by Jonathan Singer, Sun Apr 16, 2006 at 06:41:37 PM EDT
Being America's premier wire service and the largest such organization in the world is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but the Associated Press still functions quite well and reports on important and interesting stories nearly 160 years after its founding. Not every atricle can be a gem, however. For instance, take a look at the lede of a David Bauder story currently on the wires:
Sean Hannity will not abandon ship. President Bush's approval ratings have sunk into the 30s, but Fox News Channel's tenacious conservative isn't wavering in his support, even while parting ways with the president over immigration and the Dubai ports deal.
Is this newsworthy whatsoever? Is it really a surprise that someone who is essentially a parrot for the Bush White House, someone who toes the Republican Party line night in and night out regardless of how ridiculous the talking points of the day might be, would continue to support President Bush?
I understand that Bauder is constrained by the tenets of his medium, primarily that the AP -- perhaps rightly -- tries to separate analytical content from pure reporting. But this is a piece begging for a wider perspective, which could have easily been achieved through a quote from Ken Auletta or someone else of his ilk (save for Howie Kurtz, of course).
The article is sorely lacking a juicy quote from Auletta or another quotable figure well versed in media theory -- and there are quite a few of them out there -- saying something to the effect of "Hannity's continuing and unwavering support of the President, regardless of the clear failure of some of his policies, exemplifies Fox News' role in the Republican noise machine," or "The fact that Sean Hannity backs the President no matter the circumstance indicates that he is less a serious commenter and more a Republican operative who is given airtime by Fox News." If Bauder still can't find a professor of media studies, he can feel free to use one of my quotes instead or one of your comments from the thread below, I'm sure. But without providing even an iota of context to Sean Hannity, Bauder is simply forwarding a press release about his Fox News program, and just how worthy of newsprint is that?
by Joseph Hughes, Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 11:15:52 AM EST
Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the right-wing noise machine is in full gear! To hear them paint liberals as angry
. To hear them say we're soft on terror
. To hear them call us unpatriotic
While numerous important questions remain in the wake of Vice President Cheney's shooting of hunting companion Harry Whittington, the official Republican frame of this story is emerging: Blame the media.
Blame them, as several Fox News hosts have, for making a mountain out of a molehill. Blame them, as Rush Limbaugh did, for wishing Whittington dead to further persecute the administration. Blame them, as Cheney did, for being angry about being scooped by a Texas newspaper.
by Joseph Hughes, Wed Feb 15, 2006 at 09:48:59 AM EST
The sitting vice president shoots a 78-year-old man with a shotgun while hunting illegally. Then he avoids authorities. Then the administration actively covers up key details. Then the victim has a minor heart attack. But Bill O'Reilly doesn't think it matters. It "affects no one," he said
. "Means nothing."
His Fox colleague, Brit Hume, said the incident is "much ado about not really much." Sean Hannity criticized the "very hostile media" for asking Scott McClellan about the shooting. Neil Cavuto, meanwhile, accused the press corps of "trying to create a White House scandal that simply does not exist."
Try as they might, our Fox friends won't be able to kill the story that won't die. There are too many unanswered questions. There are too many dodges and misdirections. There are too many holes in the story.
by Karl Frisch,
Originally posted at Cagle.
When I joined Twitter in July 2006 I was the 3,365th person to sign up for the 140-character message streaming social network. Now, with more than 190 million users having taken the plunge, I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.
See, I've always believed that the Internet -- and by extension new online tools like Twitter -- have the ability to create change because it levels the political playing field tearing down walls that have traditionally separated the powerless and the powerful.
It turns out I may have been wrong -- at least when it comes to a certain half-termer from Alaska.
by American Values Network,
Ayn Rand has been actively cited in recent months as an inspiration for many leading conservatives with politicians such as Sen. Ron Johnson proudly endorsing Atlas Shrugged as his “foundational book.” Most famously, perhaps, Rep. Paul Ryan, author of the GOP Budget, extolled Rand, proclaiming that she “more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism.” It is surprising, however, that Rand’s vehement opposition to conservative values (e.g. she was ardently pro-choice) and Judeo-Christian morality has not even been addressed by the media or religious leaders across America.
The American Values Network (AVN) recently released a video debunking the innocuousness of Rand’s philosophy (Objectivism). It drives home the point that one cannot be a Christian and be partial to Rand. For one, Rand was not merely advocating specific political actions, but rewiring the human conscience so that pure and unrepentant selfishness that leaves no room for altruism is foundational to human existence. In an interview with Mike Wallace, she went so far as to assert that altruism is “evil.” No helping the poor, the sick, the voiceless. It is all about the holy trinity of me, myself, and moi.
Rand’s philosophy goes well beyond simply rejecting faith (which many do) to directly challenging the morality taught by Scripture of loving ones neighbor and promoting the common good. Rand made the choice clear, you can follow her or Jesus, not both. For years Republicans have been cloaking their policies in the mantle of faith and values. But the priorities laid out in the GOP budget – ending Medicare as we know it, attacks on the middle and working class, gutting programs for the most vulnerable – reflect Rand’s philosophy, not Jesus’. This inherent contradiction needs to be forced to a head because it could drive a massive wedge within the ranks of the right. The GOP must be forced to explain to its Christian base whose values it really stands for. They must be forced to choose Ayn Rand or Jesus. Because at its heart this debate is about our values.
AVN’s video begs us to ask ourselves what we envision America to be. Do we want a self-obsessed America who leaves the disadvantaged by the wayside, who passes by the downtrodden on the other side of the road? Or do we want an America who, as John F. Kennedy has declared “… shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty?” Indeed, AVN’s video makes clear that these two visions of America are entirely incompatible with each other.