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swifter, higher, crueler March 1, 2008

Posted by KG in econ, environment, international, media, news, politics, religion.
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photo by flickr user H@r@ld used under a creative commons license

joshua kurlantzick of the new republic reports (pdf 1/pdf 2 or jpg 1/jpg 2) on the regression of human rights and increased censorship in china pre-Olympics:

Given China’s promises, over the past five years politicians, activists, and many reporters have created a meta-narrative for the Beijing Olympics: With prestige on the line, and the international press descending on Beijing, China simply would have to improve. The Olympics offers China “an enormous opportunity to change world perceptions and implement significant reforms,” said John Kerry after Beijing won the bid.

Yet, since obtaining the Games, China’s human rights record has actually regressed. Human Rights Watch recently concluded that “legal reforms [have] stalled,” Chinese officials have stepped up their censorship of online forums, and authorities have targeted the “network of lawyers, legal academics, rights activists, and journalists…which aims to pursue social justice and constitutional rights.” “Instead of pre-Olympic ‘Beijing spring’ of greater freedom and tolerance of dissent, we are seeing the gagging of dissidents, a crackdown on activists, and attempts to block independent media coverage,” announced Brad Adam, head of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, a conclusion echoed by a recent Amnesty International assessment of China. Meanwhile, as a Financial Times report revealed, the Communist party has tightened its grip on Chinese politics by co-opting more entrepreneurs into the Party and taking over greater swathes of government bureaucracy.

Even the Olympic pledge of press freedom has not been met. Beijing has imposed a law restricting foreign news agencies working in China and also tightened control of the domestic press by launching a crackdown on “false” news and shuttering some 18,000 blogs and websites since April. Local journos who don’t get the message wind up in worse shape then Judith Miller: In August, Chinese reporters interviewing people in a province where a bridge collapsed were attacked by plainclothes thugs, who kicked and punched the journalists.

media coverage of 2008 presidential election October 30, 2007

Posted by KG in 2008 Elections, health, media, news, politics.
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study by the project for excellence in journalism and the joan shorenstein center on the press, politics, and public policy via paul krugman’s blog:

In all, 63% of the campaign stories focused on political and tactical aspects of the campaign. That is nearly four times the number of stories about the personal backgrounds of the candidates (17%) or the candidates’ ideas and policy proposals (15%). And just 1% of stories examined the candidates’ records or past public performance, the study found.

The press’ focus on fundraising, tactics and polling is even more evident if one looks at how stories were framed rather than the topic of the story. Just 12% of stories examined were presented in a way that explained how citizens might be affected by the election, while nearly nine-out-of-ten stories (86%) focused on matters that largely impacted only the parties and the candidates.

this should be pretty self-evident to anyone who reads or watches the msm’s coverage of elections. there’s this pretense of a public dialogue about the issues, but it’s not even reasonable to expect the average voter to understand anything, much less anything substantive, about social security or healthcare or global warming even if they pay attention to the news. can anyone tell me even the most basic of differences between clinton, obama, and edwards’ healthcare proposals? this is supposedly the number one domestic issue in this election but i never hear any kind of pundit discussion along the lines of – “well hillary’s health care plan wants to ____ while obama’s plan would ____, which stands in contrast to edwards plan which would _____.” what i hear is “hillary unveiled her healthcare proposal today. the republican frontrunners attacked her plan as more ‘socialized medicine,'” which is then followed by discussion about guliani’s attack of hillary’s plan as opposed to the plan itself.