Helen Thomas (Previously and Previously and Previously), who covered ten different administrations in her 49 years in the White House Press Corps (and maintained her rabble rouser image with both Republican and Democratic administrations), has died at age 92.
Gawker's John Cook yesterday published an exclusive report on a trove of documents from the Nixon Presidential Library tracing the development of Fox News to a 1970 internal memo annotated by then-consultant Roger Ailes. Part of a 318-page cache of similar documents, the memo -- "A Plan For Putting the GOP on TV News" -- called for the creation of a strongly pro-Nixon news outlet operated from the White House which would disseminate partisan news packages free of charge to local affiliates across the country. By coordinating release of these targeted reports with allied politicians and duping opponents into hostile interviews, Ailes hoped to bypass the "prejudices of network news" -- a desire which led him to advocate for some unexpected political policies at the time, from campaign finance reform to anti-poverty efforts. The report comes as Fox is waging an aggressive two-front PR war with perceived ideological enemies -- calling on viewers to file IRS complaints against Media Matters' tax-exempt status for their dogged fact-checking of the network, while on-air hosts launched a campaign to label Jon Stewart "racist" after he called out their record of falsehoods following a critical interview with Chris Wallace (previously).
Fox News's bent on the news is well known, but recently the White House has begun actively excluding the network, including skipping Fox's Chris Wallace on a recent round of Sunday morning news shows. “We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction ... that Fox is a traditional news organization.” says White House Depty Communications Director Pfeiffer (as has Press Secretary Gibbs and others). The responses range from concern about an attempt to control the media to a feeling that it's about time. Is it just about Fox's anti-Obama pundits, or is it also about Fox's consistent errors and misinformed viewership? Or is the White House attempting containment so that Fox's ratings-gold style and ideas don't take over the rest of the press?
Rollback. Media critic Jay Rosen rises above the McClellan/"shake-up" foofaraw to put several pieces of the puzzle together and show how the Bush administration has significantly altered the long-standing relationship of the press to the White House. (More from Rosen here.) Another piece that fits: Donald Rumsfeld's bold, frequent, and rarely-challenged assertions that the American press is being expertly "manipulated" by Al Qaeda "media committees" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
10 Days in September: Inside the War Cabinet The Washington Post today publishes the first of an eight-part special series, by investigative reporters Dan Balz and Bob Woodward, on the US government's -- and more specifically, the Bush Administration's -- initial response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The series is based on interviews with President Bush, Vice President Cheney and many other key officials inside the administration and out, and is supplemented by notes of National Security Council meetings made available to The Washington Post, along with notes taken by multiple participants. This is what journalism at its best is all about...
The official newspapers of staples.com gets huffy about integrity. Back in 1999 the L.A. Times produced a special section praising the Staples center and sort of forgot to mention that they were splitting the ad revenue with Staples. At the time their management was pretty upfront about tearing down the wall between news and advertistisement. Now they've decided to act like journalists again. However, I'm not so sure that what this guy did was all that unethical. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't.