February 21, 2006

“Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” on Sundance West Today (Monday)

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 20, 2006 @ 10:31 am
Filed under: Media Watch

I’m in Minnesota and I get the cable channel “Sundance West.”

At 2PM Central today, they are showing a documentary narrated by Matt Damon.

It’s about the “life and times of Howard Zinn: the historian, activist, and author of several classics including A Peoples History of the United States. [It has] archival footage, and commentary by friend, colleagues and Zinn himself.”

I haven’t seen it before, and I’ll tune in.


Maureen Dowd on Cheney’s Secrecy

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 19, 2006 @ 7:16 pm
Filed under: Government

Maureen Dowd is a columnist for the New York Times.

She was on the TV show “Meet the Press” this morning and discussed how Dick Cheney didn’t inform the press on Saturday following his hunting accident. She tied it to his penchant for secrecy:

MAUREEN DOWD: We don’t know [Vice President Dick Cheney’s] schedule. We don’t always know where he is. We don’t know what democratic institution he’s blowing off at any given minute, and so this allowed us to see how his behavior and judgment operated pretty much in real time — with the delay, but pretty much in real time. …

And it covered all the problems of the Bush/Cheney administration: secrecy and stonewalling, then blowing off the rules that are at the heart of our democracy, then using a filter to try and put the truth out in a way that would most suit their political needs, and then bad political judgment in bungling a crisis.

I mean, if there’s one thing the Republicans are great at since Reagan, it’s damage control. But he is such a control freak, you know, he doesn’t even care about the damage. … Mary [Matalin], it isn’t only the press. He blows off the FISA courts, he blows off the Geneva Conventions, he blows off the U.N. to go to Iraq. He wants to blow off everything. He’s got a fever of about presidential erosion just the way he had a fever about going into Iraq.

By “presidential erosion” Maureen Dowd probably means the moves to limit presidential power in the post-Nixon years which Cheney seems to want to reverse (based on remakrks Dowd has made elsewhere.)


Jill Carroll: Is There Enough Public Debate About Her Situation?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 17, 2006 @ 12:18 pm
Filed under: Government, Media Watch, Free Press

Kidnappers in Iraq are threatening to kill Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll unless the five female Iraqi prisoners of the US military are released.

Fair.org summarizes an LA Times op-ed by Peter Singer:

The controversial philosopher asks about abducted Iraq correspondent Carroll: “Why… has there been so little discussion of whether we should meet the demands [of her kidnappers]? With a human life at stake, is it right not even to debate her case?” Singer calls for the government to release information on the female Iraqi prisoners whose release is being demanded, so that “we could begin to have an informed debate” on the subject.

Good point. The public has been given no evidence I’m aware of that the female prisoners of the US in Iraq have committed crimes.

Peter Singer writes:

I don’t know enough about the grounds on which these women are being held. The Bush administration could at least tell us that. Then we could begin to have an informed debate on what we should do. But as Carroll has said, we need to do it fast.


AP Reporter: “Cheney Took Full Responsibility for the Shooting”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 17, 2006 @ 10:40 am
Filed under: Media Watch, Bizarre, Free Press

AP writer Lynn Brezosky has a bizarre idea of what it means to take responsibility for something.

Brezosky declares:

Cheney took full responsibility for the shooting in an interview Wednesday with Fox News, his first public comments since it happened.

Taking responsibility is a matter of timing. We wouldn’t even know about the shooting if it were up to Cheney. He didn’t contact the press, and his Secret Service agents kept the cops from talking to him until the next day.

It would be fine for an AP reporter to write, “Cheney said…,” but not to characterize taking responsibility this way.

When a hit-and-run driver is caught and pleads guilty, does Lynn Brezosky write that the driver “took full responsibility”?


“Google Current” Expansion

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 17, 2006 @ 10:32 am
Filed under: TV

Every half-hour, Current TV has a feature called Google Current.

Popular searches at Google are used as a springboard for discussion. The typical length of these features has recently expanded from 2 1/2 minutes to 3 minutes. Also, there is now a bigger section of the Current TV website with archives of the feature. You can watch it there even if you don’t get the channel.


