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ABOUT THE AUTHOR – “The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media,” the latest collection of his Media Beat columns won Norman Solomon the George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language. The award, presented by the USA’s National Council of Teachers of English, went to Solomon’s ninth book. In the introduction to that book, Jonathan Kozol wrote: “The tradition of Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, and I.F. Stone does not get much attention these days in the mainstream press . . . but that tradition is alive and well in this collection of courageously irreverent columns on the media by Norman Solomon . . . He fights the good fight without fear of consequence. He courts no favors. He writes responsibly and is meticulous on details, but he does not choke on false civility.

ABOUT THE COLUMNS – These columns will be posted each week as 2-page articles ready for printing as inserts into an 8.5" by 11" binder. The cover (above) may be downloaded for printing as a binder insert.
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Click here to read Norman Solomon's MediaBeat columns for 2005

Click here to read Norman Solomon's MediaBeat columns for 2003

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NEW - December 27, 2004
Tailgated by media technology
The last few days of every year bring a heightened sense of time passing, never to return. “Not always so,” the end of a calendar reminds us. When Time recently invited readers to pick up their mobile phones and participate in a “wireless poll,” the question was: “Who’s your pick for Person of the Year?” The magazine offered three choices in addition to George W. Bush. Those options — Kofi Annan, Martha Stewart and the Boston Red Sox — were certainly eclectic enough, typifying the grab-bag qualities of mass media. If there was any kind of common thread to the list (other than fame), I couldn’t grasp it..
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NEW - December 17, 2004
The P.U.litzer Prizes for 2004
The P.U.-litzer Prizes were established a dozen years ago to provide special recognition for truly smelly media performances. As usual, I've conferred with Jeff Cohen, founder of the media watch group FAIR, to sift through the entries. And now, the 13th Annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, for the foulest media performances of 2004.
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December 10, 2004
The limits of ‘man bites dog’ stories
The usual notion of big news is the unusual. Journalists are taught to look for “man bites dog” stories – the events that raise eyebrows and make us think, “Wow!” News of the ordinary also makes the cut in media outlets, of course, but it’s not what sizzles, and it’s not apt to get onto front pages or prime-time broadcasts. A simple rejoinder to the media status quo is that what we really need are more “dog bites man” and “dog bites woman” stories. For every spectacular event, there are many others – just as terrible or just as wonderful – that barely register on the media Richter scale because they’re happening all the time. What’s earthshaking in people’s lives is often barely visible to the hype-hungry media eye.
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December 3, 2004
Media in the winter of our ‘disremorse’
Early in the coldest season, optimists think of the day after solstice. It’s predictable: the hemisphere will start tilting toward more light and warmth. But in the politics of human societies, there’s no reliable way to tell how long a bone-rattling chill will last — or how far it might go. A government’s harsher policies could provoke kinetic revulsion and progressive resurgence. Or the dominant political atmosphere might have an overall effect of strengthening and perpetuating itself.
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NEW - November 25, 2004
News media in the 60th year of the nuclear age
Top officials in Washington are now promoting jitters about Iran’s nuclear activities, while media outlets amplify the message. A confrontation with Tehran is on the second-term Bush agenda. So, we’re encouraged to obliquely think about the unthinkable. But no one can get very far trying to comprehend the enormity of nuclear weapons. They’ve shadowed human consciousness for six decades. From the outset, deception has been key.
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November 18, 2004
A voluntary tic in media coverage of Iraq
When misleading buzzwords become part of the media landscape, they slant news coverage and skew public perceptions. That’s the story with the phrase “Iraqi forces” — now in routine use by U.S. media outlets, including the country’s most influential newspapers. The New York Times and the Washington Post have been leading the way in news stories that apply the indigenous “Iraqi forces” label to Iraqi fighters who are pro-U.S.-occupation ... but not to Iraqi fighters who are anti-U.S.-occupation.”
