Chuck Todd off to a great start

David Letterman poked fun at the new host of Meet the Press, one of the wasteland of Sunday morning talk shows where many words are spoken and few are worth listening to. The reason may be that, as demonstrated by Todd, there is very little listening that takes place on these programs and that people come with an agenda that they are determined to push through.
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How the government creates compliant journalists

Dan Froomkin said in an ealier post that “the elite press gets tighter and tighter with those to whom it should be adversarial”. This failing seems to be most pronounced within the community of ‘national security’ reporters who seem to be particularly prone to try and be friends with the people they cover and act as mouthpieces for them. One of the most notorious is Dina Temple-Raston of NPR whose failings I have chronicled many times. In his book Goliath, Max Blumenthal gives case after case of how Israeli reporters report as facts what the Israeli national security establishment tells them and essentially become part of the propaganda system.
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Froomkin blogs again

Dan Froomkin was one of the best reporter/bloggers in the mainstream press before he was fired by the Washington Post in June 2009 for being too hard on the occupant of the White House, first George W. Bush and then later on Barack Obama, threatening the relationship the newspaper carefully cultivates with power, where you are allowed to criticize but only within certain limits.
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Net neutrality under threat

The telecommunication companies are pushing hard against net neutrality so that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can charge different rates to companies for use of their networks. This would result in large companies that are willing to pay being able to provide faster response times than smaller, poorer companies, eventually squeezing the latter out of business. President Obama appointed the head of the lobbying body of the cable companies to head the FCC, which strongly hinted that the fix was in.
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Satire and fake news stories

I enjoy satirical websites like the The Onion that take current political events and trends and then twist them around and manufacture a ‘story’ to illustrate some point about it or to highlight some absurdity. It is not uncommon for people who are not aware that these are satirical sites to take them at face value, even though it should be fairly clear that they are meant as humor.
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Why I don’t expect Meet the Press to change

Now that David Gregory has been fired from his job as host of the NBC Sunday morning talk show, there have been many reasons given for why his show was awful and advice to his successor Chuck Todd on how to turn things around (see here and here). None of them will work because the underlying problem is structural and tinkering with the host and format will not help.
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Why Charles Lewis left 60 Minutes and the corruption of news

Among many news watchers, the venerable CBS News program 60 Minutes is seen as a hard-hitting investigative show. I was never overly impressed with it and never watch it unless I am pointed to a segment for some reason or other. A real investigative reporter Charles Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity that produces some excellent news stories and whose work I have long admired, recounts his own story of being hired as a producer on that show and also working at ABC News.
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Health panics

By all accounts, Ebola is a deadly disease, now ravaging parts of west Africa and taking a dreadful toll on people there. But for the US media, there is no scare in any part of the world that cannot be made into a scare here. We have seen one media-fuelled panic after another over the past few years, with bird flu, swine flu, SARS, and I forget what else. If ever a real epidemic hits, we have more to fear from being crushed by mobs of people running around wildly in panic than from the disease itself.
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