Stories by Norman Solomon

Norman Solomon is founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org.  His latest book is War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.  subscribe to Norman Solomon's feed

Posted on: Oct 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Pacifica Foundation's increasing censorship of its radio stations has led it to no good end. Distinctive for its vigorous advocacy of freedom and democracy at home and abroad, Pacifica began foundering when it brandished the implements of censorship.

Posted on: Oct 23, 2000, Source: AlterNet

An extra-terrestrial being explains the idiosynacies of America's Presidential elections -- the empty debates, candidate theatrics, pundits, and ensuing polls -- to the uninitiated.

Posted on: Oct 15, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The formula for American media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is simple. Rarely do American journalists explore the ample reasons to believe that the United States is part of the oft-decried cycle of violence.

Posted on: Oct 8, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The costs of new high-tech products -- and related offerings such as online service, broadband connections, cable television and satellite TV -- all add up. Americans are indebted to new media technologies -- but also, increasingly, in debt.

Posted on: Sep 27, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Eager to oust Slobodan Milosevic from power, the U.S. government has funneled millions of dollars to media projects in Yugoslavia. What if other nations tried to help level the playing field for candidates here in the U.S.? Ralph Nader could use a ten million dollar cash infusion...

Posted on: Sep 26, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The media summer of 2000 is now history. As leaves begin to fall, let's consider a few key dynamics of the political season that has just passed.

Posted on: Sep 17, 2000, Source: AlterNet

At the National Association of Broadcasters convention in late September, I look forward to being among those who will speak at nearby independent forums -- and will protest in the streets of San Francisco to confront the dire centralization of media ownership.

Posted on: Sep 10, 2000, Source: AlterNet

After many months of controversy over her anti-gay statements to millions of radio listeners, Dr. Laura ascended the airwaves to an even higher and mightier pulpit. Much to the chagrin of gay-rights supporters, her crusade has reached televisionland.

Posted on: Aug 31, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The lobbying goals of media corporations extend into areas that might surprise you. According to the Center for Public Integrity, "Federal Communications Commission employees were taken on 1,460 all-expenses-paid trips sponsored by media corporations and associations since 1995, costing a total of $1.5 million."

Posted on: Aug 27, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"Democracy, we're sometimes informed, is a messy business. But let's not make it too messy. The two-party system streamlines the process. The limitations of news media reinforces it."

Posted on: Aug 17, 2000, Source: AlterNet

On the televised surface, the Democratic National Convention exuded plenty of sweetness and generosity. It was great theater -- of the absurd.

Posted on: Aug 14, 2000, Source: AlterNet

It's always dangerous when politicians claim to be doing God's will. So, as the novelty fades from Al Gore's selection of Joseph Lieberman, journalists should ask some probing questions about the ticket's conspicuous piety.

Posted on: Aug 2, 2000, Source: AlterNet

You know the networks are desperate when they air live interviews with Lynne Cheney's beautician, and the key issue is: "hair spray vs. gel?"

Posted on: Jul 26, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Once again, it's the season of the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Both events have been underwritten by generous corporate patrons; both cities are notorious for police misconduct. Hospitality and brutality -- the contrasts could hardly be more extreme.

Posted on: Jul 20, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Big-name journalists are fond of rosy windows on the world. Overall, the powerful politicians they cover have similar vantage points. And when large numbers of them get together, the upbeat -- and facile -- rhetoric is thick.

Posted on: Jul 17, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Try your luck in four categories: "Tv Follies," "Basics of News Media," "Quotable Quotes," and "To Have and Have Not."

Posted on: Jul 2, 2000, Source: AlterNet

George Orwell has been dead for half a century, but Orwellian language lives on. Instead of scrutinizing the facile rhetoric of U.S. politics, reporters are inclined to solemnly relay it, while adding some of their own.

Posted on: Jun 26, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"It's media spin in overdrive: Major security breaches have jeopardized the vital work going on at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where scientists toil to protect America."

Posted on: Jun 19, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"In recent years, several dozen companies have bought major-league naming rights. Teams now play in Bank One Ballpark (Phoenix), Network Associates Coliseum (Oakland) and Continental Airlines Arena (New Jersey). But a public-interest group is urging sportswriters to resist a free-enterprise wave of the future."

Posted on: Jun 12, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"There's a slick new term surfing its way into the mass media. 'E-government.' Many citizens would be glad to see the Internet streamline their dealings with federal agencies. But we're now hearing claims that go way beyond matters of efficiency -- to conflate convenience and democracy."

Posted on: May 31, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"George W. Bush and Al Gore are among the most boring political leaders in the country. And that's saying something. But every four years, when summer begins, the national media curtain rises on an overheated stage of presidential politics. The political show must go on -- no matter how phony it may be."

Posted on: May 29, 2000, Source: AlterNet

One phrase -- "security zone" -- sums up an entire era of media spin about Israel's 22-year brutal and illegal occupation of southern Lebanon.

Posted on: May 17, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The virtual Ten Commandments of Dot-Comity are now widespread: You shall not take the name of the Lord your Market in vain ... You shall not fail to make a killing ... Remember the stock exchange and keep it holy ...

