Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen was associate professor of journalism and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and former board member of Progressive Democrats of America. In 2002, he was a producer and pundit at MSNBC (overseen by NBC News). He is the author of Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media - and a cofounder of the online action group, www.RootsAction.org. His website is here: http://jeffcohen.org

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Sunday, February 21, 2010
I Support Terry Nichols’ Hunger Strike
As a lifelong progressive committed to nonviolence, I have little sympathy for a man who conspired in the most heinous act of domestic rightwing terrorism in U.S. history. For his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing that killed 168 people (including kids at childcare), Terry Nichols is serving life-without-parole sentences. And that's a good thing, But I don't want him to "rot in jail." That's why I support his hunger strike and lawsuit, and hope he doesn't rot to death inside the federal Supermax prison in Colorado.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009
New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Apologize for Democrats
For the new year, let's resolve: Don't defend Democrats when they don't deserve defending. And that certainly includes President Obama. Let's further resolve: Put principles above party and never lose our voice on human rights and social justice. When we mute ourselves as a Democratic president pursues corporatist or militarist policies, we only encourage such policies.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Get Ready for the Obama/GOP Alliance
With Obama pushing a huge troop escalation in Afghanistan, history may well repeat itself with a vengeance. And it's not just the apt comparison to LBJ, who destroyed his presidency on the battlefields of Vietnam with an escalation that delivered power to Nixon and the GOP. There's another frightening parallel: Obama seems to be following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, who accomplished perhaps his single biggest legislative "triumph" - NAFTA - thanks to an alliance with Republicans that overcame strong Democratic and grassroots opposition.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Rush’s Racist Rhetoric Coming Home to Roost
With Rush Limbaugh trying to become co-owner of the St. Louis Rams, his racially divisive commentary over the last 20 years - some as fresh as last month -- is surfacing . When I studied Limbaugh while heading the media watch group FAIR, colleague Steve Rendall and I assembled some of Limbaugh's racist remarks in an L.A. Times column .
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Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Mystique of 'Free-Market Guy' Obama
No matter what the facts are, some liberal activists and leaders persist in seeing President Obama as a principled progressive reformer who lives and breathes the campaign rhetoric about "change you can believe in." When he compromises, it's not Obama's fault - it's the opposition. Retreat is never a sell-out but a shrewd tactic, part of some secret long-range strategy for triumphant reform. He's been in the White House eight months. It's time for activists take a harder look at Obama. And a more assertive posture toward him.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009
Are Liberal Netroots Groups Helping Obama Fail?
I’ve started deleting them as spam. I’m not talking about the enlarge-your-penis emails or “You’ve Won the Lottery” notices. I’m talking about the increasingly-urgent emails coming for weeks from liberal Netroots groups calling for a “public option” for healthcare – a government insurance plan citizens could choose to PAY FOR instead of private insurance.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Will Obama Move Supreme Court Rightward?
I learned long ago, while working at the media watch group FAIR, to be wary of New York Times headlines. Hearing news that President Obama has a shortlist of candidates to replace David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court, I dug up a front-page New York Times Week in Review piece written soon after Obama’s inauguration about his possible impact on the Court. It was headlined: “To Nudge, Shift or Shove the Supreme Court Left.”
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Monday, February 23, 2009
Will TV News Ever Apologize for Condit Hoax?
For four months beginning in May 2001, major U.S. media outlets, including all three cable news channels, took the American public for a ride -- perpetrating a hoax that a married congressman was somehow involved in the disappearance of a female intern. As I witnessed the farce from inside cable news, I could see it was all about ratings and had nothing to do with journalism. This week -- with these same outlets reporting a "break" in the 8-year-old murder case -- would be a good time for TV news executives to look back and give the public a big, fat apology.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Coming to NBC: 'To Catch a Cheney'
I have a plan to get NBC out of last place in the ratings. I'm promising blockbuster audience and international buzz. As a once disgruntled ex-employee, I now just want to be positive and help NBC, which needs all the free advice it can get.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008
Announcing the P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2008
Now in their seventeenth year, the P.U.-litzer Prizes recognize some of the nation's stinkiest media performances. As the judges for these annual awards, we do our best to identify the most deserving recipients of this unwelcome plaudit. And now, the P.U.-litzers Prizes for 2008:
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