Commentary

When we were kids, network anchors like Walter Cronkite read us news each night like parents telling stories. But as we’ve grown older, the nightly news stories have transformed into grim fairy tales about some terrifying threat to you and me. When Republicans were in office in the early ’90s, it was the economy. TV told us it was in bad shape and hyped the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid” – helping Bill Clinton slink into the West Wing in 1992. Afterward, The Washington Post admitted the media had been wrong. A Jan. 29, 1993, report admitted that “growth for... continue reading
Each day in Darfur, 80 children younger than the age of five die because of malnutrition, disease and poor living conditions caused by the war in the Sudan. North Korea has tested nuclear weapons, and violence among ethnic and religious groups is disrupting Iraq. Social Security and Medicare have unfunded liabilities that reach into the tens of trillions of dollars. Yet if one watches television, listens to the radio or reads, it would appear that the greatest issue facing Congress is the e-mails Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) sent to pages and who knew about them when. Is it likely that... continue reading
Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, two million old tires are pounding into reefs, destroying the ecosystem and littering the shoreline. It’s an environmentalist catastrophe. That’s right – environmentalist. This disaster might as well be sponsored by your favorite left-wing environmental group. Do-gooders launched this project back in 1972 to save the oceans, spawn fish and rid the earth of mountains of tires that posed health and fire hazards. Only it didn’t quite work that way. Environmentalists and their usual fans in the media are whispering a collective “oops.” As the October 2 Washington Post reported it, “Now the... continue reading
Everyone’s talking about the environment these days, whether it’s Al Gore’s army of global warming slide show presenters or billionaire Richard Branson’s quest for alternative fuels. I’m nostalgic for the old days when all the environmentalists wanted was for us to recycle. In class a few years ago I was lecturing on the economics of environmental protection. As I described the market’s surprisingly robust ability to conserve natural resources, one student asked me “Do you recycle?” “No,” I answered. “Thanks for the effort,” he replied sarcastically. He then angrily marched from the room. I detected that most of the remaining... continue reading
Usually, spotting inconsistencies in the left’s arguments is fun. But in the case of Robert Greenwald’s new propagandumentary, “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers,” it’s serious business. Greenwald, who also made “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” (covered by BMI here), was on hand to discuss the film with its Washington, D.C., premiere audience on September 18. He said he had wanted to “put a personal face on profiteering” – something he accomplished in more ways than he likely intended. “Iraq for Sale” is a mishmash of allegations against four main companies: CACI International Inc., Titan (now L-3 Communications... continue reading
When gas prices shot up in spring, some in the media were quick to criticize “corporate greed,” but as prices plummet, even that decline has to be a “conspiracy.” If you think I’m kidding then you don’t know Jack – Jack Cafferty that is. Cafferty shoots from the lip often enough as a CNN host, but on the August 30 edition of that network’s “Situation Room,” he outdid himself. After a story about how gas prices might get close to $2 by Thanksgiving, Cafferty grabbed his tinfoil hat and came up with his own conspiracy theory. “You know, if you... continue reading
Near the end of the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” Capt. Miller used his last breath urging the young private to “Earn this.” Brave men had given their lives to rescue Ryan and return him to his family after the deaths of his brothers. When Ryan wouldn’t leave “the only brothers I had left,” Miller and his command stood with them to the end in a fight against overwhelming odds. Miller’s last words reminded Ryan forever of those sacrifices, so that he would live a life that would have made those men proud. Throughout America’s history, men and women have made... continue reading
Labor Day isn’t just a holiday. It’s one more chance for the media to bemoan the state of the American worker. This isn’t a case of glass half full or half empty. In the news, there isn’t any glass at all – it’s been outsourced to Asia. TV reporters portray today’s work world as one part “Office Space” and another “Bridge Over the River Kwai” without the catchy whistling. “We’re working ourselves to death,” ABC’s Diane Sawyer told “Good Morning America” viewers on August 29 after a study connected some jobs with high blood pressure. Less than a week earlier... continue reading
Paul Leonard did not buy flood insurance, but through his attorney, Dickie Scruggs, filed a lawsuit arguing that Nationwide Insurance should cover his losses from Hurricane Katrina regardless of what his insurance contract said. Here is the clause in the Leonards’ contract: “We do not cover loss to any property resulting directly or indirectly from … flood, surface water, waves, tidal waves, overflow of a body of water, spray from these, whether or not driven by wind.” Nevertheless, the lawsuit had support from Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who, for the last year, has been shamelessly demonizing insurance companies over... continue reading
It was the summer of love all over again. Only this time we didn’t have hookah pipes, tie-dyed shirts and the Doors singing “People Are Strange.” All journalists had was their love for one man – Al Gore – and this summer he and the media both proved the song was right. Yes, that Al Gore – the former vice president now turned into full-time global warming pitchman. The media couldn’t get enough of the Wonk-in-Chief. The newly crowned movie star and his type of documentary – cinema scare-ité – were discussed on at least 99 TV shows from network... continue reading