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Health Care & Environment

11.21 Air pollution cuts two years off global average lifespan, says study

11.20 Dead fish to power cruise ships [using dead fish to ultimately kill more fish, animals and plants but at a slower rate]

11.20 Importing gas to replace domestic supply could push emissions up 20%, AGL says [We have to stop killing everything!!!]

11.20 The arts have a leading role to play in tackling climate change [We have to stop killing everything!!!]

11.20 Indonesia: dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in stomach [We have to stop killing everything!!!]

11.18 How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet

11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]

11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]

11.16 Scotland was first Industrialized Country to Run wholly on Wind in October

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 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.]

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...]

11.15 Trump administration to cut air pollution from heavy-duty trucks

News Media Matters

11.19 The Biggest Threat to Free Speech No One Is Talking About

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.21 With Statement Equal Parts 'Dangerous' and 'Imbecilic,' Trump Smears Khashoggi and Vows to Back Murderous Saudis [Keeping oil prices affordable prolongs its use, its burning and our dying]

11.21 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith's Demands for Runoff Debate So Ridiculous, Viral Story Crashes Local Paper's Website

11.20 'Get Our Country Off Fossil Fuels': Demanding Green New Deal, Youth Climate Leaders to Flood Congressional Offices Nationwide

11.20 New York City subway and bus services have entered 'death spiral', experts say [death spirals are the end-thing nowadays]

11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]

11.19 Michael Bloomberg: Why I’m Giving $1.8 Billion for College Financial Aid

11.19 Trump’s Diminishing Power and Rising Rage

11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder

11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]

11.19 SNL explains Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s HQ2 strategy: trolling President Trump [2:55 SNL video]

Justice Matters

11.21 Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker got $1.2 million from non-profit that won’t disclose its donors [Mafia rule...]

11.20 'He may not rewrite immigration laws': Trump's asylum ban blocked by federal judge [Has anyone thought about putting razor-wire around the White House?]

11.20 Legal Blue Wave? New Democratic AGs Could Change the Face of Climate Fight

High Crimes?

11.21 Saudi Arabia Accused of Torturing Jailed Women’s-Rights Activists [Trump's great friends...]

11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.21 Nationalize California’s Pacific Gas & Electric

11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]

11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]

International & Futurism

11.21 'Who let this happen?': students rediscover antisemitism on Auschwitz field trip

11.21 Climate activists block London bridges in 'swarming' protest – video

11.21 How populist are you? Take our quiz to find out

11.20 Trump administration hawks putting US on course for war with Iran, report warns [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

11.18 New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit

11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]

11.17 Saudi crown prince's 'fit' delays UN resolution on war in Yemen

11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]

11.17 CIA finds Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi killing – report

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  The Politics of Media

RARE HONESTY:

The Politics of Media

by Robert Parry
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com earlier yesterday, 24 March 2010

If you believed what you saw on Tuesday’s NBC evening news or what you read in the Washington Post’s lead editorial on Wednesday, you wouldn’t have a clue that Republicans are engaged in a scorched-earth political strategy to destroy the Obama administration.

Instead, you’d think that everyday Americans are solidly behind the congressional Republicans in their unanimous opposition to health reform (NBC) and that President Barack Obama and the Democrats have done next to nothing to bridge the partisan divide (the Post).

Let’s start with NBC’s biased coverage of Obama’s signing into law the landmark health care reform. The multi-part opening segment could have been scripted by the Republican National Committee.

“Make no mistake,” NBC anchor Brian Williams said, “for millions of Americans who were not in the East Room [of the White House] today, it was the beginning of a fight against what they see as a government health-care behemoth that they have to now live by.”

Then, after dismissing the White House signing ceremony as a political pep rally of “giddy supporters” – and after explaining none of the new law’s features – NBC lovingly interviewed Republicans about their determination to roll back this government overreach.

NBC correspondent Kelly O’Donnell gave Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, his say without mentioning DeMint’s foiled scheme to make health reform President Obama’s “Waterloo” to “break” him. Normally, that would seem like a natural question to ask, but NBC apparently didn’t want to cast the GOP’s stalwart opposition to the new law as part of any partisan strategy.

NBC’s reporting also featured comments from Sens. Mitch McConnell, John McCain and John Barrasso explaining their high-minded goals. O’Donnell also checked out the flood of anti-reform calls coming into two GOP Senate offices. (No mention was made of the views of Democrats, and there was the usual silence about criticism of the health-reform bill from the Left.)

