I was planning to write an end of the year blog for the people that made me laugh the most this year (no that's not a compliment) but then I received Fair.org's mail about their P.U. Litzer's awards which are handed to "stinkiest examples of corporate media malfeasance, spin and just plain outrageousness."
Not surprisingly racist FoxNews, Nytimes and other (cough) "news" sources made the list. Fair.org is about as critical and objective as you'll come to the corporate media, democrats, republicans, and news sources. I've listened to their radio podcast "Counterspin" for a while now. They are taking donations would really recommend giving something back. Anyways, their awards and remarks made my day. They pretty much summed part of what I would say without having to type it all. Here's a preview if you can't see the link:
--The Sheer O'Reillyness Award
WINNER: Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Channel--TWICE!
1) Asked by a Canadian viewer, "Has anyone noticed that life expectancy in Canada under our health system is higher than the USA?," Fox's O'Reilly (7/27/09) responded: "Well, that's to be expected, Peter, because we have 10 times as many people as you do. That translates to 10 times as many accidents, crimes, down the line."
2) Drumming up fear of Democrats' tax plans: "Nancy Pelosi and her far-left crew want to raise the top federal tax rate to 45 percent. That's not capitalism. That's Fidel Castro stuff, confiscating wages that people honestly earn."
Perhaps Castro was president of the United States in 1982-86, when the top rate was 50 percent. Or maybe all of the 1970s, when it was 70 percent. Or from 1950-63, when it was 91 percent.
--The Less Talk, More Bombs Award
WINNER: David Broder, Washington Post
Post columnist Broder expressed the conventional wisdom on Barack Obama's deliberations on the Afghanistan War, writing under the headline "Enough Afghan Debate" (11/15/09):
It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision--whether or not it is right.
--The Remembering Reagan Award
WINNER: Joe Klein, Time
Time columnist Joe Klein (12/3/09), not altogether impressed by Obama's announcement of a troop escalation in Afghanistan, wrote that a president "must lead the charge--passionately and, yes, with a touch of anger."
He described the better way to do this:
Ronald Reagan would have done it differently. He would have told a story. It might not have been a true story, but it would have had resonance. He might have found, or created, a grieving spouse--a young investment banker whose wife had died in the World Trade Center--who enlisted immediately after the attacks...and then gave his life, heroically, defending a school for girls in Kandahar. Reagan would have inspired tears, outrage, passion, a rush to recruiting centers across the nation.
Ah, Reagan--now there was a president who could inspire people to fight and die based on lies.
--The Racism Is Dead Award
WINNER: Richard Cohen, Washington Post
Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote (5/5/09): "The justification for affirmative action gets weaker and weaker. Maybe once it was possible to argue that some innocent people had to suffer in the name of progress, but a glance at the White House strongly suggests that things have changed. For most Americans, race has become supremely irrelevant. Everyone knows this. Every poll shows this."
For the record, "every poll" does not actually show this; the vast majority of Americans continues to recognize that racism is still a problem. Cohen went on to write months later--still presumably living in his racism-free world--that he did not believe Iran's claims about its nuclear program, because "these Persians lie like a rug."
--The When in Doubt, Talk to the Boss Award
WINNER: Matt Lauer, NBC News
Today show host Lauer announced a special guest on April 15: "If you really want to know how the economy is affecting the average American, he's the guy to talk to." Who was Lauer talking about? Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke. The ensuing interview touched on the Employee Free Choice Act, which Lauer noted was supported by many unions but opposed by some large corporations--leading him to ask Duke, "What's the truth?" Yes, look for "the truth" about a proposed pro-labor bill from the new CEO of an adamantly anti-labor corporation.
--The Cheney 2012 Award
WINNER: Jon Meacham, Newsweek
Newsweek editor Jon Meacham declared (12/7/09) that Dick Cheney running for president in 2012 would be "good for the Republicans and good for the country." He explained that "Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people.... A campaign would also give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way."
While the 2008 election might have seemed a sufficient judgment of the Bush years, it's worth pointing out that at beginning of the year (1/19/09), Meacham was adamantly opposed to re-hashing Cheney's record, calling it "the rough equivalent of pornography--briefly engaging, perhaps, but utterly predictable and finally repetitive." The difference? That was in response to the idea that Cheney should be held accountable for lawbreaking. Apparently a few months later, the same record is grounds for a White House run.
--The Them Not Us Award
WINNER: Martin Fackler, New York Times
The New York Times (11/21/09) describes the severe problems with Japan's elite media--a horror show where "reporters from major news media outlets are stationed inside government offices and enjoy close, constant access to officials. The system has long been criticized as antidemocratic by both foreign and Japanese analysts, who charge that it has produced a relatively spineless press that feels more accountable to its official sources than to the public. In their apparent reluctance to criticize the government, the critics say, the news media fail to serve as an effective check on authority."
The mind reels.