Posted on: May 11, 2000, Source: AlterNet

After the Love Bug virus struck millions of computers, many news outlets attributed the magnitude of the damage to "software monoculture" -- too many people relying on the same exact programs. But what about media monoculture?

Posted on: May 1, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The mass media has ignored a recent book about the deadly effects of advertising, which isn't terribly surprising, given the media's addiction to commercials that give them their big profits.

Posted on: Apr 26, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Like with Microsoft, we should consider breaking up the six huge firms that dominate our media landscape.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"And so, early in the year 2000, it came to pass that visions of a seamless media web enraptured the keepers of pecuniary faith as never before. A grand new structure, AOL Time Warner, emerged while a few men proclaimed themselves trustees of a holy endeavor. They told the people about a wondrous New Media world to come ... "

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"Hi! My name is CBU-87/B, but my friends call me Cluster Bomb. I've been busy lately, slicing up human bodies in the Balkans. And I sure appreciate the careful treatment that I receive from the American news media..."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Solomon writes: "So, why don't we hear more about hunger in the United States? A key factor is the media industry's fixation on demographics. 'Because the mass media is aimed at the people with the highest disposable income, we see pictures of hunger overseas, but not our own,' Food First observes. 'Perhaps that's a reason why the growth of the Hunger Class has been ignored politically.'"

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Solomon writes: "The nation's biggest news weekly is celebrating itself. Time magazine has put out a '75th Anniversary Issue,' paying tribute to the vision of founder Henry Luce ... But Time's 75th anniversary issue is a telling instance of how lofty rhetoric can easily serve as a cover story. The hero of the retrospective, Henry Luce, gets plenty of adulation and some hazy references to flaws. But it's sanitized history, omitting less pleasant facts."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

Solomon writes on the media's fascination with comparing Bill Clinton to John Kennedy: "Five years ago, everywhere you turned, journalists were comparing Bill Clinton to John Kennedy. In the summer of 1992 -- when the Democratic National Convention showcased footage of a teenage Bill shaking hands with President Kennedy -- many news outlets proclaimed that manifest destiny was in the political air ... It's a sad commentary that so many journalists mouthed such bunkum with straight faces -- and that Americans didn't quickly laugh this grandiloquence out of the court of public opinion."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

Solomon writes, "Star-struck journalists and envious competitors don't shed much light on the downside of the Microsoft mind-set. The brave new world of Bill Gates -- transfixed with high- tech form over human content -- has little room for social vision. What we get are endless variations of the notion that ever-more-clever digital technology will make life wondrous for paying customers."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

Devising programs to confront urban problems -- like high unemployment, inferior schools, inadequate housing -- seems to be the last thing on President Clinton's mind. On the day of the Million Man March, Clinton delivered an eloquent call for racial harmony, but he offered no agenda to rebuild our cities. Unfortunately, atonement and eloquence alone will not bridge the racial gap, nor the gap between inner cities and well-off suburbs. Public policy and resources are needed to address the underlying conditions that breed crime and broken homes. Enter CityVote.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

Solomon exposes the Heritage Foundation and the big bucks from major right-wing corporations that fund it. He writes: "Heritage has succeeded with a savvy strategy: Raise a lot of money from rich people with a right-wing agenda. Hire writers, commentators and out-of-office politicians who share that agenda, and call them 'fellows,' 'policy analysts' and 'distinguished scholars.' And, always, back them up with a public-relations juggernaut that's second to none."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"Across the country, PBS stations are in denial. And if we think the programming they provide is worthy of the name "public television," then maybe we're in denial, too."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Solomon writes: "We may be glad to see glamorous stars with white mustaches asking the question: "Got milk?" But the ongoing media blitz for milk does not ask a more important question: 'Got clogged arteries?'"

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Solomon writes: "By now, the lines between media, politics, entertainment and commercialism have just about disappeared. This month, Bob Dole spoke at the annual meeting of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. The former Republican presidential candidate reportedly got $40,000 for making the speech. That explains why he bothered. But why did the group invite him in the first place?"

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

Solomon writes: "For several weeks now, a variety of news outlets have commented on the startling importance of emotions. The death of Princess Diana set off an explosion that jolted many reporters into proclaiming that human feelings matter -- a lot ... Kept under wraps or unleashed, feelings have always made a big difference. The problem is that emotional reactions -- whether masked by cerebral essays or stoked by TV news -- don't guarantee us anything. Fervent pleas can make a case for compassion or cruelty. So can reasoned arguments."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

Solomon writes, "Thundering into the second term of the Clinton presidency, the national media herd is making a lot of noise about political hypocrisy. It's too bad that so many of those complaints are...well...hypocritical."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

In recent months, an enormous amount of news coverage has focused on the great national divide known as "race." Media words on the subject seem to come easily -- perhaps too easily. Writers produce a steady stream of recycled notions. TV anchors and politicians speak with scripted phrases that roll off tongues while scrolling down TelePrompTers. To many of us, the verbiage often sounds glib, overheated or pointless. Yet, backing away from communication about prejudice is no solution. If our society is going to promote a strong anti-racist ethic, then a wide range of people must take responsibility for speaking up and speaking out. On an extraordinary TV program set for nationwide broadcast, they do. The program -- a documentary titled Not In Our Town -- will air on more than 200 public television stations between mid- December and early January.

Pages