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BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph

Critics have reprimanded Glenn Beck before for his advertising-turned-conservative-talking-point shilling for Goldline in the past, but never quite on the level that Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) demands now.

Beck has long held a close relationship with the gold seller, including advertisements throughout his radio career with spots on his show and ads placed openly on his website. The conflict arises from the fact that Beck’s content, full of blatant fear mongering about the potential decline of society and of paper money, appears to fit too perfectly with Goldline’s advertising agenda. In effect, Beck’s content seems driven by his advertising, and since Beck’s rhetoric tends toward the extreme, it presents a noticeable danger to the public.

Weiner has served notice that he has had enough of Beck’s crass shilling for the gold industry. Weiner has taken note of the conservative strategy to promote gold as a safe bet in the current political and economic climate. Though consumers would need gold to exceed record highs to reach a return on their investment, while the hosts promoting the gold reap the benefits in simply selling to those consumers now. Consequently, commentators like Beck, who have invested in the gold they advertise and thus have a vested interest in its doing well, can push the narrative of the decaying U.S. to benefit themselves, regardless of its distance from reality.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White 

There's a time-honored tradition of lawmakers reacting to a tragedy by hauling responsible parties before C-SPAN, telling them how naughty they've been and making them promise this will never happen again. Such is the case with the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. But after a fortnight of hearings, are we ignoring a potential time bomb called Atlantis?

In their objections to the high expectations of clean-up efforts in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP and Transocean Ltd. have stressed that they've been hampered by the fact that they're working at a depth of 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. So when officials brought to their attention that another rig -- this one some one hundred miles further out and 2,000 feet further underwater -- has the potential to "lead to catastrophic operator error," what does BP do?

Ignore it. Or better yet, quiet the whole thing up. 

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph

Oil continues to leak out into the Gulf of Mexico in massive amounts, tainting the waters and affecting life throughout the larger ecosystem to an extent difficult to quantify at this juncture. Still, FOX contributors have maintained their disingenuous coverage of the story. Early on, several contributors hypothesized a conspiracy theory involving the Obama Administration allowing the problem to fester in order to flip-flop on offshore drilling. Now contributors have found an even more crass stance, with Brit Hume diminishing the ecological disaster, one on track to surpass the effects of the Exxon-Valdez spill, by suggesting he fails to see its effects altogether.

Appearing on a FOX News Sunday discussion, Juan Williams asked if fellow panelists thought the spill would, in fact, exceed the Exxon-Valdez spill and its ensuing damage. In response, Hume told Williams, “Let’s see if that happens. There’s a good question today if you are standing down there on the Gulf, and that is: Where’s the oil?” Williams clearly could not believe what Hume had just asked, and Hume only continued, “It’s not on — except for little of chunks of it, you’re not even seeing it on the shore yet.” Chris Wallace interjected that there was plenty more oil seeping out along the ocean floor, to which Hume only countered that the majority of seepage usually comes from natural causes and that “the ocean absorbs a lot.” Williams thought Hume implying that the ocean should just handle the situation on its own was preposterous, only to have Hume testily reply, “Who said that? Who is saying that? No one’s making that argument.”

Hume may not want to acknowledge the obviously ludicrous conclusion of his argument, but if he needed to see who might more willingly accept credit for it, he need only look to Rush Limbaugh, whose cue Hume appeared to take in the first place. For Hume to claim he had come to his BP-friendly stance through independent research and thought seems unlikely, though whatever the cause, his decision to be willfully blind to oil others have no trouble seeing questions his credibility.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

If I could add one war movie to the White House movie theater collection, it'd be Rambo: First Blood Part III

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I spent 102 minutes of our lives watching the final installment in the Ramborambo 3 trilogy. Instead of what I expected -- an adrenaline-soaked, action spectacular from my embarrassingly short-sighted but thoroughly patriotic countrymen -- I got an incredibly prescient lesson in power and terror.

At the time of its release in 1988, Rambo III was widely panned. Not only is it pretty corny, but audiences must have thought that the way Russians were portrayed -- like stupid, sadistic drones -- seemed anachronistic by the late 1980s. Perestroika was already in place and the film was released some 17 months before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Back then, the film must have looked like an artifact of a bygone era. Watching it now, it seems like a bizarre back-to-the-future exercise.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White 

You'd think I'd have already learned my lesson during the healthcare debate. You know, the lesson that the Democratic Party will throw women's rights overboard at every opportunity?

Meet Connie Saltonstall, the woman who broke the camel's back for me. Or perhaps you remember her? She was responsible for getting the reprehensible Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) out of our hair by challenging his reelection from the left, until she was taken out by an increasingly misogynist Democratic Party. 

She recently dropped out of the primary race, and did not mince words in explaining why:

...the Michigan Democratic Party has preemptively anointed Gary McDowell as their Democratic candidate. They are replacing Bart Stupak with another Upper Peninsula, Anti-Choice, Anti-Women’s healthcare rights candidate. 

