Randy Shaw: CNN’s chief problem is not a lack of partisanship. Instead, it is that CNN’s “news” primarily consists of opinions from partisan political hacks. Most work for CNN because no candidate wants to hire them, and it’s an easy gig because they don’t have to know much about the subjects they pontificate about. Does CNN really believe viewers are still interested in the opinions of the corporate-funded James Carville? Or that CNN will steal viewers from FOX News by hiring Erick Erickson of Redstate.com, who publicly threatened to shoot census workers? CNN is failing because it’s selling stale conventional wisdom, which viewers are rejecting.
Michael Sigman: It’s often momentarily satisfying to react to outrage with more outrage. For years, I’ve rooted like a sports fan for MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann when he righteously matched and even outstripped the bile of the ignorant Right. But during his recent absence from the airwaves, it’s been a tonic to follow Laurence O’Donnell’s more reasoned approach and Rachel Maddow’s measured, humorous way of skewering the opposition.
Jim Fuller: This is your duty as a citizen: Take a deep breath and try to watch and listen to Fox for a half hour or so at a time, at various times of day. More if you can stand it. You’ll rarely catch even a single story that is not twisted to fit an extreme right view of the world.
Tom Degan: It’s going to be an absolute scream in the next few years watching the Bush Mob try to rewrite history with the flood of books that are sure to come out. The latest screed by Rove is merely the tip of the iceberg. They have quite a chore ahead of them no doubt. Putting a positive spin on the worst administration in American history? I imagine something that tricky would be the equivalent of trying to put a smiley face on a decomposing pig:
Please join the LA Media Reform Group, California Common Cause, and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute on March 27, 2010, at Occidental College for our third annual summit. Given the recent Supreme Court decision, the changing media landscape, and the importance of the upcoming election cycle, we’ve decided to make this year’s theme, “Preserving Democracy.”
Michael Sigman: Many of the thirty-thousand-plus newspaper journalists laid off in the past two years have signed on to corporate public relations gigs, further blurring the already-murky line between PR and news. When the handful of corporate chieftains who control most mainstream media hire as PR agents the journalists who used to expose them, they’re one giant step closer to commandeering the information narrative in America.
Sharon Kyle: In a book entitled, Just How Stupid Are We?, author Rick Shenkman asks, “Are America’s voters prepared to shoulder the responsibility of running the most powerful nation on earth? Do a majority know enough?” These questions are not new but the current economic crisis brings to the fore the urgency of an answer.
Tom Hall: One reason that there has been so little outcry about this complete abandonment of the capitalist ideals of the Reagan years is that there is no longer any press competition in the United States. All the broadcast and cable networks are now owned by about five multinational corporations. And in every major city, the same corporations own all of the television and radio stations and the cable systems. Most cable systems have no competition at all.
Bob Letcher: Simply to “count medals” egregiously ignores the importance players on both sides of the “GOLD MEDAL” game ascribed to winning that game. And not without reason: the Government of Canada—Team Canada’s Government—had undertaken as a matter of national pride, if not national policy, its own “own the podium” program.
Dick Price: Next week, Georgianne Nienaber departs on a 12-day investigative research trip to Haiti where she will look to fill in gaps in the mainstream media’s news coverage while also providing emergency medical assistance to rural Haitians. As she works with Haitian human rights organizations to develop story ideas, she also invites LA Progressive readers to contribute their thoughts on where else she might look.
Sherwood Ross: If an imperial Presidency is defined as one in which an autocratic president can pretty much do as he pleases waging wars around the world, all that a more intensive media environment does is to provide him with heightened supporting coverage. Fox News may attack Obama for his management style but it does not dispute his basic imperialist direction, which is a continuation of the Bush-Cheney wars of aggression. Media dissent these days flickers only on the Internet. Thus the White House succeeds in controlling the news—especially as it derives so much help from the mainstream media.
Ed Rampell: Fair play demands that if Woods is sincere about doing a mea culpa, he should start by apologizing to African Americans for his record of turning his back on them in his unbridled, selfish pursuit of money, glory and sexual gratification by currying favor with the dominant majority culture.
Randy Shaw: The worldwide recession deepens, the impacts of climate change worsen, and health care costs continue to skyrocket — yet people are primarily discussing other matters. Chief among them is why curling is an Olympic sport, since it is the on-ice equivalent of bocce or shuffleboard, two games that do not require much athletic talent.
