Category Archives: media fairness

The L Word

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while, I’ve been busy with some other stuff. And I’m trying to finish up a project this week so blogging may be light.

But I am just really confused about why the press is letting Mitt Romney get away with outright, repeated lies. My confusion is prompted by this post over at Blue Virginia. They link to Paul Krugman telling ABC News that

“The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths,” he said.

And, you know, bullshit. Am I the only one who remembers our glorious media calling Al Gore a liar over every little thing he said and didn’t say, but they pretended he said? After Al Gore’s first debate with George W. Bush — ABC News ran this atrocious hit piece. This was 12 years ago yesterday, people. The headline:

Al Gore Prone to Exaggeration

The lede:

This just in: Al Gore has a penchant for exaggeration.

ABC called Gore a liar over that stupid Texas wildfires/FEMA thing. It’s so lame it’s not even worth rehashing, but ABC was wrong and the point is, it’s a stupid thing anyway. But Mitt Romney can outright lie about everything that matters — his tax plan, his Medicare plan, the reason domestic coal production is down, etc. etc. etc. — and it’s fucking crickets.

So don’t tell me the media doesn’t know how to handle lies. They call Democrats liars all the time, even when we aren’t lying and yes, when we do. It seems what they don’t know how to handle are Republican liars. Especially presidential ones.

I’m going to crawl back in my hole now.


Filed under 2012 presidential election, Media, media fairness, media manipulation

Technically True But Still Utter BS

Ah, our glorious mainstream media. Here’s wishing they’d actually provide information, not, ya know, troll for clicks with sensational headlines:

Wind Farms Cause Global Warming!

That was the headline of an article in Forbes Magazine from April 30, 2012. And how about this one: “Wind farms can cause climate change, finds new study” from the Telegraph. Or this one from Fox News where they remove the word ‘can:’ “New Research Shows that Wind Farms Cause Global Warming.”

All of these articles have glommed onto a study published in Nature Climate Change on April 29, 2012. The title of that article? “Impacts of wInd farms on land surface temperature.”

It’s amazing how the media can distort the truth when it wants to. The observational study looked at west-central Texas where four of the world’s largest wind farms are located. From 2003-2011, recorded measurements of the local surface temperatures in the vicinity increased by 0.72 degrees Celsius, particularly at night compared with nearby non-wind farm locations. As the authors point out, “These changes, if spatially large enough, may have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate.”

The proposed mechanism is attributed to a changing distribution of air, swapping warmer air above with cooler air below as a result of the rotating motion of the turbines. There’s no net increase in heat, just a change in where it’s located. But this may have the possibility have affecting the regional weather patterns and even regional climate, if the effect is substantial enough

Back in my day this is what we’d call “media bias.” Apparently these days that’s reserved for networks that hire Rachel Maddow. Go figure.

Dibble notes that Forbes actually did provide the accurate information … eventually. But most readers probably didn’t read that far down the article — if they did more than scan the headline, that is. And this is what makes me nuts about most science reporting geared for us uneducated masses: it’s little more than click-bait. That might be fine on a story like “sugar makes you stupid!” — hey, we all know sugar is bad for you. But on an issue like climate change, where manufactured “controversy” has been foisted on the public to the detriment of the health of the entire planet so some rich oil Daddies can get even richer, well, it’s downright irresponsible. People need real reporting on climate change, not sensationalism and click-bait. It’s a complete abrogation of journalistic duty.



Filed under climate change, energy production, Media, media fairness

War On Christmas Is ON Beeyatches!


Now we know where The Hill’s Alicia M. Cohn gets her tips: a right-wing talking point factory known as The Heritage Foundation. Figures.


A tale of two stories about a 15-cent Christmas tree tax.

First, from The Hill:

Obama administration proposes 15-cent Christmas tree tax

By Alicia M. Cohn – 11/09/11 10:17 AM ET

The Obama administration is proposing a new tax on Christmas trees to fund a board promoting the holiday trees.

