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09.25 Labour wants green energy to power most UK homes by 2030

09.25 US to be hit worse than almost any other country by climate change, report says [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

09.25 Climate gentrification: the rich can afford to move – what about the poor?

09.25 Monsanto's global weedkiller harms honeybees, research finds

09.24 Everything you've been told about plastic is wrong – the answer isn't recycling

09.24 Unlocking secrets of sea level rise in Greenland [15 minute video]

09.24 Air pollution rots our brains. Is that why we don’t do anything about it?

09.24 What are public lands?

09.24 The Netherlands Unveils the World's First Recycled Plastic Bike Lane

09.24 Americans: the next climate migrants 'We're moving to higher ground': America's era of climate mass migration is here [estimates do not include migrants from other nations even more affected]

09.24 Opec predicts massive rise in oil production over next five years [wonderful for fossil fuel investors; terrible for all plants and animals]

09.23 Nasa launches satellite to precisely track how Earth's ice is melting

09.23 Climate study ‘pulls punches’ to keep polluters on board

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Daily: FAIR Blog
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09.25 Dozens Arrested as Survivors Flood Capitol Hill to Share Trauma of Sexual Assault, Demand Senate Reject Kavanaugh

09.25 Why I find the Kavanaugh/Ford case so unsettling

09.25 The Republican party is about to face the wrath of women

09.25 Trump has given women yet another reason not to report rape

09.24 Sexual assault is fun if we can all 'lighten up' about it

09.24 Brett Kavanaugh faces second allegation of sexual misconduct09.23 MARYLAND GOVERNOR REBUFFS CALL FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO BRETT KAVANAUGH ATTEMPTED RAPE ALLEGATIONS [Republicans above the law...]

09.23 Trump Is Strangling the U.S. Refugee Program to Death

09.23 Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 11/9" Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise

09.23 The Trump Administration's Latest Tax Scam for the Rich [video]

09.23 One Tiny Tax Reform, Billions for America

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09.22 Making Tariffs Corrupt Again

09.22 Why isn't Mark Judge testifying about Kavanaugh? He is an alleged witness

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09.20 Trump Should Be More Worried About the Brennan Dossier

09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]

09.19 ‘Tied to trees and raped’: UN report details Rohingya horrors

Economics, Crony Capitalism

09.23 The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire [1:18:01 documentary video; the Book]

09.23 Why We Have To Break Up Amazon

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09.25 US Isolated: Europe’s Big 3, plus China & Russia Outmaneuver Trump to keep Iran Deal at UN

09.25 Spain to Recognize Palestinian State, work for European Union Acceptance

09.25 The male cultural elite is staggeringly blind to #MeToo. Now it's paying for it

09.25 'A smell of death:' Mexico's truck of corpses highlights drug war crisis

09.24 'Stop this disaster': Brazilian women mobilise against 'misogynist' far-right Bolsonaro

09.23 For This Year’s International Day of Peace, Korea Takes the Lead

09.22 Which nation is 'most generous' to refugees? Certainly not the US

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  Failing the Midterms
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Media Advisory:

Failing the Midterms

Press overplays election results

SOURCE: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Originally published on the site yesterday, 6 November 2009

It was very clear which set of elections corporate media wanted to portray as sending an important message about national politics--that voters were discontented with the White House and wanted Democrats to move to the right.

Republican candidates won gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia on Tuesday; meanwhile, Democratic candidates won two special elections for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York and California. But it was very clear which set of elections corporate media wanted to portray as sending an important message about national politics--that voters were discontented with the White House and wanted Democrats to move to the right.

"By seizing gubernatorial seats in Virginia and New Jersey, Republicans on Tuesday dispelled any notion of President Obama's electoral invincibility," declared the Los Angeles Times (11/4/09)--as if Obama had previously been confused with Superman. On NPR, Mara Liasson reported (11/4/09): "There's already a feisty argument going on about what the election results tell us, but there's no argument about the score. The Democrats got a slap in the face. The Republicans a much-needed victory."