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November 11, 2004
A distant mirror of holy war
The conflict in Iraq has become a holy war. In both directions. On the surface, the most prominent headline on the New York Times front page Nov. 10 was simply matter-of-fact: “In Taking Fallujah Mosque, Victory by the Inch.” Yet it’s not mere happenstance that American forces have bombed many of Fallujah’s mosques. For public consumption, U.S. military officers — like their civilian bosses and American journalists — usually discuss this war in secular, even antiseptic terms. When the Times quoted Marine battalion commander Gary Brandl in another front-page story, on Nov. 6, the lieutenant colonel sounded straightforward: “We are going to rid the city of insurgents. If they do fight, we will kill them.”
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November 5, 2004
Elections and the specter of things unseen
The day before the election, I visited Albuquerque and Las Vegas. Up close, I saw hundreds of people involved in vigorous get-out-the-vote efforts. Most were young; they seemed very idealistic. These Americans had an opportunity to make a difference, and – brought together by labor unions and such groups as the MoveOn PAC – they took it. Watching the election returns scarcely 24 hours later, I kept an eye on the results from New Mexico and Nevada. The vote tallies were close in both states because of such activism; otherwise, the Bush-Cheney ticket would have won easily.
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October 30, 2004
Nader's game of chicken
Ralph Nader won’t receive more than 1 percent of the vote nationwide on Election Day, but he’s already the winner in a spectacular game of “chicken.” After the vast majority of former allies jumped off his electoral vehicle, Nader kept flooring the accelerator — while scorning them as “scared liberals” who “lost their nerve.” For decades Nader’s signature issue has been corporate power. But David Korten, author of the seminal book “When Corporations Rule the World,” is one of the many high-profile Nader 2000 endorsers who’ve opposed his 2004 venture. “Your campaign is the wrong war against the wrong enemy for the wrong reason,” Korten wrote in an Oct. 21 open letter to Nader.
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October 22, 2004
Welcome to the Presidential Pageant
Less than two weeks before Election Day 2004, the ABC television network cancelled Miss America. Fifty years after it premiered on national TV, the famous “beauty pageant” has fallen on hard times. Last month, the annual show drew just 9.8 million viewers, the smallest audience ever. “The pageant has changed, but not for the better,” commented an editorial in a New Jersey newspaper, the Asbury Park Press. “Eliminating most of the talent portion of the competition from this year’s broadcast was a mistake. Trotting the contestants out in string bikinis rather than one-piece suits probably did more to alienate traditional viewers than attract new ones.”
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October 18, 2004
Two weeks to go – and one president to oust
We’re at a moment in history when progressives must work together – not with a false kind of unity that papers over differences, but instead with a candid kind of unity that recognizes and fights for a vital common goal. Our collective task is to kick George Bush out of the White House. The thousands of African-American women and men lining up at early-voting sites in Florida are sending a profound message across this country. After nearly four years of “Hail to the Thief,” we have a chance to oust the Bush-Cheney gang. We’re depending on each other.
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October 14, 2004
Preview of the Bush campaign endgame
With the presidential debates now behind us, the struggle for the White House will tilt even more toward decentralized media battles for electoral votes. Between now and Election Day, vast resources will go toward spin-ning local news coverage in swing states while launching carefully targeted commercials on radio and television. For the Bush campaign and its allies, the media endgame will include these components . . .
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September 17, 2004
A media focus on the Supreme Court
The big media themes about the 2004 presidential campaign have reveled in vague rhetoric and flimsy controversies. But little attention has focused on a matter of profound importance: Whoever wins the race for the White House will be in a position to slant the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court for decades to come. Justices on the top court tend to stick around for a long time. Seven of the current nine were there a dozen years ago. William Rehnquist, who was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan, originally got to the Supreme Court when President Nixon appointed him a third of a century ago. The last four justices to retire had been on the high court for an average of 28 years. Vacancies are very likely during the next presidential term.
