The Bogus ‘Mommy Wars’

April 29, 2007

The Washington Post opinion page is finally saying what I have felt ever since this PR war began: after becoming a mother almost 4 years ago, there is NO mother that I’m at “war” with, whether she is working or not.

Go E.J. Graff for telling it like it is: this “war” was cooked up by publishers to sell books.


After Moyers Iraq Doc, D.C. Reporters Freak Out

April 27, 2007

We are experiencing a deluge of lame excuses being shouted from news rooms across the country in the wake of Bill Moyers’s brilliant analysis of lazy, and just bad, reporting in the many months before the Iraq invasion. A really fantastic short article by David Sirota details how these jerks are defending themselves. Did I say jerks? I meant “reporters.” Here’s Sirota’s conclusion:

“Moyers piece is important not just because it has exposed the entire sham that was pre-war Beltway journalism, but also because he has finally exacted a price — in this case, humiliation — from the reporters whose power-worshiping, must-stay-on-the-cocktail-party-circuit tendencies led them to aggressively push this country into war. And we can hope that fear of future humiliation will help prevent another gross abdication of responsibility next time around.”

To read the entire article by David Sirota, click here.

Government Oversight (finally)

April 26, 2007

Rep. Henry Waxman is the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is the one who called the hearings into the disinformation surrounding the death of Pat Tillman and the capture of Jessica Lynch. He chaired the hearings on Walther Reed Hospital. Much more. Click here to get to his web site.

Click here to read the full testimony of Jessica Lynch (pdf file). Click here to see a video of the hearing.
Today, the Committee issued two subpoenas to the Republican National Committee requesting the testimony of RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and documents related to possible violations of the Presidential Records Act and the Hatch Act by White House officials. The third subpoena requests the testimony of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice regarding the fabricated claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger and other issues.

People Who Call the Administration ‘Liars’ Don’t Get on the Front Page

April 25, 2007

tillman-and-lynch-susan-walsh-ap.jpg(Susan Walsh/AP)

During a congressional oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, lawmakers vowed to investigate whether the White House and top Pentagon officials played a role in lying to the public about the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan; and lying about the capture of Jessica Lynch, a former soldier in Iraq whose ordeal was inaccurately portrayed in the media as a heroic fight and rescue.

The initial stories of the fake reasons for Pat Tillman’s death, and the fake rescue of Jessica Lynch were on page one. I’m sure the media don’t see themselves as culpable in perpetuating a lie. But now that there is truth to cover, it’s not on the front page. Or on the second page. Or on the third…

The story in the Washington Post, which is on A4 of today’s paper, dedicated one sentence and one quote to Private Jessica Lynch at the bottom of paragraph 5.

At least the New York Times called the lies surrounding Tillman’s death and Lynch’s capture “egregious examples of officials’ twisting the truth for public relations” in the first paragraph. But, like the other newspapers, didn’t cop to their own roll in perpetuating the lies. Especially Jessica Lynch’s story—which was made into a tv movie (the Times story wasn’t on the front page either).

The buried LA Times story doesn’t even mention Jessica Lynch’s name till paragraph 11. They devoted the last 3 short paragraphs (one is 1 sentence long) to her testimony. Hey, some LA producer was probably behind making the movie.

The story might be only in the online version of The Wall Street Journal. Again, the lead is about the army cover-up of Pat Tillman’s death. They mention Jessica Lynch when committee chairman Henry Waxman is quoted as accusing the government of inventing “sensational details and stories” to promote the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kevin Tillman said getting at the truth of brother Pat’s death was “being actively thwarted by powers that are more interested in protecting a narrative than getting at the truth…”

Buying the War

April 23, 2007

topbanner_01.jpgThe most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear this Wednesday (April 25), in a 90-minute PBS broadcast called “Buying the War,” which marks the return of “Bill Moyers Journal.”

Some statistics from the program include:

In the year before the invasion William Safire (who predicted a “quick war” with Iraqis cheering their liberators) wrote “a total of 27 opinion pieces fanning the sparks of war.” The Washington Post carried at least 140 front-page stories in that same period making the administration’s case for attack. In the six months leading to the invasion the Post would “editorialize in favor of the war at least 27 times.” Of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news in the six months before the war, almost all could be traced back to sources solely in the White House, Pentagon or State Dept.

Check Bill Moyers’s PBS page here for more details. For a preview of the program, click here.

Earth Day Blackout

April 22, 2007

Today is Earth Day, and I was very surprised at how little the newspapers covered the environment in Sunday’s papers.

The Washington Post wrote about students cleaning trash along the banks of the Anocostia River.

The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece about the Goldman Environmental Prize recipients, and asked Mr. Goldman what he had against corporations and progress.

The New York Times wrote a story about an Upper East Side socialite who became an environmentalist after her son got asthma.

Nobody said a thing about how our President still thinks Global Warming is a myth. Read here about Cheryl Crow and Laurie David’s encounter with Karl Rove.

Post Office to the First Amendment: Drop Dead

April 20, 2007

promo_independent.jpeg“The Post Office is in the process of implementing a radical reformulation of its mailing rates for magazines. Under the plan, smaller periodicals will be hit with a much larger increase than the big magazines, as much as 30 percent. Some of the largest circulation magazines will face hikes of less than 10 percent.

“The new rates, which go into effect on July 15, were developed with no public involvement or congressional oversight, and the increased costs could damage hundreds, even thousands, of smaller publications, possibly putting many out of business. This includes nearly every political journal in the nation. These are the magazines that often provide the most original journalism and analysis.

“What the Post Office is planning to do now, in the dark of night, is implement a rate structure that gives the best prices to the biggest publishers, hence letting them lock in their market position and lessen the threat of any new competition. The new rates could make it almost impossible to launch a new magazine, unless it is spawned by a huge conglomerate.

“Not surprisingly, the new scheme was drafted by Time Warner, the largest magazine publisher in the nation.”

This is an excerpt of an article written for the Baltimore Chronicle by Robert McChesney.

To read the full article click here.

To email a letter to the Postal Board protesting these policies, click here.