Thursday, May 19, 2005

House Dems to hold forum on media bias Tuesday with Franken, Brock, others
House Dems to hold forum on media bias Tuesday with Franken, Brock, others

By John Byrne | RAW STORY

In the wake of a firestorm on the House floor over a Newsweek article about desecrating the Quran, a dozen members of Congress have planned a forum next Tuesday on media bias, RAW STORY has learned.

Among those scheduled to testify are Air America Radio host Al Franken, Media Matters chief David Brock, AmericaBLOG's John Aravosis, a Washington bureau BBC reporter, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's Steve Rendell and Mark Lloyd, from the progressive thinktank Center for American Progress. Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox has also been invited.

The panel will be hosted by ranking House Judiciary Committee Democrat Rep. John Conyers, Jr (D-MI).

“I think a number of Democratic members have been disturbed about what is and what isn’t being covered in the corporate news media," a House aide said, speaking of the event. "Specifically, there’s been a great deal of disappointment of the media’s coverage of the Iraq war and the Downing Street memo and great concern about the White House’s efforts to intimidate media outlets such as they’ve done in the Newsweek matter.”

House Republicans have aggressively attacked Newsweek for an article later retracted that said an internal U.S. military report would find that the Quran had been flushed down a toilet at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-OH) appeared on Fox News Channel Wednesday to discuss the negative international reaction, which many say was as a result of the Newsweek article, despite comments from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff indicating otherwise. Pryce has called for all Congressional offices to cancel their Newsweek subscriptions "as a call for a return to journalistic integrity and credibility."

A Newsweek asserted last week that the White House has capitalized on distrust of the media to turn errors into conflagrations.

"Unfortunately, a lot of news organizations are making mistakes that turn into massive news stories," the staffer said. "And that is in part because the Administration is very saavy at using public distrust of the media to its advantage."

More details are expected shortly. Among some of the members sponsoring and likely to attend include Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (R-TX), Rep Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).