Archive for the ‘Media Criticism’ Category

[original post 5/24/2010]

If you haven’t read by now all the headlines on this story, you’ll want to start at the beginning and read the first post, SEIU Storms Private Residence, Terrorizes Teenage Son of Bank of America Exec.  Because as each day passes, new facts are popping up.  The story seemed so outrageous at first.  After all, the thought of over 500 screaming and chanting protesters surrounding a Bank of America lawyer’s private residence while the man’s teenage son, home alone, hid frightened inside a bathroom – it’s just so extreme, even by SEIU’s standards.

I knew something was up when the following day, Fortune magazine editor Nina Easton, a neighbor of the targeted residence, published an account of the incident and was almost immediately attacked by what seemed like practically a coordinated dogpile of writers from several specific sources.

In almost mirror fashion to the Town Hall events last August, when both the Huffington Post and Media Matters seemingly tried to cover up and dismiss the violent acts that SEIU committed against Kenneth Gladney, the same players were again out in full force.  As our Larry O’Connor wrote, both outlets behaved less like journalists and more like arms of the SEIU press office, dismissing SEIU’s bad behavior and attacking an innocent party with fabricated conflicts of interest as a method of distraction and intimidation.

payne-podestaBob Borosage, Erica Payne, and John Podesta

 

And now we learn this:  Erica Payne, the guest who was invited to appear Friday on Megyn Kelley’s Fox News show and proceeded to blame the Tea Parties for the behavior of SEIU?  She was co-founder of Democracy Alliance, the very organization that spawned and is a donor to Media Matters.  SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger is also the Vice-Chair of its Board.

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[original post 5/21/2010]

Alinsky Rule #12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Nina Easton just became the left’s latest target.  Why?  So that SEIU can hide from the truth about its financial liabilities to Bank of America (more on that after the jump).

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Easton, a Washington Editor for Fortune Magazine, wrote a column early morning Wednesday, addressing the outrageous protest organized by SEIU and National People’s Action, where 700 protesters stormed the front lawn of the private residence of Greg Baer, deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America.

As I wrote in my post yesterday, “SEIU Storms Private Residence, Terrorizes Teenage Son of Bank of America Exec,” Easton is actually a neighbor of Baer.  When she was startled by the loud, screaming, bullhorn-rattling protesters, she called Baer’s teenage son to check on him.  Home alone, the frightened teenager had locked himself in the bathroom.  After witnessing the entire incident as it unfolded on her neighbor’s private property, Easton criticized the SEIU and left wing groups in her article for crossing the line this time.

Alinsky’s Rule # 12 states,

“Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”

In almost coordinated lock-step fashion, the 12th Rule was promptly and firmly applied.  As Larry O’Connor posted on Big Journalism yesterday, a series of several posts soon followed the publication of Nina Easton’s article:

  • Late Wednesday evening, John Vandeventer of SEIU posted “Nina Easton & the Bank Lobbyists: Too Close for Comfort” in response.  Conveniently, Vandeventer distracts readers by recounting the sob stories of foreclosure “victims”, then quickly focuses the attention on Easton and polarizes his target.  He proceeds to play a guilt by association game to tie her husband to Bank of America through Business Roundtable.  You can read my post from yesterday about that here.
  • Then came Arthur Delaney’s piece from the Huffington Post, with the headline: “Nina Easton, Fortune Columnist, Compares Bank Protesters To ‘God Hates Fags’ Group.”  He ends his piece with a link to an open letter to Easton penned by Al Marshall, SEIU Local 1021 shop steward in Oakland, CA.  Marshall begins his letter by mentioning that he flew out to DC for the protest  from CA because “Wall Street caused” his wife to lose her job, and then him and his wife to lose their house.  (I’d like to know how he could possibly afford those plane tickets, in that case).  The whole tenor of the post is undoubtedly less jovial than his prior day’s, when he gleefully bragged about the whole event.
  • And then, the much anticipated and expected Media Matters post: “Attacking SEIU, Nina Easton fails to disclose husband’s ties to Bank of America“.

Of all of the responses, not a single one of the posts actually addresses any of the issues. None will account for the fact that the protesters were on the private property of a private citizen, though Vandeventer tries to rationalize their actions as acceptable because the police supposedly followed the crowd to the location.  Then, he paints the picture that Baer is lurking in the crowd trying to blend in; rather, the man was trying to get to his front door without creating a scene so that he could get to his frightened son inside as quickly as possible.

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[original post 5/18/2010]

People on the left are constantly asking Andrew Breitbart who funds his “operation.”  It’s grown to become rather amusing, actually.  For those of us who are bloggers on The Bigs, we know the truth, we see how things operate. We know there’s no giant conservative-leaning lump of cash greasing this machine.  If that were the case, I for one think Andrew would probably be home with his family even more, rather than traveling around, worrying about advertising or other ways of self-funding this little “hobby” of his, as the left often like to refer to it.

But let’s just look for one moment at where some of that line of thinking comes from on the other side.  I’ve written previously about the birth of Media Matters as a spawn of Rob Stein’s Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix road show, from which the Democracy Alliance was born.  It’s through this organization from which much of the organization’s funding had come; in recent years, more has been spread out across other progressive organizations, but the funders often remain the same names in most cases.  For instance, The Tides Foundation gave Media Matters and their Action Network over $175,000 just last year.  In earlier years, groups like Montclair, New Jersey-based (hometown of Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert) Schumann Center for Media & Democracy gave the organization $500,000.

