Monday, April 04, 2005

Democracy Now: Examing the Pope's record, MLK remembered; The Daily Howler; BuzzFlash; Al Gore; MoveOnPac

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

Headlines for April 4, 2005
- Up to 2 Million to Attend Pope's Funeral
- The Pope's Legacy: A Social Conservative & Voice of Peace
- 44 U.S. Troops Injured In Attack on Iraqi Jail
- Mugabe Claims Victory in Zimbabwe Elections
- Minuteman Project Begins Monitoring Mexican Border
- Amnesty: Taser Guns Have Killed 103 In Past 5 Years
- Animal Rights Activist Faces 82 Years in Prison
- Gov't Conducted Record Number of Secret Searches in 2004
- Japanese American Civil Rights Pioneer Fred Korematsu, 86, Dies

The Legacy of Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)
Millions across the world are mourn the death of Pope John Paul II. We examine his 26-year leadership of the Roman Catholic Church with Mary Segers, an expert on Catholicism and the Roman Catholic Church, journalist and author Angela Bonavoglia, and former Catholic priest Blase Bonpaine.

Martin Luther King Assassinated 37 Years Ago Today
Today is the 37th anniversary of the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. We hear an excerpt of his "Beyond Vietnam" speech that he delivered a year to the day before his death. [includes rush transcript]

A number of you have e-mailed about being "Pope-d out." Considering the minute by minute death watch, that's not surprising. But I'd urge to consider checking out Democracy Now!'s story today on Pope John Paul II because this is how the news should be done. Not a half hour on the "early life of the Pope" (check out ABC's Nightline tonight, if that's something you're interested in). Not superficial "discussions" of his record. Amy Goodman's interviewing three people and these are pretty deep discussions.

I'll assume most will check out the MLK story (and deservedly so). But later tonight, I'll be highlighting one item from the "Headlines."

Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby continues to probe the reluctance of the media insiders to tell the basic facts. From today's entry:

WASHINGTON AWOL (PART 1): In Slate, Dahlia Lithwick makes an excellent point about press reaction to Men in Black, Mark Levin's junk-book best-seller. But before we examine her excellent point, how about a point of puzzlement? We don't have the slightest idea why Lithwick thinks this is the case:
LITHWICK: Men in Black was published by Regnery Publishing--the same outfit that brought us Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry last summer. Serious journalists spent serious time debunking the claims set forth in the Swift Boat book, but absolutely no one seems to be taking on Levin.
We're forced to ask: Just who were those "serious journalists" who managed to spend so much serious time "debunking the claims" in Unfit for Command? "No one seems to be taking on Levin," Lithwick gripes--but who took on that Swift Boat book, which transformed the Bush-Kerry race? As we have noted (links below), major newspapers routinely failed to review that O’Neill/Corsi book, just as they are taking a pass on reviewing the book by Levin. ("It has been reviewed virtually no place and written up by almost no one," Lithwick writes.) And when these newspapers examined the Swift Vet claims in their actual news pages, their reporting was thoroughly softball. For example, the New York Times focused on how the Swift Boat project was funded--but why should voters care about a project's funding if the project's claims are on-target? And concerning the accuracy of those claims, the mainstream press corps said little. For example, when the Washington Post analyzed one of O'Neill/Corsi's major claims against Kerry, the paper played "on the one hand/on the other hand" pretty much all the way--and then refused to tell its readers when eye-witnesses to the disputed events came out supporting Kerry (links below). In fact, Unfit for Command was a kooky book--a book larded with crackpot, contradictory claims. But to all appearances, the lords and ladies of the mainstream press were too fine (and too frightened) to say so. We don't know why Lithwick thinks different.
That's right, folks. The mainstream press was big-time AWOL as Swift Boat claims changed the 2000 race--just as Lithwick finds them AWOL in the new matter of Levin. But then, this has been common conduct for the mainstream press corps over the course of the past several decades, as the pseudo-right has created an alternate discourse on talk radio and on cable "news" networks. By now, we thought everyone knew how the game is played: Pseudo-con spinners use these new media to make wild-eyed, kooky, irrational claims--and high-minded mainstream and liberal pundits all stare blankly off into space, being careful not to confront, challenge, critique or contradict them. When Lithwick describes the soft treatment dished to Levin, she describes a familiar practice. Her colleagues are expert at this sort of thing, although she seems not to have heard.

Let's note that BuzzFlash has it's first satellite site. At that site they will now be doing their GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

We'll note "Al Gore to Present Special Documentary Award at the 36th Annual Nashville Film Festival:"

On Saturday, April 16, former Vice President Al Gore will present a special award during the 36th Annual Nashville Film Festival to director, Taggart Siegel, for his documentary, The Real Dirt on Farmer John.
The award is sponsored by a new independent cable network, whose name will be announced in early April. The presentation will take place prior to the 3:30pm screening of the film at the Regal Green Hills Stadium 16.
The award is given to a documentary that best provides extraordinary insight into a contemporary global issue. The Real Dirt on Farmer John was chosen by Mr. Gore out of five documentaries scheduled to screen at the Festival.
[. . .]
The 36th Annual Nashville Film Festival takes place Thursday, April 14 -Thursday, April 21 at the Regal Green Hills Stadium 16. Tickets go on saleMarch 24, 2005 and can be purchased online at or by phone at1-800-965-4827. The Festival Box Office will open at Regal Cinemas onSaturday, April 9, from 3:00pm to 8:00pm and run throughout the Festival. An early-bird All-Festival Laminate may be purchased for $300 or $350 by calling(615) 742-2500 and includes access to all films, panels, workshops (excludingKid's Workshop), Opening & Closing Galas and a VIP Goodie Bag. For completeticket information:

MoveOn's sister organization, MoveOnPAC, has a petition up regarding the funding of the war and the need for an exit strategy:

While Congress is considering an additional $82 billion for Iraq, they should insist that America has an exit strategy from Iraq with a timeline, that we do not construct permanent bases in Iraq and that we end war profiteering by corporations.

If you're interested in signing the petition, please do so.

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