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Media Focus: Truth vs. Propaganda

The Shirley Sherrod story turns a spotlight on big problems in the quality of our national information flow. We ask what’s news, what’s propaganda?

A display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., featuring the Bloomberg Internet, TV and Radio Gallery. (Credit: Newseum.org)

Through the battlefield smoke of the Wikileaks reports and the fresh news out of federal court in Arizona, a story from last week keeps ringing through the news business. The misrepresentation of Shirley Sherrod as a racist – and her sudden firing, then rehabilitation – has put the media, the news media itself, on trial. What has happened to the quality of this country’s national information flow? Is it poisoned? Is it now, really, propaganda? And whose?

This hour On Point: charges of propaganda in the news.


Charles Madigan, presidential writer in residence at Roosevelt University in Chicago where he teaches classes focused on journalism and politics. For forty years, he was a reporter, editor and columnist at the Chicago Tribune and a foreign and domestic correspondent for UPI.

David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots conservative lobbying organization. He served as Special Assistant to Vice President Spiro Agnew. Southern Regional Political Director for George Bush’s 1980 presidential race. Senior Advisor to former senator Bob Dole in 1988 and advisor to Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign.

E. J. Dionne, syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers’ Group and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. On Monday, the Washington Post published a column of his titled, “Enough Right-Wing Propaganda.”

Closing segment:

On Friday, NPR senior news analyst and journalistic legend Daniel Schorr passed away. He was 93. In remembrance of Schorr, we’re re-airing comments excerpted from a speech he gave on the present state of journalism when he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002. You can read NPR’s story on Schorr’s life, read the transcript of his Academy of Arts and Sciences speech, and see a slideshow about his career in broadcast.

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  • Ryan Campiz

    A few question marks float around in my mind on the subject of Fox News:

    1. What does Fox News stand to gain in touting Sarah Palin as a smear target?

    (I can’t help but add that I see little, if any, smear campaigns coming from or being highlighted by other news agencies, which begs the following question.)

    2. Is Fox News puffing up anti-Palin rhetoric so they can have a case to fight against? How does that benefit Fox News?

    3. Is it responsible of Fox News to include rabble rousing commentary into their programming such as that coming from Glenn Beck?

    4. Should a news agency be stripped of its press privelidges if it is evident that the news agency lacks the rigors of objectivity?

  • Tony Somera

    Generally it’s not propaganda if it’s true. Trouble is that’s not enough, by itself. Truth has to be put in its context. As I understand it the sinking of the ship by North Korea is a good example. Without mentioning OUR previous attack last year on a North Korean ship (or was it some military base? I can’t recall the details) you end up with the mistaken notion that their action was unprovoked.

    The US media LOVES that tactic and uses it all the time to manipulate public opinion.

    Another good example is the illegal aliens issue. Without putting that in the context of endless meddling and worse by the US in Latin America, you end up with a false sense of unjustified offense.

  • Michael

    (yes other news sources do what I’m going to say below but nothing close to what fox does)

    The problem esp for fox cable news is they don’t report the whole story, put points on pieces of the news that need done, and slants and alters the news to get a certain reaction from it’s audiences and listeners often times fear, anger, and distrust of anything other.

    Fox as well often will attack gays, poor, blacks, Mexicans, it mixes its news reporting with there sensationalist shows, it mixes talk/radio show host with journalist(the only respectable one they got there is Shepard Smith)they leave out important information and promote that was once the far rightwing crap on radio to the front pages of the news and yell and scream until the rest of the media coverages there made up or puff up News story. They make little to no attempt to hide such biased. NPR strategy to send Juan williams and Mara liaisons over there to get such a pieces of that conser/repub audiences.

    Don’t forget it been shown countless times there dishonest(thank you daily show)

    Some links, both video and written on such distortion and lies

  • michael

    In many of the segments, Mr. Stewart questions Fox’s journalistic practices. He noted that Fox had hired former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska to be a political analyst in a January segment he called “News of the Weird.” But he wasn’t laughing when he asserted that Fox is “functioning as her de-facto rapid response media arm, and they’re paying her for the privilege of doing it.”

    In February he noted that Fox News had stopped showing President Obama’s widely praised meeting with Republican leaders while CNN and MSNBC had carried it start to finish. Mimicking a Fox anchor, Mr. Stewart said, “We’re gonna cut away because” — humorous pause — “this is against the narrative that we present.

    In March he ridiculed the news anchor Megyn Kelly for lining up guests who were opposed to the Democratic health care overhaul and citing polls that claimed the American people were opposed to it. Then he played a clip from October 2008, when Mr. Obama was leading in most polls, of Ms. Kelly’s saying “don’t trust the polls.”

    In the past week and a half he found himself in a fight with Bernie Goldberg, the Fox News contributor, after suggesting that Mr. Goldberg and others were hypocritical for having bemoaned generalizations about the Tea Party while having demonized liberals.

    As Fox’s ratings have surged, so too has the amount of criticism, particularly surrounding its combination of news programs and conservative opinion programs. Asked on Friday about Mr. Stewart’s criticism, a Fox spokeswoman, Loren Hynes, said the channel would pass on an opportunity to comment.

  • michael

    some more of fox crap

    after one day

    Daily Show discovers Fox News manipulated footage while Fox News fact checks Sarah Palin

    (UPDATE: Sean Hannity admitted on his show Wednesday that he used “incorrect video” in his interview with a lawmaker who attended an anti-health care change rally in the nation’s capital last week.


  • michael

    “put points on pieces of the news that need none”

    I agree with Tony, just look at the coverage of the gergian/russian war, what was left out of the reporting were the people of South O. and any spokesman from them, as well as the agreement to have Russian peacekeeper, as well as half of it’s citizens hold Russians visa there since the early 90′s after it declare itself independent and since never really been apart of Georgia and had it’s own government since, but U.S. how U.S. news covered it and still does, Russia was to blame, (nothing stating that Georgia broke the cease fire) and Mccain with his “WE ARE ALL GEORGIAN” statement and talks of the Russian bear.

    BBC and PBS as well as “The World” does more in-depth reporting than our News. NPR was much better than the rest of the Newpapers and Cable Newspaper until around 2008 when there new CEO started to rely on blogger as journalist and news sources, and wanted to create and model itself off of Cable News.

    Out of CNN, MSNBC, and FOX NPR is as good if not better on average unless its Tax Cuts, War, Torture and transparency, I really wish that Tom and the like would stop quoting such properganda from Fox News as if it was anything close to truth, esp Palin(where somehow a facebook account stating death panels can result in WBUR,NPR and many other news station wasting time to debunk such crap.

  • roger

    fox has nothing to do with news.

    it is merely a republican-corporatist propaganda tool.

    anyone giving it any credence is simply a fool.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    Of course I loathe Fox News for its cultural conservatism and its corporatism. But complaining that it isn’t objective misses the point: there isn’t really any such thing as objective journalism. Objectivity in newspapers or news programs is a relatively recent illusion confined mainly to America in the 20th century. Points of view have always had organs for their propagation.

    I don’t hate Fox News for its lack of objectivity; I hate them for their point of view. My own favorite news sources, like PBS and magazines like the Nation, are not “objective” and I don’t pretend that they are. However, they are demonstrably more intelligent than Fox News, as well as more willing to present “both sides” of a given issue.

    Objectivity is not a major issue when it comes to political reporting; in fact, I wouldn’t trust someone so “on the fence” as to be actually objective regarding any given political controversy. To have no opinion suggests at the least a lack of intellectual curiousity.

    Objectivity belongs in science, not journalism.

  • informed American

    CBS news, N.Y. Times, Wash. Post, MSNBC, ABC news, CNN, Huffington Post, and N.P.R. are nothing more than discredited tools of the Obama administration. That’s why their ratings are sinking and their advertising revenues are evaporating.

  • John Myers

    A lot of the disinfo comes from corporations. It’s not just coming from Breitbart.
    I’d like to see a separation between Big Business and State!

  • Yar

    I posted this for Monday’s show. Today’s show got bumped by Wiki-leaks.
    The English language is a polarizing language, Black-White, Rich-Poor, many words have polar opposites in many peoples mind. Even the word propaganda is charged. Its original meaning comes from the Bible (early Christians), meaning to spread the good news(gospel). I not going to go into the polarization originated by the church.

    My point is: at some level of polarization we become an ungovernable society. I fear we are heading in that direction. We are on this planet together, and we have to work together well enough not to end up killing each other.
    Us vs Them no longer works in a world where our decisions and those of “them” (however we define them) have worldwide consequences.

    The problem as I see it is that our psyche is built around polarization. It is the motivation for more that we realize. In essence we may be at a point where our past evolution starts to work against us, unless we evolve a new paradigm of motivation.
    This is difficult for me to communicate because it is so hard to think outside the framework of polarization. Why does a suicide bomber blow himself up to further the cause of his group? What type of change is needed to end that type of motivation. What type of change is needed to keep us from wanting to blow up all the suicide bombers.
    It is a catch 22.
    It gets really deep really fast when you start analyzing motivation, especially when we look at our own motivations along with those of our “enemy”.

    This is not about socialism-capitalism, or Muslim-Christian, or even right-wrong.
    This is about how do we turn warring peoples into workers who build a planet that can care for 6 billion people.

    I think is is going to take more than an hour to figure it out. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I hope we start, because I fear the current path we are on.

    More added to my rant on Thursday.

    Regardless of political or economic position, it is not in the self interest of the majority of citizens to push our society into collapse. Getting people to see their self interest is a role the media can assist with.
    We have a hybrid economy that has elements of socialism, and capitalism. We have a democracy with elements of a class regulated cast system.
    Life is not fair but most of us (today’s audience) don’t really want it to be.
    When the media gives comfort to the poor while making the rich uncomfortable they are doing their job. Why is it that people say we are a right of center society? It is a non-statement. We desire to avoid the self introspection, so we look for a media outlet that is tailored to our class status.

  • Gary

    The corporate owned media – government is partly to blame, but the advance of these entities rests solely upon the shoulders of the tabloid hungry public. They mostly serve up what the public wants to consume.

    The media mirrors the food industry…lots of fat stupid people blissfully consuming fat tasty junk food and destroying the health of the nation.

    Stupid is as stupid does…unfortunately, the educated and informed are at the mercy of the marching morons…for they are legion.

  • gemli

    Propaganda is much too respectable a word for what Fox news broadcasts. They pander to the ignorant and rouse the rabble in order to disrupt the functioning of the government. Not a foreign government during wartime, mind you, but our own government. They are loud and outrageous and see conspiracies everywhere, which resonates with uneducated viewers who are looking for a reason for their free-floating anxiety and resentment. Fox News isn’t news, it’s theater. When the race-baiting, unread, hypocritical and anti-rational Sarah Palin is your preferred mouthpiece, you’ve given up any pretense of presenting balanced, thoughtful analysis of any subject.

  • Alex

    The clearest examples of propaganda was the run up to the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Suddenly, you couldn’t turn on the TV without hearing about Saddam’s palaces, rape rooms or Taleban’s public executions and oppression of women. If tomorrow they start telling that kind of stuff 24/7 about Norway or Finland we will be at war with them in no time. Do you guys remember hearing much in terms of contrary opinion about Saddam or Taleban at that time?

  • William

    The old liberal MSM is dying off. The consumers have spoken and FoxNews won.

  • Alex

    “The old liberal MSM is dying off. The consumers have spoken and FoxNews won.”

    Sounds right. Because this is the nation of consumers first and citizens second.

  • Kye

    Tom et al.,
    In regards to the Sherrod case, it seems obvious that Fox ran the story without even doing any fact-checking and vetting the story. Does this reflect the state of the journalism, or only certain news organization. This case proved the viewer that Fox News has no clothes, that Fox News is not news, but merely propaganda. Does the new media age create an environment where all news is propaganda? Are there news agencies that actually vet their stories before airing them?

  • Steve V

    They (media) do it because they can and there’s no way to hold them accountable.

  • JP

    It seems sort of funny to talk about media bias on a radio network (NPR) that is the poster child for media bias.

  • JP

    I wonder how many reporters from CBS news, N.Y. Times, Wash. Post, MSNBC, ABC news, CNN, Huffington Post, and N.P.R. were members of Journolist, founded by Ezra Klein. I bet at least 200 of the groups 400 members. Once all of their identities are discovered, will they be fired for unethical behavior?

  • John


    You should know what you are talking about or you are no better than the bad journalists out there. Fox News didn’t air anything about Sherrod until the White House fired her, and then they reported on her and the video that the white house used as a basis for their firing. This was an example of GOOD Journalism.

  • michael

    “You should know what you are talking about or you are no better than the bad journalists out there. Fox News didn’t air anything about Sherrod until the White House fired her, and then they reported on her and the video that the white house used as a basis for their firing. This was an example of GOOD Journalism.”

    After Breitbart posted a portion of a recent speech by Sherrod on his site Big Government yesterday Fox and other rightwing outlets gave it full play, and Bill O’Reilly called for her resignation. Naturally, it turns out that Breitbart didn’t even have the full tape. Yet numerous news outlets played it and cited it, without bothering to wonder: Is this a fair sample? And what is Breitbart’s track record, anyway?
    Later Tuesday night, Chuck Todd of NBC tweeted: “Every time you think the ‘media’ has hit an all-time low, the bottom falls out.”

    The biggest shock, however, was the cave-in by the administration.
    This afternoon, Sherrod on CNN told Rick Sanchez the USDA official who asked her to quit cited an upcoming segment on Glenn Beck’s show as a reason. She blamed the current uproar as fallout from the current battle between the Tea Party and NAACP.
    Also, the white farmer at the center of story — allegedly the victim of Sherrod’s “racism” long ago — on CNN said Sherrod actually helped him tremendously and “saved our farm” and can’t imagine why people are claiming she is racist. These people are just “looking for trouble,” he testified.
    CNN also revealed that Sherrod’s father was killed by a “white farmer” who was never prosecuted. An attorney from Alabama who has long known Sherrod referred to the killer as “KKK” but Sherrod did not make that claim. She did say that on the night of her father’s death she vowed to stay in the South and work for social change, and has done so nonstop since.
    Tonight on his show, Glenn Beck slammed Obama for cutting Sherrod loose–while ignoring his own network’s role in that dismissal and sloppy coverage from the beginning. But even Erick Erickson now feels Sherrod was wronged and should get her job back.

  • michael

    CNN’s Rick Sanchez said producers there were intrigued by Biggovernment.com’s posting and immediately started reporting on it. But with all the questions involved — Was this a fair characterization of Sherrod’s full speech? Can she be reached to give her side of the story? — they wouldn’t be ready to discuss it on his afternoon show until Tuesday, he said.

    By then, the story rushed by.

    “As journalists, we have to protect ourselves the best we can,” Sanchez said. “It’s easy for it to happen to anybody, by the way — jump to a conclusion, get excited, look at the coverage. It’s kind of like creating a bandwagon effect. Once you get on the bandwagon, you can’t hit the brakes.”

    By Tuesday morning, “Fox & Friends” headlined the story “Racism Caught on Tape.”

    Commentator Laura Ingraham talked about “people who have burrowed their way into the Obama administration with radical outlooks, a radical agenda and, in this case, a racist sentiment. How many more like Ms. Sherrod exist in the Obama administration who weren’t so stupid as she was to actually explicitly state her views on the issue of race?”


  • JP


    Lets be fair and honest, Bill O’Reilly’s show starts at 8PM, how could he have called for her resignation before she resigned earlier in the day before 4pm?

    Shirley Sherrod “was forced to resign before anybody on Fox said a word about this.”


  • Les Wetmore

    Hey “informed american”, who does you thinking for you? I pick at all the organations that you are told are leftist be the the leaders of your ignorance and call them tools of the Obama administration. Sorry, but all those madia outlets have been around for much longer than the Obama administration. I would agree that they are all stuck thinking inside the paradime of the statis quo. And the statis quo is represented by all administration, currant and previous. But the brainwash that you are getting the newsettainment that yuo are watching is truly propaganda (like 1930′s Germany or North Korea).

    Just a side note. Those “leftist” groups were much more like propaganda during the Bush years (espcially from 03-06).

  • michael


    Glen Beck is on at 5pm, and oreily on at 8pm the link you posted states within hours before Oreily show it was found the video was high edited, yet Fox Cable News still ran with it, and made such comments about her until tuesday morning.


    “But within hours, it came out that the video had been selectively edited, and the uncut version made clear that Sherrod had actually been telling the story about the white farmer to explain how she had overcome her own prejudices. She ended up helping save the family’s farm, and the farmer and his wife took to the airwaves to defend Sherrod”

    from your link

  • Joao Geada

    Sure, there is a lot of propaganda; but propaganda sells and creates controversy which further raises the ratings. It is a vicious cycle which does the country no good but lines the pockets of the stockholders and management. And it is all protected speech due to the first amendment, though one begins to wonder whether the courts will ever draw the line that past some point propaganda and dis-information in the public space is the rhetorical equivalent of shouting fire in a crowded theater.

    The root of the problem is that corporations, all of them, have no ethics or purpose other than making stock holders more money. We’d call a person behaving that way a psychopath. Isn’t it about time we required, by means of updated laws, that corporations have some higher purpose? Many times the short term goals benefiting stockholders have the long term goal of destroying the value of this country. Propaganda, smear campaigns, off-shoring, selling off our technology and training to all, etc all legitimately make fast bucks, but at what cost to the country?

  • JP


    Edited or unedited, it is fair game to report the honest news that Shirley Sherrod was asked to resign after a website posted a video that looked incriminating.

    Also note that Glenn Beck’s first mention of Sherrod was in support for her and in criticism of the administrations knee jerk reaction to a website’s unverified video.

  • Kenny T

    In discussing the Sherrod story, JP commented that the administration asked for her resignation before FOX reported the story on-air. JP even provided a link to a Politifact article. However, the comment, made by Stephen Hayes, was listed as mostly true. That’s because FOX’s online outlets were running the story early in the day.

    Even outlets like Politifact are not encouraged to provide the necessary analysis. People read these articles and take the information that suits their argument. There is little truth in journalism today and, even when there is, the sensitivity that journalists have regarding bias obscures the importance of certain facts.

  • Steve

    FOX, MSNBC, CNN, the networks — all broadcast media are bound by the need to fill airtime with incessant “breaking news” (balloon boy, police chases, unsubstantiated “studies,” and whatever Perez Hilton just said) and with confusing, sensational commentary on these stories filling the balance of the airtime.

    In my mind, this makes television news inherently flawed for conveying information and facilitating civil dialogue.