The Christmas Tree Promotion Board would be funded by a new 15 cent per tree tax on large-scale producers of Christmas trees. A group of Christmas tree producers and importers worried about the skyrocketing use of artificial trees proposed the new board.

Wow, that evil Mooslim Obama really does hate Christians! I knew it!

Hmm, but if you read the story at The Chicago Tribune you get a much different slant:

Christmas tree tax to promote the real thing

Agriculture Department approves 15-cent-per-tree fee on growers to fund industry program

WASHINGTON—— The Christmas tree ad wars are about to heat up, albeit in a rather jolly way.

Following an extended debate that pit one region against another, the Agriculture Department on Tuesday gave the green light to a new industry-funded Christmas tree promotion program.

By taxing themselves, growers will raise $2 million a year for ads promoting the merits of real, live trees. Or, at least, trees that once were living, as opposed to the artificial kind that have seized an increasing share of the holiday market.

So wait a minute … this is an industry-funded tax and the Dept. of Agriculture just gave it the green light? Because they have oversight over these kinds of taxes? It wasn’t something the Obama Administration cooked up because they’re so gol-durned concerned about what Christmas tree Americans choose each year? I’m so confused. Which one is it?

This is the kind of shit that makes me nuts. Cue Bill O’Reilly getting foamy mouthed about another salvo in the “war on Christmas.” Or don’t bother, just look at the first comment on The Hill story:

Now Obama wants to tax christians… nice
BY COREY on 11/09/2011 at 09:43

Nice framing over at The Hill, no doubt destined to launch a million crazy e-mails from Patriot Depot’s servers straight to your mother-in-law’s computer.

Love the liberal media.

Here are the screen shots. As always, click to enlarge:


Filed under Media, media fairness, media manipulation, War On Christmas

Your Modern Liberal Media

I’m so old, I remember when it was the height of treason to say you were ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas! Such words would get your career killed, corporate sponsorships dropped, and radio stations would host CD-crushing parties in your honor. Ah, the good old days!

But Mark Halperin, editor of the “liberal” Time Magazine and also its “senior political analyst,” can show up on Morning Joe, of the “liberal” MSNBC, and call President Obama a dick. And Morning Joke’s response? Classic denial:

“Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing? I can’t believe… don’t do that. Did we delay that?”

No, you didn’t delay it, thanks to a new producer who was unclear on how to use the delay button. It was the talk of Twitter this morning. Which is pretty hilarious. I guess if no one heard it, it never really happened, right?

Your modern liberal media at work, folks. Halperin has apologized and it’s all, bygones! Hey Republicans, can liberals get that deal? No? Why not?

IOKIYAR, that’s why.

[UDPATE]: And MSNBC suspends Halperin. Time should do so as well.


Of course, this is so much worse:

Judge Brinkema wrote in her opinion that in April 2003, Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser to President George W. Bush, and George J. Tenet, then the C.I.A. director, met with Mr. Risen and Jill Abramson, then the Times’s Washington bureau chief and now the newspaper’s managing editor, to ask them not to write about the agency’s effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Ms. Abramson later told the government the newspaper would not publish the article.

That’s the “liberal” New York Times, bowing to do the bidding of the Bush Administration, for like the gazillionth time. Remember: Judy Miller published her pro-war propaganda, all of which was proved to be false, in the pages of the Times.

The notion that our media is anything close to “liberal” is ludicrous.


Via Min in comments, courtesy of Nashville’s “liberal” NPR station, WPLN:

Haslam Opposes Big Jump in Fuel Economy Standards
Thursday, June 30th, 2011, by Daniel Potter

Tennessee’s Bill Haslam is among a group of fifteen governors from around the country asking the EPA and federal transportation officials not to push fuel economy too hard. Last week White House officials floated the idea of requiring all new vehicles to get better than 55 miles per gallon by 2025.

The group of governors is made up of 14 Republicans and one Democrat, many from states home to major carmakers. They argue against quote “overreaching regulations,” saying such high standards could drive up car prices, hurting sales and consumers.

