May
27
2009

Latin America Pundits Avoid Latin American Opinion

Observing that Latinobarometro's 2008 report on Latin American public opinion again "went entirely unreported in almost all of the world's major media outlets," with "only small snippets selectively analyzed by writers at the Economist, Christian Science Monitor and Washington Times," Latin American history major Kevin Young's ZNet analysis of the survey (5/27/09) gives some probable reasons: Washington's contempt for the Chavez and Morales governments is readily apparent given frequent Bush administration denunciations and threats directed at the two leaders, U.S. support for violent opposition groups and coup attempts in Venezuela and Bolivia, and its ongoing and well-documented (though still highly […]

May
27
2009

On MSM's 'Liberal Bias'… Toward the Bush Presidents

Recapping at TPM Café (5/27/09) how the U.S. "press bent over backward to paint both Bushes as moderate, sensible, nice guy Republicans," Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell writes that "a hard-right [George W.] Bush, whether real or media-created, would have never beaten Gore–not that this one did either." Reminding us that "the New York Times, for example, had been very tough on [President Bill] Clinton on its editorial page," Mitchell says that "once in office, a long honeymoon between press and president ensued," and "just as Bush's approval ratings tanked and criticism was about to spread, 9/11 came along to […]

May
27
2009

Media Still Crushing on Old Flame Colin Powell

Robert Parry (Consortium News, 5/25/09) thinks that "there is no one, it seems, that the U.S. mainstream news media loves more than Colin Powell," and as proof offers "Powell's disingenuous response" to Bob Schieffer's May 24 CBS Face the Nation "question about the ex-secretary of state's knowledge regarding 'enhanced interrogation techniques,' which the International Committee of the Red Cross and virtually all other objective observers say constituted torture": Powell–whom, Parry recalls, "was a member of President George W. Bush's Principals Committee, which oversaw the interrogation policies"–claimed to an unchallenging Schieffer, "to have been kept mostly out of the loop…. He […]

May
27
2009

GOP's Helpful Pundits Reinforce Public Fear

Noticing how "in the past week, Republican politicians and pundits have been striving mightily to invoke fear in the hearts of the American people," News Corpse blogger Mark Howard has collected (5/25/09) some choice quotes from GOP members "blanketing the airwaves with assertions that President Obama's policies on national security (Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, torture, etc.) will result in another 9/11": Cheney: "It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe."… John Boehner: "I think this is a pre-9/11 mentality, and I think it'll make our nation less safe." Karl Rove: "They're doing the wrong thing […]

May
27
2009

Action Alert: The NYT and the 'Return' to Terrorism

FAIR's latest Action Alert asks media activists to ask New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt about a recent Elisabeth Bumiller article that reported on former Guantanamo prisoners "returning" to terrorism–even though it was not clear there was evidence that any of the released prisoners had ever been involved in "terrorism" of any sort. Please leave copies of your messages to Hoyt in the comment thread here.

May
26
2009

Press Freedom 'Lip Service' vs. 'de Facto U.S. Policy'

Reporting that "the Obama administration has recently paid a lot of lip service to freedom of the press, particularly around the case of Iranian-American journalist Roxanna Saberi, who was released May 11 from an Iranian prison," Jeremy Scahill asks (Rebel Reports, 5/26/09) the simple question, "If Iran Freed Roxanna Saberi, Why Won't the U.S. Release Journalist Ibrahim Jassam?" Part of the answer might lie in a media environment heeding former Col. Ralph Peters' recent "essay for a leading neocon group calling for future U.S. military attacks on media outlets and journalists" along with "censorship" and "news blackouts." Of course, Scahill […]

May
26
2009

Brookings Institution: 'Liberal,' Centrist… or Extremist?

