Feb
19
2010

NYT Stimulus 'Balance' Leads to Confusion

Yesterday Sheryl Gay Stolberg of theNew York Times (2/18/10) turned in a piece on the one-year anniversary of the stimulus plan–a favoritetarget of Republican lawmakers(when they're not happily enjoying the federalfunds in their states and/or districts, that is). The piece tells us that there's a rather bitter partisan dispute over the stimulus: Democrats say that it worked to create jobs, Republicans say it was a failure. The third paragraph of the story would seem to render a verdict on the question:"There is little dispute among economists that the measure has kept the jobless rate from being even higher than it […]

Feb
19
2010

Action Alert: ABC, NBC Nuclear Boosterism

FAIR put out an Action Alert today (2/19/10) critiquing recent nuclear power reporting on ABC and NBC network newscasts. Please feel free to share your letters to the networks in the comments section below.

Feb
16
2010

Washington Post's Tortured Euphemisms

This Washington Post headline (2/13/10) caught my eye: 2008 Habeas Ruling May Pose Snag as U.S. Weighs Indefinite Guantanamo Detentions You have to read the piece somewhat closely to understand what they're taking about. Theterrorism case against one Guantanamo detainee was "ironclad"until afederal judge deemed it "too weak"–because some of thestatements against the defendant had been "coerced." Thishas happened repeatedly–judges "'have gutted allegations and questioned the reliability of statements by the prisoners during interrogations and by the informants." This is bad news, we're told; "the government is likely to suffer further losses" in court. You have to read almost to […]

Feb
16
2010

Dana Milbank, Snow and Climate Change

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank thinks it's pretty silly for Republicans and climate change deniers to say that the recent snowstorms mean that climate change is phony. BUT…. don't think for a second that Milbank's going to let "greens" off the hook that easy. No way. As he put it on Sunday (2/14/10): "There's some rough justice in the conservatives' cheap shots. In Washington's blizzards, the greens were hoist by their own petard." How so? Climate activists "have argued by anecdote to make their case," especially Al Gore, who has warned of a whole menuof negative consequences from climate change. […]

Feb
16
2010

NYT Documents NATO's Concern for Civilian Casualties

From one of today's New York Times stories (2/16/10) about the NATO/U.S. campaign in Marja, Afghanistan (emphasis added): The heavy civilian toll highlighted the stressful and confusing nature of the fighting, especially in Marja, and of the difficulties inherent in conducting military operations in a guerrilla war, where insurgents can hide easily among the population. Still, the deaths are troubling to the American and NATO commanders, who have made protecting civilians the overriding objective of their campaign–even when doing so comes at the expense of letting insurgents get away. The stream of news releases flowing from NATO headquarters detailing the […]

Feb
12
2010

NYT and Climate Change: It Gets Worse

On Tuesday, the New York Times (2/9/10) was front-paging a non-story about criticism of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change– hyping accusations about scientific misconduct and conflicts of interest that the paper itself called "half-truths" (FAIR Blog, 2/9/10). Well, it turns out that there was quite a bit of snow on the East Coast this week, which seeminglyinspired another awful piece (2/11/10), this one headlined "Climate-Change Debate Is Heating Up in Deep Freeze." The whole premise of the piece is based on complaints from right-wing climate change deniers–Sen. James M. Inhofe, assorted "global-warming critics," Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge and the […]

Feb
10
2010

NYT Covers Harper's Investigation… Sort Of

As Steve Rendall noted here (1/22/10), Scott Horton's explosive Harper's report (3/10) on several ostensible suicides at Guantanamo has received very little mainstream media attention–despite the fact that Horton's account suggests that the prisoners were murdered by U.S. officials at a "black site" within the Guantanamo facility. But never fear–the story has finally broken through. And in the New York Times, no less! Sort of… it's on the letters page. To the Editor: Re "Editorial Shake-Up as Harper's Tries to Stabilize in a Downturn" (Business Day, February 1): I'd like to clarify your report of something I said at a […]

Feb
10
2010

Political Reporters Too Scared of Politics to Cover Politics

The Financial Times' Edward Luce (2/3/10) had a report last week that blamed some of the Obama administration's problems on the president's overreliance on four top advisers–particularly chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who "in addition to hurling frequent profanities at people within the administration…has alienated many of Mr Obama's closest outside supporters." More illuminating than the article itself may be the Washington press corps' reaction to it, as described by AlterNet's Steve Clemons (2/9/10): Mark Schmitt, executive editor of the liberal magazine the American Prospect, wrote that "Luce has written what seems to me the best and most succinct rundown […]

Feb
09
2010

Action Alert: USA Today's One-Sided Social Security Report

FAIR put out an Action Alert today (2/9/10) on a USA Today report that presented dubious, one-sided claims about Social Security's supposed crisis. Feel free to post your messages to the paper, or share your ideas about the alert, in the comments thread here.

Feb
09
2010

NYT and the IPCC: Little Evidence, Big Story

Last month CJR blogger Curtis Brainard (1/29/10) complained that the media were not giving enough attention to some complaints–mostly from climate change deniers–about the 2007 IntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change report and complaints about IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri. Jim Naureckas suggested right here that this was a bad idea, but today the New York Times (2/9/10) seemed totake CJR's advice. The headline ("U.N. Climate Panel and Chief Face Credibility Siege") and second paragraph suggest something important: But Dr. Pachauri and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are now under intense scrutiny, facing accusations of scientific sloppiness and potential financial conflicts of […]

Feb
09
2010

Tea Party Popularity in Perspective

Blogger Matthew Yglesias (2/9/10), responding to a Des Moines Register poll that found "a third of Iowans from across the political spectrum say they support the 'tea party' movement, sounding a loud chorus of dissatisfaction with government": Thirty-eight percent of Americans have a favorable view of Cuba and 36 percent are favorably disposed toward socialism, but I don't see anyone writing newspaper articles about how a populist wave of socialism is sweeping the country.

Feb
05
2010

CNN: Secretary Duncan Right to Celebrate Katrina

At the end of January, Obama education secretary Arne Duncan told a cable news show (TV One's Washington Watch, 1/31/10), "I think the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina." In reporting on Duncan's remarks, the January 30 Washington Post apparently couldn't find anyone to challenge the notion that Katrina was a good thing. CNN aired a segment the same day featuring guests Roland Martin, a CNN regular and the host of Washington Watch, theprogram where Duncan made the remarks in question; and CNN education contributor Steve Perry, a magnet school founder, champion […]

Feb
05
2010

Barney Frank on the 'Right-Wing Propaganda Machine'

Here's a classic example of how the conservative media smear machine works. In a video less than four minutes long, Rep. Barney Frank describes how the Wall Street Journal's John Fund lied about him, how that lie was amplified by the right's media echo chamber, and how, when he called Fund on the lie, Fund admitted he was wrong, but refused to retract. The following is a transcript of Frank's February 3 remarks from the floor of the House of Representatives: Mr. Speaker, I recently got some first-hand experience with the way in which the right-wing propaganda machine operates. The […]