Tennessee’s auto sector is huge, with thousands of workers for carmakers like Volkswagen and Nissan, as well as thousands more jobs in the parts-supply industry.

In 2009, the Obama administration raised standards to require carmakers to boost the average fuel efficiency of their vehicles to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. For a link to a letter sent by the 15 governors against the hypothetical further increase, click here.

No mention of the Haslam family business, Pilot Oil, the nation’s largest truck stop and travel center chain.


Thanks to reader Min, WPLN has fixed its online version of the story.


Filed under Joe Scarborough, Media, media fairness, NPR

>Today’s IOKIYAR: Asian Parody Edition

>Hey I know we’re all accustomed to hearing Rush Limbaugh spew intolerant, racist, bigoted nonsense. It’s like, “Really? In other news, water is still wet.”

So I really didn’t give two thoughts to Rush’s mockery of Chinese President Hu Jintao or the Chinese language, which he did not once but twice and which went on and on and on and on for what felt like a painful eternity.

But something seemed awfully familiar about the whole thing, and then I remembered when Rosie O’Donnell was raked over the coals by conservatives for essentially the same thing. Michelle Malkin, I recall, took special umbrage at O’Donnell’s insensitivity, even calling her an “obnoxious hypocrite” in this video:

So I’m sure Malkin will be all over Rush Limbaugh, right? Ha ha, don’t be silly. That stuff is just for liberals! IOKIYAR.

Okay, big deal. Conservatives are always reaching for their Faux Umbrage Concern Kits when a liberal does something, then looking the other way when a conservative like Limbaugh does the exact same thing. But I’m really sick of this stuff. And it’s not just the conservative media, either.

When Rosie O’Donnell does something like this, it’s front page news everywhere! It sparked a huge outcry from all quarters: the Asian American Journalists Assn., New York City Councilman John Liu, even hitting tabloids like People magazine. Liu even sent Barbara Walters this letter demanding that she hold O’Donnell accountable. It was a huge freaking deal and we didn’t hear the end of it for a week until O’Donnell had apologized three times.

Why is there no outrage about Limbaugh’s comments, save from the usual lefty quarters — Media Matters and the like? Why no articles in People magazine or demands for accountability from the Asian American community? Are we just so accustomed to Limbaugh saying racially charged, offensive things that he gets a pass? Why? Why does he get a pass? Why the double standard?

Mind you, I’m not saying Rosie O’Donnell shouldn’t have faced criticism for her parody in the national media, but if that’s the case then Limbaugh should too. It’s always this way and it’s pissing me off. Why is the Left always held to a higher standard than the guy who makes $40 million a year and has one of the highest rated radio and TV shows in the country and who is basically the de facto leader of the Republican Party because every time he says “jump” they say “how high?” Why is accountability always, always a one-way street in the national discourse? Why is the media always so quick to make an icon of the Left look bad, and so quick to ignore it when someone on the right does the same thing?

And here’s another thing: if the right wingers are going to call for the fainting couches every time a liberal does something, but completely ignore it when one of their folks does the exact same thing, doesn’t that signal an utter lack of credibility? Shouldn’t we just ignore them the next time they call for the the Faux Umbrage Concern Kits? Why are right wing pundits never called to account for that?

I know, you may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one! I’m just tired of seeing this same play over and over again.


Filed under media fairness, racism, right wing, Rush Limbaugh

Tea Party Perspective


For further perspective, note that in another part of the sprawling Opryland complex this weekend a group of 500 women bloggers, many of them “mommy bloggers,” gathered for their sold-out convention. To my knowledge no national news media covered the event. 500 women bloggers vs 600 right wing nutjobs in white wigs and tri-corner hats. Which one gets the national news media’s attention?

The New York Times did an awesome job of buying the spin that this is just a mainstream group of folks. Clearly they did not listen to any of the keynote speeches, in which we heard homophobic rants about morality, anti-immigrant bigotry from Tom Tancredo, and birther conspiracy theories.

So thanks, New York Times. Way to mainstream the Obama hate.


So everyone says around 600 people showed up for Nasvhille’s Tea Party Convention, right?

