Media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports in the latest issue of their magazine Extra! that media citations of think tanks grew 29 percent in 2000. Progressive groups, like the Economic Policy Institute, Urban Institute, and Justice Policy Institute, saw a significant increase in references to them in electronic media. Conservative and right-leaning think tanks, however, still got half of all media citations.
The Sunday morning political talk shows shut out issues related to corporate power. That is the primary conclusion of a new report issued by Essential Information, a Ralph Nader founded organization based in Washington, DC. A quantitative analysis of transcripts broadcast over a period of eighteen months from four talk shows -- The McLaughlin Group, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week -- found that topics related to corporate power -- such as the environment, corporate welfare, and free trade -- make up less than 4% of the shows' discussion topics.
The belated discovery that George W. Bush's campaign applied two disparate standards for counting overseas ballots in Florida -- liberal for Bush strongholds and stringent for counties carried by Al Gore -- underscores again the huge advantage that the well-funded conservative news media gives the Republicans. "By having a powerful media of its own -- from TV networks to nationwide talk radio, from news magazines to daily newspapers -- the conservative movement can give its stamp to events during the crucial few days when the public is paying attention," writes Robert Parry.
Media Relations, a Minneapolis-based PR firm, tells potential clients, "The media is separated into two categories. One is content and the other is advertising. They're both for sale." In a press release sent to media watch-dog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, the firm explains that one can now buy news articles for less money than advertisements. That's because unlike other PR firms, Media Relations only charges clients for stories that get picked up by media. According to the firm's website, "Normally clients spend between $3,000 and $50,000 per month with us."
Magazines are offering more to advertisers than just ad space. "Integrated marketing" increasingly is being used by large publishers to draw in corporate advertisers. The Wall Street Journal reports that AOL Time Warner's Mutual Funds magazine offers marketing services at an additional charge to those who buy ad space.
Michael Eisner, head of the Walt Disney Company, praises Radio Disney, which currently broadcasts in 48 markets, representing 54% of the country. According to a press release, "because Radio Disney is the only 24-hour kids' radio network, it has important synergy benefits for the entire company, helping to get the word out about everything from new movies to goings-on at our theme parks to Disney record releases." In May, the first non-English Radio Disney station outside the U.S. was launched in Buenos Aires.
In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of company founder Walt Disney's birth, Walt Disney World is pulling out all the advertising stops with a $250-million campaign. Disney's major corporate partners--McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, American Express, and Hallmark Cards--will all contribute paid media to counter sagging attendance at the four Florida Disney parks. Advertising Age reports, "As with most of Disney's big marketing efforts, all its companies are synergistically involved, including the ABC Television Network, which will air a documentary on Walt Disney...."
ABC's John Stossel attempted to defend himself by describing his critics as "brainwashed." Stossel appeared yesterday on Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor." Responding to criticism by the Environmental Working Group, Stossel said, "I call them the totalitarian left. They want to silence people who criticize them." See earlier postings on Spin of the Day for the complete story on Stossel's media debacle.
Disney/ABC would probably prefer that viewers perceive John Stossel as a fair and investigative journalist, but pro-industry libertarians love him as an ally and leader in their attack on virtually all government.