    Long-form print and online journalism takes a different approach. Reporters live with stories, talk to sometimes dozens of sources, and have the time to massage and hone them before publication, creating a more rounded perspective. But as Americans become less literate and more tied to TV and the Internet, I fear responsible long-form journalism will continue to give way to the infotainment with which we are barraged daily.

  • Dennis

    Le Monde Diplomatique

    All paid-for opinion and no fact
    Punditry for sale
    Many of the experts and analysts who fill hours of US cable television news with their opinions are paid lobbyists and advocates for corporations or their PR representatives. We don’t get told that
    by Sebastian Jones
    President Obama spent most of last 4 December touring Allentown, Pennsylvania, to meet local workers and discuss the economic crisis. A few hours later, the state’s former governor, Tom Ridge, was on Hardball With Chris Matthews on MSNBC (rival to CNN and Fox News), with his own recovery plan. There were “modest things” the White House might try, like cutting taxes or opening up credit for small businesses, but the real answer was for the president to “take his green agenda and blow it out of the box”. The first step, Ridge explained, was to “create nuclear power plants”. Combined with waste coal and natural gas extraction, this would create an “innovation setter” that would “create jobs, create exports”.
    As Ridge counselled the administration to “put that package together,” he seemed like an objective commentator. But what viewers weren’t told was that since 2005, Ridge has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for serving on the board of Exelon, the US’s largest nuclear power company. As of March 2009 he also held an estimated $248,299 in Exelon stock, according to SEC filings.
    Retired general and “NBC military analyst” Barry McCaffrey had told viewers that the war in Afghanistan would require a further “three- to ten-year effort” and “a lot of money”. Nobody mentioned that DynCorp paid McCaffrey $182,309 in 2009. The government had just granted DynCorp a five-year deal worth an estimated $5.9bn to aid US forces in Afghanistan. The first year was locked in at $644m, but the further four options are subject to renewal, contingent on military needs and political realities.
    In a single hour, two men with blatant, undisclosed conflicts of interest appeared on MSNBC. Was this an isolated oversight or business as usual? Evidence points to the latter. In 2003 The Nation exposed McCaffrey’s financial ties to military contractors he had promoted on-air on several cable networks; in 2008 David Barstow wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning series for the New York Times about the Pentagon’s use of former military officers – many now lobbying or consulting for military contractors – to get their talking points on television in exchange for access to decision-makers. In 2009 bloggers uncovered how ex-Newsweek writer Richard Wolffe had guest-hosted Countdown With Keith Olbermann while working at a PR firm specialising in “strategies for managing corporate reputation.”
    Influence peddlers
    An investigation by The Nation has found these incidents represent only a fraction of the covert corporate influence peddling on cable news. Since 2007 at least 75 registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials – people paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests – have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure of the corporate interests that had paid them. Many have been regulars on multiple cable networks, with dozens – and in some cases hundreds – of appearances.
    For lobbyists, PR firms and corporate officials, cable television is a chance to promote clients and their interests on the most widely cited source of news in the US. These appearances also generate good will and access to major players in the Democratic and Republican parties. Cable networks, eager to fill time and afraid of upsetting the political elite, have often looked the other way, even disregarded their own written ethics guidelines. Just about everyone involved is heavily invested in maintaining the current system, with the exception of the viewer.
    While lobbyists and PR flacks have long tried to spin the press, the launch of Fox News and MSNBC in 1996, and the Clinton impeachment saga, helped create the 24-hour political analysis that favours influence peddlers. Since then, guests with serious conflicts of interest have popped up on every network. Just examine their presence in the cover of the economic crash and the healthcare reform debate, which have had massive cable coverage.
    With the recession in 2008 and the government bailouts, lobbyists and PR flacks were regularly on air on behalf of clients and their interests, while masquerading as neutral analysts. Among them was Bernard Whitman, president of Whitman Insight Strategies, a communications firm that specialises in helping “guide successful lobbying, communications and information campaigns through targeted research”. His clients have included lobbying firms like BGR Group and marketing/PR firms like Ogilvy & Mather, both with many corporate clients with a vested interest in shaping federal policies. Whitman is a veteran of the Clinton era and on television is identified for work he did almost a decade earlier.
    According to its website, Whitman Insight Strategies has worked for AIG to “develop, test, launch, and enhance their consumer brand” and continues to assist the insurance giant “as it responds to ongoing marketplace developments”. Whitman Strategies has also posted more than 100 clips of Bernard Whitman’s television appearances on a YouTube account. During a 18 September 2008 Fox News appearance to discuss Sarah Palin, Whitman lambasted John McCain for proposing to “let AIG fail,” saying that this demonstrated “just how little he understands the global economy today”.
    On 25 March 2009, during a scandal over AIG’s executive bonuses, Whitman appeared on Fox News. “The American people were understandably outraged about AIG,” he began. “Having said that, we need to move beyond anger, frustration and hysteria to really get down to the brass tacks of solving this economy.” In neither instance was Whitman’s work for AIG mentioned.
    Unidentified guests
    Another person with AIG ties is Ron Christie, who now has his own consultancy. While working at the Republican-leaning firm DC Navigators, now Navigators Global, from 2006 to September 2008, Christie was registered to lobby on behalf of the insurance giant. During that period, AIG paid $590,000 to DC Navigators. On 18 September 2008 Christie went on Hardball to discuss the government’s response to AIG’s near implosion days earlier. He was introduced only as a Republican strategist. As Chris Matthews mocked a presidential press conference on the financial crisis, Christie interrupted to say President George Bush was “smart to have gotten a former person from Goldman Sachs who is a very bright man, who understands the markets and liquidity”. Christie was referring to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who had once been the chair and CEO of Goldman Sachs and who played a pivotal role in the AIG bailout. “This is not a political sideshow. This is putting the right person in his administration to deal with this crisis,” Christie said.
    Bigger players were on AIG’s payroll: soon after its first bailout, in 2008, AIG hired PR mega-firm Burson-Marsteller to handle “controversial issues”. In April 2009 B-M hired former White House press secretary Dana Perino, already an established TV pundit. A month later she became a contributor to Fox News, where she has discussed the economic meltdown. Last summer, Perino joined a roundtable on Fox Business Network’s Money for Breakfast, which briefly noted her affiliation with B-M but neglected to mention its link to AIG. When a fellow guest commented that AIG had been “highly regulated” before the crash, Perino pounced, suggesting that financial reform efforts demonstrate how “Washington has a tendency to overreact in a crisis”. When Gary Kalman of the consumers’ association USPIRG suggested that regulations had been rolled back for decades, Perino scoffed, “I don’t think there are many business people who would actually agree with that” (1).
    There was another conflict of interest over how to reform healthcare. Terry Holt, once a spokesman for the Republican National Committee and for House Republican leader John Boehner, has also been, on and off since 2003, a lobbyist for the health insurance trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). When he and three other Republican operatives formed the communications and lobbying firm HDMK in 2007, one of their first clients was AHIP. On 5 March 2009 Holt, introduced simply as a Republican, told MSNBC anchor David Shuster that the Obama administration was “going to, you know, cut Medicare benefits for something like 11 million seniors to start this big healthcare reform project”. By October AHIP was running ads against the health reform bill that asked, “Is it right to ask 10 million seniors on Medicare Advantage for more than their fair share?”
    Holt also made several appearances to discuss healthcare policy on CNN, where his affiliation with insurers was cited on several occasions, though not during a 14 September appearance on The Situation Room, when Holt discussed healthcare reform efforts. The network had a small scandal in October when blogger Greg Sargent revealed that political analyst Alex Castellanos, a frequent commentator on CNN, had been helping craft attack ads for AHIP – including the one that referred to “10 million seniors” losing Medicare benefits – while discussing healthcare policy on air, identified only as a Republican strategist.
    When I interviewed Holt, he told me that there was one occasion when his work for AHIP was not mentioned on CNN, and that afterward, a producer contacted him to discuss that work. Holt believes that cable appearances “operate best with maximum transparency… When you’re addressing the public, it’s a reasonable expectation that they be fully aware of your perspective – where you’re coming from – and I see my obligation as informing the news organisation that’s asking me to appear or to comment about my standing and letting them be the judge.”
    Democrats too
    Democratic lobbyists and corporate consultants have also discussed health reform with no reference to their pharmaceutical or insurance company clients. On 24 September 2009, Dick Gephardt, the former House majority leader, appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Meeting, where he said the public option in healthcare was “not essential”. He was asked by host Dylan Ratigan to discuss healthcare reform in light of his experience as a Congressman during the Clinton effort in 1993 and now as “an observer through this process”. There was no mention of his work advising insurance and pharmaceutical interests through his lobbying firm Gephardt Government Affairs, nor any mention that Gephardt is a lobbyist for NBC/Universal.
    Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, appeared on MSNBC on 12 May and 2 July 2009, and NBC’s Meet the Press on 16 August 2009. Each time he discussed healthcare reform with no mention of his work for lobbying firm Alston & Bird, which advises insurer UnitedHealth Group. Only during an 8 December appearance on MSNBC’s Dr Nancy was Daschle finally confronted, warily, about his simultaneous work for lobbying firms on behalf of health insurers and meetings with administration officials on healthcare reform. “I certainly want to be appreciative of perception, so we’re going to take great care in how we go forward,” Daschle promised. On 11 January he returned to MSNBC to discuss healthcare. His insurance work went unmentioned.
    No single appearance can damage legislation and reform, yet there is a cumulative effect from hundreds of appearances by dozens of lobbyists and influence peddlers that helps to drive press coverage and public opinion. Janine Wedel, an anthropologist in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and author of the book Shadow Elite (2), told me that while influence peddlers are not necessarily unethical, they “elude accountability to governments, shareholders and voters – and threaten democracy. When there’s a whole host of pundits on the airwaves touting the same agenda at the same time, you get a cumulative effect that shapes public opinion toward their agenda.”
    Television news commentators often get access to policy-makers, who may find that they are meeting with not just a TV pundit but also a paid lobbyist. Last year, the White House held an exclusive “communications message meeting” for high-profile Democratic strategists with top presidential aide David Axelrod. Of the 18 attendees, almost all television regulars, a third were lobbyists or public relations flacks, such as Kelly Bingel, a lobbyist for AHIP and a partner at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, and Rich Masters, a partner at PR/lobbyists Qorvis Communications, where he works on behalf of trade group Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
    No matter how often or how cleverly lobbyists and PR operatives have used cable news appearances to their business advantage, it is hard to fault them. Many have made no attempt to hide their work for corporate clients; some, like Terry Holt, have gone out of their way to inform producers and bookers of the work they’re doing. This leaves final responsibility in the hands of the cable news networks. Last autumn Aaron Brown, host of CNN’s NewsNight from 2001 until 2005, when the network pushed him out, and currently a professor of journalism at Arizona State University, told me that he didn’t think the problem was a lack of standards but a lack of enforcement. Bookers – “young, inexperienced people under a lot of pressure” – are unlikely to ask guests about conflicts of interest. “I think they’re often derelict in vetting.”
    A lot cheaper
    For Brown, the lack of disclosure is symptomatic of larger problems in cable journalism, rooted in the use of analysts and strategists on television as an easy, inexpensive way to fill time. It’s “a lot cheaper than sending a correspondent to Afghanistan… What I find unconscionable about this is that it’s not like a struggling newspaper is looking for an inexpensive way to do journalism because they have no money. These are highly successful profit centres for the corporations that they’re spawned from.”
    Jeff Cohen, who helped found the nonprofit group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), worked for MSNBC in 2002 and published a book in 2006, Cable News Confidential, about the experience. When I asked him why Gephardt and McCaffrey could go on television with no reference to their consulting and lobbying, Cohen explained that, based on his experience at MSNBC, “these regulars get introduced the way they want to be introduced. This is the key: Gephardt will always be the former majority leader of the House. Period… These guys know they won’t be identified by what they do now but instead by what their position was years or decades ago.”
    Some of this has changed recently, with CNN starting to identify the industries analysts work for. Fox News has long identified the lobbying or PR firms of some – though not all – guests, but does not give viewers any information about the kinds of clients these firms represent (3).
    However, only on MSNBC did Todd Boulanger, a Jack Abramoff-connected lobbyist working for Cassidy and Associates, go on a TV rehabilitation tour with no identification of his work, even when he was under investigation for corruption (he pleaded guilty in January 2009). Only on MSNBC was a prime-time programme, Countdown, hosted by public relations operative Richard Wolffe and later by a pharmaceutical company consultant, former Governor Howard Dean, with no mention of that work. And MSNBC has yet to introduce DynCorp’s Barry McCaffrey as anything but a “military analyst”.
    When I spoke with MSNBC earlier this year, the network seemed eager to prove it is fixing the problem. David McCormick, the ombudsman for NBC News, deals with questions about standards and practices at MSNBC. (Both organisations use the same policies-and-guidelines booklet, which McCormick helped develop; CNBC has more stringent disclosure requirements as a result of SEC rules.) McCormick said the issue of conflict of interest has been on his mind, and that MSNBC intended to contact its guests and brief them on its disclosure policies, adding that “trust is a huge part of the business” and that the network relies on guests “to let us know of any potential conflicts… We’ve been talking to our folks for a number of years about the importance of transparency and letting the viewers in on where folks – it could be contributors, analysts or experts that we don’t pay – fit into the mosaic of a story. Are we perfect about it? No.”
    Conflicts of interest
    Potential conflicts of interest have been a concern for more than a decade. An October 1998 copy of the NBC News Policies and Guidelines devotes an entire chapter to “Guests/Analysts/Experts/Advocates”. It states: “It is essential that our viewers understand the particular perspective of all guests, analysts and experts (whether paid or not) who appear on our programs… Our viewers need all relevant information so they can come to their own conclusions regarding the topic at hand. It is not enough to say: ‘John Doe of XYZ Foundation.’…Likewise, it may not be enough to say Jane Doe, NBC consultant or analyst… Disclosure may be made in copy or visually. But it must be done in a clear manner.”
    McCormick told me that financial conflicts of interest were “in the same category as ideological or political interests,” but also suggested that MSNBC’s practice of posting information about guests on its website was an adequate way to air potential conflicts of interest. McCormick emphasised that this reform was “a work in progress”.
    A few days later, I happened to catch MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Mark Penn, identified only as a Clinton administration pollster and Democratic strategist, was suggesting that the Obama administration put healthcare reform on ice. Unmentioned: Penn’s role as worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller, which has an entire healthcare division devoted to helping clients like Eli Lilly and Pfizer “create and manage perceptions that deliver positive business results”.
    It seems as if the problem is beyond fixing, an unavoidable reality of our media and political landscape, in which the lines between public service and corporate advancement are so blurred. Pressure on the networks so far has not resulted in systemic change. Even with more scrutiny, McCaffrey appears on television without any caveats about his work for military contractors. As Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald has observed, none of the networks involved in the scandal have ever bothered to address Barstow’s findings on air, and they noticeably omitted Barstow’s name from coverage of the 2009 Pulitzers. “It’s almost like a mysterious black hole that this issue, which is enormous, is getting no attention from the offenders themselves,” said the Society for Professional Journalists’ ethics committee chair, Andy Schotz.
    Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, has a different take. “More disclosure is good – I’m certainly in favour of that – but why are these people on at all?” asks Rosen. “They have views and can manufacture opinions around any event at any time.”
    Rosen echoes something Brown mentioned. Watching cable news cover the 2008 election with more analysts crammed at one table than ever before, Brown said he was “amazed how little they had to offer… We live in a time where there are no shortages of opinions and an incredible deficit of facts.”

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    You can’t trust news reporters and broadcasters; CNN, Fox, etc. News isn’t news, its entertainment. They take pieces of stories and only give a part of the information to get the audience attention; its a ploy. They know what they’re doing and the people buy into this media. There is no news if it’s good news. They’re running out of stories so they tell half truths or not the whole story. This how Shirley Sherrod was placed on spotlight because of the media. When government start controlling the media (like China), this nonsense with cease! People also need to research stories on their own instead of relying on the media.

  • P. Dirempi

    Dear Sirs,

    you continue to refer to the military mission in Afghanistan as a “war”. Considering that it is already in its 9th year, with no clear objective and no end in sight, it might be worthwhile to start reporting about not “the war in Afghanistan” but instead the “colonial enterprise in Afghanistan”. It would constitute a display of courage if NPR were to pioneer the use of that far-more-realistic expression.


    P. Dirempi

  • Diogenes6

    Mr. Ashcroft began the segment by saying “Is the news media…”

    Would someone please tell poor, semi-literate Ashcroft (and so many other NPR folk) that “media” is a PLURAL word, thus an educated person would have said “ARE the news media….”.

  • JP

    Mr. Dionne,

    I don’t think it’s so much that the media is afraid of being called liberal… it’s more that the media feeds ravenously off of the cultural and political divisions they create.

    Strong emotions boost their ratings.

  • Kathy

    The problem is the mainstream media is terrified of being labeled as “liberal” so they consistently report right wing lies in the name of “balance.”

    The problem with news is cowardice. The same is true of the democratic party.

  • Michele

    I’m so tired of 24/hour news networks because no one reports actual news anymore. Its only about opinions, pundits, and spin. This is why I only get my news from C-Span, NPR and the BBC.

  • JP

    There are some parts of the NAACP that are racist and I would like the non-racist NAACP members to call out the Racists in their midst.

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    I wish that everyone will “stop” defending Fox news! They’re always the one’s to give their shotty opinions and in most cases, they are wrong! Beck, Palin etc. These people on Fox news are morons. They are not journalists, but entertainers that twist the truth!

  • Ellen Dibble

    To me, most urgent and critical now is straight reporting on candidates for the November elections. And I see Harry Reid is holding up the Disclose Act in the Senate being short a few senators (Collins, Brown, Snow, and an absent Lieberman), a bill to get some transparency to at least who is funding the pre-voting promotions, um, lies? The issue to Senator Brown is that the unions are not being lassoed in for transparency. Apparently it’s the Right to Life groups who want to guarantee their rights this fall to spend in secret.
    If we can’t even get the whole story, free and clear, about our candidates, who supports them and to what extent, we are in very bad shape.

  • John

    There has always been propaganda, and there probably always will be. The propagandists can be identified and ignored.

    There is a deeper problem with the media in general, and I know I’m generalizing. Reporters are of so low quality these days they report a politicians statements as fact.