For some perspective, the first Netroots Nation drew over twice that amount:

But even after acknowledging this relevant context, what we’re left with is an event with 600 participants and a grand total of zero current House members, senators, or governors. There were, by some estimates, 200 journalists on hand to cover this convention, creating a bizarre dynamic — one reporter for every three participants.

It’s all terribly odd. The first Netroots Nation gathering (the conference formally known as Yearly Kos) had 1,400 attendees. The Tea Party convention had less than half this total.

The media attention seems a little disproportionate to what, by all appearances, was an underwhelming get-together.

Indeed it does. But this is just another case where the “liberal media” lie is shown in all of its glory.

And let’s remember the national media’s coverage of the left’s anti-war protests was tepid, at best. It seems if a bunch of liberals get together, it’s not news. But some wacko anti-gay, anti-immigrant right wing nutballs gather for three days of hating on the President and 200 media representatives descend on the convention hall.


Atrios is right, the right wing rules their world.


Filed under media fairness, Tea Party

>Putting Partisan Spin On A Claim Of Partisan Spin

>Local right-wing wackadoodle Phil Valentine makes one of his most ludicrous claims yet in Sunday’s Tennessean column. Looking for media bias in all the wrong places, Valentine wonders why the media have not covered tawdry, unsubstantiated rumors about John Edwards alleged by that bastion of journalistic integrity, The National Enquirer.

Valentine writes:

Is it true? Who knows? And that’s not really the point here. The point is the arbiters of news have a different set of standards as to what passes for news depending on the party affiliation of the person involved.

Valentine then has to go back a full 13 years to find an example of the “liberal” media attacking conservative Newt Gingrich over his affair (which, for the record, ended up being true).

Some would argue they printed Newt’s story to accentuate his hypocrisy, but that was three years before the Monica Lewinsky affair. The only reason to run with the Newt story was because it was newsworthy. And because he happened to be a despised Republican elected official.

Oh, yeah. Monica Lewinsky. Remember her? I think she was involved with a despised Democratic elected official. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong.

Valentine also conveniently forgets the Eliot Spitzer scandal, which rocked all the major news outlets just four months ago.

I love the selective memory of people like Phil Valentine. It’s so cute when they confuse “liberal media bias” with “journalistic standards against covering unsubstantiated gossip as legitimate news.” But you can’t really blame them. I’ve watched a good bit of Fox News lately and one thing I’ve noticed is how little actual news they cover. Mostly, it’s celebrity gossip and tawdry sensationalism about missing white women and bizarre animal attacks.

Consume enough of that and no wonder you could come up with a line like

Is it true? Who knows? And that’s not really the point here.

Okay, Mr. Valentine. I heard a rumor that you regularly have sex with farm animals. And I want to know why there’s a media blackout on covering this story.

Is it true? Who knows? That’s not really the point here. The media has an obligation to cover this story anyway.

See how easy that was?

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Filed under media fairness, Phil Valentine

>McCain’s Free Pass: IOKIYAR

>Over at Huffington Post, Max Bergmann has an excellent post up called The Week That Should Have Ended McCain’s Presidential Hopes.

Bergmann points to 10 major McCain fuck-ups this week, only one of which elicited more than a passing nod from the mainstream press. In fact, other than Phil Gramm’s “whiner” remarks, I’m not sure any of these stories percolated beyond the blogosphere. Yet every single one of them would have put our media punditry into fits of apoplexy had they come from a Democrat. Every one of them would have dominated the news cycle for days and days, causing massive pearl-clutching and calls for the smelling salts.

So go read about them now, because I guarantee you won’t find out about them on the Nightly News. That teflon suit that George W. Bush has worn for the past seven years has been handed down to John McCain 100% intact.

Writes Bergmann:

This Sunday expect the ten incidents above to get short shrift from pundit after pundit, because after all Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut Obama’s nuts off.