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September 10, 2004
The brave posturing of armchair warriors
Soon after the American death toll in Iraq passed the 1,000 mark, I thought of Saadoun Hammadi and some oratory he provided two years ago. At the time, Hammadi was the speaker of Iraq’s National Assembly. “The U.S. administration is now speaking war,” Hammadi said. “We are not going to turn the other cheek. We are going to fight. Not only our armed forces will fight. Our people will fight.” The date was Sept. 14, 2002. The venue was an ornate room inside a grand government building in Baghdad. And the gaunt elderly official was determined to make an impression on the four American visitors. So, with steel in his voice, Hammadi added: “I personally will fight.”
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September 1, 2004
Beyond hero-worship
"Happy is the country which requires no heroes,” Bertolt Brecht commented. Today, by that standard, the United States is a very unhappy country. These days, the public’s genuine eagerness for heroes is difficult to gauge. If media output is any measure, the hero industry is engaged in massive overproduction. Whether the “products” are entertainers, star athletes or politicians, the PR efforts are unrelenting. Some brands catch on.
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August 26, 2004
Beyond hero-worship
"Happy is the country which requires no heroes,” Bertolt Brecht commented. Today, by that standard, the United States is a very unhappy country. These days, the public’s genuine eagerness for heroes is difficult to gauge. If media output is any measure, the hero industry is engaged in massive overproduction. Whether the “products” are entertainers, star athletes or politicians, the PR efforts are unrelenting. Some brands catch on.
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August 12, 2004
A time of butterflies and bombers
We saw butterflies turning into bombers. And we weren’t dreaming. At the time when the Woodstock festival became an instant media legend in mid-August 1969, melodic yearning for peace was up against the cold steel of American war machinery. The music and other creative energies that drew 400,000 people to an upstate New York farm that weekend rejected the Vietnam War and the assumptions fueling it. Thirty-five years later, the Jimi Hendrix rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner could still serve as an apt soundtrack for U.S. foreign policy, with bombs bursting in air over urban neighborhoods across much of Iraq.
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August 5, 2004
From Attica to Abu Ghraib
A recent obituary in the New York Times told about Frank Smith, “who as an inmate leader at Attica prison was tortured by officers in the aftermath of the prisoner uprising of 1971 and then spent a quarter century successfully fighting for legal damages.” Working as a paralegal after his release, Smith was a pivotal force behind a 26-year civil action lawsuit that won a $12 million settlement. Smith’s life changed forever on Sept. 13, 1971 – the day New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller ordered 500 state troopers to attack the upstate Attica Correctional Facility, killing 29 inmates and 10 guards held as hostages. The raid wounded at least 86 other people.
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August 3, 2004
Conventional news wisdom of network TV
The same broadcast networks that eagerly devote endless prime-time hours to vacuous sitcoms and unreal "reality shows" couldn’t spare a total of more than a few hours last week for live coverage of the Democratic National Convention.
It’s true that complaining about scant news coverage from NBC, ABC and CBS is a bit like griping about small portions of meals from restaurants that serve lousy food. But still: the conventions are worth watching, if only to keep up with the rhetorical needles that party strategists are trying to thread these days. Gathering for the convention in Boston, several network anchors participated in a high-profile panel at Harvard University. One of the more interesting moments came when the panelists responded to a question about the scant amount of air time the commercial broadcast networks were devoting to the convention.
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July 29, 2004
Hope is not on way, but Bush may be on way out
No, hope does not gallop in like Paul Revere. And it certainly doesn’t arrive breathless from a corporate party convention. Movements for peace and social justice can bring realistic hope — not with rhetoric but with the tough daily tedious uplifting work of political organizing.
Yes, we’d be better off with John Kerry in the White House instead of the Rove-Cheney-Bush regime. And the only way that’s going to happen is if enough people in swing states (www.swing04.com) vote for Kerry on November 2.
