Media Cries “Deficit” to Defeat Progressive Agenda

lucy-football

Despite all of the economic history of the past 30 years, the traditional media is brushing off its favorite bogeyman – the budget deficit – to defeat and/or scale back President Obama’s progressive budget, education, and health care agenda. The New York Times warned in a front page story on March 21 that a new [...]

Media Tries to Undermine Obama Agenda

chris_matthews

Barack Obama has been President for eight weeks, and much of the traditional media remains incapable of making sense of his agenda. In one corner we have hosts like Hardball’s Chris Matthews, who appears to be compensating for pro-Obama campaign comments by giving excessive voice to the president’s critics. Or we have CNN’s John King, [...]

Howard Dean’s Return to DFA Can Spark National Activism

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After presiding over the Democratic Party’s most successful national grassroots mobilizing campaign since the New Deal, Howard Dean is returning to Democracy for America, the organization he founded nearly five years ago. Dean’s return to DFA got scant attention in the traditional media, which has underestimated the former Vermont Governor from his 2004 presidential campaign [...]

Is iTunes New Economic Model for Failing Newspapers?

tweeting

As the San Francisco Chronicle faces its last days, the question is whether any comparable news alternative for the Bay Area can emerge. Much of this centers on creating new models of economic viability for the news business. Some, including former Chronicle business columnist David Lazarus, now writing for the Los Angeles Times, believe that [...]

With Obama, It’s 1935 All Over Again

Obama, Roosevelt, Jindal, "Purcell"

As President Obama follows a $800 billion recovery act by proposing nearly $700 billion for universal health care, and financially ambitious programs for energy independence and education, the United States is experiencing 1935 all over again. That’s the year that followed huge Democratic gains in the 1934 election, and which saw Congress enact the two [...]

Obama’s Good Luck: Sebelius Set to Replace Daschle

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It’s allegedly better to be lucky than good. Barack Obama has great political skills, but it took luck to give him the chance to replace a tarnished Tom Daschle with a far more credible Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary. The Kansas Governor is slated to be appointed to the job, and will [...]

Media Fails First Test of Obama Era

Jack Cafferty and Maureen Dowd

With the nation’s economy reeling, and corporate advertisers desperate for help, some assumed that the traditional media would have an incentive to provide solid, fact-based coverage of the stimulus package debate. But like “bipartisanship,” this expectation has proved unrealistic. From Jack Cafferty and Campbell Brown on CNN, to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, to [...]

Obama, Pelosi Must Rescue Damaged Stimulus Package

pelosi-obama

Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have produced a Senate stimulus bill that kills jobs, eliminates affordable housing, guts education and gives billions in new tax breaks for the rich. Their hypocrisy is shameful. As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman put it, the Senate measure will “lead to substantially lower employment and [...]

SEIU, UFCW Demand Hilda Solis’ Speedy Confirmation

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SEIU, UCFW, and other worker rights advocates are escalating their campaign against Republican efforts to obstruct the appointment of Congressmember Hilda Solis as the new Labor Secretary. Solis, who has been a hero to working people from her days as a California legislator through her tenure in Congress, is being opposed on the grounds that [...]

Lessons of President Obama’s First Two Weeks

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It’s been less than two weeks, but patterns have emerged that are likely to continue throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. First, Obama understands how to use the media. Examples are detailed below, but the best is the widespread media story last Thursday about how the usually cool Obama “lost it” — in front of cameras and [...]

Will Obama’s New “Organizing for America” Succeed?

David Plouffe and Barack Obama

After Barack Obama’s presidential campaign built the organizing skills of thousands of young activists, many hoped that his organization would spawn a new entity to keep many of these folks working full time for change. The Obama campaign was the best incubator for activists since the UFW of the 1960s and 70s, and created a [...]

Why Millions Risk Lives to Enter the U.S.

illegalpeople

Immigration policy remains a hot button issue in the United States. Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel has described comprehensive immigration legislation as the “third rail” of American politics, and CNN provides Lou Dobbs with a daily forum for bashing undocumented immigrants. While opponents of creating a path to legalization for such immigrants recognize that [...]

Obama Commits to “Remaking America”

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Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address was not his greatest or most passionate speech, but it was likely his most purposeful. Moving at a faster pace than usual, our new President sought to instill a sense of purpose in Americans, calling for a “new era of responsibility – a recognition, upon the part of every American, that [...]

