Jim Naureckas

Newsweek should disavow racist insinuation that Kamala Harris is not a citizen

Less than 24 hours after Kamala Harris became the first person of color to be chosen as a vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket, Newsweek ran an op-ed (8/13/20) insinuating that she was not a citizen and therefore ineligible to run.

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Pundits and reporters aren't being honest about the major issues driving Trump's response to the coronavirus

The front page of the New York Times (late) print edition for March 20, 2020, bore a large map of the United States, illustrating reported cases of COVID-19 by state and county, as of March 19, 4 p.m. EDT. Readers in the paper's home city might have been particularly interested in the count for the state of New York — which, according to the map, was up to 5,200+ cases:NYT Map of Covid-19 infection.

Curiously, the morning that paper was delivered, the online version of the map, with the supposedly latest figures, had cases in New York State at 4,100+ — 1,100 fewer, a reduction of almost 20% — with no explanation for the discrepancy. (Illustrating the exponential growth of the outbreak, by the afternoon of March 20, the online map had 7,100+ cases for New York State.)

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Corporate media is still waiting for Trump to rob a bank

Here’s a Doonesbury cartoon by Garry Trudeau from 1974:

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NYT presents murder of a Palestinian boy as ‘national trauma’—for Jewish Israelis

HBO has a series based on a real-life crime in Israel—a 2014 case involving (in the New York Times‘ words) “a Palestinian teenager snatched off a Jerusalem street by Orthodox Jews, choked, bludgeoned and burned to death in a forest at dawn.”

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Demoted NYT editor has long history of 'lapses in judgment'

The New York Times announced last week that it had demoted deputy Washington editor Jonathan Weisman for “recent serious lapses in judgment.” These included a since-deleted tweet from last month that asserted that politicians of color don’t really count as coming from their regions:

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Learning the downsides of candidates is a big upside of modern media

You’ve probably noticed that we live in a society where some people have a great deal of power, and most people have very little. And that this works out well for the few and not so well for the many.

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They Think It Would Be Fun to Run a Newspaper: Billionaires Buying Up Media Is Another Step Toward Oligarchy

The announcement that Time magazine would be bought by software CEO Marc Benioff highlighted the growing trend of billionaires buying up media outlets. While media moguls have always been wealthy—with press barons (Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, Donald Newhouse, etc.) still well-represented on Forbesrunning list of the world’s billionaires—what distinguishes this new breed of press magnate is that they bought their media properties with fortunes made in other industries.

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Climate Change Turned Florence Into a Monster Storm - But Corporate Media Avoided That Story

That Hurricane Florence broke rainfall records for tropical storms in both North and South Carolina shouldn’t be surprising, as global climate change has increased extreme precipitation in all areas of the continental United States. One analysis released before the massive storm hit, by researchers at Stony Brook, Berkeley National Lab and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, projected that warming would cause Florence to bring twice as much rain compared to a similar storm with normal temperatures.

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What’s a Non-Racist Way to Appeal to Working-Class Whites? NYT Writer Can’t Think of Any

The 2016 presidential exit polls “substantially underestimated the number of Democratic white working-class voters…and overestimated the white college-educated Democratic electorate,” New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall (3/29/18) writes. A new Pew survey finds that “33 percent of Democratic voters and Democratic leaners are whites without college degrees,” says Edsall, which is substantially larger than the 26 percent of Democrats who are whites with college degrees—the group that many analysts had come to believe was the dominant constituency in the party.

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Saving the Planet Means Upending Virtually Every Kind of Business - Starting With the Media

It’s long been clear that if we want to avoid catastrophic climate disruption on a scale that threatens human civilization, we need to leave vast amounts of fossil fuels in the ground.

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The Antarctic Ice Shelf Is Breaking Up - and USA Today Tells Us to 'Chill Out'

The headline over USA Today‘s story (4/4/17) about an Antarctic ice shelf threatening to break off into an iceberg the size of Delaware: “Chill Out: Antarctic Iceberg Still Holding On.”

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Why Did the Washington Post Undermine Its Own Scoop on Jeff Sessions?

The Washington Post, which broke the Jeff Sessions/Russian ambassador story (3/1/17), is framing it to minimize political damage to the attorney general. Here’s the headline:

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Why Does the Media Pretend the U.S. Isn't at War in Syria?

“President Obama has long refused to approve direct military intervention in Syria,” the New York Times asserted in an editorial (9/29/16) about “Vladimir Putin’s Outlaw State.”

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The Biggest Strike in World History? No Thanks, We’re Focusing on the New iPhone

When tens of millions of workers go out on strike in the second-largest country in the world—and the third-largest economy in the world—resulting in what may be the biggest labor action in world history (AlterNet, 9/7/16), you’d think that would merit some kind of news coverage, right?

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A Guided Tour of the Racist ‘Alt-Right,’ by the Trump Campaign Chief’s Website

“We’re the platform for the alt-right,” Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, told Mother Jones‘ David Corn (8/22/16)—"we” meaning Breitbart News, the online news outlet that Bannon headed until he was picked to run the turbulent Trump campaign.

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Big Oil Is a Major Booster for Clinton’s Campaign

FAIR.org readers took action in response to “Did Sanders Lie About Clinton’s Oil Money? NPR Factchecker Can’t Be Bothered to Check” (4/1/16). They got a response from NPR ombud Elizabeth Jensen (4/5/16) and a do-over from NPR factchecker Peter Overby (4/6/16)—but NPR’s coverage still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of forthrightly addressing the issue of fossil-fuel funding in the Democratic presidential race.

