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Permanent link to MTA daily media news

Cat’s Away, Mice Play (by David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo)
While the nation is distracted by Super Tuesday elections tomorrow, the Senate will finally take up telecom immunity, which is expected to pass.

The day the music died (by vastleft at Corrente Wire, thanks to bluegal at Crooks and Liars)
On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations to rally support for an invasion of Iraq. His presentation contained little substance and numerous obvious flaws, and the international community was unimpressed. America’s mainstream media, however, declared it “compelling.”

The CIA operation that should have prevented the Iraq war
From the end of 2002 the US spy agency had sources inside Iraq’s weapons plants telling them clearly what the whole world now knows — that Saddam had ended efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction. Nevertheless in March 2003 the United States and Britain invaded Iraq to disarm Saddam of this non-existent arsenal and in the process triggered the effective collapse of the Iraqi state, plunging it into chaos and bringing thousands of deaths.
Make that hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Family Values at Work Dept.: Sex workers get ‘more business’ at GOP conventions.
This summer’s political conventions are expected to be “a boom in business” for “the sex and adult entertainment industries,” but according to one veteran sex worker who spoke to the Rocky Mountain News, the GOP conventions are “a lot better for the sex workers.” “We get a lot more business,” Carol Leigh told the paper. “I don’t know if they’re just frustrated because of the family values agenda.”

WP, Newsweek stars to do webcam commentary on Tuesday
Newsweek and the Washington Post will be putting their big editorial guns in front of webcams for six continuous hours of live election coverage, which the BBC will simulcast to its stations around the world, reports William Triplett. The talking heads will include Bob Woodward, Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, Howard Kurtz, Leonard Downie, Jon Meacham, and Michael Isikoff.
I can HARDLY wait!

Hardball Power Rankings: John McCain Is MASTER & COMMANDER! (by Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars)

It’s no secret that Chris Matthews has a mancrush on Senator John McCain, but I think he needs to take a step back and look at reality — stat. During his Power Rankings on Monday’s Hardball, Matthews contends that because John McCain is expected to do well on Super Tuesday and is likely to be considered his party’s nominee for President, and has Rudy Giuliani stumping for him, he will LOOK presidential, therefore, he has the best shot to win the White House in ‘08.
Click through to watch a mashup video of the segment.

Shriver, Keillor endorse Obama
LOS ANGELES (AP) — California first lady Maria Shriver endorsed Barack Obama for president on Sunday, calling him inspirational and a natural leader.
Why is it that Obama endorsements get headlines, and Clinton’s don’t?

Obama Headlines Will Fuel His Drive to the Top (by Dick Morris, The Hill’s Pundits Blog)
The USA Today headline on Monday said it all: “Obama Erases Clinton Lead.”  The press on the day before Super Tuesday has been the best that Barack Obama could hope for.  In a race dominated by perception, you could not buy more favorable publicity than the published reports of his closing the gap with Hillary.
And that’s exactly what’s wrong with our political system.  We choose candidates based on perception, not facts or issues, and the corporate media choose which candidates get the headlines and how those headlines are worded.  And Dick Morris has worked diligently, ever since Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy, to undermine her.  He hates the Clintons because Bill fired him for his toe-sucking relationship with a prostitute.

However: Final SurveyUSA Poll in CA (by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo)
SurveyUSA has a final California poll out including calls from Monday night. The tally: Clinton 52%, Obama 42%.
So we’ll have to see.

Statistical comparison (by Paul Krugman)
By my count, 3 of my last 10 columns have criticized Barack Obama. 7 of Frank Rich’s 10 last columns, and 6 of Maureen Dowd’s last 10 columns, have criticized Hillary Clinton. But, of course, that’s different: Hillary is eeevil, and deserves it.

they might be giants (infotainment rules)
The way Barack Obama is being covered by the media and the blogosphere, he’s not a political candidate anymore—he’s a celebrity. He doesn’t have political followers—he’s got fans. He doesn’t have a political platform—he’s got a one-word slogan—”change” [which works, ’cause “change is good,” just like Nissan says, right?]. He makes narcissists feel so good about themselves. So: the slogan has changed—now it’s “Yes, we can”—but the marketing pitch is the same: Obama’s the one.

