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Democrat 4 Ever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 06:51 PM
Original message
Media Matters outs more pundits with "close" ties to the White House
This is like a snowball rolling down hill, picking up speed and mass as it goes. Hope this isn't a dupe.

"Media Matters," week ending January 28, 2005 by Jamison Foser

http://mediamatters.org/items/200501280011

Week ending January 28, 2005
www.mediamatters.org
action@mediamatters.org
The growing scandal surrounding conservatives' use of fake "news" reports, secret government propaganda, and payola to conservative commentators continued to accelerate this week. We learned that at least two more conservative columnists were paid by the Bush administration to promote policies without disclosing those payments; two other commentators the Bush White House consulted regarding the president's inaugural address later praised it on television without disclosing their role; and Media Matters for America demonstrated that a White House-favored "reporter" is little more than a partisan political operative disguised as a working journalist.

This week:

Fake news, part 1: Talon News has White House press credentials, but should it?

Fake news, part 2: Two more conservative columnists (at least) took government cash to promote policies

Fake news, part 3: Kristol, Krauthammer provided advice for Bush speech, then lauded it

Fake news, part 4: Hannity admitted he should have disclosed ties to organization he praised

FOX's Special Report guest list includes both sides: conservatives who support Bush policies and progressives who support Bush policies

Coming next: "Doubleplusgood accounts"

Fake news, part 1: Talon News has White House press credentials, but should it?

This week, Media Matters for America noted:

Talon News, a conservative company whose Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent Jeff Gannon is well-known for asking loaded pro-Republican questions at White House press briefings, appears to be more a political organization than a media outlet.

Media Matters for America revealed that Gannon has, on at least three occasions, written articles for Talon News that "used Bush administration and Republican National Committee (RNC) documents and releases ... verbatim and without attribution. In at least two of his articles, Gannon lifted more than half of the text directly from GOP 'fact sheets.'" During President Bush's press conference this week, Gannon asked Bush a loaded question designed to attack Democrats -- but that question, as Media Matters for America noted, contained factually incorrect assertions lifted from Rush Limbaugh.

Media Matters also demonstrated this week that Talon News is virtually indistinguishable from a company called GOPUSA, and that the two entities are much more like partisan political organizations than legitimate news outlets, raising questions about why the White House has given them press credentials. Perhaps it's because, as Gannon wrote on a conservative message board, White House press secretary Scott McClellan "usually knows what he's going to get from me." Or maybe it's because Talon/GOPUSA head Bobby Eberle was a delegate to the 2000 Republican convention that nominated Bush.

Fake news, part 2: Two more conservative columnists (at least) took government cash to promote policies

With the Armstrong Williams scandal still going strong, this week brought revelations that two more conservative pundits have contracted with the Bush administration to promote government policies -- even while they wrote columns about those policies that failed to disclose their conflicts of interest.

Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus took payments to promote Bush's marriage initiatives, but didn't disclose those payments when they wrote columns advocating the same.

No word yet on which pundits took government contracts to promote the Iraq war, but there's always next week ...

Fake news, part 3: Kristol, Krauthammer provided advice for Bush speech, then lauded it

In light of the Williams, Gallagher, and McManus revelations, Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer must be feeling cheated. After all, the famed conservative commentators were consulted for Bush's inaugural address, then praised it on FOX News -- but they apparently didn't receive any money for their efforts from the Bush administration.

We wonder what George Will would say about that.

Fake news, part 4: Hannity admitted he should have disclosed ties to organization he praised

In November, Media Matters noted that FOX News host Sean Hannity failed to disclose his ties to an organization whose president he interviewed; this week, Hannity finally acknowledged that he should have made such a disclosure.

FOX's Special Report guest list includes both sides: conservatives who support Bush policies and progressives who support Bush policies

This week, Media Matters noted that FOX News' flagship political news program, Special Report with Brit Hume, regularly uses its daily one-on-one interview as a platform for conservatives and Republicans to express their views in a format that does not admit opposing views. Though Special Report is ostensibly a "hard news" program bound by FOX's commitment to "fair and balanced" reporting, the liberal media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has conducted three separate surveys of the guests in Special Report's solo interview slot, which show that guests are overwhelmingly conservative and Republican. FAIR's most recent study concluded that "mong ideological guests, conservatives accounted for 72 percent, while centrists made up 15 percent and progressives 14 percent."

But even on the rare occasions when Special Report's solo interview slot does feature a liberal-leaning guest, the guest is usually invited to discuss a topic on which his or her specific views are known to be more conservative and/or more supportive of Republicans than the guest's ideological orientation would otherwise suggest.

Coming next: "Doubleplusgood accounts"

Having successfully convinced much of the media not to refer to their plans for Social Security as "privatization," conservatives are now hard at work browbeating reporters not to refer to President Bush's plans as "private accounts," either. Republican pollster Frank Luntz went so far as to claim that doing so would be "unfair" and "tak sides" -- despite the fact that Bush himself uses that term. And it's working.

Just so everyone is clear: the word that best describes conservative plans for Social Security is "privatization." That's not a word progressives have made up to undermine the plan -- that's the word nearly everyone used for years. It's the word the Cato Institute, one of the leading advocates of privatization, chose when it came time to name its efforts; it launched the "Project on Social Security Privatization" (though it too has fallen in line, and the effort is now called the "Project on Social Security Choice").

"Privatization" is the word the right, the left, the middle, and the media used, until some conservatives took a poll a few years ago and discovered that people don't want to privatize Social Security. So they started referring to "private accounts," then "personal accounts," and next, if the media keeps letting them get away with it, we'll have "doubleplusgood accounts" or some such meaningless phrase that obscures reality and tricks people into supporting policies they might actually oppose.

Luntz is right: Reporters shouldn't take sides. Going along with conservatives' constant manipulation of the language is doing just that.

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Bluzmann57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. Our local newspaper carries Krauthammer
To be fair, they also carry Molly Ivins, Ellen Goodman, and Leonard Pitts, but anyway, I am going to contact them about Krauthammer's antics.
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justgamma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Not surprising
Krauthammer is a member of PNAC. I think that should be disclosed on every column he writes. He's been pushing the war for years.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:05 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks, but they're giving the Bush Admin. ideas.
Soon we will be reading in the newspaper that Bush wants us to have "doubleplusgood accounts" for Social Security.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
3. If Democrats were like the unamerican Repubs, they would get mileage
out of linking Hannity's name with Williams, McManus, and Gallagher.

They would infer that Hannity is included by issuing talking points to spokespeople asking them to berate the administration by saying something like 'not all journalists who promoted the administration message received a quarter of a million dollars' - McManus, Gallagher, and Hannity received less or none.'

Then the public doesn't quite hear it, but links Hannity's name with money. Voila! Done!
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 10:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. It's the "in-kind" contribution...
which is just like money and must be reported to the FEC when supporting candidates for Federal office, in ways other than financial. This would include Rush Limbaugh's promotion of Bush and Repubs for 15 hours per week and also, Hannity and others. That should be considered an "in-kind" contribution by the FEC.
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wakemewhenitsover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 01:33 AM
Response to Original message
6. Soon it will be "No Senior Left Behind" accounts!
And don't those fake commentators remind us of the fake grass roots demonstrations (to make sure the votes weren't counted) in 2000?
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