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    Archived pages: 490 . Archive date: 2012-10.

  • Title: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
    Descriptive info: .. Sign Up for FAIR's Email List:.. FAIR WebStore.. |.. Subscribe to.. Extra!.. Donate to FAIR.. [.. adv search.. ].. Missing Latino Voices.. : Excluded from the newsroom, absent from the conversation.. By.. Julie Hollar.. LISTEN NOW:.. Costas Panayotakis on Greek protests; Jesselyn Radack on Obama, 'free speech' and whistleblowers.. (9/28/12-10/4/12).. Moderate Debates and Debate Moderators.. : Debate process needs more scrutiny, not less.. 10/3/12.. Jim Lehrer is hopping mad.. The.. New York Times.. (.. 10/2/12.. ) reports that the.. PBS.. anchor "has been seething.. He said he was outraged by suggestions that he was a 'safe' and uninspired choice to moderate the first of four debates.. ".. The focus of the.. Times.. piece is the fact that people have more ways to express their opinions about the presidential debate moderators:.. read more.. ).. Click here to get your FREE sticker!.. Media Advisory:.. : Debate process needs more scrutiny, not less (10/3/12).. Extra!:.. Actual Suppression vs.. Imaginary Fraud.. : Media won't ID voter ID myths (October 2012) By.. Peter Hart.. Economy Is the Issue That Isn't.. : Misidentifying problems, marginalizing solutions (October 2012) By.. Neil deMause.. CounterSpin:.. (9/28/12).. Other Recent Additions.. Barack Obama.. Elections.. Economy.. FROM THE ARCHIVES.. Whistling Past the Wreckage of Civil Liberties.. Watchdogs slept through a decade of rollback (September 2011).. We Feel Your Pain.. Media Tell Workers to Learn to Live With Layoffs (May/June 1996).. Media Tell Obama--Don't Be a Lefty Like Clinton.. Rewriting the '94 election to find a centrist moral (11/7/08).. The 2010 midterms are looking like a rerun of 1994--an election year steeped in media mythology.. Recent Posts:.. Time: Obama's Lies Are Worse Because They're More Accurate.. Posted by Peter Hart on 10/03/12 at 4:26 pm.. In.. Time.. magazine s new cover story ( Blue Truth, Red Truth,.. 10/3/12.. ),.. Michael Scherer.. attempts to sort out the puzzle of campaign season factchecking.. But while the cover promises to tell us which candidate is telling the truth, it mostly manages to capture some of the corporate media s.. worst factchecking tropes.. The article kicks off with a hefty helping of.. false balance.. the tendency to see all problems as coming more or less equally from both sides.. Obama complains about Romney s sustained,.. false claims.. that the White House is doing away with work requirements under welfare.. Scherer notes this is false and then pivots to  ...   friend or every page that you like.. has a formula called Edgerank that tries to determine how interested you d be in that post, based mainly on how much you ve liked, shared or commented upon similar posts in the past, and how many people are liking, sharing and commenting on that particular post.. At least, that s how it used to work.. Now it s got the additional factor of whether.. has received a bribe to show you a post that its formula tells it you won t necessarily find to be that interesting.. Now, say your mail carrier lets it be known that they ll accept a small fee to make sure that your mail doesn t get lost and you decline to pay the fee.. What do you expect is going to happen? That s right, more of your mail is going to get lost.. And sure enough, on September 20,.. decided to start losing more of your mail.. When Nonsense Is Your Reality, Reality Naturally Seems to Have a Slant.. Posted by Jim Naureckas on 10/01/12 at 6:16 am.. Washington Post.. ombud.. Patrick Pexton.. 9/30/12.. ) presents conservative opinion as a.. prima facie.. case for a left-wing slant in corporate news media: Republicans think the news media are being too easy on Barack Obama.. Everyone sees more bias, and Republicans see it more than other groups.. Offering this as evidence of a left media bias is, of course, highly dubious.. Sixty-seven percent.. of Republicans say that humans aren t warming the planet.. Sixty-three percent.. still maintain that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction.. Fifty-eight percent.. of Republicans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, according to.. Gallup.. People who adhere to false beliefs are likely to falsely perceive a slant in truthful reporting.. On the subject of Obama,.. 34 percent.. of conservative Republicans think he s a Muslim.. Sixty-four percent.. of Republicans believe he wasn t born in the United States.. Why wouldn t people under such delusions think that media were being soft on Obama by accepting the reality that he s a Hawaii-born Christian? [.. More Blog posts.. Home.. Contact Us.. Support Us.. RSS.. Privacy Policy.. Copyright Policy.. This.. work.. is licensed under a.. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.. 0 Unported License.. Site designed by the.. May First Technology Collective..