Cheney’s Hunting as Iraq War Metaphor

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 17, 2006 @ 10:01 am
Filed under: Government, Media Watch

Echidne explains one reason for the press interest:

The whole episode serves as an admirable parable of this administration: Picking targets that they think are easy (…birds in this case), then finding out that the whole thing turned into a disaster (shooting yourself or someone on your side), then exhibiting a certain callousness about the whole thing (going to have the meal as planned) and then trying to keep everything a secret.

It sounds like attacking Iraq, being over-confident about the outcome without any actual evidence, making a complete mess of it, not caring about the suffering that was caused and then trying to make sure that nobody has pictures of the coffins.


Bill O’Reilly Bunk on the “Left-Wing” Media

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 17, 2006 @ 7:11 am
Filed under: Media Watch, Free Press, TV

Bill O’Reilly told his radio audience on February 13 how liberal the media is.

As evidence, O’Reilly rattled off the names of newspapers and declared them “left-wing,” including five newspapers which endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2004.

Hartford Courant, which O’Reilly described as “left-wing”
New York Daily News, “pretty much left-wing”
Houston Chronicle, “left-wing”
The Dallas Morning News, “drifting left”
The Denver Post, “left-wing”

A newspaper which endorsed Bush or Kerry in 2004 may be centrist, depending on the rest of its content. But to call a newspaper which endorsed Bush in 2004 “left-wing” is dubious (unless the newspaper has completely changed in under two years.)

« Secular vs. Secularist »

O’Reilly included in these remarks against the supposedly liberal media:

Anyway, Fox News has risen up to become a major force — factor, if you will — in America. And it is a counter to the secular progressive, left-wing media, which dominates the newspaper industry and is very sympathetic in the television industry. And everybody knows that.

Note the use of the word “secular.” Bill O’Reilly uses the word when religion isn’t even under discussion. It’s an attempt to exploit religion to divide people. Of course, MSNBC is secular. Fox News is secular, too. These networks aren’t owned by a church, they don’t have prayer shows, they aren’t marketed as being for believers in God, and they don’t have sermons telling people to embrace God.

Maybe O’Reilly is confusing “secular” (not affiliated with religion) with “secularist” (supporting separation of church and state.)

Or maybe O’Reilly knows the difference between the words, but says “secular” anyway to imply that people who work for media other than Fox News aren’t religious.

The opposite of secular is religious, and O’Reilly seems to want people to think he’s religious. The opposite of secularist is theocratic, and O’Reilly probably doesn’t want to be considered theocratic.

« The Washington Post »

Bill O’Reilly also said during these remarks, “Washington Post, left-wing.”

That is a misleading description of a centrist newspaper. While the Washington Post endorsed Kerry for president in 2004, they have also supported cutting Social Security benefits, and opposed a filibuster of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.


John Edwards on “The Majority Report” Tonight (Thursday)

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 16, 2006 @ 1:37 pm
Filed under: Government, Radio

John Edwards (D-NC) ran for vice president in 2004 (Dick Cheney kept that office, instead.)

Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder are the co-hosts of the talk-show “The Majority Report,” which is on Air America Radio weeknights from 7Pm-10PM Eastern Time.

Tonight (Thursday), John Edwards will be a guest on “The Majority Report.” According to the AAR website, he’ll be discussing “his work fighting poverty and his involvement with UNITE HERE’s ‘Hotel Workers Rising‘ tour to raise awareness about the struggles of America’s hotel workers.”

You can listen for free tonight, no registration required at the AAR website.


Dubious CBS Reporting Helps Dick Cheney

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 16, 2006 @ 11:13 am
Filed under: Government, Media Watch

From CBS News via SusanG:

CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger reports another source within the White House said “you can imagine how upset the vice president is,” adding that the Whittington family is worried about Cheney.

If you want to know how the Whittington family is feeling, ask them. If they don’t want to talk, let the public use their common sense about how they’re feeling. Don’t take the word of an anonymous White House source.

If you’re desperate for a quote about that, quote me as saying “The Whittington family is more worried about Harry Whittington than about Dick Cheney.”

« Anonymous Sources »

In the case of a government expose, the use of anonymous sources is acceptable. But CBS shouldn’t use anonymous sources to tell us that Dick Cheney is upset and that the Whittington family is worried about Cheney.

1 Comment

Man Harrassed for Anti-War Sign by Homeland Security Officer

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 16, 2006 @ 10:41 am
Filed under: Government, Free Speech?