Well, it’s worse than that, Mr. Bergmann. I found a few other stories that have been ignored by the mainstream media. True, most of them were reported in a mainstream outlet, but they never got “traction” — they didn’t dominate the 24 hour news cycles, they were not picked up beyond where they originally appeared. But had any one of these happened to the Democratic nominee, I assure you a media firestorm would have errupted.

• John McCain changes his POW story to pander to Pittsburgh voters :

Asked what first comes to his mind when he thinks of Pittsburgh, McCain chuckled, “the Steelers.  I was a mediocre high school athlete but I loved and adored the sports but the Steelers really made a huge impression on me particularly in my early years.”

And then McCain told a rather moving story about his time as a P.O.W. “When I was first interrogated and really had to give some information because of the pressures, physical pressures on me, I named the starting lineup, defensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers as my squadron mates.”

Except he didn’t. He named the Green Bay Packers–that’s what’s in his autobiography, and that’s what he’s said every single time he’s told that story. So why did he pick the Steelers this time? The McCain campaign says he “made a mistake.”

Oh my gosh, imagine if John Kerry had done that. When McCain does it?


McCain’s sticky divorce from his first wife. In his autobiography, John McCain fudged the facts a bit on his divorce from first wife Carol and his marriage to Cindy. In fact, according to public records:

In his 2002 memoir, “Worth the Fighting For,” McCain wrote that he had separated from Carol before he began dating Hensley.


An examination of court documents tells a different story. McCain did not sue his wife for divorce until Feb. 19, 1980, and he wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had “cohabited” until Jan. 7 of that year — or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.

Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.

I am remembering some conservative tongue-cluckers attacking John Kerry for his divorce; Kevin McCullough over at WorldNet Daily was a particularly sharp scold, noting: “Voter’s [sic] have the right to know what kind of decision process Kerry goes through before making such important moves.” Uh-huh. I’m sure McCullough will get right on the McCain divorce story, but in the meantime ….


* Constitutional scholars say McCain is not eligible to be president because he wasn’t born in the US. There’s a 1937 law conferring citizenship on children of American parents born in Canal Zone, but it was passed a year after McCain was born. John McCain is not a “natural born citizen,” as the constitution requires. Oh, oops! Hey, this is a minor issue. No one cared that the vice president and president weren’t supposed to come from the same state seven years ago, either. And that worked out so well.

Anyway, while wingnuts pour over their loops checking the kerning on Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate, their response to McCain’s citizenship issue?


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Filed under John McCain, media, media fairness

>Let The Double Standard Begin!

>Oh, my. The pearl clutching from our Media Elite over the resignation of Jim Johnson from the Obama campaign! It’s astounding!

Take, for example, Gail Collins’ piece at today’s New York Times:

Barack Obama is having the first postprimary crisis, a moment in which the only conceivable response is: what was he thinking?


Talk about unnecessary disasters. It’s like having your career ruined because you invited the wrong person to host a party in honor of your nephew’s godparents.

Gentle spirits may decide that it’s a good thing that the Obama campaign is getting this sort of thing out of the way early. Crueler ones may note that at least they can’t blame this one on Hillary.

Rather than falling into complete depression at such an early point in the game, let’s work under the assumption that the people involved were so tired that they didn’t know what they were doing.

Dear God! What did Jim Johnson do?

You’d think he’d been arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.

Or indicted for fraud and extortion! Or was a lobbyist for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, home of Osama Bin Laden and 15 of the 17 9/11 hijackers. Or was a lobbyist for Blackwater USA, and foreign dictators like the presidents of Somalia, Nigeria and Zaire.

Or defended child slavery as a lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates.

I could go on, but what’s the point? Johnson resigned because as former (unpaid) head of Fannie Mae, there were concerns he’d get pulled into the scandal surrounding Countrywide’s sucky loans. The GOP claims he got favorable treatment from Countrywide’s CEO. Heh. I thought that was SOP over at the GOP.