The donors’ list is vast and diverse, and we plan to cover that in detail in the future.  So I’ll focus in on one set of donors to Media Matters, which is the Labor Unions.  More specifically, in light of some recent posts regarding the Kenneth Gladney incident, I thought it appropriate to revisit donations made to Media Matters specifically by the Service Employees International Union.

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When you look at the timeline of events and the media calendar in general leading up to the Gladney incident last August, it’s difficult not to conclude that there was collaboration amongst White House staff, components of Big Labor, and certain liberal media outlets.  However, we know that all will continue to deny it.

Further, just as the flurry of media activity finally starts to wind down a bit around October last year, this is when SEIU makes three separate donations to Media Matters totaling $50,000, under the classification of “Communications”, according to the SEIU LM-2 report. (In reviewing other LM-2s for several previous years, this appears at least to be the first time that SEIU has donated to Media Matters, and there does not seem to have been another donation recorded since these.)

This is the type of funding that I would question in return to Media Matters.  With their membership being so low and their unfunded pension expenses so high, can the SEIU really afford to be randomly donating funds to an organization like Media Matters?  Perhaps SEIU purchased advertising on Media Matters’ website, but then I’d think it would be categorized as such, as others ad expenses in the LM-2 were.  If not advertising, if not random donations,  then what’s the reason for SEIU having donated these funds?  One could logically conclude that Media Matters performed a service in return.  Only they can answer that.

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[original post 4/26/2010]

A Look Back at the History of Democracy Alliance, and a Look Ahead at Where We’re Going

“Where were you when George Bush was President?”   You know that question well.  It’s been asked of each of us more times than any of us would care to count.  Do you know how I usually answer it?

I was home, enjoying my life.  I went to work every day and focused on doing the best job that I could do.  When I wasn’t working, I hung out with family and friends.  I went to baseball games, and barbecues, and obscure little hole-in-the-wall joints to hear some of my favorite live music over a couple of Guinnesses.  Yum.

Why?  Because while George Bush was president, we had a media establishment that was challenging our government, not our citizens.

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I wasn’t necessarily happy with the direction of the country in those days.  But I could sleep at night, knowing that we had media that pressed George Bush and our Congress on every single issue.  I could know at any given moment what the “death count” was in Iraq because just about every channel splashed a persistent counter in the bottom corner of the television screen.  When bills like the Patriot Act were first introduced in Congress, I never lacked for any detail on the dangers of the legislation.  There was barely a single detail that went uncovered in the daily political grind.  When there was a scandal to research and report, I certainly never had to do that myself.  There were reporters who did all that.

Yep, I’m actually missing the Bush days now.  I had so much more free time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always done my homework and researched issues on my own anyway.  I recognize that all media is biased to some degree (and has been for quite some time).  But I could always count on the media to challenge the government in the days of George Bush.  I wrote my fair share of letters, I called and complained about the spending, even attended a few protests, but I can’t say that I ever felt there just wasn’t anyone challenging the president in the mainstream media.  Quite the contrary, there was never any lack of DC pushback from the collective press in those days.

But we live in extraordinary times today.  There now exists this giant, open cavity where that healthy pushback against government used to be.  And when the mainstream media stepped away from that opening in 2008, two things happened:

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[original post 2/13/2010]

In the wake of yesterday’s terrible tragedy outside of Vancouver at the Whistler Sliding Center, where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili sadly lost his life, safety is on the minds of many.  Only hours before the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the 21-year old lost control of his sled at 88mph and was catapulted over the track wall into a steel support column.  All throughout the week, coaches, commentators, and even other Olympians have questioned the safety of the track, as nearly a dozen other athletes have also crashed during practice runs, including a Romanian women’s slider who was knocked unconscious and defending Olympic luge champion Armin Zoeggeler of Italy.

The President of the World Luge Federation said the track is too fast and thinks it is a planning mistake, while Australian luger Hannah Campbell-Pegg questioned whether athletes were being treated as “crash test dummies“.  The shocking footage of the accident was replayed all throughout the day and evening yesterday, leaving horrified viewers focused on discussion about the safety of the track.

But in all of this shock, horror and sadness over the tragic death of an athlete in his prime and the dangers of the track on which he lost his young life, what has the SEIU focused on?

Food safety. (Translated =  unionizing)

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Reports of the horrible accident in Vancouver began surfacing in the press as early as 12:30 pm EST  Friday.  Yet, the SEIU still felt their unionization Food Safety concerns were so paramount that they went ahead and issued a press release anyway, after 5:00 pm EST:

PRESS RELEASE:  Healthcare Union Raises Concerns Over Safety Of Food to be Served to Olympic Athletes at Vancouver Olympics

“Sodexo is providing catering services for athletes during this key moment in their sporting careers, and we’re concerned about the food they will be providing,” charged the SEIU in Friday’s press release.

It’s not as though the SEIU could not have known about the tragedy  – the story had been broadcast all over the news for at least five hours before SEIU pushed out its attack.  If they didn’t know, then they’re even more disconnected from reality than we thought they were.

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