    The run up to the war in Iraq is illustrative. The first claim was the Iraqis participated in 9/11. This was a lie the media spread far and wide. The next claim was the Iraqis were 90 minutes away from attacking with WMD. This was another lie the media spread far and wide. A third claim was that “regime change” was necessary. A correct representation of regime change is unprovoked attack on another country.

    I think it might be usedul to ask why 75% of Fox news viewers still think we found WMD in Iraq? This is a “news organization” not presenting facts that contradict its political stand.

  • Diogenes6

    In a world where people actually thought for a second before swallowing a news story, in the future, nothing put out by Fox or any of its allies or surrogatges would be believed. People would respond to new material from Fox with the thought “Oh, yeah, Fox…we all know what it’s done with videos by Breitbart, the accuracy of info pushed by the clown Beck, and so on.”

    Alas, emotion so often trumps reason, and people will tend to believe what makes them feel good. (A similar thing happened with NBC’s infamous story on exploding auto gas tanks, years ago. Did NBC suffer as a result? Not at all.)

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    Liars do win, because the conservative right own most of the main stream media. People do know that!

  • Ray

    Truth vs Propaganda is a red herring…the real issue here is the obvious weakness of the Obama administration

  • Mari

    With apologies to the late Lenny Bruce: “Why do I call Fox News ‘propaganda?’Because you can’t say bull$hit on the air.”

  • JP

    This Shirley Sherrod story looks like a setup to try to decrease the creditability of the FOX NEWS Network and now that FOX News didn’t take the bait, liberals are trying to talk like Fox did hoping no one will notice that FOX didn’t jump the gun.

    Breitbart was given an edited tape and didn’t have the full

  • JP

    These racists are like conservatives…

    They take there own sins and hope to displace the blame by saying they are the sins of someone else

    … in this case, they think they can get away with calling the NAACP racist.

    It’s the classic case of “the pot calling the kettle black.”

    Pardon that particular adage.

  • JP

    Jeanette Michelle,

    What rock do you live under? MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN are not in anyway conservative, thus the right wing doesn’t own the mainstream media!

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    The reason why we have so many low quality, low rate news journalists because it’s based on who you know not what you know. Palin is “great” example of that. For the first time Repulicans have eye cany in their party. So…they’re enthralled by her looks and not her intelligence, which she does not have.

    Meaning that the media is all about entertainment and looks. Glen,Sean, Rush, etc. These people did not finish college and they tell you the news and you people listen. Think about it people.

  • l

    The whole video of Sherrod should have been shown and she shouldn’t have been fired, but one of the issues Breitbart wanted to show was the reaction of the NAACP when she was speaking about how she didn’t want to help the white farmer. He was trying to show that parts of the NAACP have attitudes like that. They didn’t know she was going to end the story the way she did. If the NAACP wants to say parts of the Tea Party is racist then they also have to look at there own organization. The news media is all biased. Don’t just show Fox News. Has anyone watched anything on MSNBC. My God! Keith Olbermann is so biased and crazy for that matter that I can’t believe he is still on the air. Both sides are guilty. Both sides should jsut say they are opinion news and then there won’t be problem.

  • BHA

    Rush, don’t let any FACTS get in the way of you running your mouth.

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle


    I would advise you to do your research. The Righ Wing conservatives own those networks. You are probably one of the people that support their idiotic news!

  • mark meunier

    even PBS was scared of looking too liberal and a few years ago changed their logo from a single ” P ” looking left to the current PBS looking right

  • judy susak

    Although I am generally more Democrat than Republican, and although I deplore everything about Fox News, my sense is that this new penchant for public lying has to be traced to Bill Clinton. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” was a bold and blatant lie, and it seems ever since then, the first reaction of any politician guily of wrongdoing is to lie. Even when they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, even when tapes are released, even when they’re resigning from their jobs, these politicians seem incapable of admitting the truth. Since they, more than any media outlet, owes the public they serve the truth, how can we censure the media for being no better?

  • Ren Knopf

    Long ago in BU’s Journalism School – and in what feels like an obscure mindset- I learned to check my sources. What happened to that anchor for truth, trust and authenticity? It seems there is now the need to be first, accuracy be damned. Knee-jerk reactions, not professionalism, ensue. And what happens to those who misrepresent, manipulate – lie, really? Not much. Ronald Regan, now a godhead for the Right, said “trust, but verify.” Too bad that has been forgotten.
    Ren Knopf – Framingham

  • Mike Green

    As a professor of political science, I have seen over the last 7 years, and I am sure it has been longer than that, how difficult it is for my students to distinguish between fact and fiction.

    The problem is we have news organizations like FOX who really are not news organizations. Their aim is to present the conservative view, right or wrong. This is what it states in their statement about how they will approach the news. They do not provide any balance and they are out there to present a point of view. Did you hear Fox news say I am sorry for spreading these falsehoods about Sherrod. If they did it was at 3AM when nobody was listening.

    I agree with EJ, we need to go back to the credibility of sources. We need to go back to the old fashion way of presenting the news.

    How else could Sarah Palin spout all her falsehoods, even after they have been proven false? These people think, left and right, that if you say it enough it’s true. Somehow we need to change that. Suggestions EJ?

  • JP

    The media has forever been conservative and run by the right-wing, corporate elite for their own interests.

    This is another case of conservatives thinking that by saying “no I’m not, you are,” they can displace their own nasty, anti-democratic nature.

  • Sally Lichtenstein

    Wow. Being a racist is like being gay? That’s really offensive, dude.

  • David

    Oh, Tom–Why are you giving this apologist for the FOX racists any airtime? Every word he is speaking is a distortion or an out and out lie.

    Labeling racists “racists” is not a tactic, it is a moral duty that the right will never understand because they jettisoned morality a long time ago.

  • judy

    JP – just read your comment. Very, very insightful, and not something we think deeply enough about. Although Fox News has an agenda, and Keith Olberman is a true believer, in the end, their business is to sell soap.

  • BHA

    The adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” can be used in the Sherrod case. Only it must be rewritten as “If something seems too bizarre to be true, it probably is NOT”.

    For people like Rush, the first would still be the correct form. Nothing like a juicy item for the right wing zealot to salivate over. Don’t waste time investigating what would truly be a VERY unlikely ‘fact’ ;)

  • MarcKessler

    1. Now the right is doing a hatchet job on Sherrod. Eg. from TP

    On Monday, former Reagan administration official Jeffrey Lord astonished the left and the right by penning an article in the conservative American Spectator attacking former-USDA official Shirley Sherrod for using the term “lynching” to describe the murder of one of her relative years ago. The problem, according to Lord, was that the victim, Bobby Hall was beaten to death by a blackjack, rather than being hanged by the neck. “It’s…possible that she knew the truth and chose to embellish it, changing a brutal and fatal beating to a lynching.”

    Critics, even at his own magazine, pounced, noting that a lynching is an extrajudicial murder by a mob, whether or not the weapon of choice is a rope.

    2. Where is the evidence that the left is doing the same thing. There are many instances of Fox “news” running with lies, are there instances of MSNBC doing the same?


  • ThresherK

    At 10:25, a guest says Andrew Breitbart isn’t at fault, and the guest is calling him a journalist. Gotta have some of that “Nice Polite Republican” style false equivalency.

    Don’t bother inviting this guest back. “Stung by the new media” of today? Har de har. Breitbart is on video saying “I want to take down liberal organizations”.

    Oh: How many points does On Point lose by mentioning Sherrod in the tag and not Andrew Breitbart?

  • Ray

    I love the way EJ gets shrill and sqeaky when he gets called out

  • Steve T

    It shows that the American public will believe a lie before the truth.
    After the truth gets out nobody wants to stand up and admit they were fooled and could not see the truth. They give very weak excuses, and continue the same behavior.

    Ethical journalism, don’t make me laugh.

    So will the public now ask themselves to check into 9/11?
    Will we ever get to the truth of two wars of questionable merit?

    I don’t know about you but I’m tired of being lied to.

  • JayG

    IF this stuff is propaganda &
    IF this propaganda comes from the right wing &
    IF it is funded by wealthy corporate sources
    THEN history tells us we are moving toward Fascism

    as was the case in 20th century Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan

  • Bob Cummings

    It is very simple folks. It is all about the ruling class versus the country class. The media is part of the ruling class. They have an agenda. They are part of the four corners of the universe of lies: media, academia, science, and government.
    If you are unaware of this, you are very uninformed.

    The media has access and first amendment protection. It is their job to inform the public with unadorned facts. It is not their job to be propagandists. It is not their job to shill for Obama (or any other politician). It is not their job to practice selective journalism. It is not their job to practice deliberate ignorance. It is not their job to be looking for the next job in government as a communications director. It is not their job to be public relations agents for politicians.

  • Joanie-in-MiddleMass

    Breitbart has a history of putting out fraudulent hit pieces. The Acorn hooker story stands out. Calling him anything that resembles a serious journalist is fraudulent .

  • William Maher

    So, this is too funny– government radio(NPR) is going to lecture people on propaganda. Is Tiger woods going to lecture people on the joys of marriage fidelity next?
    Hmmm, not too many remember the lefty media frenzy that engulfed the University of Kentucky when several lacrosse players were falsely convicted(with 24 hrs) of raping a stripper. Do you care to go back and look at NPR’s wonderful “down the middle” coverage while these lefty idiots(otherwise referred to as professors) were signing petitions to expel these students without a shred of due process? I didn’t think so. But anyway, you are Americans in the finest tradition who worship at the feet of government to get your news. Should NPR bite the hand that feeds them millions?

  • Dave

    Using propaganda to manipulate the masses is nothing new, especially i hard times. Just ask any elderly German. This stuff works.

  • http://none Lucas

    David Keene continues to change the subject from the issue at hand to make obscure and vague attacks on liberals; it is a classic, and shameful attempt to deflect from the issue at hand. Mr. Ashbrook, as a host it is your responsibility to prevent him from doing this. If you continue to fail to do so, your show is perpetuating the toxic media climate which today’s show is supposed to DISCUSS, not EXEMPLIFY.

    Respectfully yours,

    New Haven, CT

  • JohnO

    David Keene talks like a blowhard in a bar. He raises his voice and redirects the conversation, instead of talking about the substantial issues. He is just a mouthpiece to justify the antitruth banter of conservative media outlets.

  • Mike Smith

    JournoList was outrageous. Wishing illness, sickness, disease, or death on anyone is pure evil. Anyone who does this is a very sick, pathological, and troubled person.

    Assume nothing.
    Trust no one.
    Independently verify everything.

  • Ann

    E.J. Dionne and Tom, you are my heroes! I cannot thank you enough for your bravery and extraordinary articulateness on this matter! We NEED you, and I THANK you!

  • jim thompson-fort mill,sc


    Thanks to EJ for mentioning John Lewis and his credibility. Congressman Lewisd is an American icon and very credible.

    Reagrding the administration and the right. President Obabama’s administration did not do due diligence to Miss Sherrod. They are too feckless in taking on the crazy right wing.

    I have been a proud Republican sensible conservative supporter of President Obama. However, in cases like this where the right goes after him-the birthers and the Palin-David Duke crowd that runs the GOP today-he has got o get some testicular fortitude. Take a page from FDR- welcome and relish their hatred. Take ‘em on!!!

    I think Reagan, Goldwater and Kemp would be sad to see that this Robertson, Palin, David Duke and Jesse Helms coalition is going to ruin the GOP.

  • Heather in Des Moines

    This show today is awful. This conservative guy is talking over everyone, NOT listening, changing the subject when he’s pinned. Come on Tom, control the conversation. That’s why I love this show, Tom can graciously cut off obnoxious behavior and get things back ON POINT. This sounds like cable news. This is NOT what I tune into On Point for. I tune in to hear people DISCUSS an issue so I can become more educated. I’m sure a trash talk show is on TV if I want to hear yelling.

  • ThresherK

    Keene is just going on and on and on.

    For the love of all that is good radio, shut him up. Talk over him. Stop being so polite! Stop privileging his lies and swallowing his false equivalency, Tom. You’re losing control of your show.

    I hope that fellow from the ChiTrib is a real bonafide liberal. We got our False Equivalency rigthie, and our Beltway-limited “liberal” (who has to not p!ss off the editorial board of the Washington Post). It’s time for someone from our side.

  • T Hodges

    All this talk of Media is a smokescreen for what it really is. All of the media, except for those courageous enough to expose the outright lies and distortions, is CORPORATE OWNED. Therefore, if a story is in the best interests of then Corporatocracy, then it is edited to fit the Corporatocracy’s propaganda agneda, which is totally, unambiguously PROFIT$. Please have your guests address the fact that all major media outlets are owned by a handful of very rich, very powerful, very influential millionaires and billionaires who have no interest in the well being of the the public, except to extort more value-less dollars from them while the internet scares the hell out of those really deciding what the public consumes as “news”.

  • http://n/a Hari Singh Khalsa

    I’m so happy to hear this dialog going on, and am frankly disappointed that this subject is not more prominently discussed
    In my mind a reexamination, of mass media control should be at the forefront of attention in the US right now.
    Ever since TV was usurped from “public” control by “special interests” at the dawn of it’s inception, “big business” has latched on to it as the number 1 means in which to enrich itself.
    It has gotten so out of balance in recent years, where whole networks spew spurious propaganda in the guise of”news”
    which is exactly what Joseph Goebbels aspired to do in the 3rd Reich.
    Kudos to NPR for this program, and it would be a shame if this subject were not kept on the front burner until actions are taken in congress to correct this evil in outr midst.

  • Mari

    “The reason why we have so many low quality, low rate news journalists because it’s based on who you know not what you know.” – Jeanette

    Yup.That’s a big part of it. I cannot watch local or national TV news anymore (except for Jim Lehrer’s show) because I’m a former, recovering newspaper journalist and these giant-toothed, neon-suited, Malaprop-prone talking dweebs who dominate the tube, now, are an embarrassment to my profession.

  • Lauren

    Ok…so the difference between calling someone racist and calling someone gay–that is, the reason why the left would be outraged if conservatives called someone gay– is that being racist is a NEGATIVE thing, while being gay is not.

  • S. Kay Gibbs

    It seems to me that today’s show is as much a symptom of the problem as the problem itself. you have two – arguably not objective – DC- based guests acting as if this is a black vs. white argument. what about those of us, outside the Beltway, outside the media, ordinary citizens who believe in nuance? what about actual reporters or media executives? what about someone who is not a White guy? what about those of us who do not believe that everything can be reduced to “right vs. left”? (and BTW, nobody cares about that silly ‘Journolist’ flap since no one beyond 100 miles of DC ever heard of them). It would have been better to have this discussion between two objective observers from academia or elsewhere. I think this is a question of fact vs. fiction; of care vs. carelessness. I am very disappointed in an otherwise excellent show.

  • Jason H

    The irony of Mr. Keen’s comments are striking. He lambasts the Left, for supposedly asking to call out an individual for racism and then asks where was the outrage? That is exactly what Fox news did, labeled Shirley Sherrod as a racist – to change the subject away from the tea party movement. My question to him, where is the outrage?

  • Michael C

    A recent report out of Harvard (http://www.hks.harvard.edu/presspol/publications/papers/torture_at_times_hks_students.pdf) shows that all media sources, from Fox News to the NYTimes, have completely altered the language they use to describe waterboarding (shifting away from the word “torture”) despite historical precedent. After reading this report, I have even less faith in the media as a whole than I previously did, although I have absolutely no respect for any outlets besides from news papers & the BBC these days.

  • tom from boston

    The elites control the message of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and talk radio. Follow the money. The advertising dollars come from big wealthy corporations run by wealthy conservatives.

  • http://OnPoint Ellyn Spencer

    I agree wholeheartedly with E.J. Dionne. I am preparing for a book discussion with high school students about the book 1984, a summer reading choice
    The most important point from that book is to find parallels with the society in Oceana, entirely based on propaganda, and ours.

    I must go back to the Bush administration,(not that they invented it) during which lying by the executive, was prevalent. George W. Bush, in a state of the union message, talked about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Nigeria, after they well knew that was untrue. V.P. Cheney vowed over and over that there were weapons of mass destruction. People still believe that Iraq was involved in 9/11. Of course that is also due to our not staying informed, but when the information starts with people we’re supposed to trust, the media has the opportunity to go with it.

  • JP

    Isn’t it scary that our president thinks that “There Is Just Too Much Media Out There…It’s Ruining Our Democracy” Is this his first shot at going Chevez and taking over news companies or limiting their speech?

    In human history, Freedom requires the free flow of information and there is no such thing as too much information.

  • Larry

    Rush Limbaugh spews hate and propaganda every minute he is on the air. That’s what he does. Lie, lie, lie and lie some more.

    Now his big thing is to try and tell people he’s on of the people. That’s the biggest lie of all. He is a super rich, fat, drug-taking hate-monger and the people who believe he is just like them and cares about them are the stupidest people in the world.

  • Sally Lichtenstein

    Seriously, if you’re asking “what’s the cost of having a news media environment that’s polluted and distorted by propaganda and lies,” then you’d better at least get some guests who agree with the basic premise. Mr. Shouty Right Wing Guy doesn’t seem to accept this truth. Or he will, but only so long as he can claim that “the left and the right do it exactly the same,” which is totally false.

  • Dan McCauley

    I cannot believe David Keene stating that Keith Olberman plays “snippets” of tapes of conservatives.

    This is how Fox News works, particularly Hannity. Hannity’s news coverage is based on nothing but snippets. His tapes of Rev. Wright do not include the entire sermons. His quoting of the then-young Lt. John Kerry about war actions by Vietnam troops do not include Kerry quoting what others were saying at a veterans conference.

    Olberman may use snippets, but so does Fox. And the story in question is nothing but a series of snippets put back together to slander a woman’s character.

    What is a shame about all of this is no heads will be lopped off at Fox News. Hannity and those like him will use this to their benefit. One wants to cry.

  • Ron DeMattio

    David Keene is making me angry. He’s doing the very thing that we are talking about. He gets louder to talk over the host and EJ, accuses the left of making stuff up or of ‘targeting the right’, accused EJ of trying to get into the minds of others, then right after that, he says the senators ‘orchestrated a march through the protestors’ basically to cause dissension. Does he forget or does it not fit his own lies, that during that same time, Repuclicans stood on the balcony holding up signs taunting the protestors, including one senator holding a picture of Pelosi and holding a thumbs down befores swiping his hand over her picture as if hitting her in the face. This so-called debate is typical of what is happening in the media lately, one guest tries to analyze what is going on, while the ‘balance’ guest spews more nonsense to derail the conversation and spread his own agenda.

