Monday, March 31, 2014

Newsbusters and Noel Sheppard (Ava and C.I.)

Newsbusters is a right-wing media critique site.  Last week, Brent Bozell noted Noel Sheppard passed away on Thursday from cancer.  Tim Graham assembled videos of Sheppard offering critiques.  Matthew Sheffield offered "A Tribute to My Friend, Noel Sheppard."

We learned about the passing on Friday night and planned to note it at The Third Estate Sunday Review.  We were supposed to do a transcript piece with Jim that we thought was going to be on media and TV and we thought we'd address the passing and the topic of media critiques there.

That piece was done, "A reflective TV conversation," but Jim had asked readers for questions the week before and suddenly the scope changed and it became responding to e-mails -- which is fine but we would have written something either here or at Third if we'd known that ahead of time.

We had already done our media critique for Third ("TV: American Forgers and Billie Jean Fraud") and we really didn't see how to shoe horn Sheppard's passing in there since the topic didn't really allow for it.  The thought of doing another piece was too much.  As a group, our failed writing efforts included a piece on the FCC and Iraq and one on the deaths of Iraqi journalists.  All we wanted to do at that point was be done with the writing.

However,  we do media criticism and so we do need to note it when another media critic passes away.

We're two feminists on the left and we approach our criticism from that space.

Doing so means we find little we agree with 100% at any other critique outlets because so few offer any feminist point of view.

On the left, the best we find is FAIR.

It's a real shame they have so little real independence.  For example, they rightly called out the media gushing over the 2005 swearing in (of Bully Boy Bush) but where was that in January 2009 or January 2013?

FAIR hurt itself because, from 2001 through early 2007, it had offered reality and constructive critiques -- it had taught its audience and then it went back on everything it believed in.  At one point, they even buried Peter Hart's 2007 critique of how the media was on a Barack train.

Now that he's a lame duck, they're a little more brave.  They also seem to have found the spine to call him out on foreign policy while going along with domestic crap.

On the right, Newsbusters is the best.

A day with spare time -- rare -- affords us the luxury to check both sites.  And it is informative.  Both can have spot-on critiques, both can struggle.

Most of all, you can learn a great deal by what both choose to focus on emphasize.

In an ideal world, there would be a place where the two merged, where media critiques were at the same site and coming at issues from a variety of viewpoints -- including feminist viewpoints.

Maybe that would form a greater and larger understanding?

How do we suffer without that?

September 26, 2012, the New York Times' Tim Arango reported:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.

That was days ahead of the October 2012 presidential debates.

But the left didn't want to call Barack out due to fear that it would hurt his re-election attempt and the right didn't want to because Mitt Romney had foolishly argued Barack cut-and-run.

The Senate GOP was opposed to that and thought Romney's critique should have been about the damage Barack's policies had done to Iraq.  That critique would have been more fact based and, even if it had failed, it would have gotten traction today because Barack's Iraq policies were failures -- as can be seen in Iraq today.  The Senate GOP felt Barack should be called out for Chris Hill's failures and for Barack installing Nouri al-Maliki for a second term via The Erbil Agreement after Iraqi voters had named Nouri a loser and made the winner Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiya.

Instead of getting honesty from all sides about Iraq, it was just us pointing to Tim Arango's report that Barack had sent Special-Ops into Iraq in the fall of 2012 while running for re-election based on his false claim of 'withdrawal' of all US troops from Iraq.  And the issue never even entered into the presidential debates -- Barack was allowed to claim in them that he had pulled all US troops out of Iraq -- while just weeks before he had sent US troops back into Iraq.

That's how everyone suffers when there's no place for critiques that go beyond partisanship.

A larger understanding would allow Newsbusters to grasp that not every bit of media fawning over Barack is based on leftist beliefs.

The media has a natural (and disgusting) tendency to suck up to whomever is in power.

Newsbusters is correct that Bully Boy Bush was treated more harshly when he occupied the White House.  Pretty much everyone has been.

Newsbusters assumes it's due to liberalism.  Those are minor factors in 2014.  The main reason lately is because the economy remains in the tank and the press (bosses) wrongly believes whoring will help that and help the country.

Newsbusters also fails to realize that, prior to 2005, the media included a number in the tank for Bully Boy Bush.  Due to partisanship?  No, due to the natural sucking up to power that the media does.

But there's so little Barack has to offer now -- as we noted the day after the 2012 election -- and the press moves on to other things.

That doesn't mean there's no bias and bias won't continue.  But it does mean that FAIR and Newsbusters miss so much by being partisan critics and not systemic critics.

As feminists, we're the ones with no country.  (Although we're encouraged by the openess of Ms. magazien's blog -- see Trina's "Yea for Ms! (I'm not being sarcastic)" and Ann's "Trina left a great comment.")

For example, Bill Maher.  Newsbusters insists he's left wing.  No, he's Libertarian and he's a pig.  He's a sexist with a long track record of sexism.  However, you won't find FAIR calling him out because Maher supports Barack and brings lefties on his show.  Just like FAIR looked the other way with regards to Keith Olbermann or, as we pointed out years ago, just like FAIR grandstanded about how little women PBS offered on The NewsHour while FAIR's own radio program CounterSpin had nothing to brag about (see "Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List?" ).

A website that critiqued the press from all sides might get us beyond knee-jerk reactions but the system doesn't really want that, does it?

At any rate, Noel Sheppard passed away.  That is sad news.

Whether you agreed with him frequently, seldom or never, he took the time to offer a media critique and get in the mix and he tried to make a difference.

More should follow that example.

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