Obama Must Walk the Talk on National Service

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Michelle Obama urged millions of Americans this week to perform community service on January 19. Her e-mail message included a link to engage in such actions, and her commitment is clearly heart-felt. Ms. Obama once worked for Public Allies, which “identifies talented young adults from diverse backgrounds and prepares them for careers working for community [...]

Newsom’s Shaky Political Future

boxerrenne2010

Since winning election in 2003, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has been a rising political star. His landmark support for gay marriage, followed by the California Supreme Court’s endorsing it as a “fundamental right,” left Newsom the candidate to beat in the 2010 Governor’s race. But Prop 8’s victory lent a double blow to Newsom: [...]

Predictions for 2009: America’s Road to Change

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by Randy Shaw – For the first time, I approach a new year optimistic that the United States government will implement progressive change. The Obama Administration and Congress will invest hundreds of billions of dollars in new jobs, enact dramatically new energy policies, implement universal health care, impose long overdue labor law reforms, and reverse [...]

Why Union Organizing Often Fails

we-won

lame for declining union membership is usually attributed to structural changes in the economy, increased globalization, and unions’ failure to devote adequate resources to organizing. But a recent union drive at a private college in South Florida tells a much different, and far too typical, story. It is an account of immigrant workers who got [...]

On Cabinet Picks, Obama Savvier than Progressive Critics

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by Randy Shaw – As Barack Obama’s Cabinet fills with Clinton Administration veterans, some are raising concerns why no “movement progressive” has been selected. Hillary Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State galvanized fears that Obama’s cabinet is unduly “centrist,” a concern amplified by the daily parade of predominately white male Clinton veterans in the “possible [...]

Where Is California’s Barack Obama?

Fresh off a thrilling presidential campaign, California Democrats face a Governor’s race without a candidate that can rally a multi-racial, class-crossing grassroots base. The three most talked about candidates — Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom — neither offer a sharply new direction nor provide the transformational message that was at the heart of [...]

Latino Immigrants Played Key Role in Obama’s Red State Victories

Among the most overlooked stories this political season was the major impact of Latino voters in Barack Obama’s red state victories. While Latinos’ 67% support for Obama has gotten some attention, the media has largely overlooked the fact that Latino immigrants backed Obama by a 78% margin, and their support was critical in the Democrat’s [...]

Voters Are Rejecting Republican Ideology, Not Just Bush and McCain

With pundits finally predicting an Obama victory, some are already spinning the election as a referendum on President Bush and on John McCain’s weak campaign. This frame—which claims Bush was an “anchor” around John McCain’s neck from the outset—spins this election as a rejection of specific politicians, not the Republican Party. But John McCain publicly [...]

Obama Proves the Pundits Wrong

After Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses by a surprisingly large margin, the punditocracy was troubled. Pundits had virtually conceded the nomination to Hillary Clinton, and now went into high gear explaining the Illinois Senator’s deficiencies.

Is the Media Really Helpless to Challenge Palin?

by Randy Shaw — Prior to Charlie Gibson’s interview of Sarah Palin last week, Chris Mathews of MSNBC’s Hardball asked Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker why the media was not focusing on Palin’s lack of experience. Lizza responded that Palin’s scant political background made this a critical question, but that the McCain campaign had [...]

Have Progressives Lost Faith in America?

As the presidential poll numbers tighten, I have recently heard the following: the American people are stupid, voters have again been manipulated by the media, working class voters will again vote on cultural, not economic, issues, and the United States will never elect an African-American President. This deep-seated distrust of the “average” U.S. voter appears [...]

What I Learned in Denver

by Randy Shaw – The last day of the Democratic Convention at Mile High Stadium was an extraordinary occasion that transcended politics and became almost spiritual. I have never been part of such a public event—political or not—and doubt whether an equivalent happening has ever occurred in the United States or will soon be repeated.

Media Desperately Searching for Black Clouds Over Obama

Something almost shocking occurred last week on Keith Olbermann’s Countdown show: MSNBC political expert Chuck Todd announced that the electoral math made a McCain victory extremely unlikely, if not near impossible. Such comments are rarely expressed in the media, which studiously avoids state-by-state poll numbers and spends much of its time probing for weaknesses in [...]