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  • Title: FAIR Store
    Descriptive info: FAIR Bookstore.. Subscriptions.. Back Issues.. Shirts, Hats, Mugs and More.. DVDs and CDs.. Sale and Clearance Items..

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  • Title: Advanced Search
    Descriptive info: Advanced Search:.. I am looking for:.. Enter your keywords.. Please return results matching:.. Any of the keywords I entered.. All the keywords I entered.. Limited to the following issue areas:.. Select multiple issue areas by holding down the.. CTRL.. or.. SHIFT.. keys.. Abortion.. Advertiser Influence.. Affirmative Action.. Ageism.. Anti-Semitism.. Censorship.. Civil Liberties.. Clintons.. Contra/Crack.. Corporate Ownership.. Covert Operations.. Crime and Punishment.. Disability.. Disasters.. Domestic Violence.. Downing Street Memos.. Drugs.. Education.. Elections/2000.. Elections/2004.. Elections/2006.. Elections/2008.. Elections/2010.. Energy.. Environment.. Fear & Favor.. Food.. George W.. Bush.. Health and Healthcare.. Homophobia and LGBT Issues.. Human  ...   & Welfare.. PR Industry.. Pressure Groups.. Protest.. Race and Racism.. Religion.. Sensationalism.. Sexism.. Social Security.. Sports.. Telecom Policy.. Terrorism.. The Christian right.. Torture.. Trade.. War and Militarism.. Youth.. Within the publication:.. Select multiple publications by holding down the.. CounterSpin.. Action Alerts & Press Releases.. Within the past:.. Search the Entire Archive.. Week.. Month.. 90 Days.. Year.. Between the following dates:.. Please enter dates in dd/mm/yy format.. and.. On the following date:.. Search with the:.. Use the checkboxes to choose what fields to search.. Title.. Issue Area.. Region.. Media Outlet.. Author.. Body.. All fields..

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  • Title: Extra! - The Magazine of FAIR, the Media Watch Group
    Descriptive info: About Extra!.. is FAIR's hard-hitting monthly magazine of well-documented media criticism.. receives no money from advertisers or corporate underwriters, and depends on subscribers for its existence.. If you find the information on this website valuable, please.. subscribe.. and help make it possible for us to keep investigating and publishing.. Extra!'s staff:.. Editor:.. Jim Naureckas.. Managing editor:.. Publisher:.. Deborah Thomas.. Letters to the editor:.. letters@fair.. org.. Subscribe Now!.. Writers.. Article Archives.. "In Extra!, I find all the news that the Respectables find unfit to print.. It is great  ...   October 2012.. Misidentifying problems, marginalizing solutions.. Media won't ID voter ID myths.. Articles only available in print or to digital subscribers:.. Gender Focus.. The Year of the Woman?.. Olympics coverage undercuts event advances.. by Megan Tady.. Special Election Report.. Guide to Election Coverage 2012.. Tropes, tricks and tics of campaign journalism.. by Peter Hart and Julie Hollar.. Greatly Diminished Expectations.. Foreign policy differences no longer seem profound.. by Keane Bhatt.. Skepticism Essential in Syria Reporting.. Real atrocities, dubious sources.. by Steve Rendall.. Cover art by Jem Sullivan..