Robert Reich: The real problem isn’t partisanship. Bold views and strong positions are fine. Democratic debate and deliberation can be enhanced by them. The problem is the intransigence and belligerence that has taken over Congress and much of the rest of the public — a profound distrust of people “on the other side,” an unwillingness to compromise, a bitterness and anger disproportionate to issues being discussed.
Linda Milazzo: This morning, ABC’s Jonathan Karl will audition to replace George Stephanopoulos on the network’s flagship Sunday morning program, This Week. Karl’s exclusive “get” for his hosting debut is former Vice President Dick Cheney, whom Karl last interviewed on December 16, 2008 – a month after Barack Obama was elected President, and a month after Jonathan Karl was named ABC’s Senior Congressional Correspondent.
Tom Hall: Cameron is a closet Republican. While mouthing anti-corporate platitudes, he embraces the “Party of No” stance that all social strife can be solved with more force, less thought, simple sloganeering and appeals to fear and anger. And, like his Republican compatriots, he rakes in the dough with a stirring yarn which evades, rather than deals with, real social problems.
Robert Letcher: For decades until the recent economic “troubles”, middle classes readily bought into the elite-serving argument: if we don’t question the morality of—and possible connections between—extreme poverty and extreme wealth, elites will act to assure that most of us will never be as poor as those poor Haitians (best delivered with a Glenn Beck quiver).
H. Scott Prosterman: I’m told by a fellow traveler that the upside of hell is knowing that all of your friends will be there. I can hardly wait. Such was the feeling I had when I saw my name among many more important people on the Masada 2000 website. They are an ultra-right Zionist organization, bent on destroying the reputations and careers of any Jew who dares to utter or publish a criticism of Israel . They call this the Self Hating and/or Israel Threatening (SHIT) List. And there are over 8,800 names.
Randy Shaw: Beyoncé has been a great star since childhood, and has gotten to the top through hard work, dedication, good looks and a powerful singing voice. But she seems to have gone through a corporate homogenization machine that has deprived her of real passion, real soul, and of the ability to express true feelings and emotions in her songs.
John Gallogly: There are always going to be those who say the arts are a luxury we can’t afford. The truth in Los Angeles — according to Jack Kyser, chief economist for LA, Inc, and author of the 2009 Otis Report — is that the arts are an economic engine that employ over 35,000 people directly and contribute at least that many jobs indirectly in tourism, restaurants, printing and ancillary businesses, not to mention the economic multiplyer at other local businesses where those employees shop like grocery stores.
Georgianne Nienaber: Bhutto: The Film presents the story of a woman whose strength of personality and conviction totally dominates the constraints of a fundamentalist religious society where women had no intrinsic value. The voice over of Bhutto describing her birth is the ghost in the room. Her extended family was in mourning that Benazir entered the world in a society where the only desire is that the firstborn be a boy. “Dogs and cats were giving birth to boys,” she narrates from the grave.
Wendy Block: Both Zinn and Salinger remained true to themselves. Zinn maintained his radical stance when many of his contemporaries softened. Salinger rejected what he considered the phoniness of fame, and even stopped publishing (but maybe now, secreted works will go public). Though some of his rumored actions, if true, were eccentric, there’s nothing reclusive about wanting to live a life free from an obsessively attentive outside world.
Jules Siegel: Coming across as pompous, astoundingly unfeeling, deceptive and defiantly hypocritical, Salinger indoctrinates her with his homeopathically inspired theories about food, teaches her how to induce vomiting in order to avoid absorbing “toxins,” has her share a diet so austere that she stops menstruating, and generally makes himself the absolute center of not only her personal world but also life as we know it. In one scene, commenting scornfully on the Beatles and their Maharishi, he takes rueful credit for having created the Oriental philosophy fad, conveniently ignoring the Transcendentalists, Herman Hesse and Alan Watts, among others.
Joseph Palerrmo: I saw Howard speak in Ithaca and in Santa Cruz and his talks were always so emotionally powerful and sensitive to human suffering and injustice. But he could also be hilariously funny, with a comedian’s sense of timing. And he had the most developed sense of irony — and the ability to convey irony — of anyone I’ve ever seen or read.