Note to Jim Lehrer

If you fail to ask substantive questions about what it will mean to people for each candidate to win, the slightest criticism of you by the candidates can result in thunderous applause, and you can end up looking shame-faced and horribly uncomfortable.

Don’t believe me?

Watch this clip from last December of Ted Koppel and Dennis Kucinich:

Or read this transcript:

KOPPEL: When you hear some of your colleagues here-you know, I get a little bit of a sense of sour grapes here, that if anyone else read more

What Can a Marginalized Majority Do?

Universal health care is favored by most Americans, but proposing to create it is deemed politically foolish. Restoring value to the minimum wage would meet with approval from the vast majority of us, but politicians who make it a priority are considered a little flakey. Investing in public schools is one of our top priorities, but we’re told the money’s just not there and that we should focus on offering children other choices — we have to be practical. Most of the money that read more

Focus on "Electability" in Primaries Is Sure Paying off

Sep. 20, 2004

If you live in the majority of the states in the United States, you’re being handed two candidates to choose from for president without much say in the matter from you. You have very little control over what Bush promises, and probably little capacity left to believe him anyway. And you, therefore, have little control over what Kerry promises, since he tends to shape his positions around Bush’s, either by agreeing with Bush entirely, by staking out a position slightly read more

Dow Jones CEO Thinks 1,000 Dead Soldiers Getting Too Much Attention

Sep. 13, 2004

“Casualties are always sad, but I don’t think they should be shocking.”

Any doubt that the U.S. media has not yet recognized the disgraceful role it has played in promoting and covering Bush’s war ought to be put to rest by a forum held in New York City on September 9th. The forum was part of the annual convention of the Society of Professional Journalists, a series of events that showcased the media at its best and worst.

Gathered, appropriately enough, in read more

Hey, Dick, We Don't Negotiate With Terrorists

Sep. 8, 2004

“If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” Dick Cheney said on September 7th, threatening the American public that if we elect Kerry and Edwards rather than Bush and Cheney, we’ll be attacked by “terrorists.”

But that statement was unambiguously intended to influence our votes by terrifying us. Cheney wants us to vote for him for fear that otherwise we and our loved ones will be subjected to random attacks. By the read more

Believe Six Impossible Bush Claims Before Breakfast

Sep. 3, 2004
If you read a newspaper this fantastic Friday morning, be prepared to believe the impossible. The current occupant of the White House last night accepted the Republican Party’s nomination with a string of lies and nonsense that will be reported to you as if worthy of respectful consideration.

Unlikely to be noted will be the fact that while Bush babbled away about keeping America secure, he was unable to keep protesters out of his convention, where they disrupted his speech read more

Media Miss Story of Biggest Pay Cut in History

By David Swanson, ILCA Media Coordinator
Part of the Media Blackout series on underreported labor stories
August 27, 2004

On August 23, the Bush Administration’s Department of Labor eliminated the right to time-and-a-half pay for overtime work for millions of Americans in what amounted to the biggest pay cut in American history. The facts that should have made that statement a headline in every paper in the country were easily obtainable. Reporters had had months in which to review the changes. read more

Ethical Journalism and Unionism

Originally published by Guild Forum, the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, ILCA Member
By David Swanson, ILCA Media Coordinator, WBNG Member
Summer 2004

Journalistic ethics have become in many ways corporate ethics. When those ethics penetrate journalists’ unions the result is, therefore, self-destructive.

The central ethic of journalism today is balance. It is more important to include two opposing points of view than to investigate whether either of them is supported by facts or whether read more

Local Democracy Doesn't Come Easy

Aug. 25, 2004
Come November 2nd in Prince George’s County, Md., many people will be highly motivated by the presidential election to go to the polls. Fewer will look down the ballot (or flip through the computer screens) and pay attention to the initiatives called Question A, Question B, and so forth.

But in a state like Maryland that is safely in one presidential candidate’s column, it is on local matters that a vote has the biggest impact. And in the case of Prince George’s read more

Preview of October Campaign Coverage

Aug. 25, 2004

Excerpt of a Washington Post article from late October, 2004:

Bush Finds New Focus for Country
Tim Cartostraw, Washington Post Staff Writer

The Presidential campaign’s new focus on John Kerry’s performance in Vietnam highlights important aspects of Kerry’s and President Bush’s likely performance in the War on Terror, sources say. This past summer a group of veterans accused Kerry of exaggerating the danger he had faced, in doing so making claims contradicted read more