Sunday, June 3, 2007

Media News Roundup- Sunday May 27th to Sat June 2nd

Keeping an eye on the failing Fourth Estate and looking for some TRUTH in journalism.

Media not only misses Bill O’Reilly’s “white power” rant, but also GOP presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain’s agreement. CNN hires new African-American woman reporter—to cover “Britney and Michael Jackson.” Bright spot of the week: Tavis Smiley dedicates five nights to airing “Right to Return” documentary footage on post-Katrina New Orleans.

Media Misses O’Reilly’s “White Power” Rant, and Sen. McCain’s Agreement

This week the “fair and balanced” Bill O’Reilly lashed out at pro-immigration efforts as an attempt to topple white supremacy:

But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you've got to cap with a number.

Bill O’Reilly’s pro-white fear mongering is hardly new. However in this instance, he was interviewing Senator John McCain (R-Arizona). In response to O’Reilly’s comments, McCain sidestepped the glaring race-baiting and responded:

In America today we've got a very strong economy and low unemployment, so we need addition farm workers, including by the way agriculture, but there may come a time where we have an economic downturn, and we don't need so many.
Not to be deterred from his “out to get the white man” schtick, O’Reilly pressed the matter, warning:

But in this bill, you guys have got to cap it. Because estimation is 12 million, there may be 20 [million]. You don't know, I don't know. We've got to cap it.
McCain’s response?

We do, we do. I agree with you.
So we have a major media figure talking like a member of the White Citizens Council, and a “top tier” GOP presidential candidate never taking him to task or disavowing such blatant racism, but in the end gives his assent. And did this manage to make the front page or lead stories of numerous mainstream news outlets? I guess it’s not like McCain had gone out and gotten a $400 haircut…

CNN Hires New Black Female Reporter—to Cover “Britney and Michael Jackson.”

It seems CNN may have gotten a glimpse at the recent Media Matters study on how women and people of color are shut out of most political news discussions. So last week they decided to hire a new reporter, the charming Lola Ogunnaike. Her role? She will be covering such hard-hitting investigative journalism as—“the Britney, Lindsay, Michael Jackson memorabilia beat.” As reported by Think Progress, this shameless nod to sensationalist journalism ironically follows recent criticism by former Vice President Al Gore on the trivial nature of the modern news media and it’s role in subverting democracy:

GORE: In a lot of the news media, the line between entertainment and news is now very blurred, and a lot of news organizations feel the need to run polls and conduct focus groups the same as politicians now. And so we get a lot more of Anna Nicole Smith’s funeral arrangements and Paris Hilton’s legal battles on her jail term than we get about how we can solve the climate crisis and how we can get our troops out of this civil war they are trapped in, in Iraq.
Way to go CNN—keeping the masses informed about the things that matter.

Bright Spot of the Week

Tavis Smiley Airs “Right to Return” Post-Katrina Documentary

On his PBS show, host Tavis Smiley presented Jonathan Demme’s week-long series on post-Katrina New Orleans called “Right to Return: New Home Movies from the Lower 9th Ward.” The five short films charted the efforts of a disparate group of New Orleanians who braved unimaginable adversity after the floods of 2005 in an attempt to reclaim their homes, their neighborhoods – primarily in the Lower 9th Ward – and their shattered lives and livelihoods. Those presented in the unfolding seasonal format included teachers, ministers, a retired chef, volunteer workers, the owner of the legendary “Mother-In-Law Lounge,” librarians, and workers from all walks of life. The series will re-air Monday, July 16th - Friday, July 20 on PBS.


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