  • Mary Jones

    When the WHITE, Duke University lacrosse team players were charged with rape, NPR, the left, the libs, the liberal media elites, and the entire university community attacked these players as rapists. But, it was all a hoax. It was all made up. It was a pack of lies. However, no one apologized. We are still waiting for NPRs apology. We will continue to wait.

  • JP

    tom from boston,

    I am glad I live in a country with big powerful corporations, since they employ lots of people and do much good around the world.

  • Tim (Boston)

    It’s simple; the responsibility of journalism has been passed from the provider to the receiver. Always consider the source.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    The American Right has a minority agenda to protect wealth and power. But in our political system running on that agenda they could never become a governing majority unless they build a coalition.

    So the Right plays the God, Guns, Gays, Family, Flag, Abortion, Apple Pie, and Race cards and constantly whips up these largely single issue voters with bogus distractions so they pay no attention to what the Right is up to.

    Fox has become a lynch pin in the Right’s media strategy. Yet what I often see being passed off as “news” is often so slanted and so distorted, that the ONLY intent must be to convince viewers the OPPOSITE of what happened is true… all to build public support for the Right.

    When Fox et al, deliberately lie to us they are cynically trying to disconnect us from reality with the hope we will make decisions against our own self-interest. Such people can not respect us or the truth. Regardless of all their claims to be “fair and balanced” they have nothing but CONTEMPT for us. When large segments of the public are disconnected from reality, it becomes a serious mental health issue.

  • Wendell S.

    They don’t call it FAUX NEWS for nothing. We can’t believe anything they say.

  • JohnO

    Charles Madigan misrepresents the garbage “journalism” coming out of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. That misinformation is very destructive. I hear peolpe parrot that swill as if it was gospel.

  • JP

    Mary Jones,

    Great point!

    I almost forgot that story with all of the distractions as of late.

  • JP

    Mr. Madigan is correct.

    If the media did its job in pursuing the truth instead of ratings, conservatives would have almost no influence or sway at all with Americans, as their lies would be shut down again and again instantly, and never get beyond being moronic, ten second newsbites.

  • Clark Rogers

    The media elites are members of the ruling class. They are dishonest and corrupt. They are more interested in forming and shaping the opinion of the public and influencing the opinion of the public. Their job is to inform the public. Not to slant the news. Not to tell lies. Not to practice deliberate ignorance.

  • JohnO

    Charles Madigan misses the point. He confuses “freedom of speach” with journalism, which should be held to a high standard in order to wear that professional label.

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    Kelly (the caller) was correct! Why don’t they call Fox News out on what they say? Do they have so much control that they can say and do what they want without stating the facts? Why can’t the news be truthful? What’s wrong with telling the plain truth instead of trying to meet the prime time publicity quota?

  • http://www.venturacommenter.org F. William Bracy

    David Keene is doing a better job here than any liberal has a right to expect, especially in his critique of MS-NBC and particularly of Keith Olbermann. Olbermann, Maddow and Matthews really should put on chefs hats and go apply for employment on the FOOD network. Either that or let MS-NBC change it’s sound bite logo from “the place for politics,” to “THE place for lemon meringue pie.”

    Olbermann and Matthews have got to get over the fact that they have absolutely nothing to say about the AZ illegal immigration debate and yet they go on and on and on and on about it just as if they had a clue. They don’t have a clue. They’re as bad as anyone on Fox or Beck or Limbaugh when it comes to the illegal migration issue and they’re blind, blind, blind to that fact.

  • Doris Wasserman

    Thank you Mr. Ashbrook. I love your program. I love EJ Dionne as well. I respect you both because you are not afraid to present more than one view of the news.

    However, many “news” organizations have turned away from reporting real news and have decided to become propaganda machines, presenting their opinions in the guise of “news”, i.e. the Shirley Sherrod scandal. FOX News reported fabricated information to anyone who was listening. The problem is three-fold: 1. someone was listening; 2.the news media did not verify truth in what they were reporting; and 3. we (the viewers/listeners/readers) are still stuck with the mindset that it is possible that news reporters actually report news.

    This abhorrent style of reporting “news” is a large source of problems in America. Only bad news makes it to the public (I guess that bad news “sells”) and if there isn’t enough bad news to go around, some “news” organizations will fabricate information. This creates an unrest among the citizens – because this fabricated “news” does not reflect what we (the public) know to be true in our everyday lives. We do have murder and theft and espionage, but that’s not all that’s out there. For example, Nashville just suffered a flood that killed innocent people and some people who were impacted have been financially ruined for life, with very little hope of recovery. Very sad story. But, the good news is, people from all walks of life joined hands and volunteered to help their neighbors, friends and complete strangers in a variety of ways to save people from drowning, salvage precious possessions, or tear down the rotten, moldy remnants of their homes.

    I am alarmed that there is not more news coverage of important news that impacts us all, for example: climate change? Whether you believe the cause is man-made or not, the planet is warming. If the pattern continues (and our best scientific minds assure us it will) we are headed toward extinction. That sounds news-worthy. What if our news media decided to report the global impacts of our changing climate? Rising sea levels. Refugees from small islands searching for dry ground. Animal populations and how they are responding to their changing habitats. Here’s a story that NPR recently reported Is Climate Change Leading To Super Marmots? : NPR This is legitimate news. NPR got it out there, but what about other news media? This is a story that would be easy to report and might get the public’s attention. These fat little marmots are feasting now, but as their habitat continues to change, there food source that is so plentiful now, will dry up with just a subtle temperature change. This population that is feasting now, will starve very, very soon. Now that’s human interest. If we can’t get people to save the planet for their own children, maybe we can catch their attention with the cute little marmots.

    I think there should be a good news/bad news story on every news report every day about climate change. This is the universal truth that impacts us all, and I include the marmots.

  • JP

    The fairness doctrine is nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with control.

    Who determines what is fair?

    Why did the bill not include TV, and Papers?

  • Chris

    Mr. Dionne,
    What fact checking did you do to prove that the Tea Parties are racists? Where is the tape of these congressmen being called racists at the March rally?

    Congressman Lewis was once a great man. Just as the NAACP was once a great organization. But as often happens, they become became entrenched and focused only on their own power.

    Why is repeating a rumor ok for you as a journalist, but wrong for the conservatives? It is wrong for everyone.

  • Ann

    William Maher,

    NPR is NOT government radio; it is publicly-supported radio. Individual contributions are what support it. The amount of money that NPR receives from the federal government is an extraordinarily small part of NPR’s overall budget. The exact figure IS publicly available.

  • David Henry

    How does media ownership effect editorial content? Rupert Murdoch admits that he wants his “news” outlets to reflect his opinions. I think that helps explain why other media outlets don’t call it out when lies are passed off as news. When I need to check back into reality I listen to the british press. I love how the BBC reports will call it out when their guests lie. If you read the Economist – an editorially conservative magazine by british standards – it seems like a liberal rag compared to Fox News. Its time to call a spade a spade and a lie a lie.

  • Caleb


    How great a role does the relative laxity of US Libel laws play in creating the situation we have to day with Faux-news false-spin and outright defamation? Would it be feasible for Sharon Sherrod to sue Fox and Biggovernment.com for Libel?

  • Chris

    Yes, Mr. Dionne, there is at least moral equivalence.

  • Les Wetmore

    The things said By Keith Oberman point out the ridiculous nature of what is being said by the right. Things being said by the right are inflamatory and dangerous. The retoric used by Sarah Palin during election and the way, for example Bill O’Reilly calls people he doesn’t like “pinkos” or “commies”, is very differant than what Keith Oberman does.

  • Kevin

    This was one of your best shows in a while. Thanks!

  • margaret

    It use to be headlines on Network news and in depth reporting in papers with analysis.
    Now everything is headlines only, news on the misuse with content repeat feeds.
    Even with Social Internet News we can be responsible with follow up as CNN did with Sherrod story.

  • JP

    As a religious conservative in the same fashion as our country’s founders, I have faith that the truth will always win. There is a lot of misinformation and distractions out there and is evil.

    Let the truth win!

    Long live personal responsibility and Conservatism!

    Give me liberty or give me death.

  • Bret Franklin

    The media elites failed to cover the John Edwards scandal. The media elites failed to cover the new black panther party matter. Remember when the Face the Nation moderator, Bob Schiefer, failed to ask Holder any questions about the case, just a few weeks ago? The media elites ignored the influence of Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Saul Alinsky on Obama. Alinsky’s name was never mentioned by the elites. Remember when 2 weeks before the election of Obama, Brokaw and Rose proclaimed that they knew nothing about Obama? There are many more examples of the news, stories, and facts that the media elites deliberately ignore. They ignore the stories that cast those that they promote in a negative light. They are not reporters. They are propagandists. They have decided that it is their job to propagandize, and not to inform the public with the truth and the facts.

  • JP

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

    … these days, its easy to add religion to that old adage.

  • Mari

    It’s so refreshing to hear the reasonable, down-to-earth
    commentary of the late, great Dan Schorr. Is there an “heir apparent”, yet? I sincerely hope so.
    R.I.P., dear Mr.Schorr.

  • kpeterson

    It seems to me what the right wing media’s done is to fundamentally confuse everyone about the notion of truth itself. By blurring the line between real facts (things that actually did happen everyone can agree on did happen) and opinion (our interpretation of the facts we agree on), the right wing media has effectively hijacked our ability to conduct real debate about facts by making us debate opinion: they claim that opinion IS fact and that fact IS opinion. They work only by making everyone believe that everything is purely subjective and there is no such thing as objective truth. But often there is: things do happen, after all.

    The best way to challenge them is to keep asking them to define their terms, “What do you state the FACTS here are?” and then, “What is your interpretation of those facts?” to remind us of the distinction between these two things…Right wing commentators spin only in the realm of opinion but don’t deal with actual real facts however much they try to make the truth look like opinion…Things do actually happen; there is a truth that is separate from interpretation but their skilled manipulation lies in confusing people about those two things and preventing us from discussing real issues because we’re distracted with interpretation first…

  • tom from boston

    The right wing outlets like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and talk radio have a right-wing bias baked right into their mission. They operate under the assumption that “the media is liberal”. Obviously, if that is your assumption, you will be biased in your coverage.

  • Patty Dowsett

    David Keene interrupted and overrode anyone else — why, Tom, were you so afraid to interrupt him? He said the same thing over and over — once would have been enough!

  • JD Hamilton

    Thanks for doing a show on the most important topic. Without rational, accurate thinking, good decisions cannot be made. Without accurate reporting, accurate thinking cannot happen.

  • Oleander

    I was troubled while listening to today’s show–David Greene interrupted repeatedly and talked over other guests. He also made ad hominem remarks about E. J. Dionne (albeit somewhat understated), and wasn’t called out on either of these things. I listen to this show because I hope NOT to hear these kinds of inappropriate distractions.

  • Joe

    The truth is not winning. In fact, the truth is dying.

    Fox News is the most watched right now. Its rating is the highest.

  • Chris

    Good points, Bret.
    This is why the liberal slant in the media irritates rational people. I really like Tom Ashbrook alot, but I couldn’t believe my ears when he said he didn’t know that the racial epithets weren’t uttered, so it should be reported as true. How is that not propaganda?

  • Rick

    I don’t believe that George W. Bush’s forged military records that CBS news broadcast (during an election time period0, and that led to Dan Rather’s firing was reviewed on the show. Why?

  • Ren Knopf

    Thank you for the Dan Shorr trailer – one can hope this piece becomes required reading/listening for those who would be professional journalists, not entertainers. And may the Fates grant the public the ability to discern the difference.
    Ren Knopf, Framingham

  • ThresherK

    I tuned in looking for a real discussion about how Andrew Breitbart isn’t a journalist, and how to tell the difference between him and a real one. Disappointed is not the word.

    “I view the left and the right as the same. They’re both running marketing machines.”–one of the guests, the ChiTrib guy?

    Wow. So, someone has given up on the idea of facts. Yes, Keith Olbermann and Andrew Breitbart feel exactly the same about that.

    *yawn* At 10:53, someone said “It’s good that Fox News walked back on this” (E.J., I think). Nice Insidey Beltway schmutz: Fox News got caught and basically said “We’re so very sorry that this racist serial fabulist’s edited crap isn’t being swallowed hook, line and sinker by everyone like his last batch of lies were, so we’ve basically lost his phone number and forgotten who he is for a few days.”

    To my knowledge, Shep Shepard was the only Foxholer who said, at the time, “Breitbart has a history of doing crap like this. I’m not running this until someone else verifies it.”

    Oh: On the cost of tainting the news? Mainstream orgs are full of false equivalency. Rightwing orgs are churning out low-information voters with their low-information information.

    The result is that people are losing trust in the press. Quel surprise.

  • Larry

    If you listen to the Right wing you can pretty much take the opposite of everything they say as the truth.

    Liberal bias? What a joke. The Right wing controls the media almost 100% in this country.

    And it is all in the interests of the corporations that they spew their lies daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, decade after decade.

  • JP

    … yes, and despite the right-wing elite owning almost 100% of the media in this country, the right is still a minority in American politics!

    … that is a hopeful sign for the future!

  • Jim P.

    I followed the Sherrod story as it was unfolding on Breitbart. I read about Breitbart in Time magazine a couple of months ago and was curious. I even took to posting comments (I post on The Daily Beast too). Recently Breitbart changed it’s policy requiring posters to join Intense Debate which has reduced the amount of comments by “trolls” – wonder why?

    As the Sherrod story unfolded there were comments that someone had found on YouTube the entire tape and questioned why Breitbart was posting an edited tape. Eventually (I think after the Glenn Beck comments surfaced) the full tape was posted. Breitbart has never apologized but has said that he didn’t care about her but was interested in attacking NAACP which he considers racist. So he didn’t care who he maligned, the end justified the means. In my own opinion – the NAACP like every one else has people who have racist tendencies – who among us have never used a racial epithet or had a racist thought no matter how slight.

    I noted that one panelist defended Breitbart rather vigorously – that’s a slipper slope. In my opinion anyone who believes Breitbart is either naive or an accomplice. The articles/videos posted on his site are obviously highly selected to present a certain viewpoint or to inflame the followers.

  • James Glose

    Whoa Nelly! The first of the fellows representing the right did not answer Tom’s first question. Rather, he attacked E.J. personally, liberals in general, and went on to divert blame from Breitbart to the organizations who jumped first and asked questions later. A craftsman skilled in attacking and demonizing was he . . . the same method used by the stereotypical high school in-crowd.

    I would like to take the right seriously, but am still waiting for signs of creative problem solving.

  • http://n/a Cathy Breen

    Thanks for the frank and animated discussion about the lack of honesty and truth in today’s media. As a town councilor in Maine, I have been on the receiving end of such tactics. It’s an example of how national media and politics trickles down to the local level and it’s shameful. The conservatives in my town repeatedly disregard public issues until they come to a head and then distort facts, make baseless personal accusations, and make ridiculous claims about “rushing” decisions after two years of public meetings. It’s painful.

  • Landy Gobes

    One aspect of this debate about the news between Liberals and Conservatives that I have not heard expressed is inherent in their different natures as illustrated by their names.

    When someone is Liberal s/he, by definition, looks at all sides of issues and has an open approach to the world. One meaning of liberal is less judgemental.

    Conservative often means to save, to protect a certain way of thinking, someimes, but not always, from the past.

    Thus it would make sense that many journalists would be open to looking at events or ideas from all sides and thus would be labled “liberal” by those whose worldview is different.

    I think this is why conservatives call so much of the mainstream journalism liberal.

  • Dina Samfield

    Mr. Keene is typical of right-wing pundits who change the facts to fit their ideology. They talk louder and louder without taking a breath to prevent the other party from getting a word in.

    Keene cited the fact that the Sherrod video was already edited when Breitbart got it as evidence that Bretibart was not ill-intentioned. The truth is that even after he said that he would post the full video, Breitbart said that he had seen enough: “I think the video speaks for itself,” he said. “The way she’s talking about white people … is conveying a present tense racism in my opinion. But racism is in the eye of the beholder.”

    In admitting that he aired the doctored video of Sherrod to get back at the NAACP, which had passed a resolution asking the Tea Party movement to repudiate racism in its ranks, Breitbart said repeatedly that that was the same as labeling the tea party racist. He also continues to claim that reports of racism at a tea party protest in the final days of the health care debate were completely made up.

    Breitbart said that the Sherrod video is “way more evidence of racism than anything that the mainstream media and TPM [Talking Points Memo] and all of the rest of you Spencer Ackerman friends provided to prove that the tea party was racist.”

    Keene did the same thing that media outlets like Fox News do to trick folks into believing that their lies are the truth, and that reality is fiction. They just repeat the lies over and over, at louder and louder volumes.

    Like Keene, they equate political shows like Olbermann and Maddow with their own media. The difference between the latter and Fox is that they don’t just make stuff up. They report real news, but offer their own opinions on it. They don’t lie and insist that they are telling the truth.

    Breitbart lied about his doctored video that made it appear that ACORN was promoting prostitution. (ACORN was completely absolved in that case.) He is not a journalist; he is a liar and a provocateur.

  • Barry Falk

    There are no more “real” journalists. Today’s journalists are nothing but mouthpieces for the celebrities, politicians, policies, and programs that they endorse. They disguise themselves as being objective and truthful. They are neither.

    Creative thinking skills no longer exist among most journalists.

    At least Fox apologized. I have as yet to hear a single apology from the left wing media as regards any of the phony or incomplete stories that it has produced and broadcast over the years.

    Ethical reporting is pretty simple. Stop the propaganda. Stop the politically correct reporting. Tell the truth. Tell the facts. Be accurate. Be complete. Be thorough. Be honest. Stop being corrupt. Stop sucking up to the power elites. Stop taking vacations with the power elites. Stop socializing with the power elites. Stop looking for the next job with the political class. Stop being a globalist. Love your country. Never trust your government. Stop being lazy.

  • PW

    That’s too bad. I’d hoped for better from David Keene. This is a narrow, pathetic, defensive Keene who is doing harm both to this discussion and to his own integrity. He adopts the Foxy habit of sliding away from the subject into an anecdote which is in itself a fantasy or alternative narrative that doesn’t stand up to a truth test.

    It’s entirely possible to be well-informed without having any cable or network news. Let’s put “news” in quotes when we’re talking about what’s offered in available televised “news” shows from CBS to Fox. Even if they weren’t presenting deliberate lies, as Fox does, their method of presentation (short reports jammed with visual distractions) is inadequate at best.