Dwight Scarbrough in truck with sign on left hand door saying DEATH IN IRAQ IS NOT A CAREER OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG AMERICANS
Dwight Scarborough

From an article by Nicholas Collias for the Boise Weekly:

People are allowed to park on federal property with signs on their cars and trucks. But not according to two “Homeland Security” officers:

Dwight Scarbrough’s idea of political dissent is one that rubs some people the wrong way. He likes to blame his compulsion for peaceful troublemaking on his birthday: October 2, the same as Ghandi. However, a few of Scarbrough’s techniques are all his own–especially when it comes to his truck.

…On the back [of his truck], he tapes weekly updates of the number of U.S. soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq. Beneath that, on a large, white (and also taped-on) placard: “Support our returning troops and their families when they need help: Give them this number: GI RIGHTS HOTLINE: 1-800-394-9544.” On both doors, in bold capital letters: “DEATH IN IRAQ IS NOT A CAREER OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG AMERICANS.” Taking up nearly half of the back window: “Veterans for Peace Chapter 117, Idaho.” On the driver’s side wheel well, also in all caps: “PERHAPS GOD BLESSES EVERY NATION, NOT JUST THE USA.” And interspersed between them all, he places a variety of purchased bumper stickers and magnetic ribbons reading, among other sentiments, “Support our Troops: Bring them Home Now,” “Support Diversity” and “Honor Vets, Wage Peace.

…On February 7, Scarbrough went to his job like any other day. He is a scientist with a federal agency in Boise–one that is part of the executive branch, ironically–and he parked in his usual spot, just outside of the federal Natural Resource Center on Vinnell Way in Boise, kitty corner to a Wal-Mart, a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center and a 21-screen Edwards cineplex. Made up of two large, square brick buildings (VERIFY), the complex houses a variety of federal offices including the Social Security Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, among others. But despite the fact that most of the employees in the complex can, at least officially, consider George W. Bush their boss, Scarbrough has taken remarkably little grief for his strident anti-Bush views and props. Even those who don’t agree with his message usually tolerate it.

…Around 2:15 p.m., Scarbrough says, he answered his office phone and found himself talking to a man who identified himself as Officer R. of the Department of Homeland Security. (I’m withholding the officer’s name; you know, what with Plamegate and all.) Scarbrough was told that he was in violation of the Code of Federal Regulations, the set of rules that govern all executive departments and agencies, and that he was in danger of being cited unless he came out to the parking lot or let the officer come up to his office. Scarbrough chose the first option, and took along a co-worker–also a veteran–and, being an experienced peace activist, a tape recorder. Downstairs, they found two armed officers with “Homeland Security” insignia patches on their shoulders, waiting for them in large white SUVs. Scarbrough informed the officers that he would record their converation, and what follows is the transcript of that recording.

Officer: Step back here please.

Dwight Scarbrough: Let’s have a seat.

O: I’d like to talk to you.

DS: Let’s have a seat.

O: Sir, come over here please.

DS: I don’t want to come over there. I want to sit down.

O: Let me tell you what’s going on here. OK, there’s a violation of the code of federal regulations.

DS: For what?

O: The CFR. 41, CFR, 102, 74, 415. Posting or affixing signs, pamphlets, handbills or flyers on federal property. Do you understand that?

DS: I’m not doing anything on federal property.

O: Yes, sir, you’ve got signs posted on your vehicle. I’m informing you that you’re in violation.

DS: That’s not illegal. That’s not illegal.

O: You’re posting …

…O: You’re posting signs on this property.

DS: I am not posting signs. That’s on a private vehicle.

O: Sir, I’m here to tell you now that you have to remove those signs.

…D: So any vehicle that comes on with, like, a police sign, or with delivery or FedEx or something, that’s not a sign?

O: All signs are prohibited–

I find it difficult to believe that this officer tells police and FedEx deliverymen that they’re not allowed to park on federal property because of the signs on their cars.


Jack Cafferty of CNN Questions Dick Cheney’s “Courage”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 16, 2006 @ 6:41 am
Filed under: Government, TV

Yesterday, Jack Cafferty questioned Dick Cheney’s decision to talk to a Fox News host about the hunting accident instead of the full press corp.

