Subscribe: Norman Solomon from Creators Syndicate
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
coverage  fri  health  mdash  media  national  news media  news  obama  president  updated fri  updated  war  years ago  years 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Norman Solomon from Creators Syndicate

Norman Solomon from Creators Syndicate

Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber.

Last Build Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 07:50:39 -0800


The Devastating Spin for War for 09/11/2009

Fri, 11 Sep 2009 21:00:00 -0700

For those who believe in making war, Kabul is a notable work product. After 30 years, the results are in: a devastated city.

A stale witticism calls Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai "the mayor of Kabul." Now, not even. On block after block in the Afghan capital, AK-47s are conspicuous in the hands of men on guard against a near future. Widely seen as corrupt, inept and — with massive election fraud — now illegitimate, Karzai's government is losing its grip along with its credibility.

Meanwhile, a war-stoking mindset is replicating itself at the highest reaches of official Washington — even while polls tell us that the pro-war spin has been losing ground. For the U.S. public, dwindling support for the war in Afghanistan has reached a tipping point. But, as you've probably heard, the war must go on.

Updated: Fri Sep 11, 2009

Media and the Shrinking of Health Care Reform for 08/07/2009

Fri, 07 Aug 2009 21:00:00 -0700

Like soap in a rainstorm, "health care reform" is wasting away — sometimes accompanied by media euphemisms.

A leading follower of conventional media wisdom, journalist Cokie Roberts, told NPR listeners on Aug. 3: "This is evolving legislation. And the administration is now talking about a glide path towards universal coverage, rather than immediate universal coverage."

Notions of universal health care are fading in the power centers of politics — while more and more attention focuses on the care and feeding of the insurance industry.

Updated: Fri Aug 07, 2009

The Numbing Quality of Journalism for 07/03/2009

Fri, 03 Jul 2009 21:00:00 -0700

A week before The New York Times devoted a 3-square-inch box to the deaths of Peter K. Cross and Steven T. Drees on page A9 of the national edition, the newspaper editorialized about the war that was to kill them.

Beginning with its headline — "Afghanistan's Failing Forces" — the June 23 editorial was replete with erudite lamentation (not to be confused with grief). The war has been managed so badly. Two authoritative sentences bookended the editorial: "The news from Afghanistan is grim." And, "There is no more time to waste."

The words in between were consistent with a grand tradition of press demands for more effective warfare: "President Obama was right to send more American troops to fight. ... The Taliban must be confronted head-on. ... Building an effective Afghan Army is critical..."

Updated: Fri Jul 03, 2009

Nuclear Stories: Korea Shadows U.S.A. for 05/29/2009

Fri, 29 May 2009 21:00:00 -0700

Memorial Day relaxation got an unpleasant jolt with the news that North Korea had set off its second nuclear bomb. The first Korean test, in October 2006, was bad enough — announcing that the totalitarian regime had joined the nuclear club. The second test showed that the tyrannical gang had not backed off from brandishing its nuclear arsenal.

We tend to be ill at ease when contemplating — or even just remembering — nuclear weapons, and journalists are no exceptions. In fact, after putting in a lot of time to assess U.S. media coverage of atomic weaponry, I would say that there has been no greater media failure on any subject.

Nuclear weapons amount to annihilation technology on a scale we simply can't fathom.

Updated: Fri May 29, 2009

Reporters Struggling with Torture Stories for 04/24/2009

Fri, 24 Apr 2009 21:00:00 -0700

For a long time, Americans have been seeing, hearing and reading news stories about torture by some foreign governments. The coverage has often been matter-of-fact, reporting on torture as something abhorrent.

Those news accounts have tended to be much more plentiful and more emphatic when the governments committing the crime of torture have been at loggerheads with Washington. But when the offending regime has been closely allied with the U.S. government (such as Turkey or Chile, for example, two or three decades ago), the coverage has tended to be more sparse and more vague.

Now, the U.S. news media are navigating some different terrain. The documentation is clear: The U.S. government has been torturing people — recently. Justice Department memos, released in mid-April, make that clear. Now what?

Updated: Fri Apr 24, 2009

Media Lenses Need Even More Scrutiny for 03/20/2009

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 21:00:00 -0700

The news media are lenses. We look through them. But do we see through them?

Many advances have been made in the kind of media criticism that was being pioneered three decades ago by such analysts as Herbert Schiller, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman and Michael Parenti. Their groundbreaking work spanned the Carter and Reagan years, when the mass media seemed only capable of critiquing itself from the right.

From the time of the Vietnam War to the Gulf War in 1991 and beyond, the media critics with the biggest media megaphones were overwhelmingly right wing. Whether Paul Harvey on AM radio or The Washington Post's precocious George Will or the emerging cavalcade of talk-radio pontificators, the themes revolved around denunciations of the welfare state, civil rights advocates, domestic opponents of U.S. wars and leftists anywhere — often rhetorically rolled up into the generic rug of "liberals."

