Friday, September 18, 2009

Media Matters Daily Summary 09-18-09

Media mischaracterize Pelosi's warning against "anti-government" rhetoric as attack on health care reform opponents
Media figures including Candy Crowley, Carl Cameron, Brian Kilmeade, and Gretchen Carlson have mischaracterized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's comments that recent "anti-government rhetoric" reminded her of "the late '70s in San Francisco" when "it created a climate in which violence took place," to claim that she was criticizing opponents of health care reform. In fact, Pelosi was directly responding to a question not about health care reform, but one that explicitly noted "people talking about anti-government rhetoric and so on and the possibility of violence." Read More

Wash. Post ignores ACORN filmmakers' credibility problems
A Washington Post article about recently released ACORN videotapes quoted Andrew Breitbart as saying the incident "is the Abu Ghraib of the Great Society," but the article did not make clear that no fraud or harm came to the government as a result of ACORN's actions. Moreover, the Post ignored facts which undermined the conservative filmmakers' credibility and ignored Breitbart's role in providing the videos to Fox News for aggressive promotion. Read More

Fox's latest conspiracy theory: Obama pressured independent CBO to give Baucus plan favorable score
On the September 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, guest co-host and serial health care misinformer Peter Johnson Jr. suggested that Sen. Max Baucus' (D-MT) health care plan received a favorable score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) because the office was "taken to the woodshed by the president earlier in the summer, when they uncovered hundreds of billions of dollars of real deficits in the House plan." Johnson offered no criticism of the scoring by the CBO -- which analyzed the Baucus plan when it was introduced, not "after being taken to the woodshed" -- and which is an independent agency that reports to Congress. Read More

Something for the media to consider before letting Glenn Beck set their news agenda
Fox News' Glenn Beck has made no secret of his desire to influence the types of stories other news outlets cover, at one point boasting that a story on his program on the community organizing group ACORN would divert the media's attention from health care reform. However, Beck's long and growing list of controversial statements -- which are often conspiratorial, racial, and violent in nature -- undercut his credibility as a de facto news editor. Read More

Reaction to Carter, Pelosi comments show media reluctant to discuss racism, extremism in Obama attacks
In responding to recent comments from former President Jimmy Carter and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that some of the strongest criticism of President Obama is race-based or could lead to extremism, several media figures have criticized those comments without addressing the specifics of recent race-based and extremist attacks against Obama, in effect avoiding the discussion of the role race has played in these attacks or the possibility that opponents' rhetoric has become, in some cases, extreme. By contrast, editor-in-chief Joan Walsh recently wrote that while she doesn't "think Obama's drop in white approval is mainly about racism ... to deny the role race is playing in stirring up the Birthers and Deathers and the Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fan is silly." Read More

The Friday Rush: Limbaugh takes race-baiting to puzzling extremes
For most, race is a subject that's difficult to approach. The nation's troubled racial history still echoes decades after the landmark Civil Rights Act and nearly 150 years after slavery was made illegal. As such, it's a topic that most people, for better or worse, handle with a great deal of caution. Read More

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