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05.23 New Solar Plants Generate Floating Green Power

05.23 There Is So Much More Food Poisoning Than We Thought

05.23 Official advice on low-fat diet and cholesterol is wrong, says health charity

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05.22 Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone

05.22 Nuclear Shutdowns Could Ramp Up U.S. Carbon Emissions

05.22 Scientists Say Nuclear Fuel Pools Pose Safety, Health Risks

05.22 Green really is the new black as Big Oil gets a taste for renewables

05.22 NHS chief says Brexit would be dangerous for health service

05.21 China's latest idea for cleaning up air pollution could be horrible for climate change

05.21 Brazilian strain of Zika virus confirmed in Africa, says WHO

05.21 The world's largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem [automated sailing ships are a much better idea]

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05.24 Disposable Americans: The Numbers are Growing

05.24 Hillary Clinton’s Energy Initiative Pressed Countries to Embrace Fracking, New Emails Reveal

05.24 Sanders names Cornel West, Keith Ellison to DNC platform committee

05.24 'I'm not with her': why women are weary of Hillary Clinton

05.23 Untold Damage: America’s Overlooked Gun Violence

05.23 4 Gun Safety Initiatives to Watch in Election 2016

05.23 #AirBnBWhileBlack and the Legacy of Brown vs. Board

05.23 Blowing the Whistle: Former US Official Reveals Risks Faced by Internal Critics

05.22 Trump and Clinton on guns: two visions of race, justice and policing in the US

05.22 Louisiana: girl aged five shoots and kills herself with handgun at home [how is this "news", coming from a Red state]

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05.21 Establishment Dems Fight to Defeat 'Medicare-for-All' in Colorado

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05.24 IMF tells EU it must give Greece unconditional debt relief

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05.24 No country for academics: Chinese crackdown forces intellectuals abroad

05.22 THE VIETNAM WAR IS STILL KILLING PEOPLE

05.22 Across Africa, the worst food crisis since 1985 looms for 50 million

05.22 How southern Africa is coping with worst global food crisis for 25 years

05.22 Tory EU referendum voters are switching to remain, says poll

05.22 Sexual health gets little attention in a crisis, with devastating results

05.22 Robin Wright: A-lister who’s playing for high stakes off screen

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05.21 Open debate is a big step forward for the reform-phobic UN security council

05.21 Brazil's interim government wastes no time erasing Workers' party influence

05.21 Brazil's new lower house leader being investigated for attempted murder

05.21 Cyclone Roanu: Bangladesh moves 2 million people from coast

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  Checking ABC's Factcheck
FAILED DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN:

Pete Peterson's Real Crisis: America Speaks and Says the Wrong Thing

by Peter Hart for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Originally published on Wednesday, 30 June 2010
After being given "misleading background information about the federal deficit and economic options to achieve fiscal 'balance' and future prosperity," the public got a chance to weigh in on what they thought the most prudent course of action might be.

Billionaire Pete Peterson has spent a lot of money trying to convince people that Social Security is a serious threat to the country's finances. And it's a message that the corporate media love to echo. So when Peterson's group decided to hold "town hall" meetings to promote fiscal austerity by cutting Social Security and Medicare, one would have guessed that the media would give it some attention.

But a funny thing happened this weekend at these "America Speaks" events. Members of the public, after being given what Roger Hickey calls "misleading background information about the federal deficit and economic options to achieve fiscal 'balance' and future prosperity," got a chance to weigh in on what they thought the most prudent course of action might be. As Thomas Frank points out in the Wall Street Journal today (6/30/10; subscription required), the results were likely a huge disappointment to Peterson:

The event took place as scheduled last Saturday, with thousands of citizens meeting in different cities. They duly absorbed a booklet alerting them to the danger of deficits. They deliberated. And then something funny happened on the way to the consensus.

According to a preliminary compilation of results, participants supported "an extra 5 percent tax" on incomes of greater than $1 million per year (by 68 percent) and an increase in the corporate income tax rate (59 percent). They thought a "carbon tax" was a good idea (64 percent) as well as a "securities transactions tax" (61 percent). On Social Security, austerity was nowhere in sight as 85 percent backed raising the limit on taxable income, and only a miserable 27 percent thought that we should "create personal savings accounts." Majorities favored cutting defense spending and expressed support for further recovery measures even if they increase the deficit.

Raising taxes on the wealthy, a carbon tax, cutting military spending--who ARE these people? It sounds a political agenda that most pundits would tell you is politically impossible. (It also happens to be what a lot of people want, but never mind that.)

Given the media's general enthusiasm for Peterson's propaganda on austerity and Social Security, it's striking how little coverage these town halls have received. But it's hard not to conclude that the public rejection of the media's conventional wisdom is the explanation. A few weeks ago, Washington Post columnist David Broder (5/2/10) lamented the fact that Peterson was apparently not having as much impact on the political discussion as the Tea Party movement: "Peterson's foundation could do the country a favor by uncovering a credible populist Republican who will buck his party's orthodoxy and take that message of fiscal responsibility to the country."

Instead, Peterson's people are trying to spread their message--but the public apparently wants something else entirely.


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 fair@fair.org. Republished in the Chronicle with permission from F.A.I.R.


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This story was published on July 3, 2010.

 

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