Watchdog Blog

Archive for December, 2010

Gilbert Cranberg: Conflicted Judges

It was all over the news when Federal Judge Henry E. Hudson of Richmond, Va., ruled unconstitutional a key part of the recently-enacted federal health care law. The mainstream press was a lot less diligent in reporting Judge Hudson’s connection to an outfit, Campaign Solutions, whose favored candidates worked to defeat the law. The multiple [...]

Barry Sussman: Orwell Got It Backwards. But then, Who Could Envision Hackers?

A world-wide thriller is taking place right now. We are all in the middle of it. These are the elements, more or less: Julian Assange began Wikileaks a few years ago and released important, secret documents, getting some attention but not a great deal, and attracting some followers. One of them was a young American [...]

Barry Sussman: Ridiculing Fox News

How excellent it is that Media Matters for America devotes so much space to ridiculing Fox News. No group is more deserving. The individual stories are juicy, the news endless. Putting it all in one place is a public service. It won’t stop Murdoch and Ailes as they go about dumbing down America, but – [...]

Bob Giles: Curator’s Corner: The Special Role of the Nieman Foundation

This column first appeared in Nieman Reports. When I arrived at Lippmann House in early August 2000 to begin my tenure as curator, I had only an inkling of the sweeping changes that would wash over journalism and mainstream news organizations during the coming decade. My predecessor, Bill Kovach, in announcing his retirement, had a [...]

Dan Froomkin: Time For Real-Estate Watchdogs To Start Howling Again

You might not know it from reading the news, but the nation’s housing prices are in free fall again. For the many Americans who have (or had) most of their wealth tied up in their homes, the consequences of this will be profound. The effect on nationwide consumption will inevitably be severe. In fact, there [...]

Herb Strentz: A Columnist Deals with Anonymous Comments

DES MOINES–The convoluted policy of the Des Moines Register that allows readers to post often scurrilous or racist comments on line — under the cover of anonymity — took still another odd turn on Sunday. Columnist Rekha Basu wrote that, henceforth, people who want to comment on her writing will have to do so by [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Those Deluded, Greedy Old Folks

Once upon a time I was elderly. I called it quits with that demographic after learning from The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki about the anti-social antics of my former cohorts. Surowiecki wrote that the mid-term election results might accurately be called the “revolt of the retired”. The elderly not only turned out in unusually large [...]