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A Deal Will Be Done This Weekend, Predicts Obama, Congress Passes More Bad Bills, FAIR’s Media “Awards”

December 29th, 2012 - by:

•Opening /strong>, Promised Land: A Movie About Fracking

Da News:

Prediction: There Will Be Compromise on High

AP: WASHINGTON (AP) – The end game at hand, the White House and Senate leaders made a final stab at compromise Friday night to prevent middle-class tax increases from taking effect at the turn of the new year and possibly block sweeping spending cuts as well. “I’m optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time,” President Barack Obama said at the White House

•NYT: This is it. The moment many have been dreading and warning would mark a worst-case-scenario for the nation is upon us as the hours tick by before January 1, when automatic tax increases and spending cuts will become a reality. President Obama and congressional leaders will meet this afternoon at 3 p.m. to talk over possible ways to avert the crisis. Don’t hold your breath. At this point, even a limited fiscal deal seems unlikely, notes the Associated Press, as the threat of another recession isn’t appearing to motivate party leaders to give in to the other side. In fact, they may very well see a benefit in going over the cliff. Right now, it seems more likely that lawmakers will reach a retroactive deal sometime in January, points out Reuters. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a lot of theater in the coming days in what is only the fifth time since the 1930s that lawmakers have been forced to return to Washington between Christmas and the New Year’s Eve festivities, notes the Washington Post.

Even though both Democrats and Republicans have often talked about just how serious the fiscal cliff is, it seems many have come to the conclusion it’s better to go over “than swallow a raw deal,” writes Politico’s Jonathan Allen. Republicans likely see the benefit of blaming Obama for any tax hike and then voting to decrease taxes rather than raise them. That seems to be a blatant political ploy to try to avoid primary challenges in the future. Democrats aren’t too eager to compromise either, particularly when they consider that public opinion seems to be on their side.

If a deal were to be reached at this point, it will likely come from negotiations in the Senate, where Republicans seem to have agreed they might be able to accept a compromise that extends income tax rates for families who make up to $400,000 or $500,000 while also extending the 35-percent tax rate on inheritances over $5 million per spouse, a GOP lawmaker tells the Hill. It’s far from clear though whether liberal Democrats will go for the estate tax idea. For now, lawmakers all seem to be able to agree on one thing at least: It sure stinks to be stuck in Washington over the holidays, points out the New York Times.

•DB: Congress Extends Surveillance Power

•AJE: Obama enacts anti-Iran bill for the Americas

•Daily Beast: Dems to Nominate Ed Markey to Fill Kerry’s Senate Seat

Well that didn’t take long. A day after veteran lawmaker Rep. Ed Markey said he would run to take over Sen. John Kerry’s seat if he is confirmed as secretary of state, several influential Democrats publicly expressed their support. Kerry himself released a statement saying that he was “excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate.” Markey also got the public support from Victoria Kennedy, late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s widow, as well as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, reports CNN.

The string of endorsements means that what seemed like “a wide-open and potentially crowded Democratic race has begun to resemble a coronation,” points out the Washington Post. The endorsements are a clear indication that Democrats want to unite around an experienced candidate for the special election. “The Democratic Party is … trying to clear the field of any other candidates to avoid a primary,” a Democratic strategist tells Politico. Markey, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1976, has a little more than $3 million in the bank, which should help him gain name recognition across the state. Still, there are potential downsides to such an overwhelming show of support so early as it could help other Democrats portray him as the candidate of the establishment.

•Atlantic:Our Do Little Congress: 170 Confirmations Held Up

•Fluent: Three cops reportedly shot inside New Jersey police station’

•Iranian.com: The First Occupy Wall Street

•BBC: Sex, lies and videotapes: A year in Chinese microblogs

•BoingBoing: The Princelings Run China

China’s Princelings: descendants of Mao’s generals who control the country’s wealth

•BBC: India bus gang-rape victim dies

An Indian student who was left critically ill after being gang-raped on a Delhi bus has died, say doctors who were treating her in Singapore.

•Assad Said To Be Isolated and Afraid- as regime teeters’ on Fluent News. Here is the link:

• Fluent: ‘Praying Hitler statue in Warsaw ghetto sparks emotion’

•AJE: Knesset member appeals Israel election ban

•••Awards: FAIR Honors The Worst In U.S. Media: The P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2012

Recalling some of the stinkiest media moments of the year

They’re back: The P.U.-litzers, FAIR’s annual rundown
of some of the stinkiest moments in American
journalism.

