Jun
30
2010

In 'Ramallah Bubble,' Gaza and West Bank Poverty Don't Exist

Writing from the confines of what some Palestinians call the "Ramallah bubble" (Ha'aretz, 1/1/09), Thomas Friedman (New York Times, 6/30/10) thinks he knows how to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: "quietly support[ing]" the Palestinian Authority while it builds a "real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy." Friedman has a curious definition of a Palestinian state, which according to Friedman is 'in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.â┚¬Ã‚ Gaza is missing from this equation, and probably not by accident, as Friedman has a history of trying to dismiss Hamas-run Gaza as 'undemocratic,â┚¬Ã‚ and therefore […]

Jun
30
2010

Pete Peterson's Real Crisis: America Speaks and Says the Wrong Thing

Billionaire Pete Peterson has spent a lot of money trying to convince people that Social Security is a serious threat to the country's finances. And it's a message that the corporate media love to echo. So when Peterson's group decided to hold "town hall" meetings to promote fiscal austerity by cutting Social Security and Medicare, one would haveguessed that the media wouldgive it some attention. But a funny thing happened this weekend at these "America Speaks" events. Members of the public, after being given what Roger Hickey calls "misleading background information about the federal deficit and economic options to achieve […]

Jun
29
2010

Larry Rohter Responds on South of the Border

New York Times reporter Larry Rohter turned in afactually challenged fact-check of Oliver Stone's new film South of the Border. So Stone and the film's co-writers Mark Weisbrot and Tariq Ali wrote a devastating rebuttal. A reader passed along a link to that piece to Rohter, suggesting that he "should be embarrassed" by his review. Unsurprisingly, Rohter would not seem to be embarrassed at all, judging his reply email, which FAIR has received: Dear Mr. Fuentes: Actually, it's Oliver Stone and company who need to heed your advice. I've been scrupulously honest in my reporting and writing, and they are […]

Jun
28
2010

NYT on Arizona's Immigrant Crime: Not as Bad as O'Reilly

We've rather amply documented Bill O'Reilly's record of misinformation on Arizona, immigration and crime. It's not surprising–but nonetheless worth documenting–that O'Reilly would bend reality in order to bash immigrants and defend the new Arizona law. But the way the New York Times handled the matter is worth a look. The paper's June 19 piece, "On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas," should have told a simple story: Supporters of the law claimed that Arizona was seeing a dramatic increase in crime, and immigrants were to blame for this. This is simply not true. But in the name of journalistic […]

Jun
28
2010

NYT Reporter, Playing Film Critic, Pans Film About Himself

It's not a huge surprise that a correspondent for a newspaper that supported the coup that ousted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would dislike a film that offers a more sympathetic view of Chavez's politics. That said, Larry Rohter's review (New York Times, 6/26/10) of the new Oliver Stone film South of the Border still manages to surprise–mostly because Rohter's attempt to fact-check the movie is such a failure. Rohter's first big catch is this: Mr. Stone argues in the film that Colombia, which "has a far worse human rights record than Venezuela," gets "a pass in the media that Chavez […]

Jun
28
2010

After McChrystal, Still No Room for Afghanistan Debate?

In the wake of the Rolling Stone/Stanley McChrystal controversy, one might think that there could finally be some space to have a debate about the Afghanistan war–especially considering that the magazine article was really about fundamental questions about the war itself (FAIR Media Advisory, 6/25/10). The Washington Post (6/27/10) ran one of its often-terrible Topic A features on Sunday–where the paper gathers up different contributors to weigh in on the same topic. As usual, readers mostly got a collectionof familiar hawks. The first two (Danielle Pletka from the American Enterprise Institute, former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker) seem to want to […]

Jun
28
2010

McChrystal's Media Soldiers Strike Back

Lara Logan on 60 Minutes

It's not that surprising that some in the corporate media, driven either by admiration for ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal or disdain for Rolling Stone's scoop, have rushed in to defend or explain away his behavior. In Saturday's Washington Post (6/26/10), anonymous military sources tell the newspaper that the comments from McChrystal and his staff were supposed to be off the record: The command's own review of events, said the official, who was unwilling to speak on the record, found "no evidence to suggest" that any of the "salacious political quotes" in the article were made in situations in which ground […]

Jun
28
2010

Journalistic Standards Plunging, Say Anonymous Name-Calling Friends

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an illuminating post (6/27/10) that argues that the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, with his "self-praising, desperately insecure need to tout his own wisdom, knowledge and expertise, while demeaning those who are not admitted to his Special Club…is a perfectly illustrative face of the American establishment media." Responding to Goldberg's assertion (Atlantic, 6/25/10) that the resignation of Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel after making anti-conservative comments in what he thought was a private forum reflected "a lack of adult supervision, and…the proper amount of toilet-training," Greenwald wrote: In his first post arguing that Weigel's hiring evinced the Post's […]

Jun
25
2010

Conservative Exclusion Is a Right-Wing Delusion

National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger (Corner, 3/24/10), responding to CNN pairing disgraced Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer with a not-conservative-enough-for-National-Review Kathleen Parker, muses: I'm reminded why conservatives had to build their own media outlets. It's sort of like Jews and country clubs. Jews built their own, not because they wanted to, necessarily, but because the other clubs wouldn't let them in. They weren't being "clannish." They wanted to play golf, on first-class courses…. Well, we conservatives built our own media outlets–because the other clubs wouldn't let us in. I guess it's working out OK. Blogger Ryan McNeely (Yglesias, 3/24/10) takes […]

Jun
25
2010

Oxymoron: Murdoch Media Ethics

Having your ethics challenged by a Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlet is like having your honesty challenged by Bernie Madoff. Take the recent story about CNN hiring former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned from the office in 2008 following revelations that he had patronized prostitutes. When rumors of the CNN hire began circulating weeks ago, Fox pundit Cal Thomas remarked on the Murdoch-owned network (Fox News Watch, 5/29/10), "Clearly, CNN is going after the adultery demographic." When the story broke, Murdoch's New York Post (6/24/10) scoffed at the hire with a piece quoting anonymous sources saying it signaled the […]

Jun
25
2010

Congo: The Sucking Vortex Where Africa's Heart Should Be

That's according to Time magazine's Alex Perry (7/5/10): If you want to see what's wrong with Africa, take a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The size of Western Europe, with almost no paved roads, Congo is the sucking vortex where Africa's heart should be. Independent Congo gave the world Mobutu Sese Seko, who for 32 years impoverished his people while traveling the world in a chartered Concorde. His death in 1997 ushered in a civil war that killed 5.4 million people and unleashed a hurricane of rape on tens of thousands more. Today AIDS and malaria are epidemic. […]

Jun
24
2010

Action Alert: NYT, WaPo Create a Nation of Deficit Hawks

FAIR has a new Action Alert (6/24/10) on recent reports in the NY Times and WashingtonPost suggesting that voters are more concerned with the budget deficit than job creation.Please post copies of your letters to the papers, or responses on the alert, in the comments thread below.

Jun
24
2010

Trust Me, But Don't Quote Me

The Washington Post (6/23/10) allows an anonymous voice inside the White House to spill the beans on the decision to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus: Said a senior administration official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations: "It's as seamless as it could be, not only in terms of operations but also because you put someone in who's widely respected. No one is going to doubt that he's the right guy for the job." Indeed!