Category Archives: Media Criticism

What You’re Not Reading About

Who ever heard of Arrowhead Ripper? Is he a rapper?

After getting some initial front-page treatment in major U.S. newspapers, the story was pushed back to page 18 in the Washington Post Thursday and Page 10 in The New York Times on Friday. The Los Angeles Times ran a front pager Thursday, then nothing.

Meanwhile, NPR radio this week highlighted U.S. soldiers’ deaths during the assaults, with nary a mention of the bigger context for the soldiers’ sacrifices.

The Associated Press’ dispatches focused on U.S. casualties: “U.S. military says 15 American troops killed in last 48 hours.” CNN ran with: “12 U.S. troops killed in Iraq in 48 hours.” The New York Times headline read: “14 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq in 2 Days.”

Surprisingly, only Reuters seemed to get what was going on. Its headline said: “U.S. troops set trap for militants near Baghdad.”

I can imagine that if these folks were covering Iwo Jima, the focus would be on the number of US casualties, not whether or not we were taking the beach, or advancing up the hill, or killing the enemy in far greater numbers.

What You’re Not Reading About

Who ever heard of Arrowhead Ripper? Is he a rapper?

After getting some initial front-page treatment in major U.S. newspapers, the story was pushed back to page 18 in the Washington Post Thursday and Page 10 in The New York Times on Friday. The Los Angeles Times ran a front pager Thursday, then nothing.

Meanwhile, NPR radio this week highlighted U.S. soldiers’ deaths during the assaults, with nary a mention of the bigger context for the soldiers’ sacrifices.

The Associated Press’ dispatches focused on U.S. casualties: “U.S. military says 15 American troops killed in last 48 hours.” CNN ran with: “12 U.S. troops killed in Iraq in 48 hours.” The New York Times headline read: “14 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq in 2 Days.”

Surprisingly, only Reuters seemed to get what was going on. Its headline said: “U.S. troops set trap for militants near Baghdad.”

I can imagine that if these folks were covering Iwo Jima, the focus would be on the number of US casualties, not whether or not we were taking the beach, or advancing up the hill, or killing the enemy in far greater numbers.

Disecting Supreme Court IPO Decision

In today’s Wall Street Journal, an editorial applauded the Supreme Court for ruling in Credit Suisse v. Billing that investors could not sue investment banks under anti-trust law. They like Justice Stevens’s concurring opinion:

After the initial purchase, the prices of newly issued stocks or bonds are determined by competition among the vast multitude of other securities traded in a free market. To suggest that an underwriting syndicate can restrain trade in that market by manipulating the terms of [initial public offerings] (IPOs) is frivolous.

This is a red herring. If the underwriting syndicate can get super normal profits through commissions during the IPO, subsequent trading is moot.

The main finding in the Breyer Opinion (6 joining, 1 concurring, 1 abstaining and 1 dissenting):

In sum, an antitrust action in this context is accompanied by a substantial risk of injury to the securities markets and by a diminished need for antitrust enforcement to address anticompetitive conduct. Together these considerations indicate a serious conflict between application of the antitrust laws and proper enforcement of the securities law.

I agree that there is a fundamental conflict between Justice and/or FTC pursuing anti-trust claims and SEC regulating securities. But this is not saying that there should be no anti-trust enforcement. SEC should enforce anti-trust laws.

Here’s what they can expect to reap.

Continue reading Disecting Supreme Court IPO Decision

Elite Journalists

Who apparently don’t know what the word “elite” means (as in Saddam’s “elite Republican Guard”). Or maybe it’s all just relative. Donald Sensing explains. Why do they do this? It can’t be simple cluelessness, because somehow, the cluelessness always ends up going in a certain direction.

David Blue also makes a good point in comments: that armies win battles, but people or nations win wars. And it’s very hard to win a war when half the people in the country don’t even really believe that we’re in one, and/or believe that their own government is the enemy.

Sixty Three Years Later

How would today’s media report D-Day?

SMITH: Rich, there is a growing sense of apprehension here about 40 miles away from what we assume will be the point of attack on the beaches of Normandy either tomorrow or the next day. Mayor Jacque Capituler is with me. Mayor, tell our viewers how you feel about the coming invasion.

CAPITULER: We don’t want to be liberated. We don’t need to be liberated. The Germans have established a perfectly workable government, here. The Americans should go liberate someone else, somewhere else.

RUNDLING: The thorny issue of civilian casualties and collateral damage brought onto our living room screens from right there in France, Thank you Christianne. To … where? Ok, to Edward Smith with the forces of General George Patton in Britain. Edward.

SMITH: Rich, I am here in Kent, England opposite the Pas de Calais just across the English Channel which, if the weather were better, you could see behind me. MCN can now confirm that the activity here in Kent, which has been named “Operation Fortitude” is, for want of a better phrase: A complete fake!

RUNDLING: Fake? Explain, please, for our viewers.

SMITH: MCN can now report that Patton has constructed, literally, a phony army here. The tanks are cardboard. The planes are rubber. The radio traffic is faked. Reports of troop movements are completely fabricated. This operation, clearly, is designed to fool the Germans in Europe and Americans back home into falsely believing that the attack — which we now think will come tomorrow if the weather lets up — will be aimed at Pas de Calais instead of Normandy.

RUNDLING: Excellent reporting, Edward. MCN’s Senior Ethics Advisor Emma Smith will be joining me in the studio to dicuss: What does it mean to the American way of life when their very own government engages in this kind of deliberately false and misleading information? Emma is the author of an exciting new book: “The Soviet Experience; Success, Solidarity, and Stalin.”

[Update at 2 PM EDT]

Here’s a related article: Journalists, you’re in the army now, like it or not.

I Wish I’d Written This

What if the Israelis had kidnapped a BBC journalist?

Loud would have been the denunciations of the extremist doctrines of Zionism which had given rise to this vile act. The world isolation of Israel, if it failed to get Mr Johnston freed, would have been complete.

If Mr Johnston had been forced to broadcast saying, for example, that Israel was entitled to all the territories held since the Six-Day War, and calling on the release of all Israeli soldiers held by Arab powers in return for his own release, his words would have been scorned. The cause of Israel in the world would have been irreparably damaged by thus torturing him on television. No one would have been shy of saying so.

But of course in real life it is Arabs holding Mr Johnston, and so everyone treads on tip-toe. Bridget Kendall of the BBC opined that Mr Johnston had been “asked” to say what he said in his video. Asked! If it were merely an “ask”, why did he not say no?

Throughout Mr Johnston’s captivity, the BBC has continually emphasised that he gave “a voice” to the Palestinian people, the implication being that he supported their cause, and should therefore be let out. One cannot imagine the equivalent being said if he had been held by Israelis.

[Update a few minutes later]

And how bad are things in Iraq? Why, they’re almost as bad as they were under Saddam? What, you mean the kids aren’t flying kites? Did Michael Moore lie to us? Surely that can’t be…