Monday, January 31, 2011
According to Luke Harding, of the Guardian, who recently co-wrote a quickie book about the Wikileaks saga, the Telegraph is nudging out the Guardian as Britain's public outlet and interpreter of Julian Assange's scoops. But how long this will last is anyone's guess. Negotiations between the Australian and the leftleaning British paper had been quite fraught, especially following the serialization of the book in the daily. Enter the Torygraph. Harding's tweet cited a rather anodyne piece in the Financial Times. The promised leaked cables exposing international banks and money institutions are expected to be released in the Telegraph now.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
President Barack Obama has picked Jay Carney, 45, the communications chief to Vice President Joe Biden and an ex- Time magazine Washington Correspondent, to be the next White House press secretary. No surprises there. This replacement for the outgoing Robert Gibbs was widely expected inside the Beltway. Carney is another elitist (Yale graduate), and is plugged into the Washington press corps after years as the DC bureau chief for Time Mag.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The vitriol has hit the fan. And the fanbase. Toxic rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum is under scrutiny at last. The cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz satirizes the reaction of Sarah Palin (the self-dubbed Mama Grisly, aka Snow Snooki or Caribou Barbie) to the shooting of 20 people at a Tucson Safeway, including the Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was blasted point blank in the brain and now lies in a coma. Chillingly, given the circumstances, the Arizonan Democrat had earlier drawn attention to the graphic rifle sight aimed at her district on a Palin website and had cautioned against such graphic symbols.
Giffords told MSNBC in March 2010: "We're on Sarah Palin's targeted list. But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize there are consequences to that action." And so it goes.
There has been hasty backspin in which gun sights magically transmogrify into surveyors symbols. Huffpo reports:
SarahPAC staffer Rebecca Mansour, who has been tweeting in defense of her boss since the tragedy took place, is stating that the crosshairs were never intended to be gun sights. (Way to refudiate, Becky!)
"We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," she said in an interview with talk radio host Tammy Bruce Saturday. "It was simply crosshairs like you'd see on maps." Bruce suggested that they could, in fact, be seen as "surveyor's symbols." Mansour added that "it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent" and called any attempts to politicize the Arizona tragedy "repulsive." The suggestion that the symbols were related to guns seemed to come, however, from Palin herself. On March 23, Palin tweeted to her supporters a note about the aforementioned Facebook message, writing, "Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!' Pls see my Facebook page." And as Politico's Jonathan Martin points out, in November Palin boasted about defeating 18 of the 20 members on her "bullseye" list.
On the left, Keith Olbermann urges pols and pundits, hacks and flacks to "recognize the insidiousness of violent imagery."
(tip of the sombrero to Teresa Puente for the link to the cartoon.)
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The New Yorker's Peter Maas examines how the media conflated a staged statue toppling moment into a symbol of victory in Iraq. Did events at Firdos Square in 2003 and a photo op that echoed the iconic image of Iwo Jima marines mislead Americans into believing a "victory myth" in Iraq? What started as a notion from a Marine sergeant transmogrified into a media moment of outsized proportions, fed by television imagery. The statute was conveniently located opposite the Palestine Hotel where all the international press corps was camped out. After some Iraqi men began using a US marine's sledgehammer and a rope to try to bring the statue down, a live feed of the effort began airing live on every major network. "You've got all the press out there and everybody is liquored up on the moment. You have this Paris, 1944, feel. I remember thinking, The media is watching the Iraqis trying to topple this icon of Saddam Hussein. Let's give them a hand," Lieutenant Colonel Bryan McCoy told the New Yorker. The fourth estate comes up short on this one.