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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2009 2:00pm PT  

I guess I'm just in the minority here, but I'm having a bit of trouble getting exercised about $165 million (just to put that into perspective, the movie sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian had a budget of $200 million) in bonuses to AIG employees.

Yeah, it's a shame that approximately one-tenth of one-percent of the $144 billion made available to the company by the federal government in bailout monies went to such bonuses, but where is all the furor from public officials, media outlets and bloggers --- from both Right and Left --- over the 12 billions of dollars (with a "b") sent over to Iraq as pallets of cash (literally, shrink-wrapped $100 bills), which then simply disappeared into that trillion (with a "t") dollar rat hole without accounting or explanation?

Where is the outrage and accountability there? Nowhere.

How about the $4 billion (with a "b") that went to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 to purchase privately made electronic voting systems which don't work and don't meet the federal standards it was claimed that they did?

It's curious, but not particularly surprising by now, the stuff that folks in Congress get selectively pissed off about, the stuff that media (both mainstream and blogosphere) go selectively wall-to-wall over, versus the stuff they don't.

You'll pardon me if I'm not particularly moved much at all by the latest round of AIG sturm-und-drang, hand-wringing, navel-gazing, finger-pointing and speechifying. Oh, and about the still-free bin Laden, and the still-free anthrax killer...well, don't get me started. Guess those things don't much matter.

ReddIt this story!



Listener activists scramble to keep the Progressive talker on the air, but time is short, and the fight is difficult...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2009 12:47am PT  

I wanted to offer an update on the Peter B. Collins situation, that I detailed last Friday following Peter's announcement that he would be leaving the air after this Friday's program due to the difficult time he has been having in continuing to self-finance and self-syndicate his daily, live radio show in this economic climate, and under the rigid Progressives-need-not-apply rightwing corporate control of our public airwaves. [Disclosure: I am a regular weekly guest and occasional fill-in host for PBC, just to get that out of the way.]

Following last Friday's announcement on his show, some of the audio of which we posted with last week's article, a number of listeners have been working to help determine if sustainable funding could be raised to keep PBC on the air. I've been in close touch with Peter, both before his announcement last week, and since then. I have, of course, offered any help I might be able to provide, but what can feasibly done has been difficult to determine.

He noted during last week's show that his monthly costs are just over $5000 to stay on the air, and that while a miracle could happen to help keep him on the air, stations had been notified, and the outlook wasn't good.

Folks have asked me what can be done, and I've been doing my best to try and figure that out, while respecting both listeners' feelings (and the avoidance of building up hopes, only to see them dashed) and Peter's concerns, which are similar. But I'll take the liberty of trying to share some of his feelings here, many of which he's now shared himself publicly in a blog item he posted at his website over the weekend, and then during today's program (selected audio from which I'll post at the end of this article) in response to a number of callers rallying to see what they can do to help keep him on the air...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPDATED: Fox issues very rare apology!
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2009 9:23pm PT  

Wow, does the dishonesty never end at Fox "News"? Well, we all know the answer to that one, but as Ben Dimiero at Media Matters noted in email, "this is ridiculous, even by Fox News standards".

In a package with Martha MacCallum on Fox's Live Desk today, suggesting that Administration officials who once criticized John McCain's assertion that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" have now changed their tune, they played some clips purported to be from "recent interviews this weekend." Included in those clips, is Joe Biden declaring "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." (Video at bottom of this article.)

Trouble is a) Biden's statement was six months ago, when he was on the campaign trail and b) it was taken completely out of context, as Biden was quoting McCain's statement which he was in the process of criticizing!

Biden's actual in-context statement to a campaign rally in September 2008 was...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2009 4:27pm PT  

Just another Fox "News" typo, no doubt...

...Just like all of the other ones before it (examples: here and here and here).

ReddIt this story!



Another progressive talker falls victim to the rightwing corporate stranglehold of our public airwaves...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2009 8:25pm PT  

The Peter B. Collins Show will come to an end, as of next Friday, according to an announcement by Collins on today's broadcast. After nearly five years on the air, the economic climate, and the stranglehold of rightwing corporate control over the public's airwaves has made it impossible for him to continue.

