Jun
18
2009

Their Election Fraud versus Ours

Robert Parry of Consortium News (6/15/09) gives hearing to a "strong case" to "undercut the widespread media assumption" of electoral fraud in Iran. But, true or not, "the rush to the 'fraud' judgment among much of the U.S. news media is shaping the political realities" and posing that "Ahmadinejad's 'theft' of the election proves that hardliners in Israel and neoconservatives in the United States were right all along about the impossibility of dealing rationally with Iran"–the predictable upshot being "that force is the only option to employ against Iran." Parry also is "curious to see U.S. news organizations care suddenly […]

Jun
17
2009

When an Author Meets an Author Coming Through the Rye

In an affidavit supporting a lawsuit against a new novel related to J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (New York Times, 6/17/09), Salinger's literary agent makes a statement that encapsulates a common misunderstanding of what copyright is for. Referring to Salinger, the agent said, "He feels strongly that he wants his fiction and his characters to remain intact as he wrote them." Salinger may feel that as strongly as he likes, but the purpose of copyright is not to allow creators to protect the ideas they create from being used by other creators. The point is to give creators a […]

Jun
17
2009

On Corporate Journalism as 'Popularity Contest'

The unlikely news source Voice of America (6/15/09) has Adam Phillips' profile of Amy Goodman and "the largest public media collaboration in the United States," Democracy Now!, in which Goodman lays out "her job as a journalist" as "to bring out 'the voices of people closest to the story at the grassroots'": In Goodman's program, as well as in her column and the three bestselling books she has co-authored with her brother, David Goodman, she also accuses the mainstream media of dangerous laziness in its reliance on so-called "pundits." "We need to bring out the voices of people who think […]

Jun
17
2009

The L.A. Times' Guide to Sexism and 'Nerds'

Blogging about a male-only film promotion contest at San Diego's Comic-Con, Charlie Jane Anders (io9.com, 6/15/09) also notices the "L.A. Times published an insulting 'guide for girls'" about the convention–which starts out by assuring readers that contrary to what you might believe, the event "is not just for nerdy guys anymore. And it's not all just about the influx of squealing Twilight girls, either." Wow, really? You mean women can be into genre entertainment other than Twilight? Apparently so. Because there are more vampires, from True Blood and the upcoming show The Vampire Diaries. And there'll be "ass-kicking heroines" from […]

Jun
17
2009

NPR's 'Sanitized, Propaganda-Laden' War Reportage

NPR Check blogger Mytwords has some advice (6/14/09) "in these times of austerity and job 'shedding' at NPR": "Instead of spending all the money it must take to embed a reporter like Tom Bowman with the U.S. military in Afghanistan, why not cut him out of the picture and just hand a microphone to one of the officers or commanders there?": Heck, if that's too expensive, why not just get on the Internets and pull some hard-hitting journalism from the military website of whatever unit Tom would have been embedded with? It sure would be a lot cheaper, even though […]

Jun
17
2009

WaPo's Front-Page News Deficit

Dean Baker (Beat the Press, 6/14/09) has caught "Fox on 15th (a.k.a. 'The Washington Post')" once again "departing from normal news practice" with "another editorial complaining about President Obama's deficits on the front page." The piece's subhead–"Concern Mounts in White House as 2010 Elections Loom"–prompts some hard questions from Baker: "Who is concerned? The story doesn't tell us. Who says that they are concerned? The story doesn't tell us." His conclusion–"In short, it's not clear that there is any news here": But the Washington Post wants to highlight the budget deficit, so it won't let such details stand in the […]

Jun
17
2009

Help Us Close the Gap

Hello – We hope you are continuing to enjoy the FAIR Blog. Thank you for being part of FAIR's latest programmatic endeavor. We hope this blog becomes an essential part of your daily news gathering. We are coming to the end of our spring fundraising drive with the goal of raising $40,000 to close this year's budget gap. If you haven't yet, please make a donation to help us reach this goal. Your gifts and donations support all of the research, analysis, production and outreach that goes into every study, every Extra! article, every Blog post, every CounterSpin broadcast. At […]