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CBS Exec Brags How Trump Is Great for Ratings, That He's Terrible for the Country Is an Afterthought

CBS CEO Les Moonves, who in December said of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, “Go Donald! Keep getting out there!” because “the more they spend, the better it is for us (Intercept ; FAIR.org),” had more to say about the business of politics at another investors’ conference, as The Intercept‘s Lee Fang (2/29/16) reported.

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David Bowie, Media Critic

It’s hard to think of an artist who has used the media as part of their art more than David Bowie did. To me the classic example is 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars: As an obscure singer/songwriter, Bowie wrote and recorded an album about an obscure singer/songwriter who rises to superstardom, succumbs to decadence and retires to obscurity—and he used it to rise to superstardom, only to succumb to decadence and retire to obscurity (for a time). It may be the greatest called shot in artistic history.

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Why the Media Ends Up Advancing Terrorism When It Doesn't Explain It Well

At the time of the attacks in Paris, FAIR’s website led with a piece by Ben Norton (11/13/15) about US reporting on the ISIS bombing in Beirut—noting references to the civilian neighborhood targeted by the bombing as a Hezbollah “stronghold” (MSNBC, 11/13/15), “bastion” (Reuters, 11/12/15) or “area” (NPR, 11/12/15). Given this framing—and the generally limited amount of coverage granted to the Lebanese victims—it’s unsurprising that the Beirut terror failed to provoke the same sorrow, horror and identification among US audiences that the Paris massacres did.

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Yes, the Media Had Different Responses to Paris and Beirut

Vox published a photo of an attendee at a Beirut funeral to accompany Max Fisher’s claim that the bombings there got plenty of coverage.

The New York Timescovered it. TheWashington Post, in addition to running an Associated Press story on it, sent reporter Hugh Naylor to cover the blasts and then write a lengthy piece on their aftermath. The Economist had a thoughtful piece reflecting on the attack’s significance. CNN, which rightly or wrongly has a reputation for least-common-denominator news judgment, aired one segment after another on the Beirut bombings. Even the Daily Mail, a British tabloid most known for its gossipy royals coverage, was on the story. And on and on.

Yet these are stories that, like so many stories of previous bombings and mass acts of violence outside of the West, readers have largely ignored.

Let’s grant Fisher one point: The much-retweeted Twitter complaint that “no media has covered” the Beirut bombing is wrong—as is most media criticism that asserts that “no media” did anything.

But Fisher’s overarching argument—that because “the media does cover Beirut,” it’s wrong to blame media for the fact that “the world truly does care more about France”—is equally absurd.

Let’s take Fisher’s first for-instance, for instance. TheNew York Times did cover the Beirut blasts—in one story, on page 6, that FAIR criticized because it initially framed the attack as being aimed at a “Hezbollah stronghold”; if you can think of a better way to discourage Americans from caring about the victims of a terror attack, let me know.

By comparison, the Times (11/14/15) had six first-day stories on the Paris attacks, three of them on the front page. There were some 20 follow-up stories the next day (11/15/15), four of them on the front page. The day after that (11/16/15), there were 15 more follow-up stories, another four on Page 1. One of the November 16 follow-ups—on page 6—looked at reactions in Beirut to the Paris bombing. This was cited by Fisher as proof that media were too covering Beirut!

Fisher’s piece notes a fact of human nature: “People start with a narrative they feel is true, and then look for evidence to support that narrative.” To find evidence to support that claim, Fisher need look no further than the mirror.

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Why Reorganizing U.S. Time Zones in the Name of Global Commerce Is a Bad Idea

Here are some words that are missing from economist Allison Schrager’s piece in The Atlantic proposing the abolition of Daylight Savings Time and the reduction of the contiguous United States to two time zones:

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Two Candidates Surge in 2016 Polling–but Only Trump, Not Sanders, Fascinates Media

The two big surprises of the 2016 presidential race so far are Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Two dark horse candidates opposed by party insiders, each began a substantial surge in campaign polls around the beginning of July. In Real Clear Politics‘ average of polls, Sanders has gone from 12.7 percent to 25.0 percent since July 1, while Trumphas gone from 6 percent to 22 percent.

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A Plot to Level a Village Isn’t News–When Targets Are Muslim and Plotter Is Christian

No crime fascinates US media like terrorism–provided it’s the right sort of terrorism, that is.

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How CNN Is Undermining and Commercializing the News

“CNN Tests New Ways to Mix Ads With News,” a Variety headline declared, over a story about how the cable news channel has “gotten over itself” and has "looked for more ways to weave ad messages into programming.”

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What Was Missing From the Mainstream Media's Coverage of Netanyahu's Speech

Reading the lead stories on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress about Iran in five prominent US papers–the New York TimesWashington Post,LA TimesWall Street Journal and USA Today(all 3/3/15)–what was most striking was what was left out of these articles.

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Some Other Tall Tales Brian Williams Might Want to Apologize For

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has apologized for falsely claiming (NBC, 1/30/15) that "during the invasion of Iraq…the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG."

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Facebook Being Bribed? How Companies Are Paying to Make Their Posts More Visible

Back in May, Facebook introduced its Promoted Posts program, giving groups and companies with pages on the social media site the option of paying to get their posts seen by more of their fans.

The way Facebook works is that you don't see every post by every friend or every page that you like–Facebook has a formula called Edgerank that tries to determine how interested you'd be in that post, based mainly on how much you've "liked," shared or commented upon similar posts in the past, and how many people are liking, sharing and commenting on that particular post.

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