We've been a regular weekly guest, as well as an occasional fill-in host, for Peter since not long after he first began broadcasting his syndicated show, first heard on Monterey, California's KRXA 540am and, until next Friday, on stations in San Francisco, Eureka, CA, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Missoula, MT and on the Internet. His call to us earlier today with the news, a few hours prior to our weekly scheduled appearance during the final hour each Friday, was heartbreaking, but hardly surprising in today's climate for nearly everyone but the vast majority of rightwing whackjob radio hosts propped up by rightwing corporate interests.

After a quick segment, during our appearance on today's show, discussing a number of this week's developments in elections issues, we turned to the matter of his leaving the air, and our belief that the playing field is indisputably rigged against non-rightwing talk radio. It's not a matter of "Progressive Talk" having failed in America, it's a matter of progressives, to this day, not having been given a level playing field on which to compete. Period.

See the bottom of this article for the audio of today's hour, including Peter's announcement (and his very kind "emphatic endorsement" of us to take over the still-available 3p-6p PT daily timeslot on San Francisco's Green 960.)

As our friend and progressive talker Thom Hartmann pointed out on his show this morning, Stephanie Miller, another friend and progressive radio host, noted that she's syndicated on some 60 affiliates from 9 to Noon ET each weekday, while rightwing whack-job Laura Ingraham is on some 300 stations during that same time slot. Yet, Hartmann noted, Miller beats Ingraham in almost every single market where they air at the same time. Does that sound like fair competition, or that "Progressive Talk" has failed? We haven't failed, corporate America, however, has failed you.

More details on all of that, in the audio of today's hour posted below. It should also be noted, by the way, that PBC mentioned he'd be open to the idea of an angel from heaven dropping in to help meet his $5000 monthly nut. If someone could do so, a long shot we both realize, then one of the nation's most intelligent, informative, insightful, entertaining and important progressive voices would likely be able to stay on the public airwaves, where he belongs...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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The Most Important Conversation on Business News Journalism You'll Likely Ever See...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2009 2:23pm PT  

This was the most remarkable, and enlightening conversation I've seen on television in lord knows how long. Probably since Stewart's last landmark take-down of corporate broadcast media failure in 2004. The conversation here with CNBC's Jim Cramer --- unprecedented over three segments of last night's The Daily Show --- was simply remarkable.

Please take the time to watch this in full, and wonder again why it is that it's a "comic" on a satirical news show who has become America's most out-spoken, most articulate leader on these crucial issues of survival for our nation...

My take-way, though it was never spoken to directly, is that business news and business journalism --- right now more than ever --- must be about real reporting, and real accountability on behalf of the people, as opposed to simply cheerleading on behalf of the business community, as it has been for so long now

Stewart is also owed a great thanks here, in that I believe this may be (or should be) a landmark moment in discussion of this issue. Just as his remarkable October 2004 take-down of Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala on CNN's Crossfire (taken out of our misery shortly thereafter), essentially for the same reason --- using valuable broadcast time to perpetuate blood-sport and/or cheerleading, instead of actual news reporting in the public's interest --- I hope his no-holds-barred conversation with Cramer will lead to a similar re-thinking of the role of broadcast business journalism.

* * *

Stewart's similarly stunning October 15th, 2004 appearance on CNN's Crossfire is re-posted below for your convenience, the video, and highlights from the text transcript were originally posted here...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2009 1:33pm PT  

According to Media Matters, 'liberal', 'Obama-loving' MSNBC has now shown the following misleading graphic at least twice to support stories suggesting that Barack Obama is somehow responsible for the alarming drop in the Dow-Jones industrial average...

And here is the graphic they are not showing, making it quite clear that the plummet has little to do with Obama's Presidency...

The "Liberal Media" strikes again!