Johnson’s wrongdoing is merely alleged, and yet get a load of the McCain campaign’s nervy statement:

 “By entrusting this process to a man who has now been forced to step down because of questionable loans, the American people have reason to question the judgment of a candidate who has shown he will only make the right call when under pressure from the news media.  America can’t afford a president who flip-flops on key questions in the course of 24 hours. That’s not change we can believe in.” —McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds

Uh, yeah. Let’s see. How many people have resigned from your campaign for questionable behavior? One after being indicted? One after getting arrested?

Yes, please, let’s make this campaign about ethics. This should be really fun.

And as for Gail Collins and the rest of the punditry: I have a steaming cup of STFU for you people. I will not accept another election where the media lets the Republican candidate get away with murder while demanding the Democrats be saints.

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Filed under 2000 election, Barack Obama, Jim Johnson, John McCain, media fairness

>The Anatomy Of IOKIYAR

>Over at Salon, Greg Kamiya has a worthwhile piece up about why Republicans get a pass for their crazy pastors but Democrats like Barack Obama do not.

It’s interesting because it really, in a broad sense, explains why Republicans get a pass on, well, everything. Kamiya is spot-on when he writes this:

The media’s double standard is all about deference to perceived mainstream norms, and tiptoeing around the Christian right. Despite their cartoonish views, the media treats Hagee and Parsley as quasi-mainstream figures, which makes McCain’s relationship with them non-newsworthy. The dirty little secret of mainstream American journalism is that it operates within invisible constraints that conform to some imagined Middle American consensus.

This is true with just about everything the media does. For instance I never understood the pearl-clutching that errupted after John Kerry mentioned Dick Cheney’s gay daughter in a 2004 debate. She wasn’t in the closet, it was no secret, and she wasn’t a private figure, either: she chaired her father’s campaign. If anything it showed how hypocritical the GOPs position on GLBT rights is. Yet the GOP managed to spin that one into Kerry being the bad guy. The “long overdue national discussion about gay children” never happened. Why? Because although survey after survey shows this isn’t true, the media believes middle America thinks gay = icky, so Kerry’s mention of the gay Cheney daughter was easily turned into a gauche airing of a family secret.

Kamiya goes on:

Afraid of coming across as arrogant elitists who don’t understand or respect the faith of “real” Americans, the media has pulled its punches on the Christian right for years.

And yet, as I’ve said many times on this blog and elsewhere, the true picture of American Christianity is far more diverse and far less reactionary than the media portrays. Yet when the media does its election-year exit polling, they don’t even ask Democrats if they are born-again or evangelical Christians. They’ve already decided all Christians are Republican, so why bother? And all Republican Christians are right-wing wackadoodles like Rod Parsley and John Hagee. Ergo, Parsley and Hagee are mainstream. Neat how that works.

This media failure to go off-script and report the truth instead of the fantasy goes far beyond its coverage of religion. It extends through every aspect of this campaign: John McCain is still a “maverick,” reality to the contrary; Democrats are in “disarray” because we have two strong candidates for president; the Republicans aren’t, yet they can’t find a candidate to appeal to their fractured coalition. Barack Obama can’t bowl, which proves he’s “elitist” and out of touch with Middle America, but John McCain flies around the country on his heiress wife’s private jet and he’s a regular guy.

There are dozens of examples of this double standard. It would be sad if it weren’t so dangerous. This could very well decide who our next president is, and it doesn’t appear that the media is poised to change its ways through any form of self-examination.

Kamiya writes a lot of the media’s double-standard off to its need for “sensationalism” but I think they’re just lazy. Only a press truly asleep at the wheel could present the contradictory narratives that Obama is a Muslim with a scary Christian pastor. You just want to go, “Huh?”

How many networks covered the news that President Bush was in Saudi Arabia last week to broker a deal on nuclear technology? You know, the kind we keep saying Iran can’t have?

Instead, all we heard last week was about “appeasement.” I don’t know what’s more sensational than our government selling nuclear technology to the country that spawned Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers. But we sure didn’t hear a word about it on the news, did we?

Some day a few decades from now we’re going to look back and wonder what kind of insanity took hold of America back in the Oughts. I don’t think it’s insanity. I think it’s willful ignorance.

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Filed under media, media fairness