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July 22, 2004
Macho politics and major consequences
With two words, the governor of California has managed to highlight the confluence of anti-gay bias and misogyny. Open contempt for “girlie men” would have raised fewer eyebrows in the past. Reactions to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s put-down of Democrats in the state legislature – “if they don’t have the guts, I call them girlie men” – tell us a lot about how far we’ve come. The good news is the media outcry; the bad news is that the outcry hasn’t been stronger. As a rough gauge of media progress on gender-related issues, consider two editorials that appeared – 88 years apart – in the same newspaper.
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July 16, 2004
Terrorism and the election
The morning after John Kerry announced that John Edwards will be his running mate, powerful newspapers fired warning shots across the bow of the Kerry-Edwards campaign. “It is likely that Mr. Edwards will be dispatched to critical industrial states like Ohio to talk about jobs, as he did with such force in the primary,” the liberal New York Times editorialized. “We hope that he’ll refrain from falling into protectionist rhetoric in the process.”
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July 9, 2004
The media's class war
The morning after John Kerry announced that John Edwards will be his running mate, powerful newspapers fired warning shots across the bow of the Kerry-Edwards campaign. “It is likely that Mr. Edwards will be dispatched to critical industrial states like Ohio to talk about jobs, as he did with such force in the primary,” the liberal New York Times editorialized. “We hope that he’ll refrain from falling into protectionist rhetoric in the process.””
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July 5, 2004
The limits of media dream machines
A recent Associated Press dispatch – headlined “Gadget May Help Sleepers Choose Dreams” – told the story of a new product that “can be programmed to help sleepers choose what to dream.” Made in Japan, the 14-inch gizmo is called “Dream Workshop.” After so much progress has been made to ravage the natural environment all around us (fulfilling Francis Bacon’s recommendation that we torture Mother Nature for her secrets), it stands to reason that technology should also besiege our inner nature. But like wild animals and flighty birds, our dreams are loath to be tamed. “The dream reveals the reality which conception lags behind,” Franz Kafka said. Yet overall, dreams are not very marketable. Experienced during sleep, they’re one of the few human activities left that can’t be bought or sold.”
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June 24, 2004
The news media’s political ‘F’ word
When a federal judge compares George W. Bush to Benito Mussolini, is that newsworthy? After the conservative daily New York Sun broke the story about a speech by Judge Guido Calabresi of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, few media outlets even mentioned what he had to say. “In a way that occurred before but is rare in the United States ... somebody came to power as a result of the illegitimate acts of a legitimate institution that had the right to put somebody in power,” Judge Calabresi told attorneys and law students at the American Constitution Society’s annual convention on June 19. “That is what the Supreme Court did in Bush versus Gore. It put somebody in power.”
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June 17, 2004
Presidential campaigns and media charades
Political myth-making goes into overdrive every four years. With presidential campaigns fixated mostly on media, an array of nonstop spin takes its toll while illogic often takes hold: When heroes are absent, they’re invented. When convenient claims are untrue, they’re defended. Many supporters come to function as enablers – staying silent or mimicking their candidate’s contorted explanations to try to finesse the gaping contradiction. Fast talk substitutes for straight talk. A kind of “covering fire” across media battlefields makes it easier for the candidate to just keep on dissembling.
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June 10, 2004
Media: Mourning in America
If journalism is history’s first draft, the death of Ronald Reagan has caused a step-up in the mass production of falsified history. It’s mourning in America. The main technique is omission. People who suffered from the Reagan presidency have no media standing today. It’s not cool to mention victims of his policies in, for example, Central America. President Reagan lauded and subsidized the contra guerrillas – extolling them as “freedom fighters” while they terrorized the population in Nicaragua, killing thousands of civilians. And he proudly funneled large-scale support to governments aligned with death squads murdering thousands more in Guatemala and El Salvador.
