"So how come media objectivity is suddenly a bad thing?" asks columnist Michael Kinsley. "Conservative press critics are in another tizzy about objectivity and balance in American journalism. Only this time, their complaint isn't the lack of these fine qualities but that there's way too much of the stuff. ... The traditional conservative media critique is that journalists bend the news in a liberal direction because they're liberals.
A New York Times story headlined "Network Coverage a Target Of Fire From Conservatives" reports that the far-right Media Research Center (MRC) is successfully attacking news media coverage of the war, especially ABC TV, for lack of patriotism. MRC is a powerful tax-exempt PR and lobby operation begun in 1987 by L.
As might be expected, last week's terrorist bombings have energized some of the most extremist and intolerant segments of American society.
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.
A new book by conservative spinmeisters purports to correct the mainstream media's liberal spin on science news. It Ain't Necessarily So: How Media Make and Unmake the Scientific Picture of Reality, by authors David Murray, Joel Schwartz and S. Robert Lichter, argues that the mainstream media's science coverage is slanted by a liberal agenda.
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.
The polluter-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is using the upcoming Stossel report to escalate its attack on public funding of environmental education. CEI notes that "ABC News is airing a John Stossel special this Friday, June 29, exposing some of the liberal indoctrination children receive in the classroom under the guise of environmental education."
The conservative Frontiers of Freedom Institute has petitioned the Internal Revenue Service to rescind nonprofit status for the San Francisco environmental group Rainforest Action Network (RAN). The Arlington, VA-based research and education group--funded by the John M. Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, and other right-wing foundations--has condemned RAN for being "fundamentally radical, anti-capitalist and lawless." Environmentalists worry this may have a chilling effect on activist organizations.