming crap.