From Media Bistro’s TV Newser via DC Media Girl:

After admitting he hasn’t seen the full interview with Dick Cheney yet, CNN’s Jack Cafferty had the following to say on The Situation Room at 4:15pm:

“I would guess it didn’t exactly represent a profile in courage for the vice president to wander over there to the F-word network for a sit down with Brit Hume. I mean, that’s a little like Bonnie interviewing Clyde, ain’t it? Where was the news conference? Where was the access to all of the members of the media?”

The interview between Brit Hume and Dick Cheney on Fox News wasn’t aired live.

Video of Jack Cafferty’s remarks is at Media Matters for America.


Rush Limbaugh Inserts Racial Angle

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 15, 2006 @ 9:30 pm
Filed under: Government, Media Watch, Radio

face of Sherrod Brown young man smiling.
Sherrod Brown

Paul Hackett smiling and wearing a tie.
Paul Hackett

Two white candidates were both running for the Democratic nomination for US Senator from Ohio. One dropped out, and radio host Rush Limbaugh said there is a “racial component.”

The Democratic nominee for US Senate in Ohio will be Sherrod Brown.

His Democratic competition was Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett, who dropped out because he didn’t have the support of Senate Democratic leaders and because he hadn’t raised enough money.

While Sherrod Brown is white (as is Paul Hackett), Rush Limbaugh attacked the New York Times yesterday for not reporting that he’s black.

And don’t forget, Sherrod Brown is black. There’s a racial component here, too. And now, the newspaper that I’m reading all this from is The New York Times, and they, of course, don’t mention that. But — you know, “Democratic leaders say that Representative Sherrod Brown, a seven-term incumbent from Avon, has a far better chance of toppling Senator DeWine than does the — Hackett.”


Uh, Sherrod Brown’s a white guy? Then I’m confusing him with somebody. OK, I’m sorry. I thought Sherrod Brown was — I’m — I’m confusing him with somebody then. Must be somebody in New York has got a similar name…


For those of you who continue to email me, even though I have made the correction — let me make the correction again. I erred when I said that Sherrod Brown is black. I’m confusing him with somebody with a similar name in the Democratic Party somewhere. But we have — we have corrected this, and I, you know, I’m not gonna apologize, ’cause I don’t think it’s an insult to be black. But — but I did err. He is — his is — he is — he is not black. He’s one of these white European descendents in Ohio. He’s the guy that — that the Democrats have kicked Paul Hackett out of the race for the Senate seat in Ohio against Mike DeWine. And it really boils down to a matter of money, plus they don’t like military guys in the, in the Democratic Party.

Paul Hackett is a veteran of the Iraq War.

The last two Democratic nominees for president (Al Gore, John Kerry) are Vietnam veterans. But according to Rush Limbaugh, Paul Hackett was forced out of the primary by the Democratic Party for being a “military guy.”

Imagine millions of people listening to Rush Limbaugh. Sheesh. He’s the #1 talk radio host.

« What’s Wrong With This? »

It could happen to anyone to confuse names and say in passing that someone is black who is white or vice versa. It’s Rush Limbaugh’s attack on the New York Times for not reporting that Sherrod Brown is black which makes this so dubious. Limbaugh proceeded to compound his bogus theories by declaring that Democrats don’t want a “miltary guy” as a candidate.

In actuality, plenty of Democratic candidates previously served in the military (JFK, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry, etc.)


Actor Bruce Willis Explains His Politics

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 15, 2006 @ 6:51 pm
Filed under: Government

From Cinematic Happenings Under Development:

Q: You are one of the few major Hollywood stars who are proud to be Republican…

Willis: Let me stop you right there. I’m a Republican — and everybody write this down because I’m sick of answering this fucking question.

Q: Can I continue –

Willis: You can continue, but let me answer that part of it. I’m a Republican only as far as I want a smaller government, I want less government intrusion, I want them to stop pissing on my money and your money, the tax dollars that we give 50 per cent of or 40 per cent of every year, and I want them to be fiscally responsible, and I want these goddamn lobbyists out of Washington.

Do that and I’ll say I’m a Republican.

But other than that, I want the government to take care of people who need help, like the kids in foster care, the half a million kids who are in orphanages right now, they call them foster homes but they’re orphanages. I want them to take care of the elderly and give them free medicine, give them whatever they need.

There’s tons, billions and billions of dollars that are just being wasted. Okay? I hate government. I’m apolitical. Write that down. I’m not a Republican.