Updated: Fri Mar 20, 2009

Flag-Draped Coffins Don't Show Us What War Is for 02/13/2009

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 21:00:00 -0800

I've often felt at least a bit uneasy about complaints that the Bush administration didn't allow the media to photograph the coffins arriving in the USA from Iraq and Afghanistan. Critics of the policy had a point, but they were often apt to put too fine a point on it.

And so, I didn't think it was particularly good news when The New York Times reported on Feb. 11 that Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated "that he was open to allowing the media to photograph the flag-draped coffins of fallen soldiers as their bodies and remains are returned to the United States."

Fast on his feet and supple with his tongue amid the shifting winds of political power in Washington, the Pentagon's civilian chief told journalists: "If the needs of the families can be met and the privacy concerns can be addressed, the more honor we can accord these fallen heroes, the better."

Updated: Fri Feb 13, 2009

Media "Inauguration" of Diversity Lagging Behind for 01/16/2009

Fri, 16 Jan 2009 21:00:00 -0800

Updated: Fri Jan 16, 2009

Playing the Journalism Roles on TV for 01/09/2009

Fri, 09 Jan 2009 21:00:00 -0800

When the word got out that President-elect Obama was planning to nominate CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta to be the next surgeon general of the United States, the media responses were mixed. Some noted that Dr. Gupta is a proven communicator on health-related subjects — after all, he's a real doctor and he plays one on television.

"Gupta has always been drawn to health policy," The Washington Post reported. "He was a White House fellow in the late 1990s, writing speeches and crafting policy for Hillary Clinton. His appointment would give the administration a prominent official of South Asian descent and a skilled television spokesman."

But some critics, mindful that physicians and journalists alike are supposed to be factually accurate, noted that Gupta has been known to play fast and loose with key facts to fit in with his preferences on national health policy.

Updated: Fri Jan 09, 2009

Green Future Needs Two Wings to Fly for 12/12/2008

Fri, 12 Dec 2008 21:00:00 -0800

The news media have gotten greener, and that's good. Scientific evidence of ominous climate change is now so strong that even many of the most diehard global-warming deniers — such as President Bush and the editorial writers of The Wall Street Journal — have begun to back away from previous "no problem" stances.

As of Jan. 20, we'll have a president who actually pays attention to what Al Gore has dubbed an inconvenient truth. Maybe some significant federal action, rather than just stonewalling and vetoing, is just around the corner. Fierce disputes over policy options are on the horizon, though, as the question of what to do about global warming takes center stage.

Whether in local newspapers or on network news, media coverage has suitably heightened public concern. You might say that consciousness has brought a light shade of green to the public square. But awareness doesn't necessarily lead to commensurate action.

Updated: Fri Dec 12, 2008

Inaugurating Rhetoric Goes Just So Far for 12/05/2008

Fri, 05 Dec 2008 21:00:00 -0800

Soaring rhetoric is expected when a president delivers an inaugural address. No speech is more intensely anticipated — and perhaps none, in the light of subsequent history, is likely to seem more overblown.

Nearly 40 years ago, as President Richard Nixon delivered his first inaugural speech, lofty notions were conveyed by elevated language of the sort reserved for the most special of political occasions in the United States.

"The peace we seek to win is not victory over any other people, but the peace that comes 'with healing in its wings,' with compassion for those who have suffered, with understanding for those who have opposed us," Nixon told the nation moments after becoming president on Jan. 20, 1969.

Updated: Fri Dec 05, 2008

Post-Election Story: "Spreading the Wealth" for 11/07/2008

Fri, 07 Nov 2008 21:00:00 -0800

Two days before he lost the election, John McCain summarized what had become the central message of his campaign: "Redistribute the wealth, spread the wealth around — we can't do that, my friends."

The last weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign turned the election into something of a referendum on "spreading the wealth." Now, with an Obama administration on the near horizon, it remains to be seen whether media coverage will continue to explore the subject.

In view of the election results, it's important that journalists and the public not forget how the "spreading the wealth" issue unfolded.

Updated: Fri Nov 07, 2008

Media and the Economic Crisis for 10/10/2008

Fri, 10 Oct 2008 21:00:00 -0700

After three decades of rigorous class war — waged most relentlessly and effectively from the top down — we're now in the midst of a protracted requiem for "the middle class." It's a media mass (cue the funereal organ music) for that ill-defined class, conducted by the same news outlets that were cheering the financial-services system for a long time before the housing bubble lost air and edifices of credit came crashing down.

Now, watch the cable news, and the anchors are grasping at straws. Everyone can see that the economic crisis is breathtakingly severe, deep and wide. As it happens, the dynamics of official response are notably similar to the kind of momentum that set the agenda for the invasion of Iraq six years ago: Officials lay out the plan, plenty of media spin ensues, and Congress goes along with it.

