Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 03-10-09

By focusing on earmarks -- less than 2 percent of spending bill -- media allow bill's opponents to dictate debate
Numerous media outlets have devoted significant coverage to the earmarks contained in the pending omnibus appropriations bill, even though, according to most estimates, earmarks constitute less than 2 percent of the total spending in the bill. In many instances, the media have allowed attacks by Sen. John McCain and other opponents of the omnibus bill to dominate their coverage of the legislation -- at times themselves characterizing the bill as laden with "pork." Read More

WSJ falsely suggested a secret ballot is currently required for employees to gain union representation
The Wall Street Journal falsely suggested that a secret ballot election is currently required before workers can form a union, asserting that the Employee Free Choice Act "would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot, giving employees the power to organize by simply signing cards agreeing to join." In fact, current law already allows a union that shows it has the support of a majority of workers to represent the workers if their employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union. Read More

More Fox News revisionism: Baier ignored Limbaugh assertion that he hopes stimulus "prolongs the recession"
On Special Report, Bret Baier reported that Rush Limbaugh "has been under fire for saying he wants President Obama to fail. Limbaugh has since explained he was talking about the president's policies and not the president specifically or the economy." In fact, Limbaugh has said he hopes the economic recovery package "prolongs the recession" and has also repeatedly said he wants Obama specifically to fail. Read More

Morning Joe cropped Buffett's comments on the "obligation" of Dems and Republicans in "economic war"
MSNBC's Morning Joe aired Warren Buffett's statement on Democrats and Republicans that "if you're in a war -- and we really are on an economic war -- there's a obligation to the majority to behave in ways that don't go around inflaming the minority," but omitted Buffett's subsequent remark that Republicans "really do have an obligation to support things that in general are clearly designed to fight the war in a big way." Read More

Fox News' Kelly falsely suggested Employee Free Choice Act would eliminate secret ballot elections
On America's Newsroom, Megyn Kelly claimed that "the Democrats and the country's biggest unions today [would be] kicking off an effort to kill a worker's right to a private ballot" and later asserted that the Employee Free Choice Act could be called the "Kill the Private Ballot Doctrine." In fact, EFCA would not eliminate employees' rights to a secret ballot; as The New York Times reported, "Business groups have attacked the legislation because it would take away employers' right to insist on holding a secret-ballot election to determine whether workers favored unionization." Read More

Fox News allowed Diaz to criticize EFCA without noting his affiliation with group opposing it
Fox News hosted Republican strategist Danny Diaz, who criticized "Democrats and their union friends" for "pushing legislation like card check legislation" -- the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) -- at the expense of the economy. However, at no point during the segment did Fox News disclose Diaz's affiliation with the Workforce Fairness Institute, which is "[c]urrently ... focused on educating the public on the damaging effects of the deceptively named 'Employee Free Choice Act' or 'card check.' " Read More

Despite reported "updates" to "style," Wash. Times repeatedly refers to "illegals" in headlines
The Washington City Paper quoted from a 2008 "memo" from the "regime" of Washington Times executive editor John Solomon, which stated that as part of "recent updates to TWT style," "We will use illegal immigrants, not illegal aliens." Nonetheless, a Media Matters review indicates that in the past month alone, six Washington Times articles have referred to undocumented immigrants as "illegals" in their headline or subhead, while seven articles have been posted on the paper's website with "illegals" in their headline or subhead. Read More

Fox's Wilson aired economist's attacks on EFCA without noting her study's industry funding
On Special Report, Brian Wilson stated of EFCA, "[O]ne economist warned of what would happen if the bill passed and met its predicted goal of growing unions by 5 to 10 percent," and then aired a video clip of Anne Layne-Farrar testifying to Congress: "This would result in an increase in the unemployment rate of around 1 and a half to 3 percentage points." Fox's on-screen graphic identified Layne-Farrar only as "Economist." At no point did Wilson note that Layne-Farrar's testimony was based on the results of a study conducted by Layne-Farrar and funded by industry groups that oppose EFCA. Read More

Blitzer, Blankley falsely claimed Obama was calling NY Times back "to clarify" he's not a socialist
On The Situation Room, Tony Blankley and Wolf Blitzer mischaracterized President Obama's call back to The New York Times following an interview during which Obama was asked if he was a "socialist." Blankley asserted that Obama originally "answered and didn't like his answer and called back," to which Blitzer replied, "To clarify, to clarify." In fact, Obama explicitly made the point during the initial interview that he was not a "socialist"; rather, in his follow-up call, Obama criticized the Times' question. Read More

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