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  • Title: Missing Latino Voices
    Descriptive info: Email to a friend.. Printer friendly.. Share.. Diggit.. del.. icio.. us.. reddit.. Yahoo.. StumbleUpon.. What's this?.. Extra!.. September 2012.. Excluded from the newsroom, absent from the conversation.. Since 1990,.. the Latino population in the United States has more than doubled to 16 percent, but English-language U.. news media outlets are simply not keeping up.. While people of color and women have always been underrepresented in U.. media, Latinos consistently stand out in the coverage as well as inside the newsroom for their exceptionally paltry numbers relative to their population size.. In coverage.. In.. s recent study of the opinion pages of the.. ,.. Wall Street Journal.. (4/12), Latinos were granted less than half a percent of the op-ed bylines over the two-month study period writing two columns in the.. , one in the.. , and none in the.. Post.. None of these papers has a Latino among their staff columnists.. In more than a year of political book interviews on.. C-SPAN.. After Words and reviews in the.. New York.. Book Review.. , 8/10), not a single U.. Latino appeared among the 432 authors, reviewers and interviewers.. Among U.. sources on the.. NewsHour.. in 2006 (.. , 9 10/06), Latinos, who were 14 percent of the U.. public at the time, represented a strikingly small 2 percent; George W.. Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales accounted for 30 percent of those Latino sources.. An earlier study (.. , 5 6/02) found commercial networks doing even worse, with Latinos representing a stunningly low 0.. 6 percent of sources on the nightly news programs of.. ABC.. CBS.. NBC.. At.. NPR.. , only one of the outlet s 46 regular commentators in 2003 was Latino making them the most underrepresented group we looked at among.. commentators next to Native Americans, who were not represented at all (.. , 5 6/04).. Even when the coverage directly involves and impacts Latinos, their voices are scarce.. In a year s worth of cable coverage of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was recently sued by the Justice Department for unlawful discrimination against Latinos those actually targeted by his policies were included in the conversation only two out of 21 times (.. , 6/09).. Latinos are rarely turned to as experts, the researchers, academics and analysts who add insight to a story.. In FAIR s 2007 study of poverty coverage (.. , 9 10/07), for example, Latinos were 5 percent of all sources, but all were people in poverty; none of the 114 non-poor sources identified in the study period were Latino.. Often the only time Latinos are included in stories is when newsmakers themselves are Latino.. In stories on the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, for example, 28 percent of.. sources whose ethnicity could be identified were Latino, while no sources identifiable as Latino were quoted when Robert Bork was nominated (.. , 8/09).. (More than half of those Latino sources in Sotomayor stories were the nominee herself and her family and friends.. ).. In a study of six months of content in major print, broadcast and online media outlets in 2009, the  ...   their numbers are still very subpar are in cities with majority Latino populations.. Miami Herald.. , for example, in a city that s 70 percent Latino, has a 27 percent Latino newsroom staff.. The El Paso.. , at 57 percent in an 82 percent Latino county, does the best of the large English-language papers surveyed.. And as newspapers lay off more employees every year, minorities and women are often the first to be cut.. Ruben Navarrette, the most widely syndicated Latino columnist in the country (and the only one to crack the top 30 in.. Media Matters.. 2007 study of nationally syndicated columnists), told Richard Prince (.. Journal-isms.. , 6/18/10) that when he joined the.. San Diego Union-Tribune.. s editorial board in 2005, its 10 members also included an African-American man and a white woman but as of his 2010 layoff, everybody left on the editorial board is a white male.. A similar trend holds on local TV and radio news outlets.. At non-Hispanic TV stations, the 2011 news workforce was only 6 percent Latino, and news directors were only 2 percent Latino.. (Eighty-four percent of the workforce at Hispanic stations are of Latin American descent.. ) Latino men outnumber Latina women by 35 percent (RTNDA, 7 8/11).. A 2002.. survey (9 10/02) on the leading public radio stations in seven urban U.. markets found only one Latino out of 83 daytime hosts and news anchors.. (Six were African-American, two Asian-American and two Arab-American.. ).. don t seem to be changing: In RTNDA s more recent 2011 survey, Latinos were less than 3 percent of the nation s local radio news workforce.. Besides presenting all of us.. with an incomplete picture of U.. life, the lack of Latino voices, as both journalists and sources, means a large and growing segment of the public is being left out of the public debate on issues of critical importance issues that impact Latinos in particular, like coverage of anti-immigrant politicians like Arpaio, and issues that impact them in different or more severe ways than others, like public education.. (See "Misrepresenting the Latino Education Crisis,".. , 9/12).. The deficiencies are not lost on Latinos: Among those who got their news in both languages, Spanish-language media was rated (Pew Hispanic Center, 4/19/04) much better than English-language at covering news that is specifically relevant to [Hispanics/Latinos] in the United States : 79 percent called it excellent or good, vs.. 20 percent only fair or poor, while English-language news was seen by 51 percent as only fair/poor.. As companies like.. Fox.. begin to target Latino audiences with special channels and websites (see "Latinos in New Media,".. , 9/12), will those audiences feel better served, or just ghettoized and exploited? And will that provide just one more excuse for those outlets to continue to marginalize Latino sources and reporters in their other news? Whatever decisions big media make, Latino journalists like those featured in this issue will continue their struggle to make a place for themselves and their growing communities in the country s media landscape.. See FAIR's Archives for more on:.. Extra! Homepage..

