Monday, May 16, 2005

Democracy Now: Bill Moyers on the media; Bob Somerby; Katrina vanden Heuvel; Riggsveda; Bill Scher

Democracy Now! (Marcia: "always worth watching"):

Headlines for May 16, 2005
- Military In Uzbekistan Kills Up to 600 People
- Bush Administration Maintains Close Ties To Uzbek Gov't
- Rice on Iraq: "This War Came To Us, Not The Other Way Around"
- Iraq Death Toll In Last Two Weeks Tops 450
- Rep. Waters Urges Bush To Intervene In Yvon Neptune's Release
- Trial Of Sami Al Arian Opens in Florida
- MOVE Marks 20th Anniversary Of Bombing

Bill Moyers Responds to CPB's Tomlinson Charges of Liberal Bias: "We Were Getting it Right, But Not Right Wing"
In his first public address since leaving PBS six months ago, journalist Bill Moyers responds to charges by Kenneth Tomlinson - the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - of liberal bias and revelations that Tomlinson hired a consultant to monitor the political content of Moyers' PBS show "Now." We spend the hour playing an excerpt of Moyers' closing address at the National Conference on Media Reform in St. Louis, Missouri. [includes rush transcript]

And let's note a feature that I should have noted last week but it slipped through the cracks:

NEW FEATURE: Democracy Now! is now offering the program's daily news summary translated into Spanish. Los Titulares de Hoy

The daily news summary is a feature you can sign up for that will, among other things, provide you with the topics of each day's shows. When Amy Goodman's going to be on a TV show other than Democracy Now!, there's usually a head's up to that. In addition, you get updates on the Un-Embed the Media Tour.

And before this slips through the cracks of my cracked mind, let me note that in the first two breaks of Democracy Now! (if you watch or listen online), you'll get Patti Smith performing "People Have the Power" and "Dancing Barefoort" live. (If you watch, you'll see her performing it live.)

At The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby's dealing with a number of issues (including Ann Coulter and Tom DeLay). We'll focus on the Lincoln Bedroom. Somerby notes that figures of donors who have stayed over night at the Bully Boy White House barely caused a ripple. Using that as the entry point, Somerby charts the way the Lincoln Bedroom tales re: the Clintons was spun. And how that brave "liberal" New Republic addressed the issue. There's so much to read and the excerpt below is courtesy of Dallas (thank you, Dallas, I was scratching my head on what section to pull quote).

SPINNING THE LINCOLN: The story of the Lincoln Bedroom was a classic Clinton-era scandal--a story in which Washington's "press corps" quickly got busy reinventing basic facts. For the record, here are a few of the ways those facts were reworked and improved. As usual, major scribes lied in your faces--and their colleagues kept quiet about the deceptions. Even the fiery liberals at your "liberal" publications seemed to know that they mustn't speak up. But then, they ran and hid all through the years in which the press corps waged war against Clinton and Gore. Even today, they keep their mouths closed about what really happened. Here's a bit of what occurred when the "press corps" chose to spin this sweet tale. Here are some of the basic facts about this consuming scandal:
How many overnight guests were involved? 831. Or 938, depending on how clownish a newspaper wanted to be. In March 1997, the White House produced a list of overnight guests for the Clintons' four-plus years in the White House. 831 guests were listed. Beyond that, though, the White House noted that 35 family members had also stayed overnight, and that Chelsea Clinton--twelve to sixteen years old at the time—had hosted 72 additional guests (think: junior high slumber parties). Readers can probably guess what occurred. Wanting to make the scandal seem bigger, most news orgs took the relevant number (831), then added the 72 and the 35, producing a more pleasing total--938 overnight guests in all. There! That felt about twelve percent better! So when newspapers pimped the pleasing claim that the Clintons had hosted 938 guests, they were including 72 teen-aged friends of their daughter and 35 family members, although the papers almost never told readers that the numbers were being jacked up this way. In some ways, the Washington Post clowned most foolishly. On the first day of the story, the paper used the relevant number--831. After that, the paper switched to 938, apparently wanting to keep pace with its embellishing competitors. But as we've noted in the past, this is a standard practice in America's "press corps." Not uncommonly, news orgs which get a story right end up adjusting their accurate work to conform to conventional wisdom--to conventional tales which are wrong.

Lauren e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest at Editor's Cut, "Sweet Victory: Cleaning Up the Cosmetics Industry:"

Each day, women and girls use an average of twelve personal care products, according to a study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "Users of these products might assume that somebody is watching to insure that potentially toxic ingredients are kept away from intimate contact with their body," Mark Schapiro wrote in The Nation in December. "They would be wrong."
Thanks to a longstanding loophole, the FDA neither monitors nor regulates ingredients used in cosmetics, many of which contain known or probable carcinogens []. Yet, in the wake of mounting pressure from a coalition of public health and environmental groups, the American cosmetics industry is finally cleaning up its act.

Tina notes that Corrente has commented on the Newsweek apology. Tina selected the section she wanted highlighted:

UPDATE: Lambert reminds me that plants aren't only found in pots. See his September '04 post here, on the CBS "scandal" that led to Rather's downfall, and the likely disinformation campaign at work there. And while we're reminiscing, check out an old post of mine from last December on how the Pentagon was circulating disinformation to the media, all for a good cause, mind you.

That's Riggsveda at Corrente and Tina wanted that highlighted because "to me it's the most important part of the story. I enjoy the whole thing but to me that's the kernal that makes it worth noting, those links and that 'plants aren't only found in pots.'"

Lastly, let's note Bill Scher and Liberal Oasis. It's Monday, he's giving you the breakdown of the Sunday Chat & Chews. Here's an excerpt:

The infamous "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" memo, reported on widely in Britain, finally showed up on a Sunday show.
Just one show though, ABC's This Week.
And not during an interview with a Bush official (although National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was on
Fox and CNN), but with war booster Sen. John McCain.
And McCain's famed straight talk was strangely absent (video at
Crooks and Liars):
I want to show you a British memo ... it says, this is [a British intelligence official] reporting on Washington:
"Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."...
...Isn't that direct, and somewhat credible, evidence, that the Administration was manipulating intelligence here?
I have not seen evidence that the Administration was manipulating evidence. We're certain serious mistakes made, such as relying on a guy named Curveball --
But what about that memo though?
Uh --
It says that's what was happening.
I look at that -- well, first of all, I don’t agree with it.
[. . .]
And McCain went straight to the ye old talking points justifying the war, dodging the original question.
But everyone in the media should see this and recognize that “I don’t agree with it” is not an acceptable rebuttal.
It should not end the questioning. It should spark more.

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