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Communique
'Because This Is the Middle East': CBS' Schieffer ignores context in Mideast crisis
7/19/06

On July 16, CBS Face the Nation host (and CBS Evening News anchor) Bob Schieffer dedicated the entire Sunday morning news show to the Middle East conflict. In his closing editorial, he adapted a well-known fable in an attempt to explain the causes of the current conflict—or rather, the lack of causes:


Media views
In the days since "a headline and the lead of a story provide[d] a fundamentally and demonstrably false account of something Hillary Clinton said," the New York Times has issued corrections regarding a novelist's date of death, a baseball pitcher's record and an internet betting scheme. But the paper has "still said not a word" about D.C. correspondent Anne E. Kornblut's "Clinton, in Arkansas, Says Democrats Are 'Wasting Time'" article. Grieve states that in reality, "as audiotape and other reports confirm—Clinton's words...were aimed at Republicans in Congress and not at her colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle." (Ad-viewing required.)
UPDATE: At approximately 6:00 pm (EST) July 18, the Times finally appended an Editors' Note correcting the "misinterpretation."
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CommonDreams: More Atomic Bomb Balm From the New York Times (7/17/06) by Harvey Wasserman
The New York Times Magazine's July 16 cover story debates resurgent arguments for nuclear power. But Wasserman says "the obvious green path to increased efficiency is presented in straw man fashion and then dismissed" by reporter Jon Gertner—with the "very long article" omitting government reports that "between 99 percent and 124 percent of the nation's electricity can be supplied by renewable means by the year 2020." Additionally,
the article admits, but does not emphasize, that the entire push for new nukes is a massive welfare program for rich Bush backers.... The article also glosses over the immense problems with nuclear waste, with regular radioactive emissions and with environmental damage done with huge emissions of heat into the air and water.... Overall, the attempt to revive atomic energy is far more the product of a corrupt, pay-to-play Bush cash machine than a real need to get at our crisis in energy and the environment.

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A U.S. News & World Report "insider" source confirms the cynical government manipulation of SWIFT program reporting—deepening the hypocrisy of "calls of treason and dark mutterings by Bush and Cheney."
The Treasury Department expected [the financial surveillance program] to leak. When the program was developed in 2003, a press plan was included. The goal: Get out front with the spin that there are safeguards to prevent snooping on private accounts, that it is legal, and that there are big benefits to it. "These three elements needed to be in the first-day story."... The plan worked. When the [New York] Times told Treasury it was running the story, top Treasury aides were OK'd to talk to the Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, which presented the three points. "It was a textbook case of very good PR management."

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Women In Media & News: Summer Net Surfing & Recommended Reading (7/16/06) by Miranda Spencer
In the spirit of "celebrating good media as well as taking bad media to task," Spencer lists her favorite environmentalist blogs "created by and/or about women" who are both professional journalists and independent media makers.
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Santa Maria Times: Newspaper Staff Goes Public with Complaints (7/15/06) by Sally Cappon
Upon the "ninth resignation of a key news staff member" over managerial interference with editorial content, remaining Santa Barbara News-Press journalists stage a dramatic walk-out. The reporters and editors wore duct tape over their mouths to protest a gag order placed by their own paper.
A 20-year veteran reporter [said] that while they would like to talk about their grievances, they've been prevented from doing so by the newspaper's management. "We have been ordered not to speak to any members of the media.... If we break that new rule, we will be fired."

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Attytood: A Plea to America's News Directors and Editors (7/11/06) by Will Bunch
Asking news media to stop playing into the "fear factor" the Bush administration is sure to continue "whipping up" with specious "'terror threats,' to paper over mistakes or to justify new military adventures, between now and January 2009."
We can't stop them from throwing it out there. But the media and its role as a super-enabler—that's a different story. In theory, a news outlet would...determin[e] what terrorism stories are important and which ones carry the strong whiff of baloney. Instead, since Sept. 11, 2001, the media has become a giant amplifier, not a filter. When the subject is "the war on terror," no development is too small for wall-to-wall "breaking news" coverage, or a front-page scoop.

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