(For the record, Media Matters also notes that it's not just "liberal" MSNBC, of course. The wingnut propagandists at Bloomberg and WSJ, along with Fox "News'" Chris Wallace, are also banging the same misinformative drum. So, naturally, MSNBC finds it necessary to not miss a beat.)

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Jacobson on 3/1/2009 11:55am PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

In a primer on how to conduct an interview relying almost solely on Republican talking points, PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff discussed the new budget plan with White House Budget Director Peter Orszag on Wednesday night.

Woodruff's first question isn't necessarily a Republican talking point, but it might as well be.

JUDY WOODRUFF: $3.66 trillion, is that a number you can actually grasp?

Seriously, members of the mainstream media need to stop acting like they suddenly have the vapors over big government spending. The Republicans weren't the only ones to preside over the most reckless spending in our government's history over the last eight years, on a war of choice and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in an environment of profligate deregulation and zero investment in infrastructure and our citizens' future. Mainstream news outlets and their anchors and talking heads watched it all unfold while expressing little or no concern at the time.

Woodruff's second question is like a GOP talking-point smorgasbord...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/25/2009 10:02am PT  

Sounds about right to us...

Journalists, so concerned with being accused of having a liberal agenda, will at times overreact by self-censoring themselves, resulting in more favorable coverage of Republicans, a new analysis of television coverage finds.

A book by two Indiana University professors details their study of the three broadcast networks' --- ABC, CBS and NBC --- presidential campaign coverage from 1992 to 2004. According to the analysis, the coverage favored Republican candidates in each election.

"We don't think this is journalists conspiring to favor Republicans. We think they're just so beat up and tired of being accused of a liberal bias that they unknowingly give Republicans the benefit in coverage," said Maria Elizabeth Grabe, an associate professor at IU, who along with Associate Professor Erik Bucy, wrote Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections.
...
"Grabe and Bucy found the volume of news coverage focusing exclusively on each party --- one measure of media bias --- favored Republicans. Their research found there were more single-party stories about Republicans overall and in each election year except 1992," reads the release.
...
The authors found that Republicans were more likely to get the last word in every presidential election studied but the 2004 election.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2009 11:00am PT  

From last night's Colbert Report:

"In the milky way of punditry, there are white dwarfs and there are flaming balls of gas...But tonight I'm proud to announce there's a new worm hole to a parallel world. Glenn Beck has a new show on Fox News and it is great!"

Colbert's probing look at the whacked-out world of the whacked-out Beck, as now proudly featured on everyone's favorite whacked-out cable "news" channel, courtesy of RAW STORY...

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2009 12:38pm PT  

Via Media Matters...During Fox "News'" Happening Now show this morning, host Jon Scott claimed "the Senate is expected to pass the $838 billion stimulus plan --- its version of it, anyway. We thought we'd take a look back at the bill, how it was born, and how it grew, and grew, and grew..."

Trouble is, the "we" Scott mentions wasn't Fox. It was the Senate Republican Communications Center (SRCC), and the resultant "news" analysis, was virtually an exact repetition of a news release the SRCC issued earlier today.

In addition to turning the exact quotes from the press releases into graphics, Fox even replicated a typo from one of them, on the final graphic, as referring to a Wall Street Journal report from "12/9/09." (That's almost a year from now, for those not paying too close attention.)

Video of the Fox "News" "report" is at right, and you may compare it to the SRCC's press release --- including the typo --- here. (We've taken the liberty of archiving the original version here, just in case they decide to change it.)

Other than that, the outfit is completely legitimate, like totally fair and balanced, and not associated with the Republican Party in any way.

UPDATE 2/11/09: After a day of getting pounded by the media for the above, Fox News issues an apology...for the typo.

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Scott Horton says paper conflated Dubya's program of kidnap, long-term foreign imprisonment and torture with older, less-nefarious anti-terror tool...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2009 11:41am PT  

From Scott Horton at Harper's...

