Media

The Right Wing Media's Lie Machine

In a video posted on YouTube on February 3, House Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) explains how the right wing media machine creates and spreads disinformation in an effort to smear the left. "Disinformation" should not be confused with "misinformation," the unintentional form of wrong information. Disinformation is produced by people who intend to mislead their audience.

Step 1: Fabricate the Lie

Frank tells how John Fund, an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal, told a lie about him in November of last year: In a speech at a conservative function in Florida called "Restoration Weekend," Fund claimed that, after losing the special election in Massachusetts, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank were going to propose a bill to create universal voter registration. Fund further stated that Democrats were going to add all welfare recipients and unemployed people to the voter rolls, and he called it "felon re-enfranchisement." In reality, Frank explains, there was no such bill.

Journalists Hooked on Same Health Care Sources, Such as Jonathan Gruber

Trudy Lieberman of the Columbia Journalism Review writes, "Jonathan Gruber is an economist from MIT. Jonathan Oberlander is a political scientist from the University of North Carolina. Both are health policy experts and, from what we can tell, both know their stuff. But the press has counted on Gruber rather than Oberlander to give gravitas to their stories.

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Sarah Palin, FOXey Lady

Mark Greenbaum of the Christian Science Monitor looks at Sarah Palin's new job being a celebrity pundit on Fox News Channel: "Palin is a true, Hollywood-type celebrity with a bestselling book and millions of adoring fans. She may have designs on the presidency, but she evidently wants to soak up the perks and adulation of her celebrity first, and she has done that with gusto. ...

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Wash Post Called Out for Outsourcing "News" to the Fiscal Times

A conspicuously biased news article printed in the Washington Post on December 31, 2009 is raising the eyebrows of public policy experts, bloggers, media watchdogs other news outlets alike. Sign our petition to tell the Post no more fake news!

Titled "Support grows for tackling nation's debt," the article discusses a proposal to create a government commission to examine America's growing debt. The new commission, according to the article, would be charged with exploring "how to rein in skyrocketing spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security," but the article failed to mention other significant sources of government spending, like the $663 billion military budget.

The story points to growing support for such a commission among political figures, but fails to mention the 40 or so prominent organizations that oppose the plan, including the NAACP, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AARP, Common Cause, the AFL-CIO, and the National Organization for Women (NOW). The article was not written by Post reporters, but was produced by a startup "news" organization called the Fiscal Times, whose byline describes it is an "independent news publication that reports on fiscal, budgetary, healthcare and international economic issues." But is it truly "independent"?

Exploiting the Exploiters' Hoax

Wasting no time, video game startup Heyzap.com in San Francisco has created a video game based on Colorado's "Balloon Boy" hoax that is circulating on the Web and through Twitter. In it, a young Falcon Heene clings to a tinfoil muffin-like balloon while flying through the air trying to shoot down things that get in his way, like UFOs, rainbows and birds.

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