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June 3, 2004
Nader and Greens head for presidential crash
This year, Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign has two trains running that will collide at an unfortunate intersection – the Green Party’s national convention in Milwaukee. The collision course is bad news for all concerned. Nader, one of the great progressive reformers of the 20th century, has been clear and consistent for months in saying that he will not seek or accept the national Green Party presidential nomination for 2004. Yet he has made it known that he would welcome the party’s “endorsement” – and there’s a move afoot to give it to him at the national convention that begins June 23. Under such a plan, Nader might then try to get his name on the ballot courtesy of the Green Party in some of the two-dozen states where the party has achieved ballot status.
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May 27, 2004
Major ‘liberal’ outlets clog media debate
For many years, health-conscious Americans avidly consumed margarine as a wholesome substitute for artery-clogging butter. Only later did research shed light on grim effects of the partially hydrogenated oil in margarine, with results such as higher incidences of heart disease. Putting our trust in bogus alternatives can be dangerous for our bodies. And for the body politic.
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May 12, 2004
The coming backlash against outrage
Looking at visual images from U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, news watchers now find themselves in the midst of a jolting experience that roughly resembles a process described by Donald Rumsfeld: “It is the photographs that gives one the vivid realization of what actually took place. Words don’t do it. You see the photo-graphs, and you get a sense of it, and you cannot help but be outraged.” Yet, unlike most of us, the defense secretary has a vested interest in claiming that the grotesque real-life images have nothing to do with U.S. policies.
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May 6, 2004
The war and racism – media denial in overdrive
Among the millions of words that have appeared in the U.S. press since late April about abuse and torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, one has been notably missing: Racism. Overall, when it comes to racial aspects, the news coverage is quite PC – as in Pentagon Correct. The outlook is “apple pie” egalitarian, with the media picture including high-profile officers who are African-American and Latino. Meanwhile, inside the policy arena, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are frequently in front of cameras to personify Uncle Sam in blackface.
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April 29, 2004
Staying the media course in Iraq
On his way to confirmation as U.S. ambassador to Iraq, the current U.N. envoy John Negroponte was busily twisting language like a pretzel at a Senate hearing the other day. The new Baghdad regime, to be installed on June 30, will have sovereignty. Well, sort of. Negroponte explained: “That is why I use the term ‘exercise of sovereignty.’ I think in the case of military activity, their forces will come under the unified command of the multinational force. That is the plan.” In other words, the Baghdad government will be praised as the embodiment of Iraqi sovereignty while the U.S. military continues to do whatever Washington wants it to do in Iraq – including order the Iraqi military around.
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April 23, 2004
Country Joe Band 2004: ‘Uncle Sam needs you’
Waking the stage at a community center in the small Northern California town of Bolinas, a group of four musicians quickly showed themselves to be returning as a vibrant creative force centered very much in the present. Not that the music of Country Joe and the Fish ever really disappeared. Since the release of the band’s first two albums in 1967 – “Electric Music for the Mind and Body” along with “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die” – many of its songs have meandered through the memories and semi-consciousness of millions of Americans who came of age a third of a century ago.
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April 16, 2004
How the ‘NewsHour’ changed history
When the anchor of public television’s main news program goes out of his way to tell viewers that he’s setting the record straight about a recent historic event, the people watching are apt to assume that they’re getting accurate information. But with war intensifying in Iraq, a bizarre episode raises some very troubling concerns about the “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”
Here’s what happened:
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April 9, 2004
The quest for a monopoly on violence
With warfare escalating in Iraq, syndicated columnist George Will has just explained the logic of the occupation. “In the war against the militias,” he wrote, “every door American troops crash through, every civilian bystander shot – there will be many – will make matters worse, for a while. Nevertheless, the first task of the occupation remains the first task of government: to establish a monopoly on violence.” A year ago, when a Saddam statue famously collapsed in Baghdad, top officials in Washington preened themselves as liberators. Now, some of the tyrant’s bitterest enemies are firing rocket-propelled grenades at American troops.