If he wants more fiscal responsiblity, less government intrusion, more regulation of lobbyists, taking care of the elderly, etc., he should go beyond “I’m not a Republican” to supporting Democrats.

There was less government spending under President Clinton, no Terri Schiavo bill, and no presidential plan to ruin Social Security.

1 Comment

The Press Finally Gets More Abu Ghraib Photos

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 15, 2006 @ 7:08 am
Filed under: Government, Free Press

Details at a Daily Kos diary by waitingtoderail, including photos of men at the prison in Iraq who appear to be tortured by the US.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Although a US judge last year granted the union access to the photographs following a freedom-of-information request, the US Administration has appealed against the decision on the grounds their release would fuel anti-American sentiment.

Unfortunately, interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual are classifed as of December 2005, and so while the public now has more information available on what has been done in the past, we’re still in the dark about what is going on now.

The public has a right to know about the interrogation techniques which our tax dollar are paying for. Democracy and secrecy don’t go together.


A Second Warrantless Wiretapping Program?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 15, 2006 @ 6:59 am
Filed under: Government

From UPI via Raw Story:

A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans’ Constitutional rights.

Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a “special access” electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress.

Tice said he believes it violates the Constitution’s protection against unlawful search and seizures but has no way of sharing the information without breaking classification laws. He is not even allowed to tell the congressional intelligence committees - members or their staff - because they lack high enough clearance.

It’s undemocratic to keep the public in the dark about how our government is operating.

It’s undemocratic and a violation of checks-and-balanaces to also keep our elected representatives in Congress in the dark.

1 Comment

“Hardball” Panel with No Liberals

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 14, 2006 @ 10:03 pm
Filed under: Media Watch, TV

The news discussion show “Hardball” is on MSNBC each weeknight.

On the February 10, 2006 edition, Chris Matthews hosted a panel of Rita Cosby, Tucker Carlson, and Joe Scarborough. No liberals.


MSNBC Scrubbed Alcohol Issue About Cheney From Their Website

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 14, 2006 @ 7:20 pm
Filed under: Government, Free Press

Details in a Daily Kos diary by Johnny Cougar.

Image of article as it orginally appeared via Raw Story.

« Update of Evening of February 15, 2006 »

There is now a third version of the MSNBC article in which the issue of alcohol is mentioned.


Propaganda Fight “Struck Out”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 14, 2006 @ 4:23 pm
Filed under: Government, Free Press, TV

The Bush Administration produces fake TV news.

The pieces which are sometimes played on the local news are called “video news releases,” and may include dubious reports on the greatness of Bush’s Medicare bill. This is a big program; the “Bush administration has spent $1.6 billion in public relations contracts since 2003.”

The fight against this propaganda isn’t going well.

There is a bill in Congress to address covert propaganda, the Lautenberg-Kerry “Truth in Broadcasting Act.” It requires “clear notification” and it may or may not pass. But if it does pass, that isn’t enough.

The original bill required disclosure throughout the video. However:

[Struck out->] `(A) to be visible for the entire duration of the prepackaged news story; and [< -Struck out]

[Struck out->] `(B) to include the conspicuous display of the statement `PRODUCED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’; and [< -Struck out]

That good part of the bill was “struck out” (between April 28, 2005 when the good version was in the Senate and December 20, 2005 when the bad version was in the Senate.)

Instead, we have the vague and nearly worthless “clear notification” requirement.

It’s too easy for a news department to ignore a quick message on a video that it’s from the government and not tell the audience. If there were a requirement for a graphic throughout which said, “PRODUCED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT” at least if the new department considered deleting it they’d probably have a sense that it would be unethical.


CNN Reporter: Dick Cheney “Loves to Hunt” While John Kerry “Spent Time Posing with Guns”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 14, 2006 @ 1:37 pm
Filed under: Government, Media Watch, TV

More right-wing bias from CNN.

Media Matters for America notes:

In a report on hunting and politics, CNN’s Bruce Morton commented that President Bush “likes to hunt quail with family and friends” and Vice President Dick Cheney “loves to hunt,” but — using language that echoed that of Cheney during the 2004 campaign — said Sen. John Kerry “spent time posing with guns” during the 2004 presidential campaign, and that “voters probably saw more of him pursuing exotic sports, windsurfing and so on.”