Early into this fall, when the crisis swiftly went from bad to very bad to even worse, the Word came down from the top of the U.S. government's executive branch. And the Word was, under the circumstances, understood by most of the media oracles to be Good.

Updated: Fri Oct 10, 2008

The Media Wail for the Bailout for 10/03/2008

Fri, 03 Oct 2008 21:00:00 -0700

When the House of Representatives rejected the $700 billion Wall Street bailout proposal on Sept. 29, it was hard to tell who was more upset — the typical investment banker of lower Manhattan or the typical pundit of corporate media.

The response from high-profile journalists and media commentators, whether "conservative" or "liberal," was apt to be quick and aggrieved. A failure of leadership! The center did not hold! The extremes of right and left made it impossible for cooler heads to prevail!

One of the more bitter attacks came from New York Times columnist David Brooks on Tuesday as he condemned in no uncertain terms the "nay" sayers in the House.

Updated: Fri Oct 03, 2008

The Media Culture of Rhetorical Slugfests for 09/12/2008

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 21:00:00 -0700

There were, I suspect, few "good old days" in American politics. Sure, we can find instances of lofty debates and erudite discourse between candidates for president. But, stretching back into the earliest days of the Republic, the now-historic towering figures of this nation often resorted to vilification via language that stretched truth beyond the breaking point.

In modern terms, as the saying goes, "politics ain't beanbag" — meaning, we're to assume, that when political power is at stake, we should expect that hard-hitting attacks will turn vicious and brutal. And so it goes.

Right on schedule, the Democratic and Republican national conventions were scarcely over before a surge of vituperation approached a high-water (or is that low-water?) mark for the 2008 campaign. And, my fellow Americans, it will only get worse between now and early November.

Updated: Fri Sep 12, 2008

The Looking Glass of Conventional Media for 09/05/2008

Fri, 05 Sep 2008 21:00:00 -0700

A convention is in the eye of the beholder.

Twenty years ago, at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, the media buzz was all about Michael Dukakis and his closest rival, Jesse Jackson.

Dukakis had accumulated a dominant quantity of delegates. And the talking heads on the TV networks were dispensing conventional wisdom with the media story line — urging him to be a "moderate," unbeholden to "special interests."

Updated: Fri Sep 05, 2008

Obama on the Media Spinning Wheel for 08/07/2008

Thu, 07 Aug 2008 21:00:00 -0700

With less than three months to go until the presidential election, the profusion of media spin about Barack Obama — pro and con — has gone into overdrive. For this potential president, who was virtually unknown in the national news media just five years ago, the battle over his public image has been notably compressed.

Observing this process as a media critic, and as an elected Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention, I've been fascinated by the ways in which various types of media outlets have been inclined to characterize him as a person and a candidate.

Some of the favorable press often seems relevant to what psychologists call "projection." Over the years, Obama has excelled at being — or seeming to be — a lot of things to a lot of people. His persona has been welcoming, and welcome, to many. Given the still-appreciable barriers to African Americans in the upper reaches of U.S. politics, maybe that was the only way he could have won the presidential nomination.

Updated: Thu Aug 07, 2008

Get Me Rewrite: All in the Way You Report It for 07/11/2008

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 21:00:00 -0700

We often have an image of the journalist as a consummate professional who provides the requisite summary of events with almost scientific precision. While it's true that the news coverage we get is often quite predictable in terms of how it's presented, this has much more to do with professional imitation than objective standards.

For instance, let's consider a New York Times news article that appeared on the paper's Website after the Iranian government tested missiles on July 9.

— "Iranian Revolutionary Guards practicing war-game maneuvers test-fired nine missiles on Wednesday, including at least one the government in Tehran describes as having the range to reach Israel," the Times reported.

Updated: Fri Jul 11, 2008

Hidden Costs of America's Celebrity Obsession for 06/13/2008

Fri, 13 Jun 2008 21:00:00 -0700

Updated: Fri Jun 13, 2008

When a Little Dissent is Too Much for 06/05/2008

Thu, 05 Jun 2008 21:00:00 -0700

Over the years, once in a great while, I've been surprised to cross paths with a journalist at a major TV outlet who actually seems willing and able to go outside the conventional boundaries of media discourse.

That's what happened one day in the fall of 2005 at the Boston headquarters of the CN8 television network, owned and operated by the corporate media giant Comcast. I showed up for an interview about my book "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." My expectations weren't very high.

After all, I was setting foot in the studios of a large commercial TV channel with wide distribution of its programming in New England and beyond. And Comcast, shall we say, has earned a reputation as a voracious media conglomerate with scant interest in the public interest.

Updated: Thu Jun 05, 2008