Media Literacy/Bias

Beck as Republican strategist: a timeline

Gabriel Winant and Tim Bella, Salon

Something strange has happened to rank-and-file Republicans since President Obama took office. These past few months, standard-issue gray lawmakers have sounded like fire-and-brimstone demagogues. Conspiracy theories and over-the-top legislation to fix imaginary wrongs are flying wildly around formerly mainstream GOP circles.

It turns out that like so much of what ails the world today, this can be traced back to Glenn Beck. Some fifth-term Iowa senator might be railing against death panels, but it's really Beck's voice you're hearing. With his show on Fox News, Beck has successfully positioned himself as the weirdo right's ambassador-at-large to the rest of the world. When the patron saint of the Tea Parties lets his freak flag fly, seemingly normal right-wing functionaries have been known to line up and salute. Republicans parrot Beck's crackpot notions and pet issues routinely -- sometimes running with his manias the morning after he first airs them.

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WH communications director: Fox News operates as wing of GOP

Faiz Shakir, Think Progress

This morning on CNN’s Reliable Sources, White House communications director Anita Dunn defended her recent comment to Time magazine that Fox News is “opinion journalism masquerading as news.” Noting the inordinate amount of attention Fox devotes to stirring fake controversies like Bill Ayers and ACORN, Dunn explained:

The reality of it is that Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. And it’s not ideological. I mean, obviously there are many commentators who are conservative, liberal, centrist, and everybody understands that. What I think is fair to say about Fox is — and certainly the way we view it — is that it really is more of a wing of the Republican Party. [...]

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Nineteen more advertisers back away from Beck

Color of Change

A total of 80 companies are now distancing themselves from Fox's media hate. has confirmed that 19 new companies whose ads aired recently during Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck program have asked Fox to stop their ads from running or pledged to not to run ads on the show going forward. The latest additions include Equifax, Hoffman La Roche, Schiff Nutrition, Subaru, and Toyota-Lexus. This after Beck called President Obama a “racist” who “has a deep-seated hatred for white people” during an appearance on Fox & Friends.

The news comes on the heels of stories that broke throughout British newspapers on Monday, reporting that advertisers seen during Beck’s program in England are feeling the heat as well. Diageo, maker of Guinness and Tanqueray, cut their advertising ties with Beck, as did Waitrose, a supermarket chain which is not only taking a stance against Glenn Beck, but also against Fox News Channel as a whole.

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White House vs. Fox News escalates

Mark Silva, Swamp Politics

In the ongoing struggle between the White House and the FOX News Channel, the Obama administration's direct rebuttal of what FOX's Glenn Beck and a guest have had to say this week about the administration's hand in Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games may seem like a footnote.

But it's emblematic of something bigger: An administration's refusal to play ball with a widely watched cable news network which it views as slanted is escalating to an administration's willingness to challenge commentators on the network for fast and loose foot-play with the facts - or, more specifically in this case, Glenn Beck's carelessness.

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Study details mainstream media's biased reporting on ACORN

Sue Sturgis, Institute for Southern Studies

Independent research from two university professors raises important questions about the way major news outlets frame stories -- and offers hard evidence that ACORN has been treated unfairly. The report describes how "opinion entrepreneurs" (primarily business and conservative groups and individuals) set the story in motion as early as 2006, how the "conservative echo chamber" orchestrated its anti-ACORN campaign in 2008, how the McCain-Palin campaign picked it up, and how the mainstream media reported these allegations without investigating their truth or falsity.

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Why I love Al Jazeera

Robert Kaplan, The Atlantic

Has anyone watched the English-language version of Al Jazeera lately? The Qatar-based Arab TV channel’s eclectic internationalism—a feast of vivid, pathbreaking coverage from all continents—is a rebuke to the dire predictions about the end of foreign news as we know it. Indeed, if Al Jazeera were more widely available in the United States—on nationwide cable, for example, instead of only on the Web and several satellite stations and local cable channels—it would eat steadily into the viewership of The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. Al Jazeera—not Lehrer—is what the internationally minded elite class really yearns for: a visually stunning, deeply reported description of developments in dozens upon dozens of countries simultaneously.

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Seattle civil rights organizations join chorus of opposition to media hate

Reclaim the Media

Groups criticize Beck, Dobbs and other "Mad Haters" for misusing the media to spread hate, fear and lies

Civil rights organizations representing a broad range of Northwest communities came together this week to condemn hateful and deceptive messages which have become prevalent in the national media.

The joint statement comes on the eve of Fox News broadcaster Glenn Beck's visit to Washington State, during which he will receive the key to the City of Mt. Vernon in a widely criticized move by Mayor Bud Norris.

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GRIID releases new study of local paper's recent coverage of Afghanistan war

Jeff Smith, GRIID

Today, the Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy published a new 100-day study of the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Press coverage of the US occupation of Afghanistan. The study began in late May of 2009 and was concluded on September 2.

We looked at all stories published related to what the Pentagon now calls the Af-Pak War, since it includes US military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There were a total of 24 stories during this 100-day period, 18 were national media sources and Press reporters wrote six stories.

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Glenn Beck: No stranger to right-wing radicalism

David Neiwert, Crooks and Liars

The centerpiece of Glenn Beck's incessant attacks on "White House czars" like Van Jones, as well as his attacks on ACORN, is his claim that this is all about rooting out the deep-seated radicalism within the Obama White House -- and ultimately, the deep-seated radicalism of Obama himself. He's been quite explicit about this.

But what about Glenn Beck himself? Beck has shown a powerful affinity for right-wing radicals dating back at least to his days at CNN's Headline News, when he declared his sympathy for the John Birch Society (in its campaign to stop the non-existent "NAFTA Superhighway") and warned that Al Gore's real purpose behind his "global warming campaign" was to install a global government. (Back then, it was Gore, not Obama, who was just like Hitler.)

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Glenn Beck attacks local media accountability, diversity and Mark Lloyd

Amber Sands, Prometheus Radio Project

For once, media activists are not the only ones paying attention to the FCC! Led by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, rightwing media personalities have been drumming up controversy about new FCC Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd. Their fabricated claims about Lloyd’s policy positions—spurred by a genuine fear that a diverse and locally accountable media system would cut into their profits—demonstrate why media reform is such a critical fight.

In the wake of their success in ousting Van Jones from his position as green jobs advisor, Beck and his minions have targeted Mark Lloyd as the next progressive black leader to take down, falsely calling him a diversity “czar” and making outrageous accusations about his policies. Although we at the Prometheus Radio Project are always happy to see more public engagement with the agency that regulates our media, we’ve been disappointed in the quality of the debate on Mark Lloyd. Debate, in fact, is overstating it.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey