Watchdog Blog

Archive for July, 2008

Myra MacPherson: Down and Dirty

With help from the media, this past week proves that down and dirty campaigning can be considered a success. Economic collapse and suicide bombers in Baghdad were no match for the media’s rolling thunder that greeted the slime-time ad that John McCain approved regarding Obama’s canceled visit with wounded troops in Germany. As the New [...]

Saul Friedman: Should the Press Lobby For Civil Liberties?

One would think that the American press, of all institutions, would be on the front lines of the battle to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights against the Bush administration, which has become a law unto itself. It has given us close to an imperial presidency, countenancing torture, extreme rendition, internal spying, outrageous [...]

Myra MacPherson: A July Roundup

During the primary, the national press corps, led by Maureen Dowd‘s continuing Obambi imagery, depicted Obama as a doe-eyed, political naïf, too inexperienced and unseasoned for hardball Hillary. Instead of mouthing such silliness, if they had done some legwork and looked into his Chicago political roots, they would have seen one tough pragmatist not above [...]

Morton Mintz: Talk-show Hosts and Accountability

A month after Nieman Watchdog posted my piece urging news organizations’ owners and managers to hold their talk-show hosts accountable, one of the most popular—and most awful—of those hosts demonstrated anew the need to bring accountability to these motor-mouths. Autism is “[a] fraud, a racket,” Michael Savage asserted on “The Savage Nation” on July 16. [...]

Saul Friedman: Assign a Police Reporter to the White House

Following up on a piece by Gil Cranberg, I wonder if it isn’t time for the mainstream press to treat the president as it would any suspect of a crime, in this case, war crimes, which are punishable under American law. After all, we’ve seen endless stories about all sorts of crimes and suspects. The [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Torture, and the Ends-Justify-the-Means Exception

Jane Mayer, an experienced and reliable journalist, has written “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” a book that reports how the International Committee of the Red Cross found that the Central Intelligence Agency tortured people. How can that be? After all, President [...]

Carolyn Lewis: The Jesse Helms, Charlie Black, John McCain Connection

Ordinarily, the obituary of a former United States Senator is unlikely to merit more than passing attention, but when it happens to be written by the chief political strategist of an existing Presidential campaign, that’s different. The obituary in the July 11 issue of Time is written by Charlie Black, and the candidate he now [...]

George Lardner Jr.: Where’s the Outrage?

The CBS Evening News on Saturday, July 19, had an important segment devoted to people who were losing their homes because they had been misled into accepting risky mortgages. Yet not once during the program was the question raised about prosecuting the crooks — for that’s what they are — who tricked them into their [...]

Myra MacPherson: Does the New Yorker Regret the Error? It Should.

Like many, I am sure, who have seen the new New Yorker cover, I am still reeling. Nothing the far right wingnut media brigade has promulgated is as offensive or damaging as this cartoon: Obama in full Muslim gear, Michelle in an Angela Davis style Afro, terrorist rifle slung over her shoulder, fist bumping while [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Beware of the Commingled Notes

When journalists are caught recycling material, a frequently-heard explanation is that they commingled notes – that is, they copied passages they admired, put them in their files and then, in the course of writing a story, mistook the borrowed work for their own. This is essentially what Michael E. O’Neill, nominated by President Bush for [...]