On CNN, Lou Dobbs announced (11/4/09):

"The White House spin machine at full throttle. A day after Republicans won key races for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, the Obama administration tonight doing its best to downplay those votes and how they reflect upon the president and his administration's agenda." Dobbs added: "Regardless of the spin, there is no denial that independent voters, who greatly helped elect president Obama a year ago, came out big this time for Republicans in both states, a troubling sign for both the president and his party."

An Associated Press analysis by Liz Sidoti (11/4/09) similarly called the election results "a troubling sign for the president and his party" and a "double-barreled triumph" for Republicans--before noting that such conclusions "could easily be overstated. Voters are often focused on local issues and local personalities."

Another AP analysis by Beth Fouhy (11/4/09) began, "Voters nervous about the economy and fed up with the political establishment dominated the off-year elections, sending a strong message to President Barack Obama, who won the White House as a change agent but has himself become the face of political power and incumbency." How were the elections a "strong message" to Obama, exactly? Fouhy doesn't explain. According to exit polls (CBS News, 11/4/09):

Majorities of voters in both states (56 percent in Virginia and 60 percent in New Jersey) said President Obama was not a factor in their vote today. Those who said Mr. Obama was a factor in New Jersey divided as to whether their vote was a vote for the president (19 percent) or against him (19 percent). In Virginia, slightly fewer voters said their vote was for Mr. Obama (17 percent) than against him (24 percent).

The coverage's focus on the danger signs for Democrats is consistent with corporate media's traditional emphasis on the Democrats' need to move to the right (Extra!, 7-8/06). There was comparatively little discussion in post-Election Day commentary on the lessons to the Republican Party posed by New York's 23rd District, where national support for a far-right candidate led to a Democratic victory in an area that had voted Republican since the time of Ulysses S. Grant.

For some in the media, the important lesson was that the Democrats might have to put their agenda on hold. As the AP's Fouhy put it (albeit somewhat incoherently): "To be sure, each race was as much about local issues as about firing warning shots at the politically powerful. But taken together, the results of the 2009 off-year elections could imperil Obama's ambitious legislative agenda and point to a challenging environment in midterm elections next year."

And at the top of the media's list of what the Democrats should be rethinking: healthcare reform. On NBC's Today show (11/4/09), Meet the Press host David Gregory declared, "It's going to be a real fear within the White House that those moderate Democrats are going to now find it more difficult to cast a difficult vote on healthcare that could increase the deficit, that may be unpopular with key parts of their constituencies as they face voters next year." (According to the Congressional Budget Office, passing the House version of the healthcare reform bill would reduce the federal deficit by $104 billion over the next 10 years--CBO Director's Blog, 10/29/09.) On CBS Evening News (11/4/09), Bob Schieffer expressed a similar view about conservative Democrats and healthcare: "I think they're going to be more nervous about supporting it. If we do see any impact of these elections, I think it will be on the healthcare legislation and it may set it back a bit."

The AP's Sidoti wrote, "Democrats in swing-voting states and moderate-to-conservative districts may be less willing to back Obama on issues like healthcare after Virginia and New Jersey showed there are limits to how much he can protect his rank and file from fallout back home." Were Democratic gubernatorial candidates Jon Corzine and Creigh Deeds "rank-and-file" Democrats who were casting important healthcare votes?

The notion that the election will force Democrats to enact a healthcare reform bill with less healthcare in it is clearly an appealing one to corporate media. A Washington Post editorial (11/5/09) with the subhead "The Center Holds" concluded that the elections did

...signal to Democratic members of Congress--especially those who represent Republican-leaning states--that voters are getting nervous about the size and indebtedness of the federal government. If that fortifies centrist lawmakers and makes them more likely to insist that any healthcare reform come with a credible plan to pay for it, then that, too, would be a welcome consequence of Tuesday night.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.

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This story was published on November 7, 2009.


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