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BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White 

It's still early on in this election cycle, but I'm guessing the talk about how 2010 is the new 1994 is not all it's cracked up to be. There are several elements that have been slowly convincing me of this, but here's the latest: The GOP is creating fake videos of masturbating Democrats in an effort to win back the Senate.

I'm not joking. I'm not even really exaggerating. This is what electoral politics boils down to, apparently.  

The video in question is an attack ad against Ohio Lieutenant Gov. Lee Fisher who's running for George Voinovich's open Senate seat against Republican Rob Portman. I encourage you to click here and watch the ad at Mediaite not to give it any more play than it's already gotten, but because it's so ridiculously bad that you have to see it to believe it.

Instead of backing away from this utter failure of a political ad, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), along with its chair, John Cornyn of Texas, have embraced it as their own mini-masterpiece.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

Quick. Someone strip Joe Lieberman of his citizenship before he causes actual damage to the country. Oh, wait. I forgot; we don't engage in that kind of Orwellian nonsense in this country.

Yet.

You probably heard about the latest idea from the "independent" senator from Connecticut (who seems to be independent of nothing more than reality) to strip citizenship from people who are accused of having ties to terrorism. Somehow this incredibly stupid idea got codified into an actual bill, which was introduced yesterday. The fact that this knee-jerk response is now present in the Congressional Record is an anathema to our justice system.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

Today the House Administration Committee heard testimony on the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections, or DISCLOSE Act (HR. 5175).

As the legislation was written in response to the changes made to campaign finance as a result of the Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United case, it shouldn't surprise you that witnesses included the president of Citizens United, a lawyer for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several organizations concerned about the opening of floodgates of corporate funding in the wake of the controversial decision.

The DISCLOSE Act would force corporations and groups participating in political campaign speech to disclose their donors, among other provisions designed to lessen the effect of corporate dollars and lobbyists on elections. (For a better idea of what things would be like if the bill were law, scroll down to the bottom of this page.)

"The DISCLOSE Act would begin to get behind the money shell game" in elections, said Lisa Gilbert, a democracy advocate for U.S. PIRG (the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups) in her opening statement. "This bill has begun to get the bipartisan support that it does indeed deserve."

Unfortunately, that bipartisanship has been limited to the House.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph

With over 200,000 gallons of oil leaking into the Gulf from the disaster on the BP platform, discussion over the the plausibility of environmentally friendly drilling has taken a turn against the hopes of the oil industry. Just the mention of the event has made future exploratory drilling politically implausible. FOX, given its position as overwhelmingly pro drilling, especially with its hire of the woman who famously coined the “drill, baby, drill” mantra echoed by so many on its programs, has lashed out against seeing the event as a reprimand against future drilling. In fact, in the effort to discredit environmental concerns reignited by the spill, FOX has gone so far as to entertain conspiracy theories that only further question the network’s debunked credibility.

Members of the overarching FOX team have made the network’s political stance on expanded drilling abundantly clear for years. Sarah Palin coined her “drill, baby, drill” stance well before she arrived as a contributor to FOX, but she did not need to get paid to have Sean Hannity saliently repeating her mantra on the Saudi-funded network. Glenn Beck also partook in drilling advocacy before he even arrived at FOX, telling viewers, “We have to ramp up domestic offshore drilling,” certainly ingratiating himself with the audience of the GOP’s network. Newt Gingrich pushed the drilling agenda quite heavily, too, literally writing a book on it and disingenuously arguing for it on the grounds that “every year that this ban [on new offshore drilling] remains in place is another year that Americans will needlessly pay high gas prices, with much of the profits going to foreign dictatorships.” Apparently, Gingrich has a major problem with the leadership in Canada, the top source for U.S. oil.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

You've probably heard about Roundup Ready crops, the Monsanto-created seeds that are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. But did you know that "Agent Orange Ready" corn and soybeans may be on their way to a supermarket near you?

Thanks to the utter failure of Roundup Ready products to live up to their environmentally-friendly and productive promises, Monsanto competitor Dow Chemical is developing crop seeds that can tolerate the damaging defoliant used in the Vietnam War.

Published in Analysis
Monday, 03 May 2010 06:48

Megyn Kelly Shows No Love for Latinos

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph

The draconian measures in the recent Arizona immigration legislation have certainly put the immigration issue back in the spotlight for media outlets. Despite the growing sentiment that the bill would, in effect, call for racial profiling and thus prove to be racist legislation, quite a few FOX personalities openly express their support for it. FOX hardly convinces most people that its straight-news hosts actually work toward unbiased journalism, but given the way Megyn Kelly approached the issue, she transparently exposed her obvious slant on the issue as well as her lingering issues with race relations.

