HBO Films has finally gotten around to admitting what PR Watch readers knew all along: "allegations of Iraqi soldiers taking babies from incubators (in 1990) ...
Norman Solomon has issued his annual "P.U.-litzer Prizes" for "America's stinkiest media performances." Winners this year include: journalists who falsely reported that Iraq kicked out U.N. weapons inspectors four years ago; Vivendi Universal executive Barry Diller, for his claim that media consolidation is "a natural law"; and right-wing mouth Ann Coulter, for publicly wishing that Timothy McVeigh had bombed the New York Times.
"Resentment at the 'liberal media' has been a Holy Grail of the American right for 40 years, and a gold mine for conservative direct-mail fund-raisers," writes Joel Connelly. In reality, though, "the right plays an almost dominant role in setting the agenda and stereotyping opponents. It has unmatched powers to get a story airborne. ... The party line gets out on issues from going to war with Iraq to drilling the West." Then why do conservatives still pretend that the media are liberal?
"Setting aside the shrill and nonsensical efforts of those who suggest the corporate-owned media in America is 'liberal,' the situation with regard to talk radio is particularly perplexing: It doesn't even carry a pretense of political balance," writes former radio DJ Thom Hartmann.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection funneled money through a non-profit organization in order to underwrite environmental reporting on Philadelphia's leading public-radio station, WHYY, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.
There's something "incredibly creepy" about Fox TV mogul Roger Ailes, writes Michael Wolff: "He looks the way you imagine the man behind the curtain looking: That is, he doesn't care about how he looks (which is, as it happens, gray and corpulent). He understands it's all manipulation." Wolff examines the techniques that Ailes has used to turn his right-wing network into a ratings phenomenon: "Fox is not really about politics (CNN, with its antiseptic beltway p.o.v., is arguably more about politics than Fox). It certainly isn't arguing a consistent right-wing case.
If you happen to sound like you're older than 54, don't even bother calling in to any of the talk shows on Chicago's WLS-AM radio station. Michael Packer, operations manager of the ABC-owned news/talk station, sent a confidential memo to staffers ordering them to screen out "any old sounding callers" no matter what they have to say. (Maybe they're worried that old people can still remember a time when radio stations carried something other than rantings from right-wing gasbags.)
Alessandra Stanley writes in today's New York Times: "The revelation that Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, the self-proclaimed fair and balanced news channel, secretly gave advice to the White House after the Sept. 11 attacks was less shocking than it was liberating -- a little like the moment in 1985 when an ailing Rock Hudson finally explained that he had AIDS. Ever since Mr. Ailes changed jobs from Republican strategist to news executive, he has demanded to be treated as an unbiased journalist, not a conservative spokesman.
"Did you see the cover story of Newsweek magazine last week? The cover story is titled, 'Why TV is Good for Kids.' Why, against all common sense, is Newsweek going to try and convince us that television is good for kids?" write Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy. "Well, one reason might be: Newsweek is owned by the Washington Post Company, which owns a sprawling cable company and six broadcast stations around the country. Of course, nowhere in the article does Newsweek tell us this.
"An Egyptian satellite television channel has begun teasers
for its blockbuster Ramadan series that its producers
acknowledge incorporates ideas from the infamous czarist
forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." That
document, a pillar of anti-Semitic hatred for about a
century, appears to be gaining a new foothold in parts of
the Arab world, some scholars and observers say."