Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Journal of the 18th Year
Z Papers on Vision
Gender & Race
Gay & Lesbian Notes
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
The PU-litzer Prizes for 2004
T he PU-litzer Prizes were established a dozen years ago to provide special recognition for truly smelly media performances. Jeff Cohen, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and I sifted through a large volume of entries. And now, the 13th annual PU-litzer Prizes for the foulest media performances of 2004 are:
Too many winners to name
I t became a media mantra. Two days after the election, the Los Angeles Times reported that “Bush can claim a solid mandate of 51 percent of the vote.” Cox columnist Tom Teepen referred to Bush’s vote margin as an “unquestionable mandate.” Right-wing pundit Bill Kristol argued that Bush’s “mandate” went beyond the 49-states- to-one landslides of Nixon in 1972 and Reagan in 1984. Reality check: This was the narrowest win for an incumbent president since 1916. As Greg Mitchell wrote in Editor & Publisher : “Where I come from, 51 percent is considered a bare majority, not a comfortable margin. If only 51 percent of my family or my editorial staff think I am doing a good job, I might look to moderate my behavior, not repeat or enlarge it.”
MSNBC & radio host Don Imus
O n his November 12 show, the day after Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat died, Imus said of Palestinians: “They’re eating dirt and that fat pig wife of his is living in Paris.” After an Imus colleague referred to Palestinians as “stinking animals” and said “they ought to drop the bomb right there, kill ’em all right now,” Imus responded: “Well, the problem is we have (NBC reporter) Andrea (Mitchell) there; we don’t want anything to happen to her.” In February, when a civilian Iranian airliner crashed, killing 43 people, Imus reacted: “When I hear stories like that, I think who cares.”
NO APOLOGY FOR BEING GULLIBLE
CBS anchor Dan Rather
A sked at a Harvard forum in July what network TV news could have done better during the build-up to the Iraq war, Dan Rather said “more questions should have been asked” and then declared: “Look, when a president of the United States, any president, Republican or Democrat, says these are the facts, there is heavy prejudice, including my own, to give him the benefit of any doubt, and for that I do not apologize.”
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius
E xplaining why mainstream journalism failed to ask tough questions about the Iraq war before it started, columnist Ignatius—a war supporter—wrote in April, “In a sense, journalists were victims of their own professionalism. Because there was little criticism of the war from prominent Democrats and foreign policy analysts, journalistic rules meant we shouldn’t create a debate on our own.” Create a debate? Ignatius suggests it would have been unprofessional to raise questions at a time when many experts, over a hundred Congress members, and millions of others were already questioning the drive to war.
“ONLY RIGHT-WING POLITICS THIS YEAR”
Disney’s Michael Eisner
I n May, when Disney refused to distribute Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 movie, CEO Michael Eisner said that Disney “didn’t want to be in the middle of a politically oriented film during an election year.” But Disney was one of the 2004 election’s leading broadcasters of political propaganda, almost all of it pro-Bush, as its powerful talk radio stations served up hour after hour of right- wing hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Matt Drudge, etc., etc.
MEDIA MOGULS FOR BUSH
Viacom CEO Redstone
S even weeks before the election, Sumner Redstone expressed support for Bush on behalf of his company, which owns CBS, UPN, MTV, VH1, Infinity radio, and dozens of other subsidiaries: “From a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration is a better deal. Because the Republican administration has stood for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on.” Days later, Redstone added: “I vote for Viacom. Viacom is my life and I do believe that a Republican administration is better for media companies than a Democratic one.” Ironically, cultural conservatives often blame TV and radio sleaze on “the liberal media”—not GOP-backing media owners like Redstone and Rupert Murdoch.)
MOUTHPIECE FOR POWER
The Washington Post
C redit for candor goes to Karen DeYoung, former assistant managing editor, for this comment in an August report examining why the Washington Post marginalized prewar doubts about White House claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction: “We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever Admin- istration is in power. If the president stands up and says something, we report what the president said.” If counter-arguments are put “in the eighth paragraph, where they’re not on the front page, a lot of people don’t read that far.”
Judith Miller, NYT
D efending her use of anonymous sources like Ahmed Chalabi, a highly unreliable Iraqi exile, in prewar front-page stories on Iraq’s supposed WMDs, reporter Miller explained: “My job isn’t to assess the government’s information and be an independent intelligence agency myself. My job is to tell readers of the New York Times what the government thought about Iraq’s arsenal.” Miller did not explain how her job differs from being a PR agent for the U.S.
WINNING HEARTS & LUNGS
Thomas Friedman, NYT
I n a November 18 column datelined “Camp Fallujah, Iraq,” columnist Friedman summed up the situation after the U.S. assault had left much of Fallujah in rubble: “Bottom line? Iraq is a country still on life support and U.S. troops are the artificial lungs and heart.” Apparently, the U.S. military needed to deprive the country of oxygen and blood in order to save it.
Nic Robertson & others
U .S. military spokespersons describe those who attack U.S. soldiers in Iraq as “anti-Iraqi forces”—even though, by all documented accounts, the vast majority of those forces are Iraqis. Some U.S. journalists have begun to make that newspeak their own, among them CNN’s senior international correspondent Robertson. On November 25, Robertson reported from “Camp Freedom in Mosul, where the troops go out in their Striker vehicles into the city of Mosul.... What they are doing has been conducting offensive operations to disrupt the anti-Iraqi forces.”
Jack Cafferty, CNN
A s co-anchor of CNN’s morning program, Cafferty reported on March 31: “It’s a red-letter day here in America,” he said. “Air America, that communist radio network, starts broadcasting in a little while.” Cafferty was unyielding when CNN colleague Soledad O’Brien responded by saying that the new talk-radio network was not Communist but liberal. He replied: “Well. Aren’t they synonymous?”
Norman Solomon is co-author, with Reese Erlich, of Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.