    That deceptive presentation of “news” made me get rid of my TV about 8 years ago and turn to a wide range of sources in print, on the radio and online. Here online the choice is so much wider than Breitbart and Fox News. Those guys seem as far away as the farthest street lamp in this huge metropolis of options. For a start, we can find far more substantive and skew-free coverage of American events and politics from British, Canadian, French, German and other news sources thanks to the net. We are limited only by the languages we speak.

    So the problem here is not the media, though, but how they’re (mis)used and how (in)experienced the public is that depends on them for information. We have a society which is under-informed, naive and often alienated. Somewhere along the line we got the idea that if you can buy something — oh, let’s say a national network or a gun — you can control its use. The amount of money the right have put into media gives them, they believe, an entitlement. They think they have the right to press their megaphone to our temples and blow our minds, if not precisely blow our brains out.

    I don’t see how people like Keene can avoid noticing the ownership of Fox, or of our beloved old-fashioned networks like ABC, NBC etc., by (among others) key players in the defense industry. Like it or not, that ownership is there and it’s influential. Big money and big political influences have bought out the public square. That’s not something we readily accept in a nation we like to believe is a democracy, not an oligarchy.

  • Bradley Steiner

    Please develop some critical thinking skills. Here is a primer:

    1. critical thinkers are flexible; they can tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty
    2. critical thinkers can identify inherent biases and assumptions
    3. critical thinkers maintain an air of skepticism
    4. critical thinker separate facts from opinions
    5. critical thinkers do not over simplify
    6. critical thinker use logical inference processes
    7. critical thinkers examine available evidence before drawing conclusions

  • Miles Manchester

    There is an excellent book about the propaganda campaign to sell the Iraq War to the American public. “The Pen and the Sword” by Calvin Exoo of St. Lawrence University documents who did what and when. Keep you blood pressure medicine close.
    Also check out brain scientist George Lakoff who explains the cognitive science behind propaganda. The annoying repetition of “talking points” you hear from Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc. actually changes people’s brains. Several Lakoff lectures on youtube.com. Seach youtube for his name and “The Political Mind”. The is also the title of one of his books.

  • jeffe

    The late Daniel Schorr summed it up for perfectly.

    Almost all media seems to be about entertainment and that’s the main problem.

  • ulTRAX

    Barry Falk wrote: At least Fox apologized.

    Despite Bill O’Riley’s attempt to portray Fox as being cautious, Fox ran with a story without checking. Then when the public became outraged over the blatant smear job they did, you consider an apology a sign of Fox’s noble intent? Did anyone get fired as Dan Rather had been?


    If Fox’s intent was so noble, THEY WOULD HAVE CHECKED THE STORY OUT FIRST.

    They ran with this story as well as others without checking it because they serve a cynical political purpose.

    Fox isn’t about journalism, it’s about holding the Right wing coalition together with propaganda masquerading as news.

  • JP

    Read your history, especially American history and the documents our founders wrote, and you too will find the truth.

    Anything else is spin.

    Watching founders Fridays on Glenn Beck will help set you straight also!

  • David L. Baker

    A most troubling aspect of the Shirley Sherrod affair is the serious damage that was very nearly inflicted by Mr. Breitbart on his victim. Mrs. Sherrod was rescued by a flood of facts and the availability of the Spooners. Professional journalists seem reluctant to separate themselves from Breitbart and his ilk. Perhaps we need to examine public policy regarding defamation. Libel laws more like those of Great Britain may be in order if we do not find a way to protect innocent victims who are thrown into our present toxic media stew.
    Our dedication to the right of free speech elides smoothly into the privilege we extend to our free press. But if journalists and the mainstream press continue to shelter the likes of Mr. Breitbart under the cloak of free press privilege, the only remedy available may be to make it much, much easier to win substantial damages against those who carry out these public lynchings. And, we need to and make it equally expensive for those who provide platforms for the executioners through republication.
    Frankly, I am far less interested in the analysis of this phenomenon than in looking to a remedy for its innocent victims.

  • John


    You should say the same about the NAACP and the White house that also feel for the same video, but they acted first. Without there actions, Fox would have had a different story to report!

  • Kathy Foster

    We need look no further than the unproven hypothesis of man-made global warming that the media presented as fact. The media told us that the science was settled on this subject. The media did not remain skeptical. The scientists only agree that climate science is as complicated as the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere. The media only reported one side of the story. They never provided the public with the opposing science. They fell in lock step with the template and the agenda in which they believe. Man is evil. Man is the cause of all problems. The members of the media are extremely immature. They resemble the idiots in high school who were in cliques. They are the apparatchiks of the ruling class.

  • Joe

    White House has to act swiftly. If it didn’t, there would be another propagonda that it was dragging its feet. It is true that they should have just put her on suspension rather than asking her to leave. But the fact is, conservatives like to spread lies about liberals. I hardly hear liberals lie about conservatives.

  • Brianne

    I remember going through the Presidential election watching non-stop coverage for months straight, every day in and out switching back and forth from CNN, MSNBC, and FOX to get all perspectives. I was such an angry radical person and I felt it. I decided after the election to cancel my cable and I am a much more happier person now. Anything news related I can get from NPR and I know that I am getting the facts as they aren’t tied to advertisers and we the listeners are paying for them to just give us the real story.

    After cancelling cable I do have to say the only thing I miss is The Daily Show and Colbert Report!

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    JP wrote: Read your history, especially American history and the documents our founders wrote, and you too will find the truth.

    Oh heaven help us… another Glen Beck devotee.

    What Beck does is use SELECTIVE quotes from the Founders/Framers to paint a picture HE wants you to believe. It’s the same game being played by Right wing Christians IGNORE the fact that the Constitution is entirely a SECULAR document, yet hype the OPINIONS of some of the Framers about this being a Christian nation. Opinions don’t matter if they were NOT written into law… do they?

    For example Beck loves to talk about getting back to government’s “basic mission” as stated in the Constitution.

    On the SURFACE the Constitution seems to be a list of specific enumerated powers given to the federal government while others are reserved for the states and the People.

    For instance there is NO specific power for the federal government to build lighthouses. Yet Congress was authorizing spending on them in 1789! How can that be? Where did they find that constitutional authority????

    During the FIRST CONGRESS Madison, who you might think knew a bit more about the Constitution than you, I, or Beck, was also arguing for a tax on tonnage not just to fund lighthouses, other aids to navigation, but HOSPITALS FOR DISABLED SEAMEN!!!

    OMG… hospitals for disabled seamen?

    Social justice, even socialism, are largely in the mind of the beholder, but Madison’s proposal EASILY could be seen as an early manifestation of those concepts. After all, Madison was proposing a redistribution of wealth for a social purpose! Was this constitutional? Sure! Under ARTICLE 1, Section 8
    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and GENERAL WELFARE of the United States;…

    You might be a sucker and believe Beck is interested in truth. But true Truth Seekers don’t skip over inconvenient truths. They MUST incorporate them into their world view. And when they DO ignore truths, it says more about their intellectual dishonesty that the “truth” they claim to have.


    They said in prediction that The Western Press will destroy America before 2012.

  • Ann

    Heather (10:40 a.m.), You said, “This show today is awful. This conservative guy is talking over everyone, NOT listening, changing the subject when he’s pinned. Come on Tom, control the conversation. That’s why I love this show, Tom can graciously cut off obnoxious behavior and get things back ON POINT.”

    I agree that after E.J. Dionne spoke so eloquently, that the tone changed once the Conservative, David Keene, came on. I thought that situation was EXCELLENT, however, because, for me, it DEMONSTRATES BEYOND A DOUBT, that Conservatives like the guest are impervious to hearing an excellent portrayal of their own behavior and its effect on our democracy. They will NOT be shamed (I believe they SHOULD be), and continue to do their thing shamelessly. WHY do I think this was a good thing? Because, E.J. Dionne was SO articulate, that, if his statements were to stand on their own, I would have left the hour thinking that a truthful portrait of the situation had been put forth so well, that SURELY the Right would hear and understand and decide to debate fairly and not below the belt. I would have been WRONG — falsely comforted. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that what E.J. Dionne had to say MUST BE SAID, and said again and again. But the perversity of the other side is something that we got to see as “Exhibit A”, in the form of David Keene’s remarks and debating techniques, instead of just hearing it talked ABOUT.

    I also know that one is NOT supposed to fall for what a teacher of mine called the “intentionalist fallacy”; that is, we are NOT supposed to assume we know what someone is thinking or intending because we project OUR thoughts onto THEIR actions and deem them identical. So, I am aware of that when I say this next part. Tom is SO excellent at the control of chaos at the microphone that I wonder, did he KNOW that we needed to see the relentless shamelessness of the Conservative delivery, represented here by David Keene’s delivery, and so, rather than letting that delivery be a TOPIC that E.J. Dionne would then have to DESCRIBE, Tom let the delivery be, as I said, Exhibit A??? I would never say that Tom intended this; but I do feel that his hosting skills are extraordinary.

  • Crystal Klein

    No one spoke of any noble intent of any one or any thing. The moral superiority that the left maintains is laughable. Neither side has all the answers. Those who believe that they know better than anyone else is just an arrogant and pompous fool. The left demonstrates daily how they want to control how I live, what I eat, how much I weigh, what my BMI is, what light bulbs I can use, what car I can drive, how hot I can keep my house, how cool I can keep my house, and on and on and on. Get off my ass. Stop preaching to me. You left wing radical idiots are oppressive. Stop telling people how to live their lives. You really need to focus on your ridiculous soap opera lives with your failed marriages, your alcoholic family members, your drug addicted children, your criminal activities, your corrupt behavior, your dishonest lives, your cheating husbands, your cheating wives, your bankrupt philosophy, your overdrawn accounts, your poor credit ratings, your delinquent bills, and your foolish belief that you know better than I do as to how to lead my life.

  • Duke Briscoe

    http://dailyhowler.com/ is a very good blog that looks at these kinds of media issues. Particularly good at looking at the shortcomings of some of the most well-known liberal journalists and pundits.

  • JP

    Gee Crystal,

    Sounds like you’ve just described the Republican party and conservative radio hosts:

    “failed marriages, your alcoholic family members, your drug addicted children, your criminal activities, your corrupt behavior, your dishonest lives, your cheating husbands, your cheating wives, your bankrupt philosophy, your overdrawn accounts, your poor credit ratings, your delinquent bills, and your foolish belief that you know better than I do as to how to lead my life.”

    Another case of conservatives thinking they can solve all of their problems by saying “no I’m not, you are.”

    … pot calling the kettle black.

  • ulTRAX

    John wrote: “ulTRAX, You should say the same about the NAACP and the White house that also feel for the same video, but they acted first. Without there actions, Fox would have had a different story to report!

    All mentioned parties here, Fox, the Whitehouse, and the NAACP, didn’t check the story… but for DIFFERENT REASONS.

    The Whitehouse and the NAACP were doing damage control and afraid of being railroaded by Fox with charges of harboring Black racists, rushed to judgment and did not check the story. They acted foolishly at best.

    Fox didn’t check the story because they WANT stories that serve the political purpose of inciting the Right’s political base.

    Given that today’s OP show was about fairness and objectivity in the MEDIA, what’s your point?

  • Duke Briscoe

    @Crystal Klein – you are right that it is distasteful when some liberals have airs of moral superiority when talking about Tea Partiers or other varieties of conservatives or parts of the US. But you should consider whether you are being factual when assuming that liberals have “ridiculous soap opera lives” – is that true on average or have particular celebrity stories stuck in your mind due to your biases?

    Also, the issues you mention where “the left wants to control my life” are all cases where your choices DO have impacts on others – global warming, health insurance costs, driving safely. There has to be some way to account for the impact you are having on others that might not be dealt with by the explicit costs you are paying for goods and services. In economics, those impacts on others are called “externalities”. In reality, I don’t see our freedom being significantly impacted so I do not believe you should be upset about any real restrictions – as opposed to some warped fantasies being promoted by someone like Glenn Beck.

  • John-Peter

    There is no mutual equivocation between Fox news and MSNBC. Simply put, MSNBC still bases their liberal bias in some form of fact.That network is able to fill most of their air time by simply pointing out the fallacies that Fox news reports as truth. When CNN and MSNBC television hosts make comments, their comments seldom reach as far as Glen Beck’s fear mongering. Fox shows its viewers footage of Sarah Palin’s presidential campaign and tells the viewer that the footage is from her book tour. That is not journalism, that’s a commercial. MSNBC will show Palin’s speech at CSU Stanislaus, and point out that her assertion that Ronald Reagan was a native Californian is untrue The discussion may go on to claim that she is not intelligent, but the point is, at least it begins with a fact.

    Fox makes its biased point by bending truths, fear mongering and broadcasting stories without fact checking. I.e. Palin says, “Death panels!” and they run with it for almost a year, during the health care debate, never once actually broadcasting that her claim was false.

    MSNBC makes its biased point by comparing what is said to what is actually done. I.e. Palin says, “Death Panels!” and they point out that there were no death panels in any form of the health care bill.

  • Ray

    The purpose of this show was to divert attention from the fear and weakness within the Obama administration revealed so clearly by the Sherrod incident….and the apologists are out in force today.

  • Marcia Nowak

    Crystal is merely stating the obvious about the left. The things that she references are the hallmark of the left’s philosophy. It is the left that wants to control people’s lives through larger and more government programs. I do not hear of the right wanting to force people to buy health insurance, telling people what light bulbs they must use, how large their houses must be, how cold or warm their houses must be. It is the left and the statists that want to direct people’s lives. It was Bill Clinton during a speech in Buffalo, New York who mentioned that he could not refund money to the people, because they might not spend it correctly. It is the left that wants to direct people’s lives. The “pot calling the kettle black” really is an inappropriate phrase to use with respect to Crystal’s comment. Being so devoted to the right or to the left is probably not very healthy. If you do not maintain a skeptical mind, you likely lack critical thinking skills. I often hear those on the right criticize the right. I never hear those on the left criticize the left. Try some clear thinking. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. No one has all of the answers, especially and particularly those on the left.

  • AJ North

    Last night, Turner Classic Movies ran a film that almost hits this nail on its head, “Network,” written by Paddy Chayefsky. In 1976, audiences were largely amused at the notion that one of the major television networks could by purchased by a large corporation, its news division placed under “Programming” (read: entertainment) and its nightly prime-time news program turned into a debased circus. How quaint that all seems today. The broadcasting landscape in general, broadcast news in particular, here in the U.S. has devolved to the point that merely asserting something makes it so in the minds of many millions. Of course, this is nothing new; rumor, innuendo and outright lies have always been circulated amongst people as fact, whether in Salem, Massachusetts, in the seventeenth century, or any number of media outlets today. What is new is that between cable and satellite, television (and radio) achieved a power undreamed of in 1976. Enter the Internet.

    When “Network” was released, the “Fairness Doctrine” was very much in force, as were the Offices of Standards and Practices of each of the broadcast networks. After all, they were granted licenses to use the public airways in the public interest, and requiring fairness and balance in opinions voiced over-the-air was considered to be in the public interest. That was then. The Fairness Doctrine was eliminated by Ronald Reagan (along with a number of other FCC regulations, for which those who lunge for their remote controls when annoyingly loud commercials interrupt a much quieter program – along with the increase of the number of commercial minutes allowed per half-hour of broadcast time – can give thanks); Standards and Practices today is largely concerned with how much cleavage can be displayed.

    As the saying goes, one is entitled to their own opinions; they are not, however, entitled to their own facts. The Shirley Sherrod incident is incontrovertible proof that “Fox News,” its allies and fellow-travelers, are not in the least concerned with veracity; they are driven by ideology, with no small amount of malicious intent – and outright hatred. Whom do they hate? Why, those not like them, of course, and in the U.S. of today, they have indeed found fertile ground.

    – The Earth is on the order of 4.54 billion years old.
    – Vincent Foster committed suicide.
    – Global climate change (that is, warming) is a fact – a very inconvenient fact.

  • Brian Krane

    Where is the sharp, accurate, thorough, complete,and precise criticism of JournoList? Nothing but silence from the left.

  • jim Browner

    Poll after poll after poll revealing journalists vote for Democrats over Republicans by a wide margin? Doesn’t matter, since they don’t bring their political impulses to bear on their work.

    Meanwhile, the public’s faith in the media continues to plummet. And the one cable news outlet with enough reporters – and curiosity – to cover subjects like Jones and the New Black Panther Party, Fox News, continues to see its ratings soar.

    Just what will it take to make journalists open their eyes to the inequalities within their profession?

    Enter the Journolist scandal. Finally, reporters across the country could see how scribes from both liberal and mainstream outlets discussed how to twist the news narrative like a pretzel to help the Democratic party and paint the opposition as racist without a shred of proof.

    Not exactly.

    The same old “nothing to see here, folks” reportage followed the drip-drip-drip reports by The Daily Caller.

    Some MSM outlets simply ignored the scandal. Others rallied to minimize it. Type “journolist” into CNN.com and you’ll get only one link to a video clip on the subject with media critic Howard Kurtz.

    Check the ratings, folks, just like the grownups do every single day and night. Fox rules in the ratings for a reason. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS all losing market share and viewers. Enjoy the plunge. Read ‘em and weep. They live and die by the ratings. Just ask the media elites. They worship ratings and “the get.”


    There is no winning an arguement about Cable News Stations. I rarely watch them except prime time news like ABC,CBS or NBC. Their report are almost accurate without bashing the current government or Obama.

    If they do it is the people they interview that say something negative about the government but majority of news they broadcast are about every day lives of the American people.

    Like the Fleecing of American on NBC.

    I never like other stations for they ruin my day.

  • Brianne

    The true difference between Olberman and Beck – Olberman does justify his stupid rants with evidence and Beck scribbles nonsense on a chalkboard.

    I don’t so much blame the Fox News station and Christian radio commentators, they can put out as much biggoted, racist, homophobic other worldly crap as they want as it is a free country. I blame the millions of morons in this country that have been failed by education and turn to these outlets for “news” and can’t look past their pointed noses at reason.

  • Meg Torrel

    The most partisan, incendiary stuff… comes from people in the opinion business, not beat reporters.” Kurtz said before adding Sarah Palin pounced on the leaks for her latest talking point rather than feeling her outrage. Kurtz also used the words of the list’s founder, Ezra Klein, to end his CNN segment and wipe away any fears the public might have regarding the list.

    NBC’s Chuck Todd complained about Journolist in a piece written by Politico, making it appear like he was genuinely concerned about bias in his own industry. Far from it. Todd later clarified his comments to a Washington Post blogger, saying the Right’s use of the scandal was more egregious than the scandal itself.