Despite this dubious “posing” knock on John Kerry, CNN has previously reported that John Kerry has been hunting since he was 12 or 13.

Regarding the underlying story of Dick Cheney’s hunting accident, I think it’s disgusting how the Secret Service prevented the local sheriff’s department from interviewing Dick Cheney on Saturday after it happened. The Secret Service members responsible should be charged with obstruction of justice.

The Secret Service finally allowed the sheriff’s department to interview Cheney on Sunday morning. Why the delay? Was Cheney intoxicated? Was Cheney trying to get someone else to take the fall?


“Current TV” and MTV

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 14, 2006 @ 1:11 pm
Filed under: Media Watch, TV

Cable channel “Current TV” shows short videos about news and culture. They call the short videos “pods.”

Some of these pods are submissions from ordinary people. “Current TV” calls these “VC2,” Viewer Created Content. Aline Allegra is the senior producer of the VC2 program. She used to be a producer for MTV News.

Aline Allegra recently had this to say about how “Current TV” related to MTV:

When I first started working for MTV I was blown away by the marriage of music and imagery and story. Now we’re adding information and bringing in the power of individual voice.

To combine all that is really the power of the pod. In order for me to want to sit through half an hour or an hour of something on TV I have to know that I’m already very compelled by that subject matter. One great thing about our model is the progress bar. It lets you know how long you have left in each pod and you’re always curious about what’s coming on next. I love that it gets people to tune in and learn things they wouldn’t otherwise be looking for.


“The Majority Report”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 13, 2006 @ 9:02 pm
Filed under: Radio

Sam Seder and Janeane Garofalo are co-hosting the radio show, again.

For about six months, Sam Seder had mostly been hosting solo, sometimes with Janeane Garofalo calling in for a couple of segments.

You can listen to “The Majority Report” online between 7PM and 10PM Eastern Time at the “Air America Radio” website.

The main AAR internet stream is free, no registration required.


The Village Voice: Moving to the Right?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 13, 2006 @ 3:29 pm
Filed under: Free Press, Media Concentration

From fair.org:

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Lacey to Voice Staff: Drop dead (2/10/06) by Tim Redmond

The legally questionable merger of the Village Voice and New Times Media makes the two largest alternative newspaper groups in the U.S. into one massively powerful chain—and its owners lose no time in reportedly ordering an end to what remained of the once-strong critical stance of the Voice.

According to sources who were present at the meeting, [owner Mike Lacey] announced that the Voice news section was too soft because it was full of commentary and criticism of the Bush administration. He said he didn’t want any more commentary.

As far as I know, the merger is legal. That doesn’t mean that current US law concerning media concentration is as tough as it should be.

More media concentration and another news organization moving to the right is bad for consumers.


“Scarborough Country” Spews Right-Wing Garbage

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 12, 2006 @ 2:42 pm
Filed under: Government, Media Watch

Coretta Scott King probably in 2003 on CNN

Coretta Scott King

Reverend Joseph Lowery said at the funeral of Coretta Scott King on Tuesday:

[Coretta Scott King] extended Martin’s message against poverty, racism and war. She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions. We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew, and we know there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance, poverty abound. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor.

This was greeted with blather from right-wing pundits about how terrible the funeral speakers were.

After all, they talked about her political work and its continuing relevance.

Joe Scarborough on his MSNBC show on Tuesday kept asking if Coretta Scott King ever criticized George W. Bush while sharing a stage with him, implying that it was wrong for Rev. Joseph Lowery to point out Bush’s policy of spending for war what could be spent on the poor.

Joe Scarborough also asked guest (and fellow MSNBC host) Tucker Carlson, “Doesn‘t that turn off millions and millions of Americans when you exploit a funeral to make partisan attacks.”

Tucker Carson replied, “Well, it‘s completely graceless. It‘s also rude as hell, by the way, since the president is sitting right there.. You can also eat with your hands, but you don‘t.”

Great analogy, Mr. Carlson! Speaking about the fight against racism, war, and poverty at the funeral of someone who fought for those things equals eating with your hands.

By the way, I just watched Rev. Lowery’s complete remarks rebroadcast on CNN, and I noticed that among the many people who gave him a standing ovation at the end were George W. Bush.

Tucker Carlson dismissed any reference to the Iraq War as merely “the politics of the moment.”