As usual, there were more contenders than we could
possibly consider. So think of this as just a sampling
of the bias, spin and misinformation that we noted over
the course of the year.
Without further ado…

FACTCHECKING THE DARK ARTS AWARD: ALEX ALTMAN, TIME

When Time set out to compare Obama and Romney
distortions, there was a big problem: Romney’s campaign
produced bigger, more substantive lies. How to
“balance” that reality? Altman explained (10/3/12) that
“sometimes the most effective lie is the one that is
closest to the truth, and Obamas team has often
outdone Romney’s in the dark art of subtle distortion.”

CEO’S KNOW BEST AWARD: CBS EVENING NEWS

With the Beltway media in full panic mode over the
“fiscal cliff,” CBS Evening News turned to some curious
experts: Corporate CEOs. On November 19, the show
presented Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs as a budget
expert. The next night: Honeywell CEO David Cote. And
the night after that? Why, more from Blankfein. The
pair are part of the corporate-backed “Fix the Debt”
campaign, pushing for cuts in social spending–along
with tax breaks for themselves.

FACTCHECKING YOUR FRIENDS AWARD: DAVID GERGEN, CNN

When a debate broke out over whether the Obama campaign
was exaggerating claims about Mitt Romney and Bain
Capital, the long-time TV talking head weighed in with
a CNN.com column, “Facts Don’t Support Obama’s Charges
Against Romney” (7/16/12). But Gergen admitted that he
has “a past relationship with the top partners at Bain
that is both personal and financial”– including
getting paid to speak at Bain events. So how did this
conflicted factchecker investigate criticisms of his
friends? He “reached two of the top people whom I know
in the company.” Well, that’s one way to get at the
truth.

HALF-BAKED BY THE HEAT AWARD: GEORGE WILL, ABC

“How do we explain the heat? One word: summer. I grew
up in central Illinois in a house without air
conditioning…. Now, come the winter, there will be a
cold snap, lots of snow, and the same guys…will start
lecturing us, there’s a difference between the weather
and the climate. I agree with that. We’re having some
hot weather. Get over it.” (This Week, 7/8/12)

KILLING THEIR FOUR-YEAR-OLD GIRLS TO SAVE OURS AWARD:
JOE KLEIN, TIME

MSNBC’s Morning Joe (10/23/12) had an unusually blunt
discussion about U.S drone attacks. When host Joe
Scarborough talked about “four-year-old girls being
blown to bits,” Time’s Joe Klein responded:

The bottom line, in the end, is: Whose four-year-
old gets killed? What we’re doing is limiting the
possibility that four-year-olds here are going to
get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.

HUNKY WONK AWARD: MICHAEL CROWLEY, TIME

Reporters and pundits have spent years praising Rep.
Paul Ryan, and his selection as Mitt Romney’s running
mate did little to temper their enthusiasm. The
Washington Post’s Dan Balz (8/14/12) wrote that Ryan
“is a numbers person who likes to break down problems
and solve them after digesting reams of data.” But
Time’s Michael Scherer outdid him (8/27/12): “Ryan is
to budget math what Carl Sagan was to the science of
the cosmos.”

ANONYMOUS SMEARS AWARD: SCOTT SHANE, NEW YORK TIMES

When the British-based Bureau of Investigative
Journalism released a report on civilian drone victims,
the New York Times (2/6/12) felt compelled to quote an
unnamed “senior American counterterrorism official” in
response, who retorted: “One must wonder why an effort
that has so carefully gone after terrorists who plot to
kill civilians has been subjected to so much
misinformation. Let’s be under no illusions–there are
a number of elements who would like nothing more than
to malign these efforts and help Al-Qaeda succeed.”
The Times officially forbids the granting of anonymity
“as cover for a personal or partisan attack.” But how
about to smear critics of U.S. policies as terrorist
sympathizers?

A GAME THAT NEEDS CHANGING AWARD: PBS

In the first episode (4/11/12) of a four-part series
called America Revealed, PBS reported that the
agriculture industry “needed a game changer” in the
fight against pestsand found it in genetically
modified corn. Remarkably enough, the sponsor of the
program, Dow Chemical, just happens to be lobbying for
approval of its own brand of genetically modified corn.

STRANGE PROBLEMS IN DISTANT LANDS AWARD: NEW YORK TIMES
A New York Times story (6/18/12) reported that “the
television revolution has…in some respects been bad
news for Pakistan”:

Some shows have given an unchallenged platform to
extremists…. Conservative clerics have used the
airwaves to reinforce prejudice and even urge
violence against minorities. Editorial
independence is sometimes curtailed by the
businessmen who own the stations and unashamedly
use them to peddle their interests.

Controversy also surrounds the anchors, some of
whom view themselves as players on the national
stage rather than impartial observers of its
machinations.

Extremists given a platform? Owners shaping the news?
Self-important anchors? It’s hard to imagine what life
would be like in such a country.