    And then there’s faux conservative Kathleen Parker. She used her latest column to defend her new best buddies in the MSM. Better get ready for another Pulitzer in 2011, Kathleen. You’re earning it.

    If email lists spelling out the best way to protect a presidential candidate aren’t enough to convince reporters their profession has hit the skids, then not even a “Network” style rant on national television apologizing for years of bias would make them sing a different tune.

    Circle the wagons dems and libs. The battle continues.

    Foreclosures up in 75% of the top urban areas. The Summer of recovery continues. Make sure that you spin it, libs. Remember Obama can do no wrong. Anyone who criticizes Obama is a racist. Just ask Ashbrook.

  • John

    That is so typical that leftist NPR gave the last word to Daniel Schorr and didn’t balance that with a recording from Father Coughlin or Goebbels.

  • AJ North

    And so, what are those actually interested in reliably accurate reportage to do?

    Well, for myself, sites frequently consulted include (but are by no means limited to):

    – The Associated Press (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/fronts/HOME?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME),

    – Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/),

    – McClatchy (http://www.mcclatchydc.com/)

    – The Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/)

    – BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/)

    – CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news/)

    and that which has long been regarded by the world as the “newspaper of record” of the United States, The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/).

    Are these sources always infallible? Of course not. They do, however, set out – and strive – to be accurate and comprehensive. They are all self-correcting in a timely manner. One wishing to be broadly informed would do well to explore these sites in depth.


    AJ North your list of stations are the best in news reporting. not always accurate but better than cable news stations.

    Christian Science Monitor was a big help for the Filipino people during the 1986 People Power Revolution
    Marcos hated Christian Science monitor he almost blew the station.

    Rueter doesn’t have to write a story their Photo Journalist are the best in the world. Their pictures explains a lot than putting them on words.

  • mogl

    In 2006, when those Amish school girls were shot and killed in PA, the Fox “News” coverage ranted exclusively about the FIRST Amendment and unregulated violent video games (but made no mention of the 2nd Amendment and access to unregulated guns).

    I literally yelled at the the television:
    “They are A-M-I-S-H !!!!” Not only did the shooter NOT waste his youth soaking in violent video games, … he does never had electricity.

    I thought (then and still) that this was grossly irresponsible of Fox.

  • informed American

    Mr. Dionne, America has had enough of you and your liberal propaganda. How else can you explain Obama’s terrible poll numbers?

  • Alex

    “Mr. Dionne, America has had enough of you and your liberal propaganda. How else can you explain Obama’s terrible poll numbers?”

    Obama is not liberal enough for my taste. Hence, i am not approving of most of what he is doing (or not doing). I am not voting for him if a single American solgier remains in Iraq or Afghanistan come election time. Which apparently means I am not voting for him.

  • ulTRAX

    Jim Browner wrote: Poll after poll after poll revealing journalists vote for Democrats over Republicans by a wide margin? Doesn’t matter, since they don’t bring their political impulses to bear on their work.

    Regardless of party affiliation there’s a difference between a professional who may struggle to get a story right, and someone masquerading as a journalist who knows the intent of a story is to manipulate the public by DISTORTING the news all for a political end.

  • ulTRAX

    I wish Bill Moyers had been a guest on this program. His 2005 documentary Buying The War was a damning critique of how the mainstream media didn’t investigate the claims of the Bush Junta but rushed to join the call for an illegal invasion of Iraq. If you’ve any never seen this documentary, it will make you sick.


  • Ken Rubenstein

    It’s totally obvious what’s going on here. It started with the overthrow of Clinton based on a sex issue that had absolutely nothing to do with his performance as president, continued with the supreme court coup that put George Bush in office, etc., etc. The right has made a decision that they will win at any cost. The ends justify the means any means. They excuse this by pointing episodes to abuse on the right. Yet this is like comparing a breeze to a hurricane. Wake up America. Look what the Nazis did in Germany. If we think we’re immune to that, guess again.

  • Arturo

    Let see if I got it right? Mr Keene is saying that Andrew Breibart cannot be a racist because he is simply an irresponsible character (a journalist he is not!) who produces partial, incomplete, incomplete, and half-cooked material (information is nnot!).

    Now, according to Mr. Keene, this should sound like a very ‘professional’ excuse. You know, ‘constraining deadlines’, or something like that. That was Mr. Keene excuse for justifying the irresponsible actions of Andrew Breibart , but since when a blogger needs to be constrained by time limitations? The can post whenter they want, it could have taken a few extra hours for Breibart do the necessary fact checking. This excuse could be valid for the printed media, but not a justification for a blogger to act maliciously.

    Long live personal responsibility and Conservatism!

  • William

    These old media guys just need to fade away. The former big 3 (CBS,NBC,ABC) had their day in the sun but once people had more choices they were dumped. Old liberals like E. J. Dionne are worth a laugh but no serious reporting comes from his column. It is good to see FoxNews, BRIETBART, Drudge deliver the news quickly and more balanced.

  • Allen

    David Keene’s personal attacks on EJ were out of line and beside the point of the discussion. Please don’t have him back.

  • Brad Roberts


    MAG: Has Damage From BP Spill Been Exaggerated?

    ‘Has Anyone Seen the Oil That Spilled into the Gulf?’…

    AP: Where is the oil?…


    Incidentally, William has it just right. The old guard is dead and dying. Move ‘em out. All praise to Drudge, Breitbart, and those reporters and news aggregators that are not politically correct and who want to tell the truth. The frauds and the liars and the corrupt will be exposed every day.

  • Not a Chance

    Yeah Moron.

    Try looking in the marshes, the landfills, the air where much of it evaporated, and the deep ocean… you’ll find all of your oil.

  • jeffe

    These old media guys just need to fade away. The former big 3 (CBS,NBC,ABC) had their day in the sun but once people had more choices they were dumped. Old liberals like E. J. Dionne are worth a laugh but no serious reporting comes from his column. It is good to see FoxNews, BRIETBART, Drudge deliver the news quickly and more balanced.
    Posted by William,

    Oh please, this is so not so. Drudge? He’s a hack in the first order. Brietbart is not even a journalist, he seems to me to nothing more than slimy propagandist and I’m being polite.

    It’s funny how some of you so called conservatives go on about the Constitution and yet you have nothing but contempt for a free and well informed press. Why is that?

  • William

    @jeffe – Times change..those old guys..just liberal hacks that got away with misreporting for decades. Game over..get out of the way..retire..people are alot wiser..

  • Rob from Newton

    Excellent show. One point though.

    “We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization — black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another.”

    Do you think if that quote was played in its isolation on a website of a blogger today, the blogger would argue that the person stating the quote was in favor of segregation?

    Clearly, when this quote was stated on April 4, 1968, Robert Kennedy was not arguing in favor of segregating the races. He was arguing the opposite.

    This is why taking a quote out of context is so dangerous. Thank you.

  • Mary Falco

    I thank you so much for this report. Ever since the “correction” of the market in the fall of 2008 I have felt the reason behind the “exaggeration” in the reports we read and listen to is the competition amongst the tremendous size of the multimedia we are surrounded by in this day and age. The newscasters need us to watch their station therefore the more intense the report is the more audience they may capture. At times it is forgotten that a journalist job is to “inform” not to “alarm” the audience. Going foward we must be very careful not to allow our quality reporting to turn tabloid.

  • Brianne

    “An institution supposed to monoitor the establishment, but now itself a vast establishment” – Daniel Schorr

    Well said Sir.

  • piperlynn6

    It’s amazing to me that this discussion devolved down party lines. Maybe that’s what some are looking for, but for me, it’s high schoolish. It’s incredible that some, in their haste to criticize missed Keene’s point about how local news’ tendency to go for ‘the burn’ has infiltrated the national news and ultimately, the 24/7 cable news network.

    Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with cultivating good relationships with people in the know, but it’s foolish to zero in on those who share your political philosophies only, and sadly, since this tendency seems the most profitable, it seems that everyone’s doing it. I hope the schmooze will retreat back into the corner, but none of the networks seem willing to be the first to do it.

  • Jim in Omaha

    Right-wing media says,among other things, that Iraq was behind the 9-11 attack, there isn’t any significant damage to the Gulf from the BP oil leak, the health care bill creates death panels, Obama in really a Kenyan, tax cuts don’t reduce government revenue, our country is highly taxed compared to other developed countries, our medical care system is the best in the world, most of the unemployed are just too lazy to work, Iraq is at peace due to our efforts. These are all truthful claims, right?

  • Bush’s fault

    Tom and staff…thanks for another great program…all the usual partisan talking points are well represented on the comment board, so I won’t waste time….but PLEASE have Charles Madigan back as soon as possible…we need more out-of-the-box thinking like his to consider, that is, of course, if you’ll let him speak next time.

  • Bush’s fault

    Jim…I rest my case.

  • Brett

    How did Andrew Brietbart acquire the tape? Was the tape he acquired edited before he got hold of it? Are we to believe that Brietbart was handed an edited piece of video then ran with it without any examination? Did he sincerely believe this was the entire thrust of Sherrod’s speech? When I first heard the story (before the real story broke) Sherrod sounded taken out of context. Does anyone believe Brietbart is not a propagandist? Did Brietbart, or did he not, edit and display the tape for the purposes of furthering a political agenda or to sensationalize a non-story? Is the timing between the earlier NAACP story [charges of racism in the Tea Party] and Brietbart’s version of the Sherrod story a coincidence?

    I hope Sherrod sues Breitbart.

    The Sherrod story reveals something about the ways current media conduct themselves (and it reveals something about the ways in which the public has a junk food-esque quality to their consumption of news), considering how other media outlets jumped on this story without investigation; it is also disappointing to see the administration cave in to political propaganda while attempting damage control, playing the “throw-her-under-the-bus-and-cut-our-losses” game.

    If this had been a hundred years ago, Brietbart could have worked for Randolph Hearst. Once upon a time, any rational person would see propagandist “news” organizations (a la Hearst) as yellow journalism; today, ostensibly intelligent people debate whether or not yellow journalism is yellow journalism, or whether or not the “other side” is to blame in other situations.

    Only a moron–or someone being disingenuous–would think “FoxNews, Brietbart and Drudge deliver the news quickly and more balanced.” It may be more quickly delivered, but more balanced? More balanced than what? Is it okay that their news organizations are propagandist in nature because they consider liberal news organizations have engaged in propaganda? Is this the best kind of reasoning conservatives can come up with? I could probably get better thinking from a room full of children–at least as good, anyway.

    The conservative commentator on today’s program was classic. Instead of calling Brietbart’s shenanigans what they are, he at first made it a general problem of journalists being victims of a business that has turned into a 24/7 entertainment proposition. When challenged, he attacked liberals with vague generalizations. Later, when he was challenged further, he made it a problem of all journalists not doing their job–a kind of contradiction from his initial remarks…changing the subject, personal attacking, contradiction…typical

  • Columbus Guy

    After seething with pent up rage over at least 30 years of being force fed LIES and watching income meltdown take over I finally heard what I have been waiting to hear on National Radio.

    What E.J. said today about the nutcase propaganda by the right is years over due and that national debate needs to be FRONT and CENTER NOW.

    Long ago 1st thing the “nutcase right” did was attack NPR to silence the public voice 30 years ago and attack the department of education trying to gain control and mismanage education reminding me of Germany.

    Their partisan PROPAGANDA takeover is not and never will be the rise of commercialism explanation rationalized by the right on the show Thursday.
    That sounded like a theory scam;
    But their roots are even worse, Roger Ailes history and The broader results reveal much more partisan motives and sinister intent.

    The rights greed based propaganda prostitution has a purpose just as a pimp has a purpose in slapping around and controlling his means of income greed.

    Working People Need To Know, If They Cave In and Vote For More Of That Nutcase “Hell NO You Can’t”
    You Will Get EXACTLY What You Voted For

  • Bryan

    Haughty claims by right-wingers like Mr. Keane that leftists or Democrats distort facts and engage in foul play far more often than right-wingers or Republicans have been parroted endlessly by conservatives like him for decades. My experience tells me otherwise.

    I can’t do better than quote from Thomas Frank’s “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule,” which I consider one of the best political books to have appeared in many years. Here is part of what Frank has to offer about the difference between liberals and conservatives:

    “Mainstream American political commentary, with its own touching faith in fair play, customarily assumes the two great political parties [are] mirror images of each other; that if one is guilty of some misstep, the other is also automatically and equally culpable…

    “There is no symmetry. Liberalism…arose out of a…compromise between left-wing social movements and business interests. It…does not call for some kind of all-out war on private industry. Conservatism, on the other hand, speaks not of compromise but of removing its adversaries from the field altogether…[C]onservatives freely and openly fantasize about doing away with those bits of “big government” that serve liberal ends. And while defunding the left is the north star of the conservative project, no comparable campaign to “defund the right” exists…Liberals are hardly likely to crack down on the Fortune 500 with the same resourceful malevolence that business leaders, with the tacit encouragement of conservative politicians, have made war on labor unions…

    “The middle-class America that [conservatives] wrecked with such gusto is not going to be easy to rebuild…Dramatic economic inequality of the kind conservatism has engineered inevitably brings political inequality with it. The rich vote at higher rates…, they contribute greater amounts to candidates,…subsidize…columnists…and TV shows,…reward right-thinking regulators and bureaucrats,…launch cable TV networks, buy newspapers, and bankroll think-tanks [that make] their idiosyncratic personal ideas into the common sense of the millions…

    “Whenever there was a choice to be made between…money and the common good, the conservatives chose money. It’s time to make them answer for it.”

    The Sherrod incident is a textbook example of how liberals continually lose to conservatives because there is no real parity between the left and the right. As Frank perceptively notes, “liberalism depends on fair play by its sworn enemies, making it vulnerable…to assassination, hijacking, or sabotage by any party that refuses to play by the rules,… vulnerable to the tactics of its swaggering, bullying foes…”

    See my letter to the Boston Globe that got published on July 26th for a further view on Sherrod’s firing:


    Regarding racism as a central force in American politics: I’d like to know what Mr. Keane has to say about the shameful history of race hatred that lies at the foundation of the Republican party’s ascendancy since the 1960’s. Back then, it was called the “Southern strategy,” a blatant appeal to white animosity toward blacks and the wish to punish the Democrats for their entirely rational embrace of civil rights. This strategy, cynical in the extreme (cynicism being a sine qua non of modern-day conservatism), successfully produced a seismic shift in voter affiliation throughout the South. A region that had been solidly Democrat for generations became Republican virtually overnight and has remained so, forming the bedrock upon which all subsequent Republican electoral victories have been engineered.

    Recall further that it was left to the hapless Ken Mehlmann, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, to deliver a mea culpa to the NAACP in 2005 that explicitly acknowledged the moral repugnance of that strategy. (How conveniently timed his talk was, coming almost twenty years after such dirty tricks as the Willie Horton ad that helped deep-six Michael Dukakis’s campaign.)

    As for conservatism itself: it is marked chiefly by a studied indifference to the suffering of others, couched in supposedly high-minded rhetoric.

  • ulTRAX

    I was going to write another post debunking some idiotic claims on Fox’s objectivity made by a Right winger then I realized all the posts to date miss a bigger issue in journalism… not just creeping commercialism, but the unquestioned insinuation of doctrine/dogma/nationalism into our news. This is something that both Fox and the more reputable media outlets share. But this I mean shared underlying assumptions that no one questions.

    Noam Chomsky talked about this once 30 years ago. He said during the Vietnam War in Congress there were the Hawks and Doves. Both shared a belief that the US had a RIGHT to be in Vietnam, the issue was about the costs. The more they argued, the more that underlying assumption we had a right to be in Vietnam was reinforced. The Peace Movement, which did not believe the US had a right to be in Vietnam, was just outside the range of permissible thought.

    There are any number of similar doctrines that are insinuated in our news to the point it’s just part of the air we breath. Does the Media ever EVER question the official civic religion that the Framers got it right? Does the Media ever question whether capitalism is really that desirable? Do our antiquated political and electoral systems actually LIMIT acceptable thought to a narrow political range?

    Those two areas alone… politics and economics have more influence on our lives than perhaps any other realm, yet there’s virtually NO critical inquiry into either by the mainstream media… Left, Center, or Right.

    Like the reporting on the Vietnam Hawks and Doves, those two assumptions just become part of the air we breath.

  • Eva

    I voted for and still support President Obama. But when I heard the breaking news last Tuesday about Ma Sherrod, I was so incensed, I sent this e-mail to the White House and to Secretary Vilsack:

    “I am an African American and a life-long Democrat. And I am appalled and disappointed at the administration’s knee-jerk firing of Ms. Sherrod. Just last month the government lauded a former Ku Klux Klan member, the late Senator Robert Byrd.”

    Eva Dew
    Charlotte, NC

  • Ryan

    I find that is hard for the left to call the right out on this issue because as your conservative guest has done, they won’t give the liberals a chance to talk. Tom I can see you are trying hard to not to cut him off and let him speak his mind, however, he continues to talk over EJ and yourself and is making it hard for you get a word in. There is no talking to the hard right, it always turns into them yelling over you while you try to make a point.

  • david

    The county is dividing into the left and right, the conservatives and the liberals. The dems. and repubs. are no longer the issue.
    The liberals have chosen, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN.
    The conservatives have chosen Fox.
    If you tune to any of the liberal cable channels, all they are doing is bashing conservatives and Fox News.
    They are pro liberal and pro Obama and pro progressive.
    Maybe that is why Fox beats them by better than 2 to 1 in the ratings.

  • Ian McShane

    Sorry journalism has been dead for a long time. Started when news orgs started worry more about their advertisers.

    90% of all NEWS stories fail to present the 5 Ws.

  • Ian McShane

    Forget to mention;

    NPR is just as guilty with regard to lack of journalistic integrity ie your ombudsmen shepard and her use of the propaganda term “enhanced interrogation” aka to reasonable people; Torture.

  • BrettG

    I notice how the ACU guy continues the talk over the truth FOX mantra.

    His false equivalencies are as stupid as his last name is “Keene”

    He keeps citing unbacked facts & making up others. For example, Pew & other polls have shown that “Conservatives” only tune in & believe those outlets they agree with. However, some liberals/progressives listen to RW outlets so that they can disprove the allegations made on those media outlets.

    Tom, why are you surprised that propaganda channels exist? What did you expect with media consolidation & de-regulation?

    We’ve had 30+ years of bad media mgt by the FCC/FEC & Supreme Court & Congress.

    Now that the major TV networks have abandoned actual reporting, the Republic is at risk.

