Aug
12
2010

Milbank on Robert Gibbs and the 'Professional Left'

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs generated a huge controversy by slamming the "professional left" for being too critical of the Obama administration. People who compare Obama to Bush"ought to be drug tested," according to Gibbs. Responses to the Gibbs remarks can be found almost anywhere you look–Glenn Greenwald's post provides perhaps the most thorough reaction. In the corporate media, moving to the right and bashing the Democratic base is constantly offered up as a smart move for Democratic politicians. So it was not a surprise when Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank offered a defense of Gibbs' comments (8/12/10): Gibbs […]

Aug
11
2010

FAIR Alert on CNN's Social Security Scaremongering

Please read– if you haven't already– FAIR's new action alert about CNN's The Situation Room and Social Security. If you decide to take action and write a letter to CNN, please share itin the comments section below.

Aug
10
2010

Washington Post Bungles History of Gaza Blockade

In an article (8/10/10) on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's testimony to an Israeli panel investigating the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the Washington Post gets the facts wrong on crucial history and context relating to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Joel Greenberg writes: Netanyahu said that the naval blockade, imposed by the previous Israeli government in January 2009 during a military offensive against Hamas, was meant to prevent the smuggling of arms to the Gaza Strip, which he described as "a giant weapons depot and base for attacks on Israel." He added that 12 ships had […]

Aug
10
2010

The NY Times DOES Correct Op-Eds!

Today we learn that the New York Times does indeed print corrections if an op-ed writer makes an error: An op-ed article on Sunday about Arizona and immigration mistakenly suggested that javelinas are pigs. They are peccaries. Now, if someone were to, say, flagrantly misrepresenta "poll" that is the entire premise of an op-ed–as FAIR documented in this alert–would the paper correct that piece? We're still waiting to find out….

Aug
06
2010

'Need to Know' Doesn't Know Why It's No Replacement for Moyers

Trying to explain why Need to Know, the PBS public affairs show that appeared in the Friday night timeslot vacated by Bill Moyers Journal and Now, has gotten such a cool reception from viewers, co-host Allison Stewart seems to blame nostalgia. "Obviously you can't replace Bill Moyers," says Stewart (Show Tracker, 8/5/10). "That's just a ridiculous notion." The funny thing is, Bill Moyers was replaced: When he left Now to resume doing Bill Moyers Journal, David Brancaccio took over as host, later joined by Maria Hinojosa. Under their tenure, Now retained its loyal following, because Brancaccio and Hinojosa were pursuing […]

Aug
06
2010

For USA Today, Good Intentions Excuse Civilian Deaths–Unless You're the Taliban

USA Today had a piece yesterday (8/5/10) about new rules of engagement issued in Afghanistan by Afghan War commander Gen. David Petraeus. The new rules–much like the old rules–"are aimed at limiting civilian casualties," the paper's Jim Michaels reports in its own voice, explaining: At the heart of counterinsurgency doctrine is the principle that winning over the population is the key to defeating insurgents. Civilian casualties can alienate the population. That's the surviving population, presumably. USA Today doesn't quote anyone skeptical of the Pentagon's claim that not killing civilians is a top priority, instead reprinting the official assertion of good […]

Aug
06
2010

NYT Passes Along Anonymous Denial of Civilian Deaths

We often heard during the WikiLeaks controversy that civilian deaths in Afghanistan are well-covered in the corporate media, so the revelations in the documents about such incidents were "old news." A report in today's Times from Rod Nordland ("Afghans Say NATO Strikes Killed Civilians," 8/6/10) teaches a useful lesson in how such reporting appears. There are actually two different attacks discussed in the piece, but the more revealing coverage concerns fallout from a July 26 attack. The Afghans say 52 civilians died. But the verdict from the U.S./NATO side is very different–and the Times delivers it via an anonymous source […]

Aug
04
2010

New Action Alert on NY Times and Factchecking

FAIR just released an action alert about the New York Times anda factchecking failure onits op-ed page. Read the alert if you haven't already, and if you decide to write to the Times, please share your letter in the comments section below.

Aug
04
2010

Howard Kurtz Defends His Defense of Fox in Sherrod Debacle

In Howard Kurtz's latest column (8/2/10), the Washington Post media reporter bemoans the new media atmosphere as a "search-and-destroy culture" that is "as likely to vilify journalists as political and corporate leaders." Kurtz counts himself among those vilified journalists, citing recent criticism over his defense (7/22/10) of Fox News' handling of the Shirley Sherrod debacle: I know what it's like to be caught in the crossfire. When I reported that Fox News did not air the Sherrod video until after she had been fired, I got hammered by the left, and some commentators just ignored the chronology. (And conspiracy theorists […]

Aug
04
2010

Animals Are Funny, and Other News From ABC

Matthew Yglesias (8/3/10) has a good takedown of senators John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn's (R.-Ok.) list of supposedly wasteful stimulus projects that generated an "exclusive" on ABC's Good Morning America (8/3/10): Jon Chait observes that McCain and Coburn also seem to have decided that anything relating to animals is necessarily waste. Hence a small grant to fund research on cocaine addiction and relapse is turned into "Monkeys Getting High for Science." Hardy-har-har. There's a case to be made that the government has no role to play in funding scientific research, but it's a mighty bad case. If you think […]

Aug
03
2010

The Incredible Pettiness of Right-Wing Media Criticism

Every Sunday on ABC's This Week there is a feature that names the U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan the previous week. Christiane Amanpour is the new host of the show, and the segment continues. But her critics see something sinister at work. This is how previous host Jake Tapper generally introduced the list: This week, the Pentagon released the names of 16 soldiers and marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Sunday, this is what Amanpour said: We remember all of those who died in war this week, and the Pentagon released the names of 11 U.S. servicemembers […]

Aug
02
2010

Wash Post vs. Wash Post on Venezuela

As Steve Rendall explained here last week,the recent Washington Post editorial ("Colombia Proves Again That Venezuela Is Harboring FARC Terrorists") doesn't really back up its argument that there is some sort of Venezuelan conspiracy to aid the Colombia rebel group FARC. "That Venezuela is backing a terrorist movement against a neighboring democratic government has been beyond dispute since at least 2008," the Post claimed–though there is most certainly a dispute about that evidence. On Saturday (7/31/10), the Post printed an article by Latin America correspondent Juan Forero, which took a look at this controversy.What's most notable is that he doesn't […]

Aug
02
2010

WikiLeaks on Sunday State TV

The Afghanistan documents posted by WikiLeaks were obviously the big story of the week. So how did the network Sunday shows react to these disclosures, which have the potential to open up a real debate about the Afghan War? NBC's Meet the Press interviewed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen. ABC's This Week featured an interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. On CBS, Face The Nation had Mike Mullen. What would state broadcasting look like again? CBS also had an interview with Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations (formerly of the Bush administration), who urged […]