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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Failing the Midterms
Press overplays election results
Originally published on the FAIR.org 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):
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):
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
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting is a nonpartisan media watchdog organization. Visit http://fair.org for more information, or share your opinion about this story by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
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This story was published on November 7, 2009.