    As usual, EJ’s analysis & commentary is AOK!

  • jeffe

    William are you aware of what your comments read as?

    Good journalism, as the late Daniel Schorr would say is an important part of our democracy, a necessary part of our democracy. What you are talking about is not journalism, it’s propaganda that is more akin to jingoism.

  • Dick D

    We all need to consider what Bernard Goldberg said in his book “Bias”. Whatever our political viewpoint, we think WE are standing on the 50-yard line in the discussion, when we really are standing on the 20-yard line. And the other guys are standing on the other 20-yard line thinking they are on the 50. When we understand that we each have a serious bias problem, it becomes a lot easier to discern more carefully the flaws in the arguments we find most appealing. I have a long way to go on that count, but it helps me gain a little more perspective.

  • Raj K

    We have hit low point in human morality and responsibility. There is only legality. If you cannot find me at fault, then legally then I am right.

    Propaganda has much more than truth to it. Propoganda is twisting the truth. If truth is twisted then it is no longer truth.

  • Charles Rozzelle

    Regarding the show on whether the media report news or disseminate propoganda: The press is supposed to be the protector of the people,not an apologist for any particular ideology or political party or personal agenda.

    The news media fail us every day in many ways.During the last presidential election interviewers seemed never to press the candidates for answers to tough questions. Does anybody remember the moderator of one of the debates letting Obama refuse to answer a question? How many times do you as a news consumer wish the interviewer would ask just one more probing question,allow a response from an opposing side when moderating a debate, or simply find the best people to talk to about the topic at hand?

    I love Mr. Ashbrook’s show, but even he can’t hide his enthusiasm for one side or another in some of the deb
    ates on his show.

    The way the media cover science and technology especially distresses me. Reporters often draw and report conclusions from scientists’ data that the scientists themselves do not support.This tendency has cost our society health, money, credibility, and cooperation.

  • Awake in Rhinebeck

    What about Fox cutting the applause at President Obama’s recent speech at West Point and presenting it as “news”.

    “News” implies that what is portrayed is in fact what happened.

    When a “clip” deletes applause for the President, as Fox did, it is not “news”; it is indeed propaganda. It is a concerted effort by Fox to influence its viewers and to reinforce a negative impression of the President (awkward silence, audience not responding, expressing implied disapproval, etc.).

    Wake up. This is not “news”; and any institution (right, left or middle) that changes the “facts” in such a black and white manner is guilty of abusing its media license as it were. Media outlets, particularly Fox, should be barred from the airwaves from portraying themselves as “news channels”.

  • Sneezewhiz

    Why don’t Democratic politicians and so-called mainstream news media just call out these liars when they lie?
    If the right wing news media can’t prove what they’re reporting is true, that makes them liars.
    In 2004 Kerry should have offered to beat up the swift-boaters in the parking lot. He’d be serving his second term now.
    Instead, I’m wondering if there’s anyone on that side besides EJ Dionne who has a spine.

  • JP

    It’s really quite simple…

    Conservatives can’t win a point, or even make a point, without resorting to half-truths, exaggerations, or outright lies.

    The facts are virtually never on their side, nor generally is mainstream public opinion… at least when details are added to the equation.

    The right lies are required for their very political and cultural survival… it’s the only way they can “convince” anyone of anything.

  • Delta Leeper

    Really, does it matter? Most of the people I know do not listen to or watch “news” shows at all. They are blissfully oblivious to what is going on in the world or the nation, and when elections roll around, they just fervently wish for the time when all the political ads will be gone from the air. The rest of us, even news junkies like me, have come to the conclusion that we can’t trust ANY news source.

  • JP


    It’s really quite simple…

    Conservatives can’t win a point, or even make a point, without resorting to half-truths, exaggerations, or outright lies.

    The facts are virtually never on their side, nor generally is mainstream public opinion… at least when details are added to the equation.

    The right’s lies are required for their very political and cultural survival… it’s the only way they can “convince” anyone of anything.

  • MiMi_M_A

    I never even heard of Shiirley Sherrod until this unknown so-called journalist went after her and posted a edited clip on u-tube.He ruined her life and she ought to sue him.

    Yes Propoganda does exist on all new agencies including NPR,it just that the majority of Americans are not smart enough to recognize what is real news,what is sensationilism and what is consistent propagonda.

    Fox News,CNN(at times) are some of the agencies I notice very early on, that did not do true reporting and were bias in what news they picked in order to polarize this nation.This has been going on since day one.If most Americans cannot see that now,we are in big trouble of being a very ignorant people.Like pulling wool over ones eyes.

    Reporters and news agencies are suppose to be neutral in news gathering.

    My mother always said “If its to good to be true…then its not true”!

  • john appleton

    Lee Atwater, Frank Luntz and other no holds barred, win at any cost, conservative operatives have been effective (but detestable) in creating winning campaigns and treasure chests through fear, image and word manipulation. RNC mistakenly left papers on Atwater-type media strategies and racist placards at a strategy session in a Washington hotel recently – are the idealogical conservative gamers of distortion advising fox news? i think yes.

  • Gordon Alderink

    Media truth vs propaganda? I can’t believe we are still asking that question. Noam Chomsky wrote about this 40 years ago – it’s called Manufacturing Consent, where the elite intellectuals (both on the right and left) primarily report what they are given by the powers to be (although, of course, the media really believe it is news). Most Americans (even so-called educated ones) pretty much accept what is written. So this is old news – I will get excited when I actually see mass critical awareness that will lead to transformation of our current state of affairs.

  • Scott Hawkings

    The worst is the “hands off” attitude toward the corruption at the top of the Massachusetts judiciary (SJC). With very few exceptions, the press trembles and adulates them as though they report from inside Red China.

    For example, the August 3, 3009, amicus brief complaint of Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Devaney in case SJC-10493 (docket entry no. 4), outlined how troubled she was by the “false” testimony Governor Patrick’s appointee to Massachusetts’ highest court (the Supreme Judicial Court), Margot Botsford, gave to the Governor’s Council. Herald reporter Hillary Chabot did a great article, but the legal department killed it because the “buddy system” in the legal community feels obligated to keep these kinds of things quiet. Thus, where sunlight needs to shine the brightest there is, in reality, the MOST DARK.

  • Michael Brown

    News, like history is told from the perspective of those in power from their position of objectivity. People who live with the distortion that American journalism of the past was honorable and truthful are living in a dream world. I have an ancestry of black American and American Indian. My ancestors was grossly misrepresented by the American news media of old.
    In part, the demise of the news media has much to do with a few people making a lot of money in the process of manipulating the limited knowledge of many in the American audience. It is known, if told a lie long enough you begin to believe it is true.
    Many in the far right “fear” to listen, let alone agree with anything from what they call the left. Their agenda ever since Obama took office was and remains to discredit and take back the Presidency using any means necessary. The problem is, they have been duped to believe they lost the Presidency, the country. It’s still belongs to them as well as everyone else. There is only one American and believe it or not all wish it to be a better country. No American political party, organization is set to bring the country down. We all in our own ways strive to improve it. But, the far right spends 24/7 telling a certain faction of the population that they and only they, are American. The rest of us are utterly ignorant or traitors. Not a way to win people over to your way of thinking. There’s only one America and to improve it we must all work together.
    The far left media managers, limousine liberals, who the far right claim are poisoning the nation with propaganda and lies are in the same tax bracket as the wealthy people who run the far right news propaganda machine. They cater the same high-end restaurants, private school for the kids, vacations to grand resorts. They aren’t that different from one another. They the liberals run slanted news coverage, from time to time, but with less vile and distaste toward other Americans. Nonetheless, the so called liberal media has its limitation. All American media does a mediocre job in presenting to the American public relevant and important international news. No surprise when I travel overseas, and I travel overseas a lot. I can have a insightful conversation about socio economic, political, cultural and sports with an average villager as their news tends to be more straight forward – global, without the over sensationalizing common in America. As told by an Australia acquaintance, You bloody Yanks don’t have a clue what’s going on in the rest of world, no wonder you keep screwing up in foreign affairs.

  • http://www.MrSharp.net Mr. Sharp


    I listened to your show “Charges of propaganda in the news” and could not believe you had E.J. Dionne columnist for the Washington Post as a guest and that nobody commented on the Pink Elephant in the studio.

    Am I the only one who remembers “Jimmy’s World”? In September 29, 1980 Janet Cooke of the Washington Post wrote a gripping profile of the life of an eight-year-old heroin addict. Her story contains many of the same elements, racism, inadequate or no actual vetting of the facts before publishing. Janet Cooke even received the Pulitzer Prize with her work of fiction. Her story was followed by a surge of news reports that created an environment of social outrage before anyone discovered that the story to be fraudulent.

    At that time Marion Barry, the mayor of Washington, D.C. and other city officials organized an unsuccessful all-out police search for Jimmy. The mayor went as far as falsely claiming that Jimmy was known to the city and receiving treatment at a local hospital. Cooke finally confessed her guilt after being pressured by the editors of the Post.

    What we have witnessed with the Shirley Sherrod story thirty years later is history repeating itself. In 1980 everyone received their news via newspapers, today its CNN, FOX, MSN, etc. and the internet. We live in a twenty-four hour news cycle with an internet savvy public. Taking the time required to actually check the facts could mean losing the dramatic “Breaking News” headline.

    Hopefully Fox News and the other news providers will do less dissimulating to dazzle us and more reporting the facts. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the others should show more respect to the awesome power they have being able to speak to the American public and at least get the facts right.

    With the size of the audience that CNN and Fox News have they should be held to a higher standard than a small town reporter. The amount of irrefutable harm caused by just ten minutes of misguided reporting cannot be calculated.

    Maybe the news channels should have a time dedicated each day for retractions?

  • ulTRAX

    Gordon Alderink wrote: Media truth vs propaganda? I can’t believe we are still asking that question. Noam Chomsky wrote about this 40 years ago – it’s called Manufacturing Consent, where the elite intellectuals (both on the right and left) primarily report what they are given by the powers to be…

    Thanks for bringing up Chomsky as I did a few post back… referring back to a lecture he gave I believe at UMass Amherst in 1979.

    I’m sure that Chomsky was bringing up his concerns about the media 40 years ago but Manufacturing Consent was written in ’88. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent:_The_Political_Economy_of_the_Mass_Media

    The video documentary by the same name was done in ’92.

    I’d have to refer back to that book, but I don’t believe Chomsky believed this model for propaganda was coercive… though that might happen on occasion… but that it was more voluntary.

  • ulTRAX

    JP wrote: The right’s lies are required for their very political and cultural survival… it’s the only way they can “convince” anyone of anything.

    If true, and I agree with you, isn’t the bigger question why does the Right have to be more dishonest than the Dems. That being said… I believe the Democratic Party has no monopoly on virtue. In our dysfunctional, antidemocratic, if not brain dead political system, the Democrats are at best the lesser of the evils.

  • Adam

    I wish these panelists would back up more of their claims with facts and quit getting in each other’s faces. I can’t distill much of anything from today’s show. I think the point about fiery debate (grounded or not) attracting people is pretty good. Just take a look at this thread…

    Unfortunately I didn’t learn much about the topic today.

  • informed American

    If the liberal media had portrayed Obama as the radical, out-of-touch, America-hating liberal that he really is, Obama would have never been elected president.

  • Charles Rozzelle

    Do those of you who claim to be “liberals” or “conservatives” really believe that your chosen team of politicians is better than the opposition?We can all cite dozens of politicians in both parties who have committed outright crimes and not been punished, yet we still fail to take responsibility as citizens and do the heavy lifting ourselves. The “free press” is not doing it’s job so we, the common people should start.
    How about demanding a daily newscast that reports only facts and “truthfully edited” interviews and interviews.
    I, for one, would pay for a subscription to that service.

  • wavre

    Let’s talk about the Duke Lacrosse incident.

    Some rich kids, studs, partying and disturbing the neighborhood(1). Drinking underaged(2)hiring exotic stripers(3 against the university regulations),calling the girls racial slurs(4)…
    She might have lied about being raped and we just don’t know and we didn’t up to now knew what had happenned that night.I would have like to see the cross-examination of the other girl, who turned on her friend with such an ease…

    But We have witnessed the power of the rich in this country.They got the DA to resign, they frightened the girls or paid them off, one of the kid got a previous conviction expunged, the attorney general stopped the indictment procedure and with no explanations declared the kids innocent with no specifications nor explanations(disturbing the peace? underaged drinking? molestations? rape?).( after that he received an invitation to the white-house!!)
    Why not let Justice run its course???and if they’re exonerated than let them sue for damages!

    From vilains they became heroes instantly and unjustifiably.(they rewarded them with millions of dollars of compensation)

    One day this will be known as a cruel demonstration of the power of those with money to manipulate the justice system and the press(sixty minutes,Fox ect…)

    If it was so obvious that they were accused falsely, why not let the court find it out, JUST LIKE FOR THE REST OF US??

  • ulTRAX

    Charles Rossele wrote: How about demanding a daily newscast that reports only facts and “truthfully edited” interviews and interviews.
    I, for one, would pay for a subscription to that service.

    Sadly the problems in the US are much deeper than a dysfunctional press… we have a dysfunctional, if not braindead, political system.

    As I wrote some years ago:

    I suspect most Americans are stuck between the Jeffersonian ideal of self-government they learned in grade school, some need to put the Framers on a pedestal… and the reality of how poorly our system actually allows self-government. What’s the point in having an election if it doesn’t accurately measure the public will? Without either major party or the press discussing real reforms and given the inflexibility of our system, citizen apathy is a pretty reasonable response.


    In a political environment which is both braindead and unresponsive to the Public Will , how long can even a responsible Press outlet be relevant?

  • ulTRAX

    The forum member called informed American never fails to amuse. S/he/it wrote: If the liberal media had portrayed Obama as the radical, out-of-touch, America-hating liberal that he really is, Obama would have never been elected president.

    Gee… it NEVER occurred to you that maybe you have things ass backwards?

    The media didn’t report as you wished because what you are convinced is the truth is an outright fabrication of the Orwellian Right. As a Progressive I can assure you that Obama is far from radical and pretty much a centrist DLC Dem.

    The Right COULD have looked inward and taken responsibility for the disaster they brought on America. But instead they decided their doctrinal purity wasn’t radical enough and it was all someone else’s fault. To further take the spotlight off themselves they immediately went on an offensive to discredit Obama hoping to blunt any reforms the nutcase Right objected to.

  • ulTRAX

    Marcia Nowak wrote: It is the left that wants to control people’s lives through larger and more government programs. I do not hear of the right wanting to force people to buy health insurance, telling people what light bulbs they must use, how large their houses must be, how cold or warm their houses must be.

    What kind of freaky alternative universe do you live in? Isn’t it the RIGHT who says consenting adults can’t do what they want in their own home? Isn’t it the Right that says no consenting adults can enjoy the SECULAR benefits of marriage unless they meet with the Right’s standards? Isn’t it the Right who says the People can’t band together and find government solutions when the private sector fails?

    The Right has always claimed it was for the freedom to consume as much as one wanted as long as one had the money. And isn’t THAT a clue that they only really want to preserve freedoms for the rich? They don’t have to tell others “how large their houses must be, how cold or warm their houses must be” because the MARKET does their dirty work for them.

    And in this you find nobility?

  • charles rozzelle

    The point is not the election of a person or a party or a system, or the method or the mechanics of the election. The point is that Americans do not take responsibility for the accuracy of the information they receive. They also beleive what they read or hear or watch on t.v.(that is the real reason why political parties still have power in this country, and why the news media have a disproportionate effect on our society). Suppose your annual income depended on how accurately you could identify the issues relevant to our times and the facts that were pertinent to the debate. Isn’t it ironic that journalists’ income doesn’t depend on these requirements?

  • James Downard

    Listening to the exchange regarding sloppy regurgitation of the claim that Sherrold was a racist, it is not necessary to attribute any mendacity to the characters involved in repeating it. The behavior (over reliance on secondary citation, confusion of primary and secondary resources) is all too typical of people with a knack for not thinking about things they don’t want to think about. Such people hontesyly believe whatever it is they are saying, never mind that it may not be even slightly true. You can see the context for this in a lecture (“An Ill Wind in Tortuca”) I gave at the Kennewick WA Freethought Society last year (posted on Youtube with a text transcript at the Panda’s Thumb website) on the creation/evolution/religion issue. Google “Tortucan” and Downard and those should pop up for links.


    I take what I hear from the media as well as what academia has to say with a grain of salt and believe what I choose to believe. Everyone thinks they are the ones that are right. Any time I have read a news article concerning something that I was directly involved with, they always had their facts wrong. So if that can happen in my little world I figure it’s much worse on a larger scale.
    Right or wrong I am glad there is a voice from the right and a voice from the left and a voice from the middle and not just one voice. That would be horrible. We should be thankful we are allowed to choose who we wish to listen to.

  • joshua

    im sorry but they do not have a right to exist-its like yelling fire in a theatre when there is no fire. its extremely harmful to society on so many levels. media needs to fair and balanced and un-polluted. if you teach people to kill and murder and slaughter children? is it wrong? Its a free country–so this kind of teaching has a right to exist.

  • joshua

    This guy who says we have free speech in this country is a complete fool and a fraud. 1. free speech in the street is not the same as information and social engineering. 2. if the media believes so much in free speech and saying anything you want then why do we practice censorship–we censor offensive language–cursing–f words N words, etc, we censor the way we say things–we dont say–oh, well you stupid slag shut up! and most importantly there are few truthful things said, and little indestigative reporting–man many things go unsaid because the owners-the corporations dont want to think critically about things that contradict their wealth and power–the have market share in other business. Fox is not going to criticise war if the exucutives all have stock in lockheed martin and halliburton!

    If free speech exists in the media and the media is meant to reflect disparate voices in America and the world then why doesnt anyone in the media question the truth of 911–investigate it, talk about, just mention the facts and that millions feel and think 911 was an inside job. Why? Because there is no freedom of speech–we censor ourselves, we censor truth and possible truth–we only deliver what corporations and owners accept–lies, faith, their twisted worlds that nobody lives in except the brainwashed.

  • joshua

    we need to get rid of this left and right concept Viola–why would you choose to listen to lies on either side. we just need to think for it as American society and what is best of America, the world, earth, people.

    What was best for granddaddy is not good for us, in most cases (socially). Political persuasion should be left out of media. Just investigate truth and discuss realities and what needs to get done. it is not the job of the media to talk about whats on Shark week or prime time television or who brad pitt is dating. Those are entertainment shows–movie discussions, literary discussion, public gossip shows–that have no place in the news or education–the prime mover of media is foremost education–true information–and helpful social reasonable fair and balanced social advertising–did you know the rain forests are being burned away–these are the reasons.

