News Blights: The SPINCOM Edition

Item 1: The Fox Network has announced that it will not carry President Obama’s press conference on Wednesday, the 100th day of his presidency. ABC, CBS, and NBC have all committed to carrying it. Note that this is the Fox broadcast entertainment network, not the cable news channel, which has declined to air the presser. Still, there is some irony in that Fox has chosen to air an episode of the series “Lie To Me” instead. That’s something with which Fox should be familiar. Note also that the Fox News network has previously declined to air several Obama press affairs, even when the other cable news nets carried them.

Item 2: Newspaper circulation data for the six months ending March 2009, shows that Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post suffered the worst decline (-20.55%) of all of the top 25 papers measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. That does not compare well to the New York Times that declined only 3.55%. The New York Daily News fared worse (-14.26), but still not as bad as the Post. The Wall Street Journal was up a fraction.

Item 3: A study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs found the nightly newscasts devoting nearly 28 hours to Obama’s presidency in the first 50 days, about twice as much as Bush and Clinton. Of course, they weren’t facing the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression when they entered office. The study went on to report that 58% of the Obama stories on ABC, CBS and NBC, contained some positive elements. That’s a little more than half, so it could be regarded as fair and balanced. But the network that turned that phrase into a logo had only 13% positive analysis. Slanted much?

Item 4: Speaking at the Milken Global Institute Conference, Rupert Murdoch articulated a position that may come as a surprise to many, including the clowns on his news network. As reported in his own Wall Street Journal: “He said complete nationalization of the biggest banks might have been a good thing; it would have allowed the government to break up the banks’ businesses and sell them as smaller entities. That way, ‘there would be no more too big to fail firms,’ he said.” But Glenn Beck said that that way there would be Socialism!?! Rupert’s in big trouble now.

Item 5: Last year the New York Times published a story about the media using retired military analysts that were provided and trained by the Pentagon to speak approvingly about the war in Iraq and other war on terror operations. In addition, some of these allegedly neutral analysts were also on the payroll of defense contractors with vested interests in the war effort. None of these associations were disclosed by the media. Subsequent to the story in the Times, the same media virtually blacked out any reporting on the controversy. Last week the author, David Barstow, won a Pulitzer prize for the article. Guess what? The media somehow failed to report on Barstow’s award, even when reporting on the Pulitzer’s announcement of other winners.