...I cannot support a party that endorses candidates who vote to restrict women’s legal rights and access to healthcare. It is time for Democrats to stop compromising on this issue.

The Michigan Democratic Party ignored the amazing response to Saltonstall's candidacy -- her proven and rapid ability to raise huge amounts of money and gain major endorsements -- and began grooming this McDowell character for Stupak's seat.

NARAL Pro-Choice America points out that McDowell showed his incredible hostility toward women when he "voted to ban a safe abortion method, without exceptions — even in the cases of rape, incest, or to protect the woman’s health."

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

When I first watched this video, I thought it was satirical. Check it out; you'll see why:

"Geez, Wonkette has gone a little far with their mockery of southerners' love and protection of their own ignorance," I thought. "But come on. No one would actually use a belief in evolution as the main reason to oppose a candidate for state-wide office, even in Alabama!"

I was more incorrect than I thought I could be. Not only is belief in evolution a worthy slur against a candidate, but it is a slur that the Alabama Teachers Union is comfortable hurling.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

When she heard about the boom chemicals being used to disperse oil from the sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the thoughts of Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) were far away. She was thinking about her hometown Santa Barbara in the late 1960s when Union Oil's Platform A had a destructive blowout.

Clean-up efforts at the time utilized the same kinds of oil dispersant, or boom materials, as BP is using in the Gulf today. However, recent studies have found that such clean-up efforts can be more destructive than simply leaving the oil to its own devices.

Her question for BP CEO Lamar McKay at a hearing today in the House Energy Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations was if oil exploration has advanced leaps and bounds since the 1960s, "Why was there not equivalent technology developed to clean up after a spill?"

The same type of question would be asked many times throughout the hearing Wednesday, to no avail. While there was some discussion of the implications on the perceived safety of offshore drilling in the Senate hearing on the oil spill Tuesday, the House was more focused on the implications than senators.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph

Why would a Republican in a heated national race actively choose not to appear at a GOP fundraiser with Sarah Palin? Could it be embarrassment over the actions of the GOP media magnet, or perhaps just a hope to meet up with Palin in circumstances where the two could be a little more… comfortable?

Regardless of whatever opinions exist about the intellectual capabilities or political viability of Sarah Palin, almost everyone recognizes that public fascination with her makes her a fundraising juggernaut. When Palin arrives, politicians tend to show up, if not to interact with her, then to take in the money associating with her tends to draw. Some Palin star power in the GOP may have worn off though, as her fundraising appearance in the Chicagoland area will be conspicuously absent of one embattled Republican hoping to win a Senate seat — Mark Kirk.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

In the first of what will be an ongoing series of hearings on the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, leaders at BP, Transocean and Halliburton played an interesting form of the ever-popular corporate blame game.

In news accounts previewing the hearing before the Senate Energy Committee Tuesday, the published testimony of the three witnesses was interpreted as a circuitous effort to deflect blame onto one another.

The CEOs' testimony was interpreted to mean that BP would try to lay the blame on Transocean, the operator of the sunken rig now spewing thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico daily. Testimony from Transocean's CEO Steven Newman criticized BP back, but also called into question the concrete work completed by Halliburton just hours before the deadly explosion. And Halliburton would tell the Senate they were only operating under the requirements of the other two, and therefore had no liability for the spill.

"I can see the liability chase that's going to go on," predicted Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), adding that he was looking forward to seeing "who's going to 'fess up to what."

"The message I hear is, 'Don't blame me,'" said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said before the panel appeared before the committee.

Interestingly enough, the hearing didn't go down that way.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph

In the wake of the failed terrorist attack in New York allegedly attempted by Faisal Shahzad, one would hope the nation could breathe a collective sigh of relief and move on. Unfortunately, too many have interpreted the situation as an opportunity to score political points, occasionally at the cost of logic or the Constitution. For FOX, the failed attack presented a chance to pick on a couple of favorite targets — Muslim terrorists and the rest of the media — while willfully forgetting the organization’s own skewed coverage and adherence to “Christian” values. 

FOX & Friends wasted little time in pointing blame at the rest of the media for helping out Shahzad. As Brian Kilmeade asked, “Do media outlets like The New York Times aid and abet terror by leaking national security secrets? Some say, ‘Oh, they do that, including helping the Times Square bomber plan his attack without being detected.’”

In criticizing the Times for its pieces explaining what the government had done to investigate terrorism, FOX clearly meant to indict the rest of the media, or as they refer to it, the “liberal media.” Though the hosts avoided saying as much verbatim, a chyron during the segment read simply “Liberal Media Helping Terrorists?” Some may want to write off the segment as simply an obvious commercial for guest Gabriel Schoenfeld’s new book, but whatever the reason, FOX’s decision to baselessly associate members of the media outside of the network with terrorists is reprehensible and irresponsible.

Published in Analysis
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