Nov
22
2010

NYT: Israel-Palestine Conflict 'Drained of Violence'–

There's a lot to say about Ethan Bronner's Week in Review piece in the New York Times (11/21/10). The headline says a lot on its own: "Why America Chases an Israeli-Palestinian Peace." This is ironic, at the very least, given the role the U.S. has historically played in making peace quite difficult. And the current "peace" talks include the a U.S. deal to give, as Bronner explains, Israel a 2-for-1 deal on new fighter jets. What's really galling about the article, though, is this: It is worth noting that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been largely drained of deadly violence in […]

Nov
19
2010

Torture and the 'Problem' With the Courts

The civilian trial of terrorism suspect Ahmed Ghailani, who was linked to the U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, was unsatisfying to those who believe that accused terroristsshould not be tried in civilian courts. To them, the scoreboard tells the story: Ghailani was convicted on one count, and acquitted onover 280 other charges. The newspaper headlines today lay out the problem: USA Today (11/19/10): Detainee's Acquittals Spark Debate Over Civilian Trials Washington Post (11/19/10): Verdict in Terror Case a Setback for Advocates of Civilian Trials A more rational media system would discuss the verdict primarily as a resultof the […]

Nov
19
2010

Chris Hedges Was Supposed to Write a Book About the Media…

I caught this story at Single Payer Action. The account is based on a talk veteran reporter Chris Hedges gave recently at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, New York: "Knopf –which, of course, like all of these large publishing houses is owned by a large transnational corporation–asked me to write a book on the press," Hedges told the Sanctuary for Independent Media last month in Troy, New York. "The advance was pretty low–I said no. But after giving a talk at the Ford Foundation, they said they would kick in the money. And I agreed to do it." […]

Nov
18
2010

David Broder and Disquieting, Dodgy Dems

Beware: The dean of the D.C. press corps is disappointed. In his Washington Post column today ("Dodgeball for Democrats," 11/18/10), David Broder leads off with this: When the rules of the House of Representatives forced the Democrats to confront a painful choice among their leaders, they did what Democrats are often inclined to do. They changed the rules. Usually, such a stunt would matter only to the members affected by the change. But this one sends a dangerous signal at a crucial moment, when both parties are being tested on their willingness to respond to the lessons of the last […]

Nov
18
2010

No, Senator, You Can't 'End' Fox–But Do We Have to Pay for It?

Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia caused a bit of an uproar at a hearing yesterday. As Brian Stelter reported at his New York Times blog (11/17/10), Rockefeller mused: There's a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC, "Out. Off. End. Goodbye." It would be a big favor to political discourse, to our ability to do our work here in Congress and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and, more importantly, in their future. Rockefeller […]

Nov
17
2010

'Fair Game' Dramatizes Media's Villainous Role in Plame Wilson Scandal

The new film Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, recreates the Bush administration's exposure of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson in retaliation for her husband Joe Wilson's public criticism of Bush's WMD claims. It also depicts the shameful role that the D.C. establishment media played in facilitating the government's efforts to marginalize and punish a dissident. FAIR addressed the press's reprehensible performance in such pieces as "Spinning the Libby Indictment" (Extra!, 11-12/05) and "Miller's Tale" (Media Advisory, 10/21/05). (Judith Miller's name isn't mentioned in the film, but her wretched reporting in the New York Times makes a […]

Nov
16
2010

Obama Flip-Flop on Taxes? Don't Be So Uptight, Says LAT

The Los Angeles Times reports today (11/16/10) that Barack Obama might give a tax break to the wealthy after all: Obama has loosened his longstanding view that tax cuts should be extended permanently only for households earning less than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for singles). When a reporter suggests that a politician has "loosened" his position on an important issue, it must be the kind of flip-flop the media don't find objectionable.

Nov
16
2010

Action Alert: Charlie Rose's One-Sided Deficit Discussion

Counting tonight's episode, Charlie Rose has had five guests discussing the Simpson/Bowles deficit reduction plan, and all five have been right-leaning proponents of the plan's austerity measures. To call for a broader discussion, see FAIR's latest Action Alert. Please leave copies of your messages–or comments on the alert–in the comments thread here.

Nov
16
2010

For Fox News, 'Hispanics' = 'Illegals'

On Friday, Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher took a study that says there are 100,000 fewer Hispanics in Arizona than there were before the debate over the state's disputed anti-immigrant law, and reported it as 100,000 fewer "illegals." By conflating Hispanics with "illegals," Gallagher inadvertently illustrates the case made by opponents of the law.

Nov
16
2010

Olbermann and the Cult of Objectivity

I agree with Keith Olbermann (11/15/10) about the dubious value of "objectivity" as a journalistic value; he makes a telling point about how journalistic icons like Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow are most honored for the moments when they reached conclusions and asserted values. And I think he's right that the U.S. media establishment's failure to see through the lies that sold the Iraq War is a singular failure of our journalistic system–one that does indeed suggest that we need an entirely different system that better serves our democracy. Olbermann's MSNBC forerunner, Phil Donahue, was fired in the run […]

Nov
15
2010

Douthat's Tales of the Shocking Parallel Universe Pelosi Calls Home

The New York Times' Ross Douthat (11/15/10) warns us about the nightmare world that "Nancy Pelosi and her compatriots" live in: It's a world where the Social Security retirement age never budges, no matter how high average life expectancy climbs. Shudder! Luckily, Pelosi and co.'s world seems to have diverged from ours around 2003, when the normal retirement age budged up two months, further budging by the same amount until 2008, when it reached 66 years. It's currently scheduled to begin budging again in 2021, until it budges up to 67 in 2026. In sharp contrast to Pelosi's horrifying dystopia, […]

Nov
15
2010

NYT Sees the Bright Side of Unending War

New York Times headline (11/15/10): U.S. Plan Offers Path to Ending Afghan Combat More accurate headline: U.S. Plan Extends Afghan Combat by Three Years

Nov
15
2010

NBC's Sunday Morning Austerity Program

You got a sense from some of the coverage of the Simpson/Bowles deficit commission report that their right-leaning prescription was exactly the kind of solution the corporate media could get behind. Charlie Rose could apparently only find two panelists who wished the commission had gone further with its spending cuts. On NBC's Meet the Press (11/14/10), the panel discussion featured former Fed chair (and Ayn Rand devotee) Alan Greenspan and far right former Republican politician Newt Gingrich. On the "other" side was Harold Ford, currently the chair of the right-leaning Democratic Leadership Council. A debate from the near-right to the […]