    Business and profit should be and needs to be banned from news media–because that’s where left and right politics and the bottom line and wall street come in tainting everything.

    All media needs free public access free of adverts of any kind–accept by non-profit organizations –charities for social causes. Recruiting videos should be banned.

    There needs to be enough regulation to keep it free fair and balanced-when that happens the country will swing “left” permanently–because it is natural and reasonable. Everything else is bias hateful profit mongering.

    What does it mean to be left and right, fundamentally? Left=tolerance and acceptance, improvement. Right=intolerance, pride, prejudice, selfish traditions, power–the right to dominate another person.

  • Brett

    If the “liberal media” knew something about Obama before the election and covered it up to get him elected, as the neocon commenter “informed American” suggests; and, as neocon commenter david claims, FoxNews beats all so-called liberal cable channels because those channels are pro-liberal, pro-Obama, and pro-progressive (presumably meaning a majority of people watch and listen to Fox because they are getting facts and truth, and they reject “liberal” media because they know those media are the outlets that are biased and promote an anti-American mentality, then shouldn’t Obama have been defeated by McCain and Palin?

    And, as neocon commenter William suggests, people are wiser than they used to be (presumably meaning people were once duped by the likes of Cronkite and Huntley) and the old media have died out now that there are more choices (WIlliam’s reasoning for what has made way for new, more “balanced” conservative media such as “FoxNews, Brietbart [and] Drudge”), then shouldn’t our news outlets be approaching more and more a state of being which is above reproach? We’ve “progressed” from Cronkite to Brietbart, after all!

    If these three, regular, neocon participants on this forum are representative of the kind of thinking that is part and parcel with neoconservatism, isn’t it a wonder we haven’t begun to make jokes that start with “how many neocons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

  • http://politywonk.livejournal.com Elz Curtiss

    Feels more and more like I live in the Weimar Republic. No good came of that.

  • Rachel

    Ug….I want to vomit every time I read through the comments. So many of the people resort to the same old thing – accusing the other side of propaganda – right wing propaganda, liberal propaganda. I don’t think it has anything to do with that. Bottom line is money and who makes the most.

    Politicians are all about money and control (making money and controlling people and resources). The Media is all about making money which is does by trying to control our thoughts out of fear. These people are masters of psychology. They figure out how to push our buttons and open our wallets. That’s all. Throw religious organizations into the mix as well. There you have it – money and control. People always have their hands out expecting them to be filled with a huge payoff. That’s human beings for ya.

  • Jim

    Wow, that Keene guy is disingenuous to the extreme. And talk about pretzel logic!

    I dare say, Occam’s razor is a foreign concept to the nutty ideologues on the right.

    I have come to one conclusion. Republicans are slippery fish indeed.

  • Jim

    Man, the more I listen to this, the more amazed I am. When did Republicans start believing they could get away with “making things up” as a legitimate counter argument to facts? Keene won’t even engage in a logic dialogue. Funny and pathetic at the same time.

  • Roger Ailes


    Yeah? So what?

    The weak kneed liberals won’t stand up for themselves, so why should we care?

    We’ll just continue to push our agenda and say whatever we want in support of the entrenchment of the plutocracy that I’ve been undergirding since my days in the Nixon White House!

  • ulTRAX

    Joshua wrote: we need to get rid of this left and right concept Viola–why would you choose to listen to lies on either side. we just need to think for it as American society and what is best of America, the world, earth, people.

    I’m not sure. On the ideological level the Left and Right see the world differently. This type of reporting just needs to have it’s assumptions laid out and not have it’s hidden assumptions written into a story as fact.

    But what we really need to do is get rid of PARTISAN news reporting which has as it’s main purpose not an honest attempt to get to the truth, but promoting one side and damaging the other. This is what I see in many Fox news stories. The GOP is ever noble and eternally blameless while all that’s worng with the US originates with the Democrats.

  • Rob L

    How is it the fault of right wing media that the Obama administration fired one of it’s own people without looking at the facts? That makes zero sense.

    I watched the Sherod video when it came out on youtube. First of all, it did have the whole speech, including when she disavowed racism. Second, the reaction of the audience was damning in itself, laughing approvingly when Sherod talked about her not helping the white farmer. If the roles had been reversed and it was a tea party organization doing the laughing it would have been all over the news.

    Finally, the best bet is to not trust any media. They all lied about WMD to get us into the Iraq war, from the WSJ and the Economist to the NYTimes and the WAPO. Not one of them questioned why, if the government was so sure about the WMDs why they didn’t send inspectors in. Not one of them questioned the financial system ( or half million dollar loans to people making a tenth of that) before the meltdown. They’re all liars, and they love to cast derision on the Internet because the competition hurts their monopoly. The best thing any reader/viewer can do is to compare prediction with outcome over time and see for themselves who touts their book and who looks for the truth.

  • zack

    The real outrage is that the media gets into such a tizzy over one bureaucrats’ admittedly unfair treatment in the media, while it was willing to overlook real propaganda being conducted by the media-government complex. The Pentagon ran an illegal war promotion program with the cooperation of the major media outlets, and a journalist won a pullitzer prize over it. NPR didn’t really cover this, as they participated in the scandal!


  • Roy Merritt

    People like Breitbart, talk radio, Fox News on a 24 hr. schedule daily sew hatred, divisiveness, racial trauma, and all manner of un-Americanism They cloak themselves in the flag when none of them have an iota of patriotism. They are shills for the rich and corporations who believe they should control our lives from birth to death. These people are naught but greedy immoral creatures who think by virtue of their wealth that they should have the right to control all aspects of the government. They spout about patriotism, but would never dare to enter the military. They demonize illegal aliens and are the very ones who hire them. They hate the poor and the elderly, all taxes, and eternal war as lone as they never shed a drop of blood. They squeal about Obama trying to get rid of our rights and yet they never explain why he hasn’t muzzled them. I for one would like to see all these bastards driven from our midst.

    Roy Merritt

  • Roy Merritt

    Of course in my previous post I meant that the right-wing loves eternal war. They claim the tea party isn’t racist. What I want to know is can they read. Any camera scan one might see of their any of their gatherings will see all sorts of posters portraying a duly elected president as an enemy of the country. I emphasize that. Obama was elected President by a substantial majority, not appointed the winner by the supreme court or the made so by shenanigans perpetrated by the Ohio Secretary of State. Glenn Beck and his fellow traitors each day level all manner of charges against the president. Beck often invokes God and by the language he uses you’d think he is just another addition to the Good Book “The Gospel Of Glenn”. It’s all calculated to appeal to the very Americans these people want to bring to a complete third world status, people these elites know well are complete morons who have the attention span of a gnat and no concept of governance.
    There is nothing free about American save but the right to complain. A lot of good that will do you.
    We’ve all been duped from the first breath we took.

  • ulTRAX

    Please delete the third post up. It’s spam!

  • Jim G

    I found this segment to be almost amusing. Especially E. J. Dionne. He must have used the term “trusted media outlets” 50 times. The demise of these outlets is aided by the vast sources of news today and these former sources doing exactly what he charges Fox with. For example he stated at the begining that most people do not know Al Gore never said he created the internet. But a quick internet search shows those were indeed his exact words. Now was that the intent of his words? Common sense would say no. But E.J did not say that was not his intent he falsely said he did not say it at all. Reality is most people trust no media & they fact check Fox as well. And at least O’rielly admitted he had left some facts out & apologized. While everyone else laid blame. The transition to Fox as the main source for news was a by product of how the old main stream media handled the last election. The President ran as a centrist to gain independents, has ran to change politics as usual, and he ran as a uniter. The “trusted media” only put forth stories to support that idea. Fox spent their time putting out stories of connections to Ayers, to Rev Wright, etc. And sounded at the time like a kid whinning that they were losing. But over the last 18 months the President has shown to not be centrist, government and the budget has grown more in the last 18 months than in history. I did say budget not debt, debt is the responsibility of both parties. Not to argue if these ideas are good or bad for our country, but to say this is not the man we elected. And it left the public wondering how & why this could happen. And it became apparent that while I won’t say the trusted media didn’t lie, they didn’t report any story that could harm his election. And Fox came out looking like they knew something. And people tuned in. And to make it worse people like EJ claim FOX lied and made up the claims about Sherrod. And yet by her own admission she was racisist in her past. And you can watch the video. She says she is not anymore. Only she knows and comment from any reporter to the contrary is only opinion or commentary. So the old media dicredits itself by claiming Fox is making this up & lying when we can watch the video. And she was told the White House called for her resignation all before Fox aired the story. Then after the rest of the story came out O’Rielly apologized while the rest of the media & White House laid blame. The American people are not stupid. We check many sources to get to the facts. And we saw that in the mainstream media’s eyes Busch could do no right & Obamma can do no wrong. And we know better on both counts. You have lost our trust trying to sway our view to your liberal ideas. I still watch & listen to programs like this to make sure I hear everything. But know better than to think you in any way shape or form only present the facts! If you want back trust stop laying blame & excuses and look to yourselves

  • Eric Biesel

    @Doris Wasserman

    I agree that the kind of news coverage one receives from cable new generally is disproportionately negative, and provides pitifully superficial analysis. On another hand, while the evidence for human induced climate change is indeed persuasive, you might want to vet your own media sources a bit more carefully if from this you conclude that our fate will be ecosystemic collapse driven extinction of the human species.

  • Jim G

    Hey Roy where were you when they had all the posters of Busch as a HItler, a baby killer, etc. I forget, it agrees with your view & is therefore ok. And as far as Fox sowing seeds of hatred etc. I look at several blogs during the course of a day. And the most hateful comment come from people like you on the left. Just look at the lack of even human respect for Sarah Palin. The party of tolerence only tolerates their own views. And the arrogance they have about their intelligence makes them feel anyone who disagrees must be stupid & just following some guy on TV. Take a look in the mirror!

  • Jim G

    OMG I’m still laughing at the last post by Joshua!! Left is natural & left is tolerent. Tell that to all the people who call Pailin names, who made fun of her special needs child. Tolerent like Bush kills babies. Sounds like the kind of tolerence stalin had. You are either smoking too much pot in your dorm room or playing everyone on here. I cant quit laughing….

  • ulTRAX

    Jim G wrote: Just look at the lack of even human respect for Sarah Palin. The party of tolerence only tolerates their own views.

    Lies and distortions by anybody or ANY side do NOT deserve equal respect with the truth and should not be tolerated. Case closed.

    I’m not a Democrat and many of them certainly do support some pretty contemptible things. I’ve been kicked out of the Democratic Underground, one of the top forums, 4 times for taking them to task. But in the cosmic scheme of things are a lot closer to the norm in the rest of the democratic industrial world than our GOP which has been going further and further off the deep end these past 30 years.

    Almost by definition, the Right is more dishonest, simply because it can’t admit it’s main agenda… to protect wealth. Because it’s a MINORITY agenda the only way to power is to build a collation of largely irrational voters who are concerned about God, Gays, Guns, Race, and the Flag.

    Just because such irrational voters LOVE a dimwitted demagogue who demands more policies that have already DEVASTATED this nation… then the problem isn’t with Sarah Palin’s critics, it’s with her supporters.

  • ulTRAX

    oshua wrote:
    There needs to be enough regulation to keep (media) it free fair and balanced-when that happens the country will swing “left” permanently– because it is natural and reasonable. Everything else is bias hateful profit mongering.

    While a biased even deceitful press can mislead some, I do NOT believe this is possible if the person hasn’t sabotaged their critical thinking skills and is going through life essentially on auto-pilot. You should NEVER underestimate the human capacity for self-delusion. Even with an unbiased press, whatever that is… see my post about Chomsky, many will STILL gravitate to irrational beliefs… Left, Right, secular or religious.

    And despite what you seem to be saying, there are nuts and bigots on the Left too. Why? Because it’s not just the outward manifestation of beliefs/principles that matters, it’s the quality of the process someone uses to get to their beliefs. If someone uncritically accepts ideas on the Left, then they are just as guilty of sloppy thinking as someone who does the same on the Right.

    I think our dysfunctional political system forces American Liberals to suffer some serious cognitive dissonance as they paper over a central contradiction in their beliefs. They wear democracy on their sleeves… yet uncritically support a political system in the US that’s undemocratic. In fact they don’t even bother trying to DEFINE democracy. http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2005/12/what-constitutes-morally-legitimate.html

    So how can some, in the face of incontrovertible evidence that disproves their beliefs/claims, and in the absence of any evidence that backs their beliefs/claims… still maintain their beliefs are justified or valid?

    The subject of human irrationality has long fascinated me and I wrote a piece on it: http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/2006/05/road-hell-is-paved-with-true-believers.html

    To sum it up… some dysfunctional beliefs systems are self-justifying as opposed to being self-correcting.

  • d’Arcy

    1) EJ’s medicine isn’t working. His hyperventilation takes him beyond the point of coherency. Which is a shame because he might have the occasional valid point, if one could understand him.

    2) Taking things out of context is the meat of all sides. We have heard 15 seconds in which Shirley S. sounds like a racist and 15 seconds where she sounds not like a racist but a classist. 30 seconds out of an hour-long speech. We listen to “On Point”. Part of its stock-in-trade is a 15- or 20-second clip out of someone’s lengthy address or press conference. Tell me honestly that what is played isn’t chosen to embarrass a conservative or exonerate a liberal.

    3) The caller, Kelly, is a puzzle. She asserted that propaganda is the province of “the right” alone. Was she having us on, or is she so brainwashed by the left that she actually believes it? It should be clear to any public radio listener that the reportage there is biased somewhat to the left.

    4) Whatever it was, the hair-trigger, finger-to-the-wind behavior of the Obama administration was amply demonstrated. If there were any sense in the White House some flunky would have been assigned to listen to the entire speech and report on what the woman actually said before she was summarily sacked.

    5) I wonder what Dan Schorr would have said about the WikiLeaks and Shirley S. incidents. His commentary and analysis will be greatly missed.

  • ulTRAX

    Kathy Foster talking about global warming wrote : They never provided the public with the opposing science.

    Science is in theory self-correcting. How to measure historical climate change has been debated vigorously these past 25 years. New measurement methods… sediments, ice cores, tree rings, etc are devised, tested by others. Some have to be adjusted and some may be abandoned. This debate is largely done in PUBLIC scientific journals. Despite your claim, there’s been plenty of REAL “opposing science”.

    Isn’t the REAL question here… is what you call “opposing science” even science? Or was it cynically contrived and coordinated public relations effort designed to NOT to enlighten but to muddy the water masquerading as science?

    In our system the most effective way for private interests to protect themselves and have greater influence in politics is by manipulating the public using Public Relations firms. Didn’t you learn ANYTHING from the way Big Tobacco tried to muddy the waters with bogus science and phony grassroots groups for some 20 years? Guess not. Maybe you wear a Kick Me sign on your butt begging to be misled.

    Which brings up the broader question: just because a view is held by some, does it deserve equal time with more reputable views? Does ONE Biblical creationist myth deserve equal time in schools over scientific views? OK, and I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster http://www.venganza.org/ Do I deserve equal time in science or theology textbooks or classes?

  • jeffe

    Let’s get one thing straight, Sarah Palin only cares about Sarah Palin. She is a shameless at using issues to promote herself and is always looking for a way to make money.
    If she was a real public servant she would not have resigned her elected post as governor to pursue the better options that Fox TV has given her.

    She does not need anyone to demonize her, she does a great job digging holes by herself. Do people really forget all the horrible mistakes she made on the campaign trail in 08?
    Do they not see that she is intellectually vacant?

    This is not propaganda, it’s pretty much a proven fact based on Palin’s record. If people want to support her I wish them luck. She is not worthy of holding any public office and she has proven that time and time again.

  • http://www.theplaychannel.com ThePlayChannel Games

    I remember when, arriving in America, I first heard Fox News… I thought to myself – I can’t believe this is America, this sounds just like TASS and Pravda (the official Soviet propaganda TV and press). Different content of course, but the method and verbal tactics sounded exactly the same.

    In the many years I’ve lived here since, nothing has changed my first impression. Sadly, Americans are as vulnerable to this garbage as their European cousins were in the 30s, and I am afraid will have to learn the same hard way to detect it as such.

    No European who has lived in the East or the West during the cold war would call Fox news. It is propaganda and junk entertainment.

    There is no mainstream liberal media in the US either, unless you count Radio Pacifica as mainstream. The mainstream media is center or right of center.

  • Ben Millstein

    Is it unreasonable to hold media and government personnel to a legal standard of truth?

  • Spekkio

    The program’s guests – particularly Mr. Keene – should be *ashamed of themselves* for turning what should have been an important and enlightening program into a barely-tolerable shouting match.

    I finger Mr. Keene specifically because, after Mr. Ashbrook had given him some time to offer his views (and Mr. Dionne sat quietly, mind you), Mr. Ashbrook asked Mr. Dionne to offer his counterpoint. Mr. Keene kept interrupting him and even tried to shout him down at one point. Mr. Ashbrook could barely get in any callers or web comments because Mr. Keene wouldn’t give up the microphone. That said, the other gentlemen committed the same sin at times during the program. If they are reading this (and I am sure they are not) I demand an apology.

    (I’m sure I won’t get one. I’m well aware that web comments are just a way for ‘the little people’ to get things off their chests and drive up readership/listenership/viewership/ratings whatever because people just love to delude themselves into thinking that someone actually cares what they think.)

    A pox on all your houses.

    Oh, and as an unabashed liberal, I love Keith Olbermann’s program and I dare Mr. Keene to *prove* that he or his program has distorted anything. Yes, he is “over the top” at times. He has admitted errors and made corrections. But I don’t remember him spreading nonsense about Shirley Sherrod, or President Obama, or health care reform (death panels) or any other crazy conspiracy theories. The worst thing he has ever done is repeatedly call Sarah Palin an idiot.

    But if you don’t care for Mr. Olbermann, that’s fine. How about watching “The Rachel Maddow Show” instead? Give her show an honest shot. Really.

    Last point: the great Lewis Black did a wonderful routine – it’s on one of his CDs – about ‘left facts’ versus ‘right facts’ versus ‘fact facts.’ Look it up.

  • karenbaucat

    Keith Olbermann is a tool and his fans are dolts.

  • Cindy

    Here’s something FISHY regarding the “All Clear” to fish in the Gulf:


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