Journalism

BP: Mitigating Exposure, Controlling the Response and Making Edward Bernays Proud!

British Petroleum has stooped to a new low, if that's at all possible. As if spewing over 80 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico were not a sufficiently criminal activity, they are now attempting a cover-up and have facilitated, working alongside the police of New Orleans, a blockade of sorts of hard-hitting journalists from getting their hands on what's actually taking place in the ravaged Big Easy. It is truly a sham of epic proportions. And now, word of a big hurricane with winds of up to 90 MPH rolling into town has surfaced. Trouble, it appears, has just begun in the Bayou.

Mitigating the Exposure

Mother Jones, known for hard-hitting, deep-digging, no-holds-barred journalism, has approached coverage of the on-going and seemingly perpetual BP oil spill with the same vigor as usual in its reporting. Unfortunately, they've got some competition, or as astronaut Jack Swigert of Apollo 13 once said before going down, "Houston, we've had a problem!" The problem? BP is doing everything in its power to stop journalists dead in their tracks and scare them away from exposing their crime of poisoning the Gulf.

The Fake, Media-Generated "Anti-Incumbent Rage"

PinnochioThe narrative the media is feeding the country this election season is that voters are enraged, and an anti-incumbent wave is sweeping across the country, striking terror in incumbents' hearts. But if that's really the case, then why were so many incumbents voted back into office in last Tuesday's election?

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PBS Edits Out Single Payer Proposal

Censored stampThe PBS television program Frontline selectively edited an interview with a single-payer health insurance advocate, and film footage of people protesting in support of single-payer, to make it look as though they were advocating a public option instead.

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Media Feeds Americans Fake News About Afghanistan

Paktiya province, AfghanistanGlen Greenwald of Salon.com reports that Americans are being fed false and misleading "news" about the U.S. war in Afghanistan because major American media outlets, like the New York Times and CNN, publish propagandized Pentagon accounts of the violence and killing occurring there, without questioning the information they are fed.

An egregious example of this occurred on February 12, 2010, when NATO's joint international force issued a press release that bore the headline Joint Force Operating In Gardez Makes Gruesome Discovery. The release said that after "intelligence confirmed militant activity" in a compound near a village in Paktiya province, an international security force entered the compound and engaged "several insurgents" in a fire fight. Two "insurgents" were killed, the report said, and after the joint forces entered the compound, they "found the bodies of three women who had been tied up, gagged and killed."

But an Afghan news report about the same incident differed wildly.

Over Half of News Stories are Spin

Independent journalists in Australia studied 2,203 news stories in ten different hard-copy Australian newspapers over a five day work week and found that nearly 55 percent of the stories analyzed were driven by some form of public relations. The most extreme paper was the Daily Telegraph, in which 70% of stories were triggered by some form of PR. The Sydney Morning Herald was the best at "only" 42 percent PR-driven stories.

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Journalists Hooked on Same Health Care Sources, Such as Jonathan Gruber

Trudy Lieberman of the Columbia Journalism Review writes, "Jonathan Gruber is an economist from MIT. Jonathan Oberlander is a political scientist from the University of North Carolina. Both are health policy experts and, from what we can tell, both know their stuff. But the press has counted on Gruber rather than Oberlander to give gravitas to their stories.

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Tribune Plans Millions in Exec Bonuses while Reporting Gets Cut

A U.S. federal bankruptcy court is expected to rule this week on whether the bankrupt Tribune media company can pay its executives big bonuses despite the cuts to its reporting staff. According to Business Insider, the Tribune is seeking to pay out over $45 million to its executives (down from $70 million this summer). The Tribune company probably owns a paper near you: the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida), Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Morning Call and Daily Press and 23 TV stations and more.

Talk about bankster envy! What's a failing media conglomerate that has slashed staff and frozen salaries doing giving such golden parachutes to management, while ad revenues plummet? It must be hard for the top dogs to take a critical look at the big bankster bonuses when they are pressing hard to line their own wallets. I must confess that I do have a bias, having seen some great investigative reporters I know laid off by the Tribune's "cost-saving" measures, which apparently do not including saving millions of dollars at the top.

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