Joe Scarborough belittled the Iraq War as well, saying “Well, you know, Tucker… my biggest problem with it is that somebody like Coretta Scott King and her husband, they transcend the Iraq war…They transcend NSA wiretapping. They transcend all these little nitpicking issues.”

The Iraq War could cost a trillion dollars, and has probably caused 100,000 additional deaths in Iraq, and has poisoned their environment with depleted uranium. It’s not a nitpicking issue.

Coretta Scott King opposed the war before it started, and she was right.

Also, the Iraq War was hardly the only topic discussed by Reverend Joseph Lowery and others. He put it in the bigger context of her fight for peace and social justice.


Wal-Mart Movie May Get Distribution in Europe

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 12, 2006 @ 6:08 am
Filed under: Media Watch

The documentary “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” is available in the US on DVD.

Attempts at getting the movie shown in Europe are discussed by Reuters reporter Erik Kirschbaum:

(Berlin) A documentary on the perils of runaway capitalism that spotlights Wal-Mart screened at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, and interest among European distributors and television networks has been strong.

The feature-length documentary focuses on working conditions at the U.S. retail giant and argues that the company treats its employees shabbily in pursuit of maximum profit.

“Wal-Mart is the poster child for the worst in corporate behavior,” U.S. director Robert Greenwald said in an interview after his film, “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price,” screened to a large and appreciative audience.

“But it is not only Wal-Mart, it is these issues that affect all of us all around the world.”

Wal-Mart, based in Betonville, Arkansas, has criticized the film by saying it is not an accurate portrayal of the company.

…Greenwald’s film, which has sold 110,000 DVDs since November and been shown in a limited theatrical release in the United States, was quickly snapped up by distributors in Britain, Germany and Australia.

The film…shows how Wal-Mart moved into two small towns in Ohio and Missouri, among other places, and how family-owned stores folded after its arrival.


Ban On Musical “Grease,” Drama “The Crucible”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 11, 2006 @ 6:20 pm
Filed under: SpeakSpeak, PTC, Government, Ban It!, TV, Indecency

Fulton, Missouri superintendent bans high school performances of “Grease” and “The Crucible.”

Rules the district with an iron fist?

From a New York Times article by Diana Jean Schemo:

When Wendy DeVore, the drama teacher at Fulton High here, staged the musical “Grease,” about high school students in the 1950’s, she carefully changed the script to avoid causing offense in this small town.She softened the language, substituting slang for profanity in places. Instead of smoking “weed,” the teenagers duck out for a cigarette. She rated the production PG-13, advising parents it was not suitable for small children.

But a month after the performances in November, three letters arrived on the desk of Mark Enderle, Fulton’s superintendent of schools. Although the letters did not say so, the three writers were members of a small group linked by e-mail, all members of the same congregation, Callaway Christian Church.Each criticized the show, complaining that scenes of drinking, smoking and a couple kissing went too far, and glorified conduct that the community tries to discourage. One letter, from someone who had not seen the show but only heard about it, criticized “immoral behavior veiled behind the excuse of acting out a play.”Dr. Enderle watched a video of the play, ultimately agreeing that “Grease” was unsuitable for the high school, despite his having approved it beforehand, without looking at the script.

Hoping to avoid similar complaints in the future, he decided to ban the scheduled spring play, “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller.”That was me in my worst Joe McCarthy moment, to some,” Dr. Enderle said.

He called “The Crucible” “a fine play,” but said he dropped it to keep the school from being “mired in controversy” all spring.

One irony is that “The Crucible” was about witch-hunts and metaphorically about Republican Senator Joe McCarthy’s anti-artist crusade.

Another irony is that the kids who were rehersing “Grease” could have been somewhere else drinking alcohol, but were doing something constructive, instead. I’m glad they were allowed to put it on before the superintendent decided it was unsuitable.

The superintendent should have sought more input from the community than the three letters before reaching a decision on the musical or the play.

« SpeakSpeak »

The concept of this website, SpeakSpeak, relates to what happened in Fulton, Missouri.

For years, Brent Bozell’s “Parents Television Council” asked people to write the FCC to complain about supposed “indecency” on TV, but no one was asking the public to present the other side to the FCC.

The founder of SpeakSpeak, Amanda Toering, came up with the idea of asking people to contact the FCC when they have concluded that controversial material isn’t indecent.


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