Aug
20
2010

O'Reilly Invents Muslim Silence on 9/11 Attacks

Fox News Channel continues to mislead viewers aboutthe "Ground Zero Mosque."On the August 18 broadcast of the O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly countered the argument that there would be no controversy over a Jewish or Christian house of worship by saying this: Nobody would be complaining because Christians and Jews weren't involved in the 9/11 attack. Radical Muslims were. And you may remember the Muslim world largely did not condemn the al Qaeda action, while most Christians and Jews did. Some opponents of the Park51 development like to argue that they have no problem with Islam per se. O'Reilly seems […]

Aug
19
2010

Open up the Afghanistan War Media Debate

Public support for the Afghanistan war continues to drop. Casualties mount. So why is NBC's Meet the Press giving viewers a parade of hawkish pundits and military officials? If you haven't already done so, please join FAIR's call to broaden the debate on the war on the most-watched Sunday morning chat show. And while you're at, RethinkAfghanistan is asking people to sign a petition to CBS anchor Katie Couric to ask tough questions of Gen. David Petraeus.

Aug
19
2010

Meanwhile, on Public TV…

Two PBS-related items of interest. -Last year when PBS announced the retirement of Bill Moyers and theinexplicable cancellation of the excellent Now program, word came that some public TV stations would be airing a program produced by(yes, this is a real thing) the George W. Bush Institute. The show, Ideas in Action, is host by James Glassman; as FAIR noted, he is a longtime fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, is perhaps best known for his remarkably optimistic–and wrong–book Dow 36,000. He also regularly penned op-eds for major U.S. newspapers that pushed views and policies that would directly benefit […]

Aug
18
2010

Bigot or Colorful Activist? Washington Post is Neutral on Islamophobes

The Washington Post (8/18/10) profiles some of the "conservative writers and bloggers critical of Islam" that have been fueling the national uproar over the proposed Muslim community center that would sit two-and-a-half blocks away from Ground Zero. Michelle Boorstein looks at figures such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and reports that "while some have dismissed them as bigoted attention-seekers, their attacks on the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan have gained currency in recent weeks among some Republican leaders. And their influence appears to be growing." So are they bigots? The Post never says. Here's Boorstein's description of Pamela […]

Aug
17
2010

Did Bill O'Reilly Get Someone Fired?

Boston TV newscaster Barry Nolan was outraged to learn back in 2008 thatFox host Bill O'Reilly was getting an award from the local chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. SoNolanmade flyers documenting various O'Reilly outrages and distributed them at the local Emmys ceremony–and did not do so in a disruptive manner. He was soonfired by his employer (Comcast), and told his story at Think Progress. It turns out there was even moretoit. A new article at the Columbia Journalism Review websiteby Terry Ann Knopf (8/16/10)reveals thatpressure on Comcast came directly from News Corp/O'Reilly: On May 12, […]

Aug
17
2010

Back When the 'Ground Zero Mosque' Was a Good Idea

The "Ground Zero Mosque" story is unlikely to go away anytime soon.Republican politicians apparently believe it to be an issue that works in their favor, and the media are doing little to challenge the bogus storyline in the first place. Over at Salon.com, Justin Elliot hasa useful timeline that shows how little controversy the Park51 development attracted early on– even on Fox News Channel: Dec. 21, 2009: Conservative media personality Laura Ingraham interviews Abdul Rauf's wife, Daisy Khan, while guest-hosting the O'Reilly Factor on Fox. In hindsight, the segment is remarkable for its cordiality. "I can't find many people who […]

Aug
16
2010

Situation Room Still Scaring on Social Security

As FAIR documented in an August 11 action alert, CNN's The Situation Room was featuring alarmist views on Social Security, particularly from the network's political analyst David Gergen. We know CNN has heard from activists;Wolf Blitzer's email response was, "I am certain this subject isn't going away." Sure enough, the show was back at it on Friday (8/13/10)–though little had changed. This time around, the guests were familiar CNN pundits Gergen and Gloria Borger. The problems began with Blitzer's teaser for the segment: "Are politicians too scared though to try to save the program?" The issue isn't at all whether […]

Aug
13
2010

Bias and Proposition 8

Last year, when California's Supreme Court upheld the state's gay marriage ban known as Proposition 8, there was little speculation about the sexual orientation of the seven justices or the possible heterosexual biases they might harbor. But when federal Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8 on August 4, reporting and commentary treated claims of Walker's gayness as a matter of fact–and a newsworthy subject. This despite Walker's never having addressed his sexual orientation publicly. As gay activist Michelangelo Signorile noted on the Huffington Post, "Most major media organizations, from the New York Times and ABC News to the Washington Post […]

Aug
13
2010

USA Today Complains Workers Aren't Being Paid According to Their Needs

USA Today's lead story on August 10 was about the pay of public workers, a subject reporter Dennis Cauchon has complained about before. "Federal Workers Earning Double Their Private Counterparts," the headline read, over a lead that reported that "federal employees' average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn." Well, that certainly sounds unfair–some workers earning twice as much as their counterparts just because they work for the federal government! It's hard not to agree with the source USA Today brings on from the right-wing libertarian Cato Institute, who says, "Can't we now all agree […]

Aug
13
2010

Missing From L.A. Times' 'Debate Over Democratic Process': More Than One Viewpoint

The Los Angeles Times reports today (8/13/10) that the "moral argument" over California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriages, "has morphed into a debate over the democratic process and the propriety of judges overturning laws approved by voters." It's strange, then, that an article on this "debate" would feature only viewpoints from one side: the side that says, "The people voted on it and it should be left alone." All five of the sources quoted by reporter Mike Anton took this position. (There was also a two-word quotation from Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling: "moral disapproval.") Anton does note that "tension […]

Aug
12
2010

NYT Proves Paul Krugman's Point About Ryan

In his New York Times column on Monday (8/9/10), headlined "The Flimflam Man," Paul Krugman took aim at Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who has emerged as the GOP's big thinker on budgets: One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: As long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he's hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic. Krugman explains that Ryan's plan–big […]

Aug
12
2010

Jeffrey Goldberg Pushes for War With Iraq–er, Make That Iran

Former Israeli soldier and current writer for the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg has a long cover story (9/10) on the "better than 50 percent chance" that Israel will launch air strikes against Iran by next July, with the aim of taking out the alleged nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic. Based on roughly 40 interviews with American, Arab and Israeli officials–some of them anonymously–Goldberg meanders from describing the worst-case scenario for what will happen after Israel attacks Iran to relaying dubious Israeli claims about how Iran is the new Nazi Germany to an analysis of Netanyahu's relationship with his right-wing 100-year-old […]

Aug
12
2010

Department of Unconvincing Arguments

New Republic blogger Jonathan Chait (4/11/10) criticizes Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas for comparing the Republican Party to the Taliban, noting that the latter engages in "wanton torture and violence."