Toothless: The Watchdog Press That Became the Government's Lapdog (Part 2: Lapdogs Get Some Teeth)

In Part 1, award-winning journalist Walter Brasch looked at the press that had abdicated their role as watchdogs upon the government during the Bush-Cheney Administration. In Part 2, he looks at some of the media that tried to restore the dignity and the role of the mass media to question authority.

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"Beyond Thin" Judge Draws Notice for SC

Justice Diane P. Wood is drawing attention as a leading candidate to fill the first vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wood is famous in some circles (especially in Wisconsin) for her judicial equivalent of voiced disgust shown towards Stephen Biskupic, former U.S. Atty for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, who launched several political prosecutions during his tenure with the Bush administration's Department of Justice, including the repulsive political prosecution of an innocent woman, Georgia Thompson.

Wood was nominated to serve as an appellate judge by President Clinton and confirmed in 1995.

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Selective Protectionism

I don't usually focus on economic issues as it's far from my area of expertise but Dean Baker's Huffington Post piece strikes me as worthy of mention.

I have a couple of friends who, while reliably Democratic, make a point of reminding me that they tend to lean to the right on economic issues, which is usually code for "I'm a free trader," which itself is code for "Obama had better not institute protectionist policies." Protectionism to these folks is a bad thing because, in their mind, it represents a shift from the status quo away from globalization. Baker's post challenges this concept of the status quo and those who would continue to propagate the myth of it, such as the Village's very own conduit of conventional wisdom, The Washington Post. What this "free trade gooooood, protectionism baaaaad" dichotomy completely fails to acknowledge is that, as Baker points out, current trade policy IS protectionist where it chooses to be.

The Post also has been a big proponent of a trade policy that is based on selective protectionism. The Post's trade policy subjects less educated workers (those without college degrees) to competition with low-paid workers in the developing world, while leaving the most highly educated workers largely protected from such competition.

Since the vast majority of the workforce falls into this unprotected category, most of our children will see lower standards of living because of the Post's trade policy as it redistributes income to its elite friends. The Post even applies the euphemism "free trade" to its policy of selective protectionism to make it more palatable.

The very fact that even people on our side view "liberal policies" as the enemy demonstrates the challenge we have ahead of us, as we seek to reframe issues away from what has been the persistent conservative drum beat for decades, even trickling down through outlets with mainstream credibility such as The Washington Post. On healthcare, taxes and trade, not to mention several other issues, while we have the numbers to institute policy, we still have a long way to go on messaging, which, I fear, could mean an Obama presidency of incrementalism. That's why pieces like Baker's, which so thoroughly eviscerates current conventional wisdom and places blame where it deserves to be, are so important.

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"Come back to work -- and life."

(cross posted at kickin it with cg)

Today the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz is reporting that Fox News has hired former New York Times reporter Judith Miller as an on-air analyst and to write stories for Fox's website.

Miller, one of many of the sales team for the Iraq war, was a key player in pushing false intelligence that led the public into the Iraq war and was central to the Valerie Plame leak scandal.

As Think Progress notes:

On Sept. 7, 2002, she and fellow New York Times reporter Michael Gordon reported that Iraq had "stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb." As proof, she cited unnamed "American intelligence experts" and unnamed "Bush administration officials." Subsequently, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld all pointed to Miller's story as justification for war. On April 22, 2003, she told PBS's Newshour that WMD had already been found in Iraq: "Well, I think they found something more than a 'smoking gun.'"

In 2005, Miller went to jail for refusing to testify in the Valerie Plame scandal and reveal her conversations with Scooter Libby. Miller was often criticized for becoming too close with her Bush administration sources. While she was in jail, for example, Libby wrote to her about how much he admired her and urged her to "Come back to work -- and life."

Yep - Miller is nothing if not controversial.

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Bailout - Social Security = Happy Rich People

Beat the Press blog had this three days ago, but the slash Social Security and Medicare advocacy continued yesterday in the Washington Post (see further down the page):

The Post Uses Crisis to Attack Social Security

Those waiting for any mea culpas from the Washington Post editorial page (remember all those news stories and columns warning about the housing bubble? [NOT! - fairleft]) will have to wait a bit longer. Instead of acknowledging its failure to report accurately on the circumstances that led up to this crisis, the Post is using it as an opportunity to push its agenda for cutting Social Security and Medicare.

The reasoning powers of the Post's editors are still lacking. The loss of trillions of dollars of equity in housing has just wiped out most of the wealth of baby boomers nearing retirement. Their dependence on Social Security and Medicare will be greater than ever as a result (and these people vote). That's what happens when you rely on David Lereah (the former chief economist of the National Association of Realtors) as your main source on the real estate market.

The Post was at it again yesterday, advo-reporting established power's desire to attack Medicaid and Medicare (and by implication Social Security):

The sheer size of the bailout could give the next president political cover to address long-festering fiscal problems, such as the burgeoning costs of Medicare and Medicaid, yet neither of the men vying for the job has shown an interest in taking advantage of it, they say.

Note the devastating bipartisanship on display as the Post 'news report' continues:

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