O’Donnell’s report was followed by a similarly uncritical look at anti-reform lawsuits from Republican state attorneys general. Then, NBC did what is called a vox populi, the voice of the common man, except in this case it amounted to tracking down one couple living near Oklahoma City who recited more Republican talking points about the Democrats playing politics and ramming the law through.

NBC's coverage included no one who either liked the new law or who felt it didn’t go far enough, even though polls show that most Americans either favor the new law or fault it for failing to include a single-payer system or some other form of “public option.”

Yes, I know, some MSNBC hosts have addressed those positions as part of the cable network’s experiment of having a few liberal voices in the evening. But not only does the NBC evening news reach a much wider audience than MSNBC, but NBC’s other cable channel, the business-oriented CNBC, has beaten a steady drum against health reform, even predicting a stock market dive if the bill became law.

Instead on Monday and Tuesday, the U.S. stock markets surged, another case of CNBC’s remarkable record of giving out ideological market advice that could cost its listeners money. As Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart joked last year, that if he’d listened to CNBC’s bullish advice before the 2008 crash, "I'd have a million dollars today. Provided I started with 100 million dollars."

It may be coincidence but General Electric, which owns NBC and its sister networks, has been running a flurry of ads that amount to paeans to right-wing Republican President Ronald Reagan. GE, where Reagan once served as the company’s spokesman, is sponsoring next year’s gala celebration of the centennial anniversary of Reagan’s birth.

The WPost’s Blindness

If you followed up watching NBC by turning to the Washington Post’s editorial page on Wednesday morning, you’d find a similar blindness to the Republican strategy of obstructionism.

Anyone who followed the debate on health care would know the Democrats made extraordinary efforts to bring Republicans onboard, including time-consuming negotiations within the Senate Finance Committee and Obama’s political courtship of Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

And, even though many of the GOP demands were met, including adding many Republican amendments and subtracting the “public option,” Snowe and the other Senate Republicans wouldn’t even allow an up-or-down vote, forcing the Democrats to line up their 60-member caucus to shut down a filibuster on Christmas Eve.

However, that’s not how the Post’s editorialists saw matters.

“The bill could have been improved with the inclusion of more Republican ideas – by giving consumers more ‘skin in the game,’ for example, to promote cost control, or by reforming the nation's crapshoot of a malpractice system,” the Post’s  lead editorial said on Wednesday.

“Neither party has all the answers. Most of the country agrees with us on this point, not with the apostles of ideological purity. A plurality of Americans are independents. They want pragmatic cooperation, and they want sensible ideas acknowledged regardless of which party promotes them.

“Fundamental reform passed on party-line votes has less credibility with them and less chance of quickly weaving itself into the American social fabric.”

Then, the Post added: “We're purposely not apportioning blame to one side or the other.”

But what if one side is more to blame than the other? This “both-sides-are-equally-at-fault” notion of “centrist” journalism fails to recognize that sometimes the truth doesn’t rest comfortably in the middle.

Nor do the Post’s editorialists really believe that it does. On many other issues, the Post has concluded that the truth lies close to the neoconservative pole, such as the Iraq War (which the Post enthusiastically supported) or the Middle East conflict (where the Post almost always sides with Israel).

But the Post isn’t willing to acknowledge that the Republicans embraced a strategy from the start of the Obama administration to take the knees out from under the new President, a game plan very similar to what worked against President Bill Clinton in 1993-94.

The slanted coverage at places like NBC and the Washington Post makes sense if you understand the mix of ideology and careerism that influences mainstream news judgments.

The slanted coverage at places like NBC and the Washington Post makes sense if you understand the mix of ideology and careerism that influences mainstream news judgments.

At high levels, the owners and top executives have their pet favorites, whether the Post’s neoconservatism on foreign policy or GE’s fondness for Reagan’s anti-government ideology. At working levels, reporters and editors know that their livelihoods are protected if they tack in those directions.

It’s also important to avoid offending the Right, which has invested heavily in attack groups created to go after and "controversialize" wayward journalists. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

Even if a working journalist realizes how corrupting this process is to the integrity of the news, he or she can personally justify going along under the rationale that it’s up to someone else – politicians, other journalists or even citizens – to somehow straighten the mess out.

That’s where independent journalism comes in. Without strong news outlets willing to tell the truth on important topics, the U.S. democratic Republic has little hope of climbing out of the pit of political ignorance where many Americans find themselves mired.


Robert Parry

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on March 25, 2010.

 

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