We’re hiring a manager, not a spiritual adviser (by Jeff Jarvis)
Two things trouble me about the Obama campaign: First, its reliance on empty rhetoric: “Change” and now “yes, we can.” But change how? Can do what? And second, the candidate’s lack of experience is an issue… I don’t want to hire a spiritual leader for the White House. We have someone now who thinks he stands on spiritual principles and backfilled his definition of them in disastrous ways. No, I want to hire a manager: tough and experienced and practical. That is what we need, especially now.

Dean Baker is wrong (by Paul Krugman)
Remember, the whole Obama position has been that if you make it affordable, they will come. Now he’s saying that if they don’t, we’ll punish them — but only when or if they show up in distress. I don’t believe this is workable… I should also mention that if the penalties are enforced, so that people who show up seeking coverage have to pay a penalty rate, guess what will happen? A lot of people will end up deciding to forgo needed medical care. This is exactly what we’re trying to avoid — and it’s a far nastier outcome than anything a mandate would do.

Mythbuster: Another Poll Shows That Bill Hasn’t Hurt Hillary Among Dem Primary Voters (by Greg Sargent at TPM Horse’s Mouth)
Yesterday I noted that contrary to the narrative selected by many reporters, pundits and commentators, a new Pew poll had some numbers suggesting that Bill hadn’t hurt Hillary among Dem primary voters nationally. Now along comes another poll that finds this even more clearly… Seventy percent say he makes “no difference.”

LA Times Accuses Hillary Clinton Campaign of Push Polling (by Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars)
The only problem is, by the description in the article, it doesn’t look like push polling at all.

Clinton on Ann Coulter: ‘I told you I could bring the country together’ (On Politics, USA Today)
Laughing uproariously as she said it, Hillary Rodham Clinton had this to say when Inside Edition asked her about conservative firebrand Ann Coulter’s comment that she would rather vote for the former first lady than for Republican Sen. John McCain — and would campaign for Clinton if McCain is the GOP nominee: “Well, see, I told you I could bring the country together,” the Democratic senator said about Coulter.

Limbaugh on McCain: It’s Better to Be Right All the Time
Rush Limbaugh has been relentless in his criticism of John McCain, prompting suggestions that he may have to soften his stance if the Arizona senator wins the nomination and faces off against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. But if that happens, Limbaugh said in an interview over the weekend, he would rather see the Democrats win the White House.

Inside Story: The people who sell presidents
Behind every ‘Super Tuesday’ there’s a hidden PR bunfight to sell the US presidential candidates’ strengths and conceal their frailties. Stephen Foley unveils the spinmeisters

SEIU launches $75 million universal health care campaign.
TNR’s Jonathan Cohn reports that SEIU announced today it will be launching a $75 million election-year campaign for universal coverage. According to the union’s press release, the effort will feature paid advertising to “draw sharp distinctions between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees’ approach to health care, and what those differences will mean to working families.” 

The NYT Wants to Cut Social Security So Badly They Put it In the News Section (by Dean Baker)
The NYT notes the current deficit problems and asks “How, for example, will the next president rein in the cost of retirement and health programs?” The better question is why should the next president rein in the cost of retirement programs? The Congressional Budget Office’s projections show that the main government retirement program will be fully funded for almost thirty years after the latest date that the next president can leave office, so why should the next president be reining in the cost, because the NYT wants it to?

The Deficit is Too Big: We Clearly Cannot Afford NPR (by Dean Baker)
NPR’s anchors told listeners to Morning Edition that the deficit is “400 billion dollars, that’s 400 billion dollars(their emphasis).” Since very few of NPR’s listeners have a clear sense of the size of the economy and prior deficits, they cannot attach any real meaning to this statement other than the fact that the anchors’ (or their news writers) apparently think the deficit is too big. There is nothing wrong with presenting opinions on NPR, but these should be clearly separated from the news segments.

Media Matters for America headlines

Hardball panel ponders reasons Clinton “tear[ed] up” with Yale former colleagues

NY Daily News editorial lauded McCain’s “straight talk” on immigration, ignoring his reversal

Zakaria falsely claimed Clinton “won’t say” she favors the U.S. “reduc[ing] its own nuclear arsenal”

Novak falsely claimed Clinton did not argue “until her presidential campaign” that Levin amendment would subordinate U.S. decisions to the U.N.

Savage: “America’s not ready for an affirmative action presidency”

Fox News’ Hill: Are Latinos “going to vote for the person who basically is going to give them the most for … the least?”

