Republicans are largely sticking to their plan to partially privatize Social Security. "When it comes to style, though, Republicans are running from the term 'privatization' as fast as they can," notes Ben Fritz.
The recent disclosure that President Bush received a general warning before Sept. 11 of possible hijackings prompted a firestorm of spin. Conservative pundits and politicians fought back on cue, showing impressive message-discipline as they argued in unison that criticism of the president amounts to treason in the face of terrorism. Democrats "need to be very cautious not to seek political advantage by making incendiary suggestions," said Vice President Dick Cheney (without specifying any "incendiary suggestions" that any Democrats had actually made).
Details of "the great biofraud," as the Washington Times dubbed the affair, emerged just before Christmas of last year. Wildlife scientists in Washington State were accused of "planting" clumps of wild lynx fur in national forests. Supposedly the fraud was planned so the Endangered Species Act could be invoked to close the forest to campers and loggers. In reality, as government employees have insisted ever since the beginning, the whole story is a fabrication.
Conservative and right-leaning think tanks continue to get more mainstream media attention than centerist and progressive groups according to a new report by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. "The overall percentages for the year were consistent with findings for previous years, with conservative or right-leaning think tanks garnering 48 percent of the citations, centrists receiving 36 percent and progressive or left-leaning think tanks receiving 16 percent," FAIR writes.
"A powerful group of neo-conservatives is launching a new public relations campaign in support of President George W. Bush's war on terrorism," AlterNet's Jim Lobe writes. The group of well connected Republicans is calling itself Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT).
In a new report, Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Resources Defense Council examine the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). "While ALEC purports to be a 'good-government' group operating in the public interest, its sole mission is to advance special-interest legislation across the nation on behalf of its corporate sponsors and funders," the report says. "The organization's behind-the-scenes advocacy has been surprisingly effective -- leading, according to ALEC material, to the enactment of more than 450 state laws during the 1999 and 2000 state legislative sessions.
"Proving that irony is alive and well post-Sept. 11," observe Steve Rendall and Peter Hart, "a book deriding the national press corps for its flagrant liberal bias has been the subject of enormous attention in the same mainstream media that, the book argues, suppress conservative views." In their critical review of Bernard Goldberg's book, Bias, they note that "right-wing media watchdogs ...
Gary Polland, who heads the "well-connected" Houston-based firm Polland & Cook and chairs the Harris County Republican Party, has been smoothing out some of the "knotty issues" facing Pakistan since even before September 11th.
"So how come media objectivity is suddenly a bad thing?" asks columnist Michael Kinsley. "Conservative press critics are in another tizzy about objectivity and balance in American journalism. Only this time, their complaint isn't the lack of these fine qualities but that there's way too much of the stuff. ... The traditional conservative media critique is that journalists bend the news in a liberal direction because they're liberals.