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April 2, 2004
Spinning the past, threatening the future
Some of the most closely guarded documents in the White House are sure to be the ones written by the president’s top media strategist. The public will never get to see the key memos from Karl Rove, but a typical one these days might read something like …
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March 25, 2004
The media politics of 9/11
For 30 months, 9/11 was a huge political blessing for George W. Bush. This week, the media halo fell off. Within the space of a few days, culminating with his testimony to the Sept. 11 commission Wednesday afternoon, former counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke did serious damage to a public-relations scam that the White House has been running for two and a half years. We may forget just how badly President Bush was doing until Sept. 11, 2001. That morning, a front-page Philadelphia Inquirer story told of dire political straits; his negative rating among the nation’s crucial independent swing voters stood at 53 percent, according to the latest survey by nonpartisan pollster John Zogby.
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March 18, 2004
Spinning the past, threatening the future
Political aphorisms don’t get any more cogent: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” George Orwell’s famous observation goes a long way toward explaining why – a full year after the invasion of Iraq – the media battles over prewar lies are so ferocious in the United States. Top administration officials are going all out to airbrush yesterday’s deceptions on behalf of today’s. And tomorrow’s.
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March 11, 2004
They shoot journalists, don’t they?
To encourage restraint in war coverage, governments don’t need to shoot journalists – though sometimes that’s helpful. Thirteen journalists were killed while covering the war and occupation in Iraq last year, says a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The deaths were a subset of 36 on-the-job fatalities related to journalistic work across the globe in 2003. CPJ’s annual worldwide survey “Attacks on the Press,” released on March 11, indicates that some of those deaths in Iraq were not just random events in a hazardous war zone. Journalists who were “embedded” with the American military tended to be safer.
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March 4, 2004
Assuming the right to intervene
If Mark Twain were living now instead of a century ago – when he declared himself “an anti-imperialist” and proclaimed that “I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land” – the famous writer’s views would exist well outside the frame of today’s mainstream news media. In the current era, it’s rare for much ink or air time to challenge the right of the U.S. government to directly intervene in other countries. Instead, the featured arguments are about whether – or how – it is wise to do so in a particular instance. It’s not just a matter of American boots on the ground and bombs from the sky. Much more common than the range of overt violence from U.S. military actions is the process of deepening poverty from economic intervention. Outside the media glare, Washington’s routine policies involve pulling financial levers to penalize nations that have leaders who displease the world’s only superpower.
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February 26, 2004
Spying at the UN and the evasions of journalism
Tony Blair and George W. Bush want the issue of spying at the United Nations to go away. That’s one of the reasons the Blair government ended its prosecution of whistleblower Katharine Gun on Wednesday (Feb. 25). But within 24 hours, the scandal of U.N. spying exploded further when one of Blair’s former cabinet ministers said that British spies closely monitored conversations of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq last year. The new allegations, which have the ring of truth, are now coming from ex-secretary of international development Clare Short. “I have seen transcripts of Kofi Annan’s conversations,” she said in an interview with BBC Radio.
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February 23, 2004
Ralph Nader's tin ear
With his announcement Sunday on “Meet the Press” that he’s running for president in 2004, Ralph Nader appears to be politically tone deaf in a year when the crying need to defeat George W. Bush could hardly be louder or more urgent. After decades of helping to build progressive movements, Nader has now launched a presidential campaign that is – at best – tactically oblivious to many of those movements. After a career of demanding political accountability, he has opted for an “independent” candidacy that makes him accountable to no institution but himself.
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February19, 2004
The collapse of Dean’s cyber-bubble
The saga of Howard Dean is a cautionary tale about politics and the Internet. His campaign rode a big wave of cyberspace hype – and then sank. There are valid complaints to be made about Dean’s rough handling by major news outlets this winter. Sometimes the coverage was unfair. But what gained him media prominence in the first place was journalistic infatuation with his campaign’s successful use of the Internet for outreach and fund-raising.
Actually, Dean burst onto the nation’s front pages because of money.”