Poking holes in the Brookings Institution's "preening conceit"–"they bequeath their website with an '.edu' suffix… They are 'scholars.' Just ask them and they'll tell you"–Salon's Glenn Greenwald (5/26/09, ad-viewing required) quotes one blogger fundamentally debunking Brookings mainstay William Glaberson's May 22 New York Times contention that, as U.S. president, Barack Obama "has sworn an oath to protect the country": "Barack Obama did not swear an oath to 'protect the country.' He swore an oath to protect the principles upon which the country was founded and the document in which those principles are enshrined." Looking more broadly at "Beltway world," in […]

May
26
2009

L.A. Times: Transforming Reform into 'Reform'

Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post, 5/25/09) is offering, as "a particularly egregious example" of corporate media as "enabler of the transformation of real reform into D.C. 'reform,'" a May 23 L.A. Times editorial she thinks "might as well have been written by industry lobbyists (the way many 'reform' bills are)." After her initial reaction to the subhead, "Stung by the excesses of the financial services industry, Congress is striking back"–"Actually, it wasn't Congress that was 'stung' by those 'excesses'–it was the entire world. And why is regulation of out-of-control markets 'striking back'?"–Huffington warns us that "it gets worse": "Rather than trusting […]

May
26
2009

'Self-Serving Propaganda'? No Problem on NPR

Wondering "why NPR decided it was appropriate to present Cheney's blatantly self-serving propaganda as anything remotely relevant to current policy," NPR Check contributor Brian (5/23/09) blogs about current president Barack Obama and former vice president Dick Cheney recently "attacking the policies of the other administration and defending their own positions in speeches." Even though each was given "in front of friendly audiences unable to challenge them," NPR's Morning Edition of May 22 "presented them as a face-to-face debate between the two men, alternating soundbites from each," and giving Cheney equal billing with the president in a piece titled "Obama, Cheney: […]

May
23
2009

NYT: Ex-Prisoners 'Return' to Terrorism Never Charged

Remembering all too well how the New York Times "helped sell the Iraq War with a bogus story about aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges and withheld evidence of illegal spying on Americans for more than a year," Consortium News editor Robert Parry (5/21/09) tells how the paper "is again mishandling a sensitive story in a way that panders to the right." Pointing to a May 21 Times headline and lead "reporting that a Pentagon study has concluded that 'about one in seven of the 534 prisoners' transferred out of the Guantanamo Bay prison 'returned to terrorism or militant activity,'" Parry […]

May
23
2009

MSM Hungry for the Blood of Somali Pirates

Political science professors Sonia Cardenas and Andrew Flibbert survey the bloodthirsty media reaction to African pirates for CounterPunch (5/22/09): Across countless blogs and media outlets, here and abroad, thousands of people have called unequivocally–often in blunt, colorful language–for killing Somali pirates. "Kill the Pirates" was the headline of a Washington Post op-ed on April 13 by Fred Iklé, a defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in the Los Angeles Times, "Shoot the pirates, problem solved." The mainstream media has described today's pirates as savage enemies of humankind, with pundits even saying that […]

May
23
2009

Media Unconcerned with Real Torturers Still at Gitmo

Amy Goodman recently interviewed independent journalist Jeremy Scahill on her Democracy Now! show (5/19/09) regarding the fact that, in Scahill's words, "while much of the focus has been on the tactical use of torture at Guantanamo, almost no attention had been paid to a parallel force" known as the Immediate Reaction Force. Describing the methods of this "thug squad that is used to mercilessly punish prisoners"–"They go in, and they hogtie the prisoner… douse them with chemical agents…. They've squeezed their testicles…. They've taken the feces from one prisoner and smeared it in the face of another prisoner"–Scahill tells us […]

May
22
2009

The Iranian Threat to Eastern Crete

The New York Times had a story yesterday (5/21/09) about the test of an Iranian missile "that was capable of striking Israel and parts of Western Europe." This was an important point in the article–reporters David E. Sanger and Nazila Fathi included it in their lead paragraph, and later listed it among "three technologies necessary to field an effective nuclear weapon": "The second is developing a missile capable of reaching Israel and parts of Western Europe, and now the country has several likely candidates." The article reported that the range of the missile is "believed to be more than 1,200 […]