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  • Title: Costas Panayotakis on Greek protests; Jesselyn Radack on Obama, 'free speech' and whistleblowers
    Descriptive info: CounterSpin (9/28/12-10/4/12).. Listen:.. [mp3].. [RealAudio not avalailable].. Note: Please feel free to download the mp3 by right-clicking the mp3 link and choose the "Save Target As" function.. Coverage of protests in Greece and Spain over austerity measures offers a glimpse of how corporate view the crisis.. As Spanish protesters surrounded the Spanish parliament and Greek protesters called for general strike, U.. media worried about the pain the events might inflict on.. financial markets.. We'll talk with NY City College of Technology professor Costas Panayotakis about the economic crisis in Greece, and what better coverage would look like.. Also on  ...   to resist the temptation to crack down on dissenters.. The words rang hollow though for, among others, those aware of the administration's own concerted efforts to crack down on whistleblowers right here at home.. Jesselyn Radack is National Security Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the national whistleblower protection and advocacy group.. She'll join us to talk about what a war on whistleblowers means for all of us.. Listen to this week's show:.. LINKS:.. --What's 'Fit' to Read About Greece," by Costas Panayotakis (NYTExaminer,.. 8/23/12.. ).. --.. Government Accountability Project: National Security Human Rights Program.. CounterSpin Homepage..

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  • Title: Activism
    Descriptive info: : Debate process needs more scrutiny, not less (10/3/12).. Post Ombud Agrees with FAIR on Big Oil Sponsorship.. : Energy 'debate' needed diversity and disclosure (9/24/12).. Brought to You by.. Big Oil?.. : Washington Post hides industry sponsorship of energy debate (9/14/12).. Paul Ryan's 'Self-Reliance'.. : Concocting an 'origin story' for VP hopeful's character (8/15/12).. The Media's Favorite 'Wonk'.. : Paul Ryan according to Beltway media (8/14/12).. For more articles, please visit our.. archives.. Join FAIR's e-mail list & receive news, action alerts and much more.. Just fill in your name and e-mail address and press "subscribe":.. Name:.. Email:.. Join the Action Alert Network.. FAIR s Action Alert network is a powerful activism tool that encourages the public to become critically engaged with media.. FAIR distributes timely, focused reports via email, critiquing specific instances of media  ...   up.. - just enter your name and email address in the sign up box on this page.. We keep our list low-volume - generally only one or two emails per week.. Get involved in the FAIR fight for better media coverage - sign up today.. Become a friend on Facebook!.. Activism Resources.. FAIR's Media Contact List.. : Contact national media and make your voice heard!.. FAIR's Media Activism Kit.. : A step-by-step guide to getting involved in media activism, from letter-writing to organizing a demonstration.. Includes an essential resource list.. Media Activism Groups.. : Find out what's going on around the country and in your area.. Online News Sources.. : Where to keep up with the news.. Challenging Hate Radio: A Guide For Activists.. Some tips on documenting hate speech, and what activists can do about it..