Echoing GOP attack line, Blitzer referred to “the class warfare argument that the Democrats make”

NY Post, Wash. Post editorials distorted key facts regarding Clinton’s Kazakhstan trip

Brzezinski falsely asserted that McCain “stood by” his views on immigration

CNN’s Henry cited Bush’s “tout[ing]” of Iraq troop withdrawals — but Henry had reported troops “would have to come home … anyway”

British soldiers ‘tortured and killed’ 22 Iraqis
British soldiers have been accused of torturing 22 Iraqi citizens to death. They are also said to have abused nine others held in their custody. The allegations of brutality, dating back to 2004, can now be made public after a gagging order was lifted by a High Court judge yesterday. The order had prevented any details of the alleged torture being reported by the Press or broadcast media.

Safer: Media reject in-depth coverage of war, other topics
“We don’t cover the news anymore, we skim the news,” complains “60 Minutes” veteran Morley Safer. He’s also unhappy abou the attention that the media are showering on the gender and race of the Democratic presidential contenders. In the rest of the world, he notes, electing a woman leader isn’t all that unusual. “We lose something when we elevate this into something unique,” he says.

Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting finalists named
The finalists for 2008 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting are Joshua Kors of the Nation; Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker of the New York Times; Tom Dubocq of the Palm Beach Post; Loretta Tofani of the Salt Lake Tribune; Barton Gellman and Jo Becker of the Washington Post; and Dana Priest and Anne Hull, also of the Post.

Sun-Times Parent To Consider Strategic Alternatives (Paid Content)
Sun-Times Media Group, parent of the Chicago Sun-Times, has announced that it will seek strategic alternatives, including a possible sale. The struggling publisher, which has been pushed by investors to do more to turn itself around, may also consider joint ventures or other strategic partnerships with third parties.

NWS: Murdoch Spells Out Value Of DJ Subscription Content, Boasts About Lower Dependence On Ad Market (Paid Content)
In case anyone was holding on to the idea that News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch might pull back on his Davos comments that WSJ.com would be a hybrid model, time to give it up for good. Murdoch used today’s earning’s call to stress how very much he values Dow Jones’ subscription success. He mentioned the expanded free content like opinion and promised more (stories from personal finance, politics, and the business of life, as well as blogs and videos) but said “the bulk of the Journal’s core business coverage will remain behind the subscription wall.”
You refuse to believe ME that subscriptions are important, maybe you’ll believe Rupert Murdoch.

News Corp. 2Q Net Rises On TV, Cable, Internet Growth
News Corp.’s (NWS, NWSA) fiscal second-quarter net income rose 1.2% on improved results in its television, cable-TV and Internet businesses that were partially offset by lower results in film and TV production and losses at affiliates. In the quarter ended Dec. 31, the media giant reported net income of $832 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with $822 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier.

Making Wall Street Journal more mass-market could backfire
Major news stories now dominate the WSJ’s front page. “The long, offbeat or investigative stories –formerly a page-one centerpiece — have grown scarce,” writes Matthew Flamm.”Die-hard readers are lamenting the changes. But the critical issue may be whether making the paper more like other ones is a good business strategy.”

News Corp.: No Interest in Yahoo!
Rupert Murdoch may have shaken up “old media” with his blockbuster acquisition of The Wall Street Journal last year, but don’t expect him to get into new media’s latest kerfuffle over Microsoft’s $44 billion bid for Yahoo! “We are definitely not going to make a bid on Yahoo,” said Murdoch on a conference call with analysts following his media empire’s second-quarter earnings report to Wall Street.

Microsoft Bid Backs Yahoo Into a Corner
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Microsoft Corp.’s $41 billion takeover bid appears to have backed Yahoo Inc. into a corner, leaving the struggling Internet pioneer with the unpleasant choice of selling to a detested rival or pursuing other agonizing alternatives likely to require the help of an even fiercer foe, Google Inc.

Warner, Universal take action against Baidu
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Three global record companies have launched legal proceedings against China’s top Internet search engine Baidu.com Inc, accusing it of violating copyright by giving access to music files, an international music trade body said.

Nokia starts to roll out gaming, networking sites
HELSINKI (Reuters) – Nokia, the world’s largest cellphone maker, started to roll-out its online gaming service N-Gage on Tuesday as it expands into mobile Internet services.
Everybody wants to be a content provider.

Marketing, the Most Valuable Player Might Be YouTube
The Internet, digital video recorders, mobile devices and other technologies are giving a strong postgame presence to the annual roster of Super Bowl commercials.

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