A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 17, 2013
Potemkin Journalism (Potemkin Journalist)

A “Potemkin village” is a fake one that’s meant to deceive. Russian minister Grigory Potemkin is said to have built fake villages along the Dnieper River in 1787 so that Empress Catherine II would visit Crimea. A “Potemkin” anything is slang for something that’s fake and not what it claims to be. The terms “Potemkin journalism” and “Potemkin journalist” have been infrequently used, but they have seen increased usage in political journalism in the 2000s by both conservatives and liberals.

“Ambushed by Potemkin journalism” by William Bradley appeared in the Los Angeles (CA) Times on November 6. 1996. Bradley discussed network television coverage of politics and found it to be as shallow as a Potemkin village. “(Jim) Lehrer, (Charlie) Gibson & (Bob) Schieffer were mere ‘Potemkin’ journalists” was written in 2004, with the writer claiming that the television viewer was being fooled.  “Pundit payola, fake ‘newscasts’, and Potemkin journalists” was the title of a 2005 liberal blog post about President George W. Bush administration’s secret payments that some members of the conservative media received to promote positive government stories.

Conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin called CBS’s Bob Schieffer a “Potemkin journalist” in January 2013 for comparing President Obama’s dispute with the National Rifle Association to fighting World War II against the Nazis.

Wikipedia: Potemkin village
The phrase Potemkin villages (an alternative spelling is Potyomkin villages, derived from the Russian: Потёмкинские деревни, Potyomkinskiye derevni) was originally used to describe a fake village, built only to impress. The phrase is now used, typically in politics and economics, to describe any construction (literal or figurative) built solely to deceive others into thinking that some situation is better than it really is. It is unclear whether the origin of the phrase is factual, an exaggeration, or a myth - for information on the historical debate see below.

Russian minister Grigory Potemkin led the Crimean military campaign. According to the story, he erected fake settlements along the banks of the Dnieper River in order to fool Empress Catherine II during her visit to Crimea in 1787.

Los Angeles (CA) Times
Ambushed by Potemkin Journalism
Sound-bite coverage and PAC-orchestrated campaigns have turned politics into a niche for the media elite.

November 06, 1996 |WILLIAM BRADLEY | William Bradley, an advisor in several Democratic presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, writes the New West Notes newsletter. E-mail:
Oh, that Rupert Murdoch! After vowing that his fledgling TV news operation would validate his huge investment by providing major election night coverage on Fox, the global godfather of tabloid media blindsided the other broadcast networks by instead airing “Beethoven,” a comedy about a St. Bernard.

War Without End
Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:52 am
Lehrer, Gibson & Schieffer were mere “Potemkin” journalists, intended NOT to deceive Catherine the Great, as were the villages in Crimea and the Ukraine consisting of false frontages quickly erected by her lover and cabinet minister, Prince Grigory Potemkin ---- about the time our founding patriots were trying to lay down permanent warnings for their posterity about the undesirability of “entangling alliances” and “passionate attachments” to foreign countries ---- in order to impress her with false prosperity in these newly acquired regions, NOR to influence our own shallow & pathetic modern day figurehead Vichy style “vice regents”, Baby Doc and Vice President Strangelove, or the two buffoons pretending to be Democrats, desperate to take their places as Ariel Sharon’s next shiksas, BUT to fool Us.

By: TBogg Monday January 31, 2005 9:25 pm
Pundit payola, fake “newscasts”, and Potemkin journalists
David Brock writes to Tap Dancing Scotty:

In light of recent revelations about the Bush administration’s relationship with conservative writers Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher, and Michael McManus, as well as about the administration’s repeated use of fake video “news” reports to promote policies, the public is understandably concerned that the White House seems to be trying to manipulate public opinion using fake “news.”

I laughed so hard when I heard about that. (FEMA officials answering questions their fake reporters pose—ed.) Who could make that stuff up? Someone at FEMA must have thought real hard about how to avoid the mistakes they made with Katrina...and then came up with this Potemkin-journalism. What I keep coming back to is the thought that this represents someone’s best efforts.
Posted by: Russell Hyland | October 27, 2007 at 08:28 AM

The Right Scoop
Mark Levin blasts Bob Schieffer as a ‘Potemkin journalist’ for comparison defeating ‘gun lobby’ to defeating Nazis
Posted by The Right Scoop on January 16th, 2013
Bob Schieffer said today that Obama’s gun control speech was one of his best ever speeches, saying we absolutely must do something about these massacres like Newtown or we’re not the country that we once were. And in that vein, he also compared taking on what he called the ‘gun lobby’ (aka NRA) to defeating racism, Osama bin Laden, and the Nazis in WWII, saying surely these were more formidable tasks.

Levin roasted him for this, calling him a ‘Potemkin journalist’ and a clapping seal that just needs a ball to balance on his nose.

Mark Levin Calls Bob Schieffer a ‘Phony Journalist,’ ‘Propagandist’ and an Obama ‘Cheerleader’
By Noel Sheppard | January 17, 2013 | 09:10
NewsBusters reported Wednesday that CBS’s Bob Schieffer compared President Obama taking on the gun lobby to America defeating the Nazis in World War II.

Hours later, conservative talk radio host Mark Levin took on this nonsense calling Schieffer “a Potemkin journalist, a phony” who behaves like a “propagandist” and an Obama “cheerleader” (transcribed highlights follow, audio available at Right Scoop):

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Thursday, January 17, 2013 • Permalink