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  • Title: Moderate Debates and Debate Moderators
    Descriptive info: Media Advisory.. Debate process needs more scrutiny, not less.. In the.. Twitter.. age, when anyone can immediately render swift and harsh judgment, the stress of hosting an event as politically charged as a presidential debate is heavier than ever.. While the.. seems bothered by the "partisan rancor in this hyper-politicized climate," it's difficult to see the downside in criticizing the process.. In fact, it deserves much more scrutiny.. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which wrested control of the debates from the League of Women Voters in 1988, is a nonprofit--financed largely by corporations--that is.. basically controlled.. by the two major political parties.. The campaigns hash out secret agreements about every aspect of the debates, and, as the group.. Open Debates.. has pointed out for years, the campaigns actually get to vet the moderators.. host Gwen Ifill, host of two past vice presidential debates, skirted this fact in a piece for the.. 9/28/12.. ) about debate "myths," one of which was the idea that the candidates get to see the questions in advance.. But once they've chosen the questioners, perhaps they don't need to.. What's more, the subject areas to be covered in the first debate are already known, which would appear to be the first time the candidates have ever received this kind of advance notice (.. U.. News.. 9/21/12.. Jim Lehrer has already announced that he will ask  ...   board.. His.. commitment to fairness, sense of modesty and professional experience--developed over more than five decades in newspaper then television journalism--have earned him the respect of political strategists across the ideological spectrum.. Being praised by "political strategists" could mean you're exceedingly fair--or that you've managed to offend no one in power.. The latter is not exactly an admirable trait in a journalist.. But it's the kind of thing that makes it likely that the major-party candidates will let you moderate their presidential debate.. FAIR's repeated studies of the.. show that Lehrer's reputation for moderation is based on a tilt toward conservative sources and a willingness to exclude perspectives that might challenge the elite consensus (Media Advisory,.. 5/13/11.. When FAIR studied two months of the.. in 2010 (.. 11/10.. ), we found four times as many oil industry representatives talking about the BP oil spill as environmental experts; none of the segments on the Afghan War included a peace advocate.. Thankfully, there are some alternatives.. Democracy Now!.. is presenting a.. debate special.. that will include real-time responses to the questions from candidates shut out by the debate commission: Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party.. There will also be a livestream special presented by.. OccupyTheDebates.. , offering analysis and commentary that will not be available in the corporate media.. Activism Homepage.. How to write a letter..

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  • Title: What's New at FAIR
    Descriptive info: What's New at FAIR.. : Misidentifying problems, marginalizing solutions.. | October 2012.. : Media won't ID voter ID myths.. Media Not Concerned About the Very Poor.. : Study finds poverty not an issue in most election coverage.. Mariana Garces.. Steve Rendall.. | September 2012.. Vijay Prashad on Muslim Rage, Imara Jones on 47 percent and race.. (9/21/12-9/27/12).. Kevin Kumashiro on Chicago teachers' strike; Rose Aguilar on poverty reporting.. (9/14/12-9/20/12).. George Farah on open debates, Muhammad Sahimi on IAEA Iran report.. (9/7/12-9/13/12).. For more shows, please visit our..

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  • Title: Actual Suppression vs. Imaginary Fraud
    Descriptive info: October 2012.. As usual, comedian.. Jon Stewart explained reality on a fake news show better than most "real" news outlets.. On the.. August 16.. broadcast of.. Comedy Central.. 's.. Daily Show.. , Stewart imagined a world where peanut butter was treated with "huge amounts of hydrochloric acid to dissolve any potential dragon bones.. " Sure, people die from the acid--but the dragon bone problem is solved once and for all.. That absurd metaphor was used to illustrate the wave of "voter ID" laws in states like Pennsylvania--where, as Stewart put it, the possible disenfranchisement of over 700,000 legal Pennsylvania voters is "the price you pay to prevent something that doesn't happen.. Indeed, the.. segment made the one point that any competent news report should make: The epidemic of voter impersonation fraud the laws are supposedly designed to counter doesn't exist.. But most coverage treats this key fact as a footnote at best.. The literature on the subject points to one conclusion: Fraudulent voting is so rare as to be basically nonexistent (.. News21.. 