One segment of Kelly’s midday show had a panel juxtaposing the protesters of the Arizona bill to the Tea Party protesters comparing the protesters of the Arizona bill to the Tea Party protesters. It became clear very quickly that Kelly had selected footage of the AZ protesters to make them appear as violent as possible and the Tea Partiers as comparatively peaceful. The Arizona footage involved a running camera person showing presumably Latino protesters, also running and some possibly having thrown bottles at police officers. Conversely, the Tea Party footage clearly came from a stationary camera panning over the mostly white protesters. Kelly then had the audacity to ask “are the media trying to find a narrative here…in one situation over the other?”

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

Government officials have darkly predicted that the sunken Deepwater Horizon oil rig -- still spilling toxic fuel into the Gulf of Mexico as I write this -- may indeed surpass the Exxon Valdez disaster as the "most significant" oil spill in U.S. history.

As others in the media wax nostalgic about how this is Obama's Katrina, I am instead transported back to last spring, when BuzzFlash marked the 20-year anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill with a four-part series.

Seeing as population experts often mark generations in terms of 20-year periods, it wouldn't be unreasonable to say this is my generation's Exxon Valdez. Though I was alive at the time of the terrible tragedy in 1989, I didn't have the wherewithal to connect, say, the heat pumping through my home with the environmental and social disaster in Prince William Sound.

Things are different today. I have become accountable for this mess, as have you.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

by Jeffrey Joseph

As the ethics crises at FOX continue to grow, reasonable viewers have an increasingly difficult time taking the network seriously as a "news" organization. Nonetheless, networks besides MSNBC have often struggled to criticize the network, some even coming to FOX's defense when the White House pushed back against their misinformation. Unrest over the rancor so many of the network's personalities have transparently shown for the president and Democrats has inspired even conservatives such as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and David Frum to speak out against the network, Frum going so far as to say Republicans "are discovering we work for FOX." Now Andrew Sullivan, a former Bush supporter, has come forward and taken it a step further, telling a panel on Chris Matthews that "the Republican Party IS Fox News."

Sullivan's point stemmed from a discussion about Joe Klein's comments about how the statements of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin prove "close to seditious." Sullivan basically echoed Klein's sentiments, explaining that "accusing the president, a duly elected president, of being illegitimate and even treasonous with respect to what the United States is" ultimately proves tantamount to seditious activity. He also had a broader point about how Beck should not hide behind the guise of an entertainer, "as if that is an excuse for saying, substantively, what they're saying, and for controlling the Republican Party." Taking the point further, Sullivan decried the Republican Party for so rarely pushing back against the vitriol of Beck and Limbaugh, and as a consequence, Sullivan argued "because there's no resistance in the Republican party the Republican Party is Fox News. That's the head of the Republican party."

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

The leading Republican candidate to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate, Sue Lowden, is getting a lot of press for the ridiculous alternative she's presented to her Democratic opponent's "government-run" healthcare, widely panned as "Chickens for Checkups." But a closer look at her suggestion reveals more than just short-sighted nostalgia and backwardness. Lowden's flap (and her inability to see it as a flap) illustrates the damage done by a blind adherence to supply-side economics.

"Before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor. They would say 'I'll paint your house.' They would do, I mean that's the old days of what people would do to get healthcare with their doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people," Lowden said in a campaign appearance Monday.

Published in Analysis

BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

by Jeffrey Joseph

When a professional comic takes someone to task, the target usually benefits from not trying to get into a back-and-forth with the comic. A comic often has the superior experience in deflecting criticism into jokes and further excoriating the subject. Still, none of that common knowledge impeded Bernie Goldberg from trying to take on Jon Stewart over the past week. Even in accepting Stewart's criticism as accurate, Goldberg's ensuing personal attacks and unsubstantiated generalizations did more to accentuate Stewart's point than criticize him in return. In trying to defend himself and the network, Goldberg essentially brought upon more ridicule from Stewart, both for him and for FOX in supporting him.

The dispute began with a piece Stewart ran on how FOX defended the Tea Party members. According to the FOX personalities, people throughout the media had unfairly criticized the Tea Party based on the radical actions of a few. Stewart agreed with the sentiment that the media should not overgeneralize from the actions of a few, then proceeded to show the hypocrisy of FOX in frequently generalizing and condemning the left. Incidentally, one of the featured clips of FOX personalities generalizing about the left included a segment where Goldberg said in reference to Sarah Palin and her children, "Liberals don't have five kids. One of them has Down's Syndrome. Liberals certainly don't allow that to happen." That last criticism proved so baseless that Stewart had a fairly succinct response to FOX: "Go f**k yourselves."

Published in Analysis
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