Feb
07
2011

The Powerless Superpower: Broder on Egypt

In yesterday's Washington Post (2/6/11), David Broder likened the U.S. position on Egypt to being a fan of the hapless Chicago Cubs: Big things are happening all around you, but you have noway to do anything about it. That is the reality that confronts President Obama today. His hands are tied while Egypt erupts. At first he expressed support and sympathy for the democratic forces filling the streets and appreciation for the Egyptian military holding fire. But when it became clear that Mubarak was on his way out, sooner or later, it dawned on everyone that the Muslim Brotherhood might […]

Feb
07
2011

The Right Way to Support a Friendly Dictator…er, 'Strongman'

From the Friday broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (2/4/11) came a discussion about how the U.S. supports dictators–which elicited some chuckles. Remember, Mark Shields is the one who plays the "left" on the program. MARK SHIELDS: Just one little point of personal privilege on Joe Biden, who did take a hit for not being able to say dictator, but in United States politics, I mean, it's always been, if someone is on our side, he is a strongman. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: If he is on the other side, he is a dictator. I mean, that has sort of been the […]

Feb
04
2011

Egypt 'Experts' on 'Public' Television

There have been some interesting, informative TV coverage of Egypt. And then there was last night's Charlie Rose (2/3/11), with special guests Tom Friedman and Henry Kissinger.

Feb
04
2011

Krauthammer's Allergy to Democracy

Displaying the same allergy to actual democracy shown by Joe Klein (FAIR Blog, 2/3/11), Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (2/4/11) calls, like Klein, for a military regime in Egypt to impose a "period of stability" for "guiding the country to free elections"–the kind of "free elections" in which the military will "guarantee" that the right people "prevail." The breathtaking hypocrisy of Krauthammer's column–which begins "Who doesn't love a democratic revolution?"–is on view in this passage: Our paramount moral and strategic interest in Egypt is real democracy in which power does not devolve to those who believe in one man, one […]

Feb
04
2011

A Tough Call: Daily News Media Bias Poll

Hmmm… can I get two votes? For the record, the results are currently 94 percent for liberal control, 1 percent for conservative-pandering and 5 percent for control by the rich.

Feb
03
2011

Joe Klein and the Rotten Fruit of Arab Democracy

Sometimes words fail. Joe Klein, writing in the new issue of Time, wonders: How on earth do we get saddled with such creepy clients as Karzai and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, over and over again? Yes, why do they keep doing this to us?! His piece is a pox-on-both-houses rant about U.S. foreign policy: The "realists" often end up coddling dictators, and the idealists don't understand how the world works. Of the latter, he writes: the tangible fruits of the Freedom Agenda turned out to be mostly rotten: elections in the Palestinian territories, which no one but Hamas (and Bush) […]

Feb
03
2011

Error-Prone NYT Reporter Lectures Al Jazeera English on Accuracy

New York Times TV reporter Alessandra Stanley (2/2/11) had a piece discussing why you can't watch Al Jazeera English on your television. After noting that "demand was pretty low" for the channel until recently (unlike, I don't know, Fox Business Channel, which must have dozens of die-hard fans), Stanley warned that zeal sometimes outstrips the thirst for accuracy. The channel reported on Tuesday that 2 million protesters defied a curfew to gather in Tahrir Square; most Western news organizations put the number in the hundreds of thousands. Seriously–the New York Times is going to lecture other media outlets on the […]

Feb
03
2011

USA Today Shows How Not to Report on Egypt Protests

Start with USA Today's headline (2/3/11): Mubarak Supporters Weigh In: Anti-Government Rallies Shaken by Rival Protesters The forces attacking the pro-democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square were not "rival protesters"; they were government agents, complete in many cases with police ID cards that were confiscated when violent provocateurs were apprehended by activists (Al Jazeera English, 2/2/11). As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (2/3/11) put it in his firsthand report from the square: The events were sometimes presented by the news media as "clashes" between rival factions, but that's a bit misleading. This was an organized government crackdown, but it relied […]

Feb
02
2011

Pimps and Prostitutes…Again?

In late 2009 and early 2010, right-wing activist James O'Keefe concocted a story that got widespread media coverage. The tall tale went like this: O'Keefe and his associate went to offices affiliated with the community organizing group ACORN in order to solicit advice on running a brothel and evading taxes. The problem was that nothing much like that actually happened. As FAIR summarized (Action Alert, 3/11/10): O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp during his visits to ACORN offices, seems to never actually represent himself as a "pimp," and the advice he solicits is usually about how to file income taxes […]

Feb
01
2011

Richard Engel, Tear Gas and the 'Egyptian Perspective'

NBC Nightly News reporter Richard Engel held up a tear gas canister on the air to show that it was stamped "Made in the USA." But something else he said on the January 28, 2011 newscast struck me: But what's scattered on the streets of Cairo right now are these little canisters. These were the tear gas canisters that were fired by all those riot police today. And if you look at them closely, they say clearly in English, "Made in the USA." Egyptians have been picking them up, they've been looking them over. And from an Egyptian perspective, it […]

Feb
01
2011

Arab TV vs. Polite People Like You

An accidentally revealing moment fromRachel Maddow's interview with Martin Indyk of the Brookings Institution last night (MSNBC, 1/31/11): MADDOW: Well, let me ask you about one tactical question in this diplomatic dance, I guess. Are American officials making appearances on Arabic language TV channels at this point? Should they be prioritizing doing that right now? INDYK: Probably. I don't think they are doing a lot of that at the moment, partly because the Arab interviewers are likely to be a lot more pressing than polite people like you. MADDOW: I think that is a great insult, thank you. INDYK: No, […]