8/21/12.. ; Brennan Center, 11/07).. Even the state of Pennsylvania, in court to defend its ID law, admitted that the legislation exists to correct a problem it has not encountered (.. Talking Points Memo.. 7/24/12.. So what do media.. say on the crucial question of fact? Like many other political disputes, reality is presented as though it were a partisan disagreement.. "Democratic groups," reported the.. 4/30/12.. ), "say they are part of a partisan, Republican effort to dampen the turnout of voters.. " On the other hand, "Advocates of the new laws, which have been passed in about 30 states since the last presidential election, say they are necessary to prevent voter fraud.. " Given that choice, most fair-minded readers would see that Democrats want to protect their ability to win, while Republicans want to stop the abuse of the electoral system.. That framing is typical in the.. ' news section; an.. article by Ethan Bronner portrayed the dispute in Pennsylvania as one between critics of the law, who see it as a "Republican attempt to suppress participation" of Democratic voters, and backers of the law who claim to be "seeking to preserve the integrity of the electoral process.. 12/13/11.. ) likewise explained, "liberal and civil rights groups" say the laws are "an attempt to depress minority voter turnout," while proponents "say they are needed to combat voter fraud.. " In.. USA Today.. 8/20/12.. ), readers were told that "backers of the law say it is necessary to prevent voter fraud"; a subhead (2/20/12) put it succinctly: "Advocates Say They Stop Fraud; Critics See Discrimination.. Television coverage of the fight over voter participation has been remarkably sparse, considering the stakes.. Only a handful of reports have aired on any of  ...   reported fraud there have been.. In an August 15 report, Quijano explained:.. We looked at those 10 states which recently passed photo ID laws and found fewer than 70 voter fraud convictions in the past decade among 40 million registered voters.. And a few weeks earlier (7/28/12), Quijano noted that "in the past five years, Kansas has prosecuted only a handful of voter fraud cases; in Pennsylvania, none.. That clarity is rare.. In fact, some media accounts seem to go out of their way to obscure this reality.. ), reporter Jerry Markon wrote:.. When it comes to voting fraud, some conservatives have long argued that it is a serious problem, although others say the number of such cases is relatively low.. Studies of the issue have reached different conclusions on the extent of the problem.. Where are these differing studies? Markon explained in an email (.. FAIR Blog.. ) that he was referring to a 2006 study by the U.. Electoral Assistance Commission.. But that report is fairly well-known in the field because its muddled final version was at odds with its own original draft, which had concluded that "there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling-place fraud.. " In fact, one of the authors of the original report wrote an op-ed in Markon's own paper (8/30/07) decrying the Bush administration's politicization of her work.. article's approach was unusual; most news accounts seem completely uninterested in the question of how much fraud actually exists.. Better, instead, to not bring up the issue--at least in the news section.. Indeed, the facts about the paucity of voter fraud are treated as though they are a matter of opinion, relegated to editorial and op-ed pages.. (e.. g.. ,.. 10/10/11.. ) has written several strong pieces about the issue;.. 3/20/12.. ) pointed out:.. You'd think there was a raging epidemic of fraud around the country to justify all this diligent effort.. But if there is, it's awfully hard to detect.. The paper went on to state: "In fact, what's really going on is a fight for partisan advantage.. " But that "fact" doesn't seem to enter into the news accounts of the issue--in their paper or most others.. The flipside of preventing a nonexistent problem is the creation of a real problem: Denying legitimate voters the opportunity to participate in an election.. The Brennan Center for Justice (10/3/11) estimated that the "new laws could make it significantly harder for more than 5 million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.. " It's beyond dispute that these laws will do far more to prevent legal voting than they will to prevent illegitimate participation in the voting process.. Media that pretend to care about the integrity of the vote might want to give that some attention..