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February12, 2004
An odd accusation from Ralph Nader
After several decades as one of America’s great public-interest advocates, Ralph Nader has developed an extraordinary response when people say they don’t think he should run for president in 2004. During a Feb. 4 interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered” program, Nader had this to say when asked about an editorial in The Nation urging him not to run this year: “It’s a marvelous demonstration by liberals, if you will, of censorship. Now mind you, running for political office is every American’s right. Running for political office means free speech exercise, it means exercising the right of petition, the right of assembly. And so when they say ‘Do not run,’ they’re not just challenging and rebutting; they’re crossing that line into censorship, which is completely unacceptable.”
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February 5, 2004
The deadly lies of reliable sources
Ninety-five days before the invasion of Iraq began, I sat in the ornate Baghdad office of the deputy prime minister as he talked about the U.N. weapons inspectors in his country. “They are doing their jobs freely, without any interruption,” Tariq Aziz said. “And still the warmongering language in Washington is keeping on." The White House, according to Aziz, had written the latest U.N. Security Council resolution “in a way to be certainly refused.” But, he added pointedly: “We surprised them by saying, ‘OK, we can live with it. We’ll be patient enough to live with it and prove to you and to the world that your allegations about weapons of mass destruction are not true.”
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February 1 , 2004
Presidential candidates: Compared to what?
Engaged in a continuous PR blitz, presidential campaign strategists always strive to portray their candidate as damn near perfect. Even obvious flaws are apt to be touted as signs of integrity and human depth. Such media spin encourages Americans to confuse being excellent with being preferable. Eager to dislodge George W. Bush from the White House, many voters lined up behind John Kerry in late January. It’s true that the junior senator from Massachusetts is probably the best bet to defeat Bush – and, as president, Kerry would be a very significant improvement over the incumbent. But truth in labeling should impel acknowledgment that Kerry is not a progressive candidate.
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January 28, 2004
The State of the Media Union
My fellow American media consumers: At a time when news cycles bring us such portentous events as the remarkable wedding of Britney Spears, the advent of Michael Jackson’s actual trial proceedings and the start of the Democratic presidential primaries, it is time to reflect upon the state of the media union.
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January 15, 2004
Too much ‘vision’; too little hearing
The father of President Bush the Second called it “the vision thing” – which he was widely presumed to lack. By early 1987, Time magazine reported, George H. W. Bush was using that phrase “in clear exasperation.” Then, as now, journalists seemed to clamor for presidential candidates to seem visionary.
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January 12, 2004
Dixie trap for Democrats in Presidential race
Many pundits say President Bush is sitting pretty, but this year began with new poll data telling a very different story. A national Harris survey, completed on Jan. 1 for Time magazine and CNN, found that just 51 percent of respondents said they were “likely” to vote for Bush in November, compared to 46 percent “unlikely.” When people were asked to “choose between Howard Dean, the Democrat, and George W. Bush, the Republican,” the margin for Bush was only 51-43, and when the survey focused on “likely voters” the gap narrowed to 51-46.
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January 8, 2004
Running on empty
Ralph Nader plans to announce this month whether he’ll be running for president in 2004. Some believe that such a campaign is needed to make a strong political statement nationwide. But if Nader does run this year, what kind of support – in the form of volunteers, resources and votes – could he reasonably expect? Results of a nationwide survey, released in late December, provide a stark look at the current inclinations of people who’ve been part of his electoral base. After receiving about 11,000 responses from readers on a core e-mail list, the progressive online magazine AlterNet reported back: “While 27 percent of you voted for Nader in 2000, only 11 percent say you would vote for him in 2004.”
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January 6, 2004
George Will's ethics: None of our business?
We can argue about George Will’s political views. But there’s no need to debate his professional ethics. Late December brought to light a pair of self-inflicted wounds to the famous columnist’s ethical pretensions. He broke an elementary rule of journalism — and then, when the New York Times called him on it, proclaimed the transgression to be no one’s business but his own.
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