In a breathless piece of reporting in the Sunday Los Angeles Times, we are told that Barack Obama “left intact” a “controversial counter-terrorism tool” called renditions. Moreover, the Times states, quoting unnamed “current and former U.S. intelligence figures,” Obama may actually be planning to expand the program. The report notes the existence of a European Parliament report condemning the practice, but states “the Obama Administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush Administration’s war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.”

The Los Angeles Times just got punked.

Horton --- who testified as an expert witness for the European Parliament report mentioned --- says the paper conflated the controversial Bush program, which often included torture and long-term abduction into secret CIA-run prisons in foreign countries, and a significantly less nefarious type of rendition, in use since the early 90's, and perhaps even during the Reagan era.

He explains the difference between the pre-Dubya "renditions program", which an Executive Order from Obama has not ended, versus Dubya's "extraordinary renditions program" which Obama has outlawed (despite media reports over the last several days to the contrary), thusly...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2009 2:46pm PT  

The previous media excuse, during the last administration, for so many more Rs than Ds on television news, was that Republicans were in power of both the White House and Congress. Of course, now that Democrats control both, well, as ThinkProgress detailed last week the more things change...


As Media Matters has documented, during the Bush administration, the media consistently allowed conservatives to dominate their shows, booking them as guests far more often than progressives. The rationale was that Republicans were “in power.”

It appears that old habits die hard. Even though President Obama and his team are in control of the executive branch and Democrats are in the majority in Congress, the cable networks are still turning more often to Republicans and allowing them to set the agenda on major issues, most recently on the debate over the economic recovery package.
...
The media have been aiding their efforts. In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that the five cable news networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business and CNBC — have hosted more Republican lawmakers to discuss the plan than Democrats by a 2 to 1 ratio this week:
...
In total, from 6 AM on Monday to 4 PM on Wednesday, the networks have hosted Republican lawmakers 51 times and Democratic lawmakers only 24 times.

All of that said, and with so much more irrefutable, hard data-be-damned to go with it, I've found, when out and about in the world, the "Myth of the Liberal Media" remains, to this day, among the most enduring of all unshakable, faith-based religious tenets of the Hopelessly Wingnutted Dead-Enders.

UPDATE: In related news, Eric Boehlert notices how "Right on cue, the White House press awakens from its Bush slumber," just in time for another Democrat in the Oval Office. Who could have predicted it?

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Two Segments, Four Guests, All Republicans...
By Brad Jacobson on 1/29/2009 3:03pm PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

If you're Chris Matthews and you're attempting to regain a reputation for being "fair and balanced" after famously exhibiting excitement about Barack Obama and his presidential campaign, what do you do? How about facilitating a discussion about Obama's proposed stimulus plan with two lawmakers from the same party, the Republican Party?

That's precisely what Matthews did during a segment on his January 27 edition of Hardball, inviting only Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Representative Mike Pence, the House Republican Conference Chair, to discuss the plan.


Not enough?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Endowment would save struggling papers from need to meet profit goals, while promoting journalistic independence, argue financial analyst authors...
By Brad Friedman on 1/28/2009 1:09pm PT  

In light of mainstream newspapers beginning to collapse around the country --- yes, the rise of the Internet is a substantial reason for the troubles they face, but their own failures, for so many long years, to meet their Constitutionally protected role as Fourth Estate watchdogs for the American people is also key to their downfall --- we're faced with a dilemma.

While they are, in many ways, responsible for their own potential/pending demise --- evidence for that critique littered throughout thousands of our very own pages here --- we also recognize the critical importance of a robust, well-funded, mainstream free press.

So what to do? In an op-ed in today's New York Times, David Swensen and Michael Schmidt (both financial analysts) suggest the nation's mainstream newspapers should go non-profit and be turned into endowed institutions "like colleges and universities" to "enhance newspapers’ autonomy while shielding them from the economic forces that are now tearing them down."

We don't yet have an opinion on this new idea, so we share it here in hopes of your thoughts on it. One point, however, in Swensen and Schimdt's argument is particularly tantalizing: the "journalistic independence" they contend we might see in such an overhaul of our nation's old media...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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