They sure did. Critics pounced on Time's puff piece; interestingly, one of the more helpful pieces came from USA Today (2/19/14), under the headline “Everyone Giddy Over Mexico–Except Mexicans.” It turns out that while Time thinks Peña Nieto is saving Mexico, Mexicans give him very low marks; he has a 32 percent approval rating. And those “reforms” being touted by Time leave many Mexicans wondering if they’ll see any benefit; foreign oil companies might profit from oil drilling, but what will that do for Mexican citizens? And actual growth in 2013 was 1.3 percent–well short of the sunny 3.5 percent growth that was forecast.
One critic, Bill Conroy of NarcoNews (2/17/14), noted that a few weeks earlier Time had published a 14-page advertising spread touting Mexico’s turnaround, sponsored by the government and corporate interests. Conroy argues that Time's journalism and this advertorial bore some striking resemblances. The magazine disagreed, of course; but it's worth recalling that Time, Inc. has already declared that part of the company’s new business strategy will include blurring the line between editorial and advertising (FAIR Blog, 1/2/14). As the New York Times reported (12/30/13), ”The newsroom staffs at Time Inc.’s magazines will report to the business executives.”
After appearing on SNL in the 80’s, Jackson had largely faded from public view until she reshaped herself in recent years as a tea party activist and conservative bomb-thrower. Her proclamations that Obama is definitely a communist and possibly the Antichrist sparked something of a second career, leading to a stint as a columnist for conspiracy website WND, a web-TV series, occasional Fox News interviews, and regular appearances at conservative and tea party events.
This week, Jackson ”filed to run as an independent candidate for a seat on a county commission outside Nashville, Tenn.”
During an interview promoting her book on Fox News last year, Jackson told Bill O’Reilly that while she had always been a Christian, she was apolitical until 2007 when she discovered an “underground conservative group of people” in Los Angeles that “educated” her about how a communist named Barack Obama was running for president. A Miami New Times profile of Jackson from 2012 tracing her journey from SNL to the tea party explains that while she refuses to name the “secret organization” that helped awaken her political side, she “is clearly talking about Friends of Abe,” a group of conservative celebrities whose members reportedly include Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammer, Pat Boone, and Gary Sinise.
After this political awakening, Jackson took to political blogging, making headlines in 2008 for writing on her website that Obama “bears traits that resemble the anti-Christ” and asserting that it was important to “ask if Barack Hussein Obama could be a Muslim terrorist sympathizer or a Marxist mole.” Despite her extremism and nonsensical political views, she was nonetheless quickly absorbed into the conservative movement, appearing in an October 2008 National Republican Senatorial Committee ad attacking her former SNL colleague Al Franken
Jackson’s fledgling conservatism was apparently heavily influenced by Fox News and its fever swamp coverage of Obama’s first term.
Morell is, of course, free to hold those opinions, though given his long tenure at the CIA, it’s not terribly surprising that he sees the world the way he does. What’s interesting, and disappointing, is that CBS thinks their network newscasts need to hear more regularly from someone who believes that the US government should keep a record of every phone call its citizens make and every email they send.
And they’re not the only ones making curious decisions. As Yousef Munayyer noted (Permission to Narrate, 1/4/14), CNN has just hired former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren as a Mideast contributor. Munayyer noted that CNN's coverage of Israel/Palestine had already been tilted in favor of Israeli guests. So why the need to add one more? Will CNN be hiring a contributor to provide analysis from a Palestinian perspective?
These are the kinds of hires that remind you that corporate media aren’t looking to expand the debate on important issues. They’re interested in keeping things as narrow as they already are.
But now NBC News plans to take its relationship with the Andersons a step further — into potentially questionable ethical territory.
The network confirmed Tuesday that it is in negotiations with the Andersons to produce “long-form” programming about Hannah Anderson’s abduction in August by a family friend, James Lee DiMaggio Jr. Sources at the network say the Andersons could receive more than $100,000 for their cooperation in the making of a documentary or some other nonfiction program. NBC won’t confirm the figure.
My 2¢: if it ends up on Dateline, where no content of much significance is broadcasted, then it will be money well spent on content.