Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
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 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 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...]
News Media Matters
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]
11.20 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 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]
11.20 '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?]
11.21 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
11.19 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
11.20 Trump administration hawks putting US on course for war with Iran, report warns [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
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!]
Checking ABC's Factcheck
Scrutiny of This Week better in theory than practice
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Competitors have shown no interest in following ABC's lead; NBC's Meet the Press host David Gregory said that he was not interested: "People can factcheck Meet the Press every week on their own terms." CBS's Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer said that "everybody's welcome to factcheck us all they want,"
On its surface, the announcement by ABC's This Week that the website PolitiFact would monitor the show's content was a welcome development, despite the obvious downside that the Web-only factchecking would deprive the show's TV audience of needed correctives. But an evaluation of the record thus far suggests that even this limited attempt to test the accuracy of claims made on the show has focused largely on trivial points and ignored more substantive and controversial arguments.
So far, the PolitiFact assessments of This Week--which started on April 11, thanks to a suggestion from New York University professor Jay Rosen--have focused on relatively trivial matters. On one program, Bill Clinton said, "I never had a filibuster-proof Senate." PolitiFact determined this was true. Was anyone suggesting otherwise? Republican Sen. Jon Kyl noted (4/11/10) that Barack Obama had joined with other Democratic senators in an attempt to filibuster Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, which PolitiFact also judged to be true (and which also is not subject to much debate). When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to a question about a Mideast peace plan by saying, "I don't answer hypotheticals," PolitiFact attempted to determine whether that stray comment was true.
Not every assertion analyzed has been so trivial. When Defense Secretary Robert Gates appeared on the program (4/11/10), he was asked about a video released by Wikileaks that showed U.S. helicopters firing on a group of Iraqis in 2007, killing a dozen people. Gates responded by saying that "the video doesn't show the broader picture of the firing that was going on at American troops."
PolitiFact judged that statement "Mostly True," based in part on the military's previously disclosed investigation of the incident, which claimed that weapons were found near the victims' bodies. To its credit, PolitiFact quoted Salon's Glenn Greenwald, who argued that Gates' response was "sufficiently vague that it can't be called factually false, but is quite misleading." Greenwald noted, for instance, that a firefight somewhere else would not justify the attacks portrayed in the video, and that those killed in an apparent attempt to retrieve some of the victims could not plausibly be considered as posing a threat to U.S. forces. So what would make Gates' words "mostly true," then?
PolitiFact had weighed in on this question already (4/14/10), determining that Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell's claims about bailouts were false: The language of the bill, as it was written at the time, concerned a special fund paid for by the industry that would be used to liquidate failing institutions--which is very different from being bailed out. So why not step in and clarify this argument between the panelists?
When host Jake Tapper interviewed former President Bill Clinton, he asked about regulation of Wall Street derivatives and the separation of banks' commercial and investment businesses. This led Clinton to bring up the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which critics argue led to some of the consolidation in the financial services industry over the past decade. Clinton, though, argued that the deregulation--championed by several Republicans and by the banking industry--actually increased regulation: "There was already a total merger, practically, of commercial and investment banking, and really the main thing that [the repeal of] the Glass-Steagall Act did was to give us some power to regulate it." This is an unusual suggestion--that a major deregulatory policy was in fact a move towards greater regulation--and something that deserved greater examination.
On the April 25 show, ABC pundit George Will declared his support for the construction of a wall on the U.S./Mexico border: "Build the fence, do what McCain suggests, and you'll find that the American people are not xenophobic, they are not irrational on this subject, but they do want this essential attribute of national sovereignty asserted." When pressed by panelist Cynthia Tucker about the cost of this project, Will quipped: "It's a rounding error on the GM bailout." The border fence project has been marked by delays and cost overruns; the Government Accountability Office released an evaluation last year (AP, 9/18/09) that found that it could cost $6.5 billion to maintain the fence over 20 years—on top of the $2.4 billion spent on 600 miles of fencing so far. A 2007 report by the Congressional Research Service estimated that a 700-mile fence could cost $49 billion over 25 years (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8/07). ABC viewers could have benefited from some sort of clarification on this point.
It goes without saying that the ABC/PolitiFact effort could be a step in the right direction. Their network competitors have shown no interest in following ABC's lead; NBC's Meet the Press host David Gregory (Washington Post, 4/12/10) said that he was not interested: "People can factcheck Meet the Press every week on their own terms." CBS's Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer (Yahoo!News, 4/22/10) said that "everybody's welcome to factcheck us all they want," adding: "I kind of think that by the time we get around to factchecking...we'd already be factchecked."
Those dismissals are, at the very least, alarming. But it's little comfort that an effort that could in theory produce more rigorous factchecking has so far offered so little.
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 email@example.com. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.
Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.
This story was published on April 24, 2010.