Sunday, August 14, 2011


Jim: This is a media roundtable. We're basically making this a theme edition and the theme is media. Our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration.


Jim (Con't): Alright, Saturday night, C.I. offered media criticism in "Tell the whore likability is not legality" and Rebecca put that down as a topic. Why?

Rebecca: There's so much in that essay but one section stood out, near the end, "But this is the last time we'll do that. If it's not about a war, I'm not interested. I am so especially not interested -- soooooooooooooooo not interested -- in columns about religion or, even more importantly, what's wrong with someone's religion. I don't make that judgment, I don't concern myself -- stick my nose into -- people's worship." When that went up, my friend T called me and she said, "I was wondering what C.I. thought about Michele Bachmann being asked Thursday night in the debate about 'submitting' to her husband." And T didn't believe me when I first explained to her that C.I. had no idea about that question.

Jim: Good point. I found that interesting as well. Ava and C.I. didn't know about it until they were doing research early Sunday morning for the piece they were writing. That was phone calls -- including to someone with The NewsHour -- and it was a ton of watching the news. I declared Saturday morning that I really wanted us to do a media theme edition.

Wally: Declared that to C.I.

Jim: Right. Wally and Mike were running with C.I. -- running, right?

Mike: No jogging, it was running.

Jim: They were running with C.I. and I was on the phone with her explaining why I thought a media edition theme might work. And she said she and Ava had caught The NewsHour Friday and could probably swing that. And The NewsHour is the focus. But they also watched Friday's CBS Evening News, Friday's NBC Nightly News and Friday's ABC's World News -- watched all of that early this morning as part of their research. And they didn't know until after that about the Bachmann issue.

Ava: Right. It wasn't covered on The NewsHour. It was covered on ABC World News Tonight. That's where we first saw it this morning when we were playing catch up. And that statement stands for C.I. after learning that Bachmann was asked about her religion.

Jim: Ava, what stood out that's not covered in the report you and C.I. wrote?

Ava: A great deal. But I guess chief among the points that stands out, and this is noted in our piece, but not stressed, in 3 minutes Norah O'Donnell covered the unimportant Iowa Straw Poll better than Gwen Ifill did in over eleven minutes.

Jim: Last week, we did an e-mail roundtable. A professor e-mailed furious that I hadn't included his comments. So let me note here that he teaches journalism and he praised Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Diane Sawyer, giving anchors a bad name" which he included in his second summer session and plans to include in classes this fall. He wrote, the second time, "How does the media get it wrong? They start out a little wrong and then they get a lot wrong and then they're so wrong they won't even bother with a correction. Diane Sawyer was wrong one night, she 'improved' on being wrong the second night by lying and by the third her lie was even bigger. I use it to point out why it is so important to nail down even the smallest of facts." So thank you, professor, for attempting to teach standards at a time when it increasingly seems that there are no standards for journalism anymore. Betty, I want to go to you now. Two weeks ago, you offered a critique of Steve Inskeep's interview of US House Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. Talk about that.

Betty: Well Inskeep repeatedly interrupted Cleaver. Cleaver's Black and I've never heard Inskeep interrupt any member of Congress before except at the end of the segment. Why did he treat Cleaver that way? I say it was racism. I say no White member of Congress would have been treated that way. NPR's original response to that awful interview was to bury it and make it difficult to find online. They avoided doing a transcript for a bit and now that they have one, it is incorrect and does not accurately capture what was said. I think Steve Inskeep's actions were racist. In addition, I think NPR's response has demonstrated that they think the interview was racist as well. And Inskeep is often rude to left members of Congress. C.I. documented how condescending Inskeep was to US House Rep. Barney Frank last Tuesday but this went beyond that.

C.I.: And to add to what Betty's saying, NPR's new ombudsperson, Edward Schumacher-Matos, did comment on Inskeep's interview with Barney Frank; however, he has avoided the issue of the way Cleaver was treated.

Jim: There's a lot of avoiding going on in our so-called responsible media. Elaine, you're attempting to cover the Libyan War at your site.

Elaine: Right. Mike, C.I. and I are all trying to cover it. C.I.'s actually doing much more than I am. But I'll talk about the problems all three of us face. As everyone knows, Dennis Bernstein returned from his vacation and is back to hosting Flashpoints. Shortly after returning, he killed the coverage Kevin Pina and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya had been providing three times a week on Flashpoints. So we don't have that. That really was the only independent broadcast coverage of the Libyan War. Now we don't have that. We have WSWS for text and Mahdi's outlet the Centre for Global Research. Then it's whatever else you can string together because so much of the MSM can't be trusted, it's inaccurate and slanted and that includes Al Jazeera reporting -- especially their reporting due to the deals that are being made with the so-called 'rebels' by the government of Qatar which also runs the state-owned Al Jazeera network. It's very difficult and the silence from so many outlets is appalling.

