Jun
24
2010

Media, Access and McChrystal

The Runaway General: Michael Hastings' Rolling Stone piece on Stanley McChrystal

There's been a discussion (some of it neatly summarized on the Daily Show) of elite journalists' reaction to the explosive comments made by Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staffers to Rolling Stone freelancer Michael Hastings. One admission came via a Politico story, captured by NYU's Jay Rosen (6/24/10): And as a freelance reporter, Hastings would be considered a bigger risk to be given unfettered access, compared with a beat reporter, who would not risk burning bridges by publishing many of McChrystal's remarks. Rosen notes that this line in the Politico piece was subsequently removed, perhaps because it revealed too much: […]

Jun
24
2010

The Petraeus Surge Narrative Is Back

With Gen. David Petraeus back in the media spotlight after being tapped to take control of the Afghanistan war following General Stanley McChrystal's fall from grace, the corporate media are trumpeting the "successful" surge in Iraq (Extra, 9/10/08) that Petraeus oversaw and are looking to him as the man to turn around the Afghan war. Columnist David Ignatius (Washington Post, 6/24/10) writes: Gen. David Petraeus didn't sign on as the new Afghanistan commander because he expects to lose. That's the boldest aspect of President Obama's decision: He has put a troubled Afghanistan campaign in the hands of a man who […]

Jun
21
2010

O'Reilly Finds a New Way to Be Wrong About Immigration and Crime

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has endorsed the draconian Arizona immigration law on the grounds that immigration has caused the state's crime to skyrocket–a claim that founders on the fact that crime in the state has actually gone down (FAIR Action Alert, 5/17/10). Of late, he hasn't talked much about the immigration/crime angle, leading us to wonder whether he had figured out that he was all wet on the subject (FAIR Activism Update, 6/4/10). But last Thursday (6/17/10), interviewing pro-immigration schoolteacher Jose Lara, O'Reilly returned to the topic with a fresh set of nonsense: LARA: The fact is, Bill, and […]

Jun
21
2010

The WaPo and Fiscal Times, Together Again

At the end of 2009, the Washington Post published an article that was produced by the Fiscal Times. As FAIR noted in an Action Alert (1/6/10): The article, headlined "Support Grows for Tackling Nation's Debt" (12/31/09), was a product of the Fiscal Times, described in an accompanying note as "an independent digital news publication reporting on fiscal, budgetary, healthcare and international economics issues." More accurately, it's a propaganda outlet created and funded by Peter G. Peterson, a Wall Street billionaire and Nixon administration cabinet member who has long used his wealth to promote cuts in Social Security and other entitlement […]

Jun
21
2010

Raising Conflict Questions Some of the Time

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz (6/21/10) write aboutthe investigative journalism produced by the Center for Public Integrity, and wonders about its independence: The center has also received grants–including $300,000 last year–from the Open Society Institute founded by liberal philanthropist George Soros, sparking questions about whether its news agenda leans to the left. "We have a very clear firewall editorially," Buzenberg says. "We decide what we want to do and how we want to do it." Donors, he says, "may hate it and they may never fund us again, that's their right. . . . It isn't free to produce. We've […]

Jun
21
2010

Action Alert: False Gaza History From NYT, WaPo

FAIR has a new Action Alert (6/21/10) on misleading historical context about Gaza's rockets in the coverage of flotilla attack in the New York Times and Washington Post. You can post copies of your letters to the papers, or responses on the alert, in the comments thread below.

Jun
21
2010

Racist Against Arabs? That's A-OK

For anyone who doubts that there is a double standard regarding racism in the U.S. media, read Marty Peretz's blog post (New Republic, 6/19/10) on the "crooked little emirate" of Dubai, in which he glibly comments that "Arabs are deft at disguising reality." Peretz will certainly be able to continue to freely publish his anti-Arab screeds with little condemnation, yet Helen Thomas was pushed out of her job and rebuked by President Obama himself (AP, 6/8/10) and some pundits (FAIR blog, 6/14/10) for her comments telling Israelis to "get the hell out of Palestine" and to "go home" to Poland, […]

Jun
18
2010

We're All Deficit Hawks–Not

Senate Democrats are having trouble passing a spending bill that would, among other things, extend unemployment benefits and deliver much-needed financial aid to cash-starved states. Today the New York Times (6/18/10) explained the legislative logjam this way: The spending and tax measure has become caught up in intensifying politics around deficit spending as members of both parties, reacting to rising public concern, have grown reluctant to vote for measures that add to federal red ink. Reacting to public concern? As we've noted before, there is far more public concern that the government is not doing enough to stimulate job growth. […]

Jun
18
2010

Praising the 'Sound Policies' That Sank Estonia's Economy

The New York Times (6/18/10) reports from Brussels that "the mood here was upbeat" as Estonia adopted the euro as its official currency. Despite the debt crisis, reporter James Kanter writes, "the euro remains among the strongest currencies in the world, and membership opens the door to a club with global influence. For small and unsure countries on the fringes of the European Union, it doesn't get much better." Quoting the European Union as praising Estonia's "sound economic and financial policies" in recent years, the article calls Euro membership a "recognition of the hard work and sacrifice it took to […]

Jun
18
2010

Israeli Blockade 'Eased' Only in English, but U.S. Media Eat It Up

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement yesterday that promised to "liberalize the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza." The announcement from Israel's security cabinet came after widespread international pressure on Israel following a deadly Israeli naval raid on a humanitarian flotilla trying to break the three-year old blockade of Gaza. U.S. media echoed the Israeli press release in headlines like "Israel to Ease Gaza Land Blockade" (New York Times, 6/17/10) and "Israel Eases Restrictions on Goods Bound for Gaza Strip" (Washington Post, 6/18/10). (CNN–6/17/10–at least attributed the claim in its "Israel to Ease Blockade […]

Jun
16
2010

What an Estate Looks Like to the New York Times

This weekend the New York Times (6/13/10) reminded me once again that I am not the paper's target audience. While supporters say the estate tax affects only the richest members of society and helps counteract the concentration of wealth, that million-dollar limit would seem to ensnare many people who consider themselves decidedly middle class–especially in the Northeast and California where home values are high. What is the dividing line between wealthy and upper middle class? Or between someone who owns an estate and someone lucky enough to have bought a home decades ago and watched its value grow to seven […]

Jun
16
2010

L.A. Times on the Afghanistan 'Debate'

Today's Los Angeles Times (6/16/10)has thisheadline: Debate Grows Over Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan The lead: Recent setbacks in Afghanistan have intensified debate over the wisdom of the Obama administration's plan to begin withdrawing U.S. military forces next summer and highlighted reservations among military commanders over a rigid timeline. Debating the war– let's have at it. Onone side are U.S. military officials, who are portrayed as having "reservations" about a withdrawal timeline. On the other side: Sen. John McCain, who… well,has serious reservations aboutwithdrawal timelines. Not part of this debate: the 53 percent of the U.S. public (ABC/Washington Post, 6/3-6/10) who say […]

Jun
16
2010

James Risen's Kindergarten Bloggers

If James Risen's blogger critics were in kindergarten, as the New York Times reporter suggests, when he broke the story about the NSA's warrantless wiretapping in 2005, then presumably they would have been in pre-K in 2004 when he first learned about the surveillance program. They would have moved up a grade as his paper sat on the story for a year (Extra! Update, 2/06), keeping news of the illegal spying under wraps until long after the 2004 elections. Apparently Risen's critics were born sometime around 1999, when Risen was helping to railroad atomic scientist Wen Ho Lee with false […]