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  • Title: Economy Is the Issue That Isn't
    Descriptive info: If there's one.. thing the media seem certain about this election season, it's that the choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will come down to one thing: the economy.. The "rhetorical debate question" from Ronald Reagan's debate with Jimmy Carter,.. ) reported on its front page , "has become an iconic one for voters.. Are you better off than you were four years ago?" The paper cited polls showing that 55 percent of Americans say they are not.. Considering that, you'd expect that the summer would have seen a barrage of stories on the state of the economy, on the trials of the more than 8 percent of Americans who remain unemployed, and especially about how well the two candidates' policies were likely to alleviate the nation's economic woes.. And yet, with few exceptions, the subject of the economy--and more to the point, what can be done to fix it--was barely addressed by major U.. media over the summer, beyond occasional reports on fluctuating employment figures.. Instead, the bulk.. of economic coverage focused on the looming debt crisis--not coincidentally, the one economic issue being raised incessantly by the Romney campaign.. (Obama's preferred summer topic--the future of Medicare--received a similar flurry of coverage.. "Presidents have been warning for decades of the dangers of this country's debt and deficits," noted Jake Tapper on.. ABC's This Week.. (8/19/12).. "But the big question: Is this time different? Is this the year we finally start to get our nation's finances in order?" What followed was a panel of current and former Washington officials (plus one.. columnist and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist) in which Tapper demanded that each declare whether they were "optimistic" or "pessimistic" about bringing down the federal debt.. Yet while majorities of Americans consistently rank either "the economy" or "unemployment/jobs" as the most important problem facing the country today (.. com.. ), the federal debt has struggled to break into double digits as a top problem.. Which is a reasonable assessment, given that--notwithstanding the "fiscal cliff" that Congress imposed during last year's battle over the nation's debt ceiling--the costs of high unemployment are far greater than those of a rising national debt: As Paul Krugman argued (.. 1/2/12.. ): "Yes, debt matters.. But right now, other things matter more.. We need more, not less, government spending to get us out of our unemployment trap.. If so, both.. the Republican plan--which would, under Paul Ryan's proposal, cut $2.. 2 trillion in federal spending on domestic programs over the next decade--and the Democratic plan, to stay the course with a fading stimulus after Obama's last jobs bill was killed by Congress last fall, will do little to improve the economy.. Yet most reporters continued to paint the economic debate as one over free spending vs.. austerity--and then seemed puzzled that voters aren't treating the election as a referendum on the same.. Los Angeles Times.. 7/7/12.. ) referred to "Obama's apparent ability to defy economic gravity.. " The.. 8/6/12.. ) called it a "contest that, so far, defies nature.. ".. story.. on poll results puzzled over the fact that many voters favored Obama even though they thought they were worse off than before his presidency.. Of  ...   by mid-2012, though more than 90 percent of ARRA money had been spent, between 200,000 and 1.. 2 million people still owed their jobs to Obama's policies.. And a poll of economists across the political spectrum by the Initiative on Global Markets (2/15/12) found that they agreed by a 20-to-1 margin that the stimulus had lowered the unemployment rate.. Of course, even 3.. 6 million jobs is far less than the estimated 8 million jobs that were lost in the economic crash.. Meanwhile, few major media reports have noted that the temporary boost from the federal stimulus has been largely swamped by state and local spending cuts: Counting state and local government, public sector jobs fell by 590,000 during Obama's first three years (.. Calculated Risk.. 3/18/12.. ), compared to significant increases during both George W.. Bush's and Ronald Reagan's post-recession first terms.. Economic experts, though, were all too seldom called to comment on the state of the economy in the news media.. More typically, reporting consisted of competing he-said-she-said claims by the two campaigns that their candidate was best suited to resolving the economic crisis.. This was especially true on TV news talk shows, which often left it to representatives of the Obama and Romney campaigns to face off against each other, with no outside critics or economic experts present (.. Face the Nation.. , 7/15/12 and 8/12/12;.. This Week.. , 7/29/12).. On an.. ABC World News.. "Your Voice, Your Vote" segment on the economy (8/4/12), the only voices heard were those of Obama and Romney--plus noted everyman Clint Eastwood.. The limits of televised economic debate could be seen on.. (7/8/12), which opened with George Will declaring: "It's quite clear the president got terrible advice early in his administration.. First, his advisers said, we'll do this stimulus and it will never reach 8 percent.. Forty-one weeks now--41 months over 8 percent.. " Chimed in.. News World Report.. editor Mort Zuckerman: "I think whatever has been tried, add a huge amount of deficit spending, has simply not worked.. Former Obama "car czar" Steve Rattner immediately agreed that "we have to deal with the long-term deficit problem," but added, "I would argue that the stimulus program, the financial rescue, the auto rescue all got us in a much better place than we would have been had none of those things happened.. And.. columnist EJ Dionne pointed out that "from the beginning, the stimulus should have been bigger.. [Obama] cut it back partly to get votes in Congress.. If you had simply the growth in government employment now that you had under Ronald Reagan, the unemployment rate would probably be a point lower.. It was a rare moment of actual debate about how public policy can address economic problems.. Or rather, how it could have been addressed--at no point did anyone suggest that the White House should now be looking at increased stimulus or government hiring to boost the economy.. Because if neither major party is proposing a policy idea, far be it from the news media to recognize that it exists.. Neil deMause (@neildemause) is a contributing editor for City Limits, and a frequent contributor to the Village Voice, Slate, and Extra!..

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