Marcia: Right and Elaine's been very clear about the refusal of Amy Goodman to cover the Libyan War. And it's just amazing. During the Bush era, she was all over wars. But her baby boi Barack got into office and she ended up whoring by selling inauguration ball tickets to raise money for her crap ass show. That's one whore I'll never forgive. I am so glad that she outed herself as corrupt and a liar.

Dona: As bad as some of the MSM coverage -- maybe the bulk of it -- is on the Libyan War, it is getting covered. That's certainly not true of the Iraq War. Let's stay with independent media -- or so-called 'independent' media -- what stands out as one of the biggest oversights today?

Trina: I would argue the protests. It's really easy for Amy Goodman to -- and she has done this repeatedly -- attack the MSM for not covering the protests of recent years when they've done much, much more than she has. If there's an anti-war protest in DC, it may or may not get mentioned in headlines. She doesn't cover real protests against her beloved Barack The War Hawk.

Ruth: I agree and I will point out something else, she does not want Barack Obama critics on her show. The most she will allow are the recently turned. If you were a big supporter of Barack Obama and are now critical of him -- like Cornel West -- you can be a guest. If you were someone critical of him before the 2008 election -- Doug Henwood, for example -- you can forget it. And Mr. Henwood is an economist, on the left. How do you manage, over and over, not to book him in this economy?

Cedric: I look at her little cult and wonder how the hell they avoid seeing the truth about how manipulative and dishonest she is but then I realize Rachel Maddow pulls the same crap on MSNBC and there are idiots who praise Maddow as well.

Wally: Agreed but is there a better example of media failure right now then The Nation's 'sports issue'? They won't cover the wars. They won't cover anything of value. We've got multiple wars going on right now and they're doing a 'sports issue.' Talk about distractions.

Cedric: And cheerleaded on by the idiot Dave Zirin. He's hokey Cracker s**t is all the rage in Jewish circles, I'm sure. But he's a joke in the Black community. Here's the how-to-do-Dave: Fine 1 Black athlete, find problem in present or past of athlete, insist it's racism. Stroke yourself and spew.

Mike: You nailed him, Cedric. His act is tired. But that's so true of so many in independent media.

Jim: Mike, can you think of another example of where independent media's not doing it's job?

Mike: Yeah. And C.I. notes it in "Tell the whore likability is not legality." Scott Horton has decided Antiwar Radio is the MEK Terrorism Watch. What the hell? If there's a reason to listen to the program it's because he's covering the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War and the Libyan War and the drone war in Pakistan. I'm on the left. Most of Scott Horton's opinions are not my own. But I would listen for coverage of the wars. What was that he offered? Five discussions last week on Antiwar Radio about the MEK?

Ann: Support! If you're not going to put the ongoing wars front and center, don't call your program Antiwar Radio. I don't have time for the uselessness. I've seen enough of it from the so-called left that turned out to be nothing but Yellow Dog Democrats. I want coverage of the wars. I'm not really interested in Scott Horton's personal drama.

Jim: Kat, any thoughts?

Kat: I agree with what Mike and Ann are saying. And I don't cover the Libyan War. I'm not into blogging as I've noted lately. I'll write about music and whatever else strikes my fancy. But I am on the road with Wally, Ava and C.I. and I do know how covering the Libyan War means C.I. has to spend an hour to two hours more each day on the snapshot. So the idea that Scott Horton can just use the radio program to work out his own issues is not something I support.

Jim: That's come up a lot. Wally said the same thing to me this week. And I think Elaine's comments earlier went to how difficult it is to find worthwhile coverage of the Libyan War. But someone, Stan, you and Isaiah haven't spoken, explain to me where the war coverage is?

Isaiah: There's a lot of talk about how the people can't handle this or that. I can remember in 2003 or 2004, the New York Times had a wounded or dead US soldier on the front page. Or maybe it was the Blackwater contractors killed in Falluja. Regardless, I was picking the paper up and I go to check out and the woman behind the counter is all, "How can they put this on the front page, people shouldn't have to look at it" wah wah wah. But that seems to be the attitude of much of the media. "The people can't take it." Actually we can. But admitting that would be admitting that you were not doing your job. And they're not going to own up to that.

Stan: Yeah, reporters and editors and producers got bored. And they went elsewhere. There's nothinglike it, I can't imagine this media silence would happen during Vietnam. And that's why it's really sad to hear Scott Horton ignore current and ongoing wars to focus on the MEK. I'm sure he would argue that there could be a war because of the MEK. Well there are tons of could be wars. How about we focus on the many already taking place?

Jim: Okay, that'll be our last thought. This is a rush transcript.

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