Feb
23
2011

ABC's Lopsided Debate on Deficits and Austerity

This is how ABC This Week host Christiane Amanpourintroduced the roundtable pundit line-up on Sunday's show: With pitched battles going on right now here in Washington and in statehouses from Florida to Wisconsin to California, with me now, our roundtable: George Will, Congressman Steve Southerland, a Republican freshman from Florida– he was elected to public office for the very first time last November and sent here to Washington on a mission to cut spending. Also with us, ABC senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl and political strategist Donna Brazile, who calls herself a labor Democrat. So the right wing Will, a […]

Feb
22
2011

Republicans, Doing Just What Democrats (Never) Did

Sometimes the premise of an article is just all wrong. Like this from Monday's New York Times (see bold): As Republicans See a Mandate on Budget Cuts, Others See Risk By ADAM NAGOURNEY and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN WASHINGTON — In Congress and in statehouses, Republican lawmakers and governors are claiming a broad mandate from last year's elections as they embark on an aggressive campaign of cutting government spending and taking on public unions. Their agenda echoes in its ambition what President Obama and Democrats tried after winning office in their own electoral wave in 2008. They're talking particularly about the […]

Feb
22
2011

Anonymously Boosting CIA Drone Strikes

The Washington Post has an interesting piece on the CIA's drone program in Pakistan (2/21/11), pointing out that the drones are killing plenty of Pakistanis, but not the "high-value" ones: CIA drone attacks in Pakistan killed at least 581 militants last year, according to independent estimates. The number of those militants noteworthy enough to appear on a U.S. list of most-wanted terrorists: two. Despite a major escalation in the number of unmanned Predator strikes being carried out under the Obama administration, data from government and independent sources indicate that the number of high-ranking militants being killed as a result has […]

Feb
21
2011

Our Man in Pakistan?

Yesterday the Guardian reported that Raymond Davis, the American held in Pakistan on charges of killing two men last month in Lahore, was working for the CIA. The Davis case has received sustained coverage in the U.S. media and is the subject of intense U.S lobbying. All the while U.S. officials referred to Davis as a "diplomat." Today the New York Times has posted a story on its website catching up with the Guardian. The most notable revelation, though, comes when the Times admits that it knew Davis' status–but obeyed a government request to keep it quiet: The New York […]

Feb
18
2011

NYT Misstates U.S. Record on UN Vetoes

The New York Times has a curious reference today concerning the White House's strategy on a United Nations Security Council resolution critical of Israeli settlements: The new White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said Thursday that he would not say whether the United States would invoke its rarely used veto power in the Council. The United States vetoes Security Council resolutions more often than any other country. (The Soviet Union once racked up an impressive record in a short amount of time, but since 1970 or so the United States has led by a wide margin.) Many of those vetoes […]

Feb
18
2011

Chris Christie's Not Telling the Truth–Ugly or Otherwise

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie is the object of intense devotion among some on the right (Glenn Beck in particular). No surprise, then, that he'd get a lot of attention for going to Washington and delivering a stern lecture about how to fix the deficit. And no surprise that he'd talk about Social Security. It has nothing to do with the deficit, but that's another matter. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was on hand to cheer on Christie's message (2/16/11). Christie pokes fun at his weight, which apparently makes his truth-telling even more appealing: But his physique also works […]

Feb
16
2011

Action Alert: Newsweek Downplays Critics of Drone Assassinations

A Newsweek report (2/21/11) looks at the CIA's aerial drone assassination program through the agency's eyes–leaving questions about civilian deaths and the effort's dubious legality for a couple of brief paragraphs at the end. To encourage Newsweek to take critics of the drone program seriously, see FAIR's new Action Alert. Please leave copies of your messages–or comments on the alert–in the comments thread here.

Feb
16
2011

Wait–the Iraq WMD Stuff Was a Lie??

The Guardian published a piece yesterday (2/15/11) based on an interview with "Curveball," the Iraqi exile whose fraudulent claims about Iraq's WMDs helped the Bush administration sell the Iraq War. "I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime," he explained. The piece is pretty revealing–as Curveball watched Colin Powell's UN address in February 2003,theGuardian reports that "he had not met a U.S. official, let alone been interviewed by one." One "flight of fantasy" Curveball deliveredwas the claim that Iraq was manufacturing mobile bio-weapons labs. These did not exist. But if you were watching U.S. television news during […]

Feb
15
2011

Richard Cohen's Teach for America Column Deserves a Failing Grade

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen's Teach for America column today (2/15/11) demonstrates a real problem with logic. "Cut Teach for America Funding and We'll Be Closer to Flunking the Future," declares the headline, with Cohen kicking things off this way: The best teacher in America was in Washington over the weekend. So was the best principal. I cannot name these individuals because they are early in their careers, and the truth of the matter is that I am just playing the odds. They are members of Teach for America, a kind of Peace Corps for the school room–a program so […]

Feb
15
2011

General Hails His Own Success, USA Today Investigation Finds

For a good example of how not to report the Afghan War, check out the lead story in today's USA Today (2/15/11): General: Taliban 'Beaten' by Surge Momentum Shifts in Afghanistan The piece–by Jim Michaels, who has an unfortunate history of this kind of reporting–is mostly sourced to Richard Mills, the Marine general who's in charge of the fight in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Unsurprisingly, he thinks he's doing a bang-up job; Michaels' story begins: Coalition forces in Afghanistan have beaten the insurgency in an important stronghold of Taliban fighters, though pockets of resistance remain, a U.S. commander said Monday in […]

Feb
15
2011

NYT Nails Donald Rumsfeld!

The New York Times stuck it to the former Defense secretary in a Sunday magazine interview: People sometimes call you a war criminal. Does that bother you? For the record, Rumsfeld did seem slightly bothered, because it's "totally untrue. And life goes on."

Feb
15
2011

WaPo's Anonymous Source Trashes TARP Watchdog

From the Washington Post piece today (2/15/11) about TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky's resignation: "We're fine with critics," said one Treasury official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak more candidly. "[But] he's been consistently wrong about a lot of big things." That's a prettyserious charge to level atsomeone–which is probablywhy you'd do so anonymously, since then youdon't have to back it up. Why the Post would print it is another matter entirely. Thefact that they would refer to this as a "candid" assessment is totally puzzling. Read the rest of the article, though, and you come […]

Feb
15
2011

Would the Bard Have Survived U.S. Copyright Law?

A New York Times op-ed today (2/15/11) by Scott Turow, Paul Aiken and James Shapiro ("Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?") uses William Shakespeare as exhibit A in their case for copyright, noting that theater flourished in 16th century England because playwrights were able to make money by charging people to enter their theaters. This they translate into a sweeping argument against attempts to reform copyright law, disparaging a handful of law professors and other experts who have made careers of fashioning counterintuitive arguments holding that copyright impedes creativity and progress. Their theory is that if we severely weaken […]