FAKE NEWS AWARD: NEW YORK POST

“OWS MURDER LINK,” declared the New York Post’s front
page (7/11/12), announcing a report that DNA from the
scene of a 2004 murder had supposedly been matched with
DNA from a chain used to hold open a subway gate in an
Occupy Wall Street protest. The Rupert Murdoch-owned
paper had 37 paragraphs on the story, along with three
large photographs. The story quickly evaporated–turns
out the DNA was from a police employee–so the Post
gave its follow-up story to the previous day’s front-
page story four whole paragraphs, under the headline
“’04 Slay DNA ‘Contaminated.’”
Apparently unreliable police work isn’t as exciting a
story as a sensational smear against a progressive
protest movement.

APOCALYPSE NON AWARD: GLORIA BORGER, CNN

In 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, Mitt Romney
was a pro-war college student exempt from the draft.
The conflict killed 16,000 U.S. soldiers that year. But
that doesnt mean he wasnt at personal risk. According
to CNNs Gloria Borger (8/26/12), life as a Mormon
missionary in France was rough:

In 1968, France was a dangerous place to be for a
21-year-old American. But Mitt Romney was right in
the middle of it… The streets of France were in
chaos.

Somehow he got through it.

ASKED AND ANSWERED AWARD: DAVID GREGORY, NBC

The Sunday after Hurricane Sandy devastated New York
and New Jersey, NBCs David Gregory asked in the
opening of Meet the Press (11/4/12): “Should more
attention be paid to a changing climates impact on the
severity of these storms?” The answer, apparently, was
“no” –that was the last mention of climate change on
the show.

•The Nation: Watching ‘The House I Live In’ on Rikers Island –

HELP MEDIACHANNEL RETURN STRONGER THAN EVER

First, some not so good news.

Last Spring, we woke up one morning to find that we could no longer access many of our domains including Mediachannel.org and NewsDissector.com, two well-known and respected websites that we launched in the year 2000 to provide a global platform for media analysis, criticism, debate, and activism. I’ll spare you the details of our externally created travails; it was an ordeal no one should have to go through!

But now…

With help from good friends, colleagues, and supporters, we have recovered our domains.

Finally, Mediachannel.org will be back!

We are rededicating ourselves to revitalizing the fight for media accountability and transparency, because every day, consolidated corporate media shapes our future by disseminating and reinforcing government and corporate propaganda. Too often, this mechanism inhibits social and political change by artificially restricting public debate, and undermining democracy for the benefit of narrow interests, rather than strengthening it for us all.

Mediachannel.org will, we hope, once again become a “one stop shop” for the best writing, reflections, and investigations on the power and impact of media in our world. We will name and shame dishonest journalism, feature stories on best practices, and showcase media resources. We know we have important information and analyses to share, and hope you will join or rejoin us.

Additionally, we will resume sending out our newsletter, Media Savvy, and my blog, News Dissector, recognized as Blog of the Year by the Hunter College Media Department in New York City, directly to your inbox, free of charge.

How You Can Help Mediachannel:

Please write to us at support@mediachannel.org and tell us:

•How do you think Mediachannel.org can be most effective?
•What do you think we should be covering and offering in this new media age?
•Which media websites do you find most useful and why?

Donations to this not for profit effort can be made payable to:

The Global Center
PO Box 677
New York, New York l0035
(Please cite Mediachannel on the check)

Your support will enable us to finally get back into action, providing you with unique investigative journalism that spans the globe.

As a token of my appreciation for any donation above $50, I will happily send you a copy of my latest eBook, Dissecting the News and Lighting the Fuse, published with help of Coldtype.net. This new 220-page book features updates some of our best work along with new articles and essays. It is a collection of timely dissections.

Thank you for your support over the years. We didn’t disappear voluntarily, and we know you will be pleased to read our latest reporting and commentary again regularly as a member of Mediachannel.org

Onward,

Danny Schechter
Editor and News Dissector

PS: I want to extend a special thank you to Rob Kall of OpEdNews.com, who rebuilt Mediachannel when our site was taken down, and Aaron Krowne of ML-Implode.com, for hosting Newsdissector.net.

•¥our comments welcome to dissector@mediachannel.org

News Dissector Resources

•••Thank you Polar Levine/Polarity1 for this rockin’ hip-hop and critical collage for my birthdayPolarity 1 – Dissector

Listen Up: Podcast of a News Dissector Radio Hour On PRN.fm

Features personal reflections and readings from my recent books. Lots of intensity and passionate conviction.

•••PalTalk News Network: Interview on My Two New Books

Just Out From Cosimo Books: Occupy, Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

New Book: OCCUPY: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street

The Other New Book From Your News Dissector From Cosimo Books

Commentaries, Analysis, Rants, Dissections

Both books can be ordered on Cosimo.com or from Amazon.com.