The ‘State’ Of TV News

The Article: CNN and the business of state-sponsored TV news by Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian.

The Text: Today I reported on the refusal of CNN International (CNNi) to broadcast an award-winning documentary, “iRevolution”, that was produced in early 2011 as the Arab Spring engulfed the region and which was highly critical of the regime in Bahrain. The documentary, featuring CNN’s on-air correspondent Amber Lyon, viscerally documented the brutality and violence the regime was using against its own citizens who were peacefully protesting for democracy. Commenting on why the documentary did not air on CNNi, CNN’s spokesman cited “purely editorial reasons”.

Even so, the network’s relationships with governments must bear closer examination. CNNi has aggressively pursued a business strategy of extensive, multifaceted financial arrangements between the network and several of the most repressive regimes around the world which the network purports to cover. Its financial dealings with Bahrain are deep and longstanding.

CNNi’s pursuit of sponsorship revenue from the world’s regimes

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Saving Public Education

The Article: Selling The Soul Of Public Education by Maya Schenwar in TruthOut.

The Text: As we traipse through these weeks of conventioning, I know that the my-parents-showed-me-what-hard-work-means tales are getting a bit old. Still, please indulge me for a couple of paragraphs.

My dad taught for 34 years in inner-city public high schools in Chicago. For much of my childhood, my mom taught elementary school, also in a Chicago public school. They are two of the most hard-working people I’ve ever met, and I will forever be inspired by their capacity for personal sacrifice to serve the common good.

Growing up, I thought it was normal for adults to spend nights bent over towering stacks of papers, to fill weekends with lesson plans, to jump on the phone after dinner to speak with non-English-speaking parents in Spanish about their kids’ struggles. And there was the ugly side: my dad’s class sizes crept larger, books became scarcer, administrations grew more vicious, the threat of “reconstitution” (kicking out a school’s teachers based on students’ standardized test scores) loomed gigantic. I confess that observing my parents’ challenges and trials up close over the course of 18 years convinced me not to become a teacher. It also convinced me that teaching was one of the most important jobs in the universe.

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Confronting The Auto Bailout

The Article: 3 answers to the auto bailout debate by Chris Isidore in CNN Money.

The Text: The U.S. auto industry’s recovery is one of the biggest success stories of the last four years.

American automakers are reporting improving sales and record profits and hiring additional workers to meet surging demand.

But President Obama’s bailout of the auto industry in 2009 is still a source of great controversy in this year’s presidential election.

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A War On Reproductive Rights?

The Article: The Widespread War On Reproductive Rights by Lynsi Burton in TruthOut.

The Text: More than 1,100 bills aiming to restrict reproductive health access were introduced in state legislatures in 2011. By the end of the year, 135 of these measures were enacted in 35 states. The trend continued in the first half of 2012, with legislatures passing 95 new provisions related to birth control and abortion. But supporters of reproductive rights are pushing back.

When a “personhood amendment” that would grant human rights to a fertilized egg was put on the ballot last November in Mississippi—a Bible Belt state with a legacy of entrenched conservatism—pro-choice activists knew they faced an uphill battle against an initiative that would undercut access to safe and legal abortion and outlaw many forms of birth control, the morning-after pill, and in-vitro fertilization.

Mississippians for Healthy Families, aided by students, civil rights activists, and faith leaders, organized successfully to defeat the bill, winning 58 percent of the vote. It is difficult, if not impossible, for women and medical professionals to pinpoint the exact moment an ovum is fertilized, so the new law would have been impossible to follow consistently. Had it passed, it would have necessitated a Supreme Court challenge, and thus an opportunity to reverse Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.

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What’s Hot on the Web: Debate Edition

Last night’s Vice Presidential Debate created an absolute avalanche of great Internet content – both funny and poignant. We wanted to use this opportunity to collect our favorites to share with you.

5. Bill Maher Tweets

bill-maher-tweetBill Maher isn’t known for levelheadedness or moderate tendencies, but he sure is funny. Plenty of Old vs. Young  jokes were made during last night’s Vice Presidential debate, but Maher’s was one of the wittiest.

4. Parallels

vp-debate-parks-and-recThis photoset comes with no context or witty text overlay – it was just a simple tumblr upload by user uppity minx. It’s one of those things we wish we’d thought of first.

3. Veep Debate Violations


If you ask us, the’s team has created the end all-be all of fact checking compilations from last night’s “Thrill in the Ville” (the debate was held in Danville, KY). Their dedicated staff fact checked both sides of the debate – here are a couple stand outs:

‘Ryan was wrong when he said a rise in the jobless rate in Biden’s hometown was “how it’s going all around America.” The rate nationally has sunk back to where it was when Obama took office. And in Ryan’s hometown, it’s more than 4 percentage points lower that it was at the start of Obama’s term.’


‘Biden seemed to question Ryan’s assertion that administration officials called Syrian President Bashar Assad “a reformer” even when he was killing his own civilian countrymen. Ryan was right. Early in the bloody Syrian uprising Hillary Clinton called Assad a “different leader” who many in Congress believe is “a reformer.”’

2. Bean-Gate


Click photo to embiggen

The Internet is awash with many differing opinions on the VP Debate, but one topic that is quietly making the rounds is the “Bean” story from Paul Ryan (which, in case you missed it, was a heartwarming tale of seeing his daughter’s sonogram, thinking she looked like a little bean – which led to her post-birth nickname of “Bean”). Touching? Sure. Cute? You bet.
Lifted from the life of Kurt Cobain? Whaa?
Any self-respecting Nirvana/Kurt Cobain fan knows that his daughter’s full name is Francis Bean Cobain – they gave her the middle name Bean because he and Courtney Love thought she looked like a kidney bean in the sonogram.
Eerily familiar, eh?

(Addendum: We’re not saying Paul Ryan is lying. We just think the coincidence is incredibly silly.)

1. The Official “Biden to English” Dictionary


We leave you with this gem. Well done,


Hot On The Web