Jun
15
2009

Battling 'Baseless, Worthless Grants of Anonymity'

Deeming "the battle against baseless, worthless grants of anonymity by journalists" to be "at this point, probably futile," Salon's Glenn Greenwald (6/15/09, ad-viewing required) is exasperated to see how "even many of the nation's best and most valuable reporters–such as the New Yorker's Jane Mayer–seem helplessly addicted to it." Greenwald points to "an otherwise solid and at times enlightening article on CIA Director Leon Panetta and his resistance to investigating past CIA abuses" in which Mayer includes this passage at the beginning of her article to explain how Panetta was chosen only after Obama's first choice, John Brennan, was rejected: […]

Jun
15
2009

On the Real Effects of Cable's 'Deranged Demagogues'

Political Animal blogger Steve Benen (6/11/09) has a look at the remarkable occurrence of Fox News' Shep Smith "reminding the viewing audience, shortly after the shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, of the DHS report that warned of potentially violent radicals" and "talking about the emails he's seen from Fox News viewers" he calls "amped up and so angry for reasons that are absolutely wrong, ridiculous, preposterous": Smith, with good reason, seemed genuinely concerned about the severity of the right-wing rage. Just as important, he seemed to realize that these increasingly agitated conservatives are incensed, not because of justified […]

Jun
15
2009

Media Men Debate Women's Rights

Columnist Katha Pollitt (Nation, 6/10/09) has examined the extent to which, "in the immediate aftermath of Dr. Tiller's murder, it was astonishing how many men were called upon to weigh in on abortion on national television": CNN featured William Schneider, Sanjay Gupta and Bill Press. On Fox, Bill O'Reilly defended his use of "baby killer" and "death mill" to describe Dr. Tiller and his clinic. On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann–who the last time I checked in spent a whole segment making fun of Miss Anti-Gay Marriage California's breast implants with waspish misogynist Michael Musto–had only men: Slate's Will Saletan, who thinks […]

Jun
15
2009

Big Media's 'Right' Minds Pretend Away Discrimination

In wonderment that, as "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is making the rounds of the Capitol this week," corporate pundit "jackasses are still saying she has to explain her 'wise Latina' comment," Laura Flanders (Women In Media & News, 6/4/09) remarks that "the money-media have spent the week making the comment 'controversial' (and then calling it that)." After citing FAIR's debunking of this media tempest by actually contextualizing Sotomayor's 2001 hope that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," […]

Jun
14
2009

'Brutish' NYT Offends Even Other Owners

Jessica Heslam of the Boston Herald gives ample space (6/12/09) to New York Times chief Arthur Sulzberger Jr. to proclaim he had "no alternative other than to proceed with the wage reduction" of 23 percent at the Boston Globe, because the Globe union's "Guild leaders made [agreement] impossible," and even quotes the Newspaper Guild president admitting "mistakes were made." But the telling part comes in a quote showing even the most corporate of figures aghast at NYT Co. conduct: Retired General Electric CEO Jack Welch "tweeted" on Twitter yesterday and blasted the Times Co.'s "brutish" treatment of Globe workers. Welch […]

Jun
14
2009

On the WaPo's 'Tacit Faith in Massive Violence'

Writing that "it takes at least tacit faith in massive violence to believe that after three decades of horrendous violence in Afghanistan, upping the violence there will improve the situation," FAIR associate Norman Solomon (Huffington Post, 6/8/09) tells us that, when last Sunday's edition of the Washington Post printed the routine headline "Iraq War Deaths," the newspaper meant American deaths–to Washington's ultra-savvy, the deaths that really count. The only numbers and names under the headline were American. Ask for whom the bell tolls. That's the implicit message–from top journalists and politicians alike. A few weeks ago, some prominent U.S. news […]