Commentary

The well is about to run dry. That’s what the International Energy Agency said in early July. According to the Financial Times, “oil looks extremely tight in five years time.” Why wait five years? Oil looks pretty tight right now. As of this writing, oil is floating around $74-$75 and gas is more than $3 a gallon yet again. We aren’t running out by any means, but it’s not exactly pleasant for consumers. And journalists are sure to jump on the industry once again. You can almost format the media coverage in advance: 1. Describe the company CEO (fill in... continue reading
Say the word “Fark” and you either get knowing smirks or people think you are cursing. Geeks like myself might even make the connection with the expletive “frack” or “frak” from the two “Battlestar Galactica” TV shows. In reality, Fark is wildly popular Web site devoted to weird, unusual and often hilarious news and events. To true farkers, it isn’t just a Web site, it’s a way of looking at the news. In his own warped and wonderful way, Fark founder Drew Curtis is one heck of a media critic – one with a lot to say. (For a Q&A... continue reading
Drew Curtis, founder of www.Fark.com, was kind enough to answer some questions from the Business & Media Institute (BMI), pegged to his new book: “It’s Not News, It’s FARK.” BMI: What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen the news media do (aside from asking this question)? Drew Curtis: The most consistent stupid thing I’ve seen them do is hurricane coverage. Send an army of reporters right into an impending disaster area so you can take video of them standing in water when it’s windy out, all the while telling people to evacuate because it’s dangerous. BMI: The book didn’t... continue reading
Michael Moore’s new movie “Sicko” is a shock-umentary approach to exaggerating the ills of American health care. Still, it guarantees some debate over universal health care will take place this summer. On the campaign trail, Democrats like former Sen. John Edwards are falling over one another trying to embrace universal care. Most of those plans attack America 's pharmaceutical industry as well. According to a recent study, a barrage of anti-industry media reporting may play a significant role in the evolution of the industry's tarnished image. Industry critics call it "Big Pharma" to associate it with "Big Tobacco." Best-selling books... continue reading
Go green young man. A twist on Horace Greeley’s famous advice is growing from a suggestion into a media mandate. Everywhere, they tell us, America and the world are “going green.” It’s more than just a buzzword term for the eco-elite. The mainstream media are saying people are going green as a reminder that we, too, must join them or risk being behind the times. Or worse, conservative. Just this year, the three broadcast TV networks have cited the term more than 90 times. It defines everything from organic wine to former steel towns. Even the Vatican is “going green.”... continue reading
It used to be that you could buy a newspaper on the corner for a penny, a nickel or even a dime. Or the paperboy delivered it to your door, came around another time and collected a whole month’s worth for just a few dollars. In 2007, journalists aren’t happy when you offer to pay $5 billion for a paper. Journalists don’t want to sell to News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch because they don’t like his politics and his brand of journalism. It’s easy to find reporters and editors opposed to Murdoch. They’re all over the news – NPR, the Columbia... continue reading
Americans are obsessed with rights. We always have been. But the concept of rights our forefathers laid out in the Declaration of Independence has changed dramatically. Those rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – were acknowledged to come from the Almighty, given equally to all people. Today’s rights come from Almighty Government. Health care is the newest “right.” From presidential candidates’ universal plans to the return of HillaryCare to Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko,” it’s all over the media. Calling it a “right” is an emotional argument advanced by those who want others to pay for their health... continue reading
They say even a broken clock is right twice a day. The mainstream media aren’t quite that good when it comes to gas prices. It took them 26 years to get it right. Rip Van Winkle woke up in less time. March 1981, right in the midst of the Iran/Iraq War, used to be the inflation-adjusted high for gas prices. According to various oil experts, on May 24 we hit a new record – $3.227. That’s all of four-tenths of one cent higher than the old one. And journalists finally found the time to get that one right. Twenty-six years... continue reading
Global warming must already have fried our brains. George Bush and the Congress can’t wait to pour more subsidies into corn ethanol. Indonesia is clearing tropical forest to grow palm oil for Europe’s diesel engines. Canada is about to build the world’s biggest biofuels plant – 300 million gallons per year – to burn up valuable foodstuffs like wheat and oilseeds. Land is the scarcest environmental resource in the world. We need all the good land to feed people and all the poor land as wildlife habitat. Additionally, biofuels are a terribly inefficient use of land. In the United States,... continue reading
Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) sits on the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He has taken an interest in the threat Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez poses to the United States. Mack was so concerned with Chavez’s propaganda efforts of selling low-cost heating oil to poor Americans through a program involving former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-Mass.) that he challenged Kennedy to a debate. BMI’s Julia A. Seymour talked with Mack about media coverage and Chavez’s threats. Julia Seymour : I’m sure you’ve paid special attention to media coverage of Chavez. Have you noticed specific problems with the coverage? Rep. Connie Mack... continue reading