Mar
31
2011

Springsteen Greets Rare Poverty Report From Asbury Park

Bruce Springsteen occasionally writes a letter to the editor of his local paper, the Asbury Park Press. Yesterday (3/30/11) the Press published a letter from the musician congratulating the paper for some trenchant poverty coverage, that in his view was the exception. As FAIR's work has shown, Springsteen is on to something. Here's the full text of the letter: Thank you for your March 27 front-page story by Michael Symons, "As Poverty Rises, Cuts Target Aid." The article is one of the few that highlights the contradictions between a policy of large tax cuts, on the one hand, and cuts […]

Mar
30
2011

WaPo Looks at NBC's Noncoverage of GE

The Washington Post's Paul Farhi has a piece today (3/30/11) about NBC's non-coverage of the revelation that part-owner General Electric is making piles of money–and paying no federal taxes.I'm quoted in it. Farhi breaks it down, and gets an NBC response: It's the kind of accountability journalism that makes readers raise an eyebrow, if it doesn't raise their blood pressure first. General Electric Co., reported the New York Times last week, earned $14.2billion in worldwide profits last year, including $5.1billion in the United States–and paid exactly zero dollars in federal taxes. The front-page story drew widespread commentary in newspapers and […]

Mar
30
2011

NewsHour Not Changing Just Yet

FAIR's alert on the NewsHour's limited debate on Libya hasn't sparked any immediate changes at the program. From last night's broadcast: JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on Libya and the president's speech, we get the views of two senators. Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed is on the Armed Services Committee. And Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson is on the Foreign Relations Committee. I spoke to them a short time ago. Senators, thank you very much for joining us, Sen. Reed and Sen. Isakson. Before I ask you about what President Obama said last night, Senator Isakson, just quickly, do you believe the […]

Mar
29
2011

Action Alert: On Libya, NewsHour Looks Like State TV

The bombing of Libya has sharply divided public opinion, but the PBS NewsHour has avoided a wide-ranging debate by overwhelmingly featuring the views of current and former government and military officials. If you'd like to see a more diverse group of voices arguing the pros and cons of intervention, see FAIR's Action Alert. Please leave copies of your messages to PBS, and comments on the alert, in the comments thread of this post.

Mar
29
2011

WashPost and the Wider War

One of the questions about U.S.-led war in Libya is the scope of the conflict. Some rebel forces seem to want more U.S. military action. The Washington Post reportstoday (3/29/11) that this is already happening. Under the headline"U.S. Deploys Low-Flying Attack Planes," Greg Jaffe explains: The U.S. military dramatically stepped up its assault on Libyan government ground forces over the weekend, launching its first missions with AC-130 flying gunships and A-10 attack aircraft designed to strike enemy ground troops and supply convoys. The use of the aircraft, during days of heavy fighting in which the momentum seemed to swing in […]

Mar
29
2011

On the U.S.'s 'Complex Relations' with Dictators

The New York Times' Helene Cooper on President Obama's speech last night (3/29/11): To the democracy protesters across the Middle East, he vowed that the United States would stand by them, even as he said that "progress will be uneven, and change will come differently in different countries," a partial acknowledgment that complex relations between the United States and different Arab countries may make for different American responses in different countries. "Complex relations" make for "different American responses"?That's a nicer way of saying that we are on the side ofthe dictators you are protesting,which makes it rather unlikelythe U.S.will intervene […]

Mar
29
2011

Maybe NYT Should Be Embarrassed by Misleading Hussein Profile

In a New York Times science article (3/29/11) about the CIA and Pentagon's psychological profiling of foreign political figures, reporter Benedict Carey adds a note of caution: Yet the assessments can also be misleading, even embarrassing. Profiles of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq that circulated in the early 1990s suggested that he was ultimately a pragmatist who would give in under pressure. Carey gives no explanation for why such an assessment would be misleading or embarrassing–as if it went without saying that this was a misreading of the Iraqi dictator. In fact, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Hussein made repeated offers […]

Mar
28
2011

GE Avoids Reporting on GE Avoiding Taxes

You may have heard about the New York Times report (3/25/11) explaining that General Electric made $14 billion in worldwide profits in 2010–and paid the federal government exactly nothing in taxes. The Times explained this is"based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore." Despite the Comcast purchase, GE is still apart owner of NBC and MSNBC–the latter conventionally thought to be a liberal-leaning outlet. So did they say much about a giant corporation keeping profits offshore in order to avoid paying taxes? Not really; Paul […]

Mar
28
2011

Henry Kissinger's Big Ideas

From Meet the Press (3/27/11): GREGORY: I'll start with you, Ted Koppel. You spent time, in your early days as a correspondent, with Henry Kissinger. KOPPEL: I did. GREGORY: Who knew something about the big ideas for the world. Is this administration getting the big ideas right in the–in the tumult of the Middle East? Who knows what those "big ideas" might be. But if you want to make Ted Koppel feel comfortable, it's good to praise Henry Kissinger– as we noted recently: Koppel once boasted of Kissinger: "Henry Kissinger is, plain and simply, the best secretary of state we […]

Mar
25
2011

WaPo Invents Dems' Social Security Split

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery has what sounds like a pretty important story in today's paper (3/25/11). Theheadline: Democrats Splinter Over Strategy for Reducing Deficit Battle Lines Drawn as More Are Willing to Put Entitlements on Table The piece leads off: Democrats are sharply divided over whether to tackle popular but increasingly expensive safety-net programs for the elderly, particularly Social Security. According to Montgomery, a "growing number of Democratic lawmakers say they are willing to consider controversial measures such as raising the retirement age and reducing benefits for wealthier seniors." That wouldbebig. Who are they? She tells us who they […]

Mar
24
2011

Public TV and Libya: Govt. Officials, Current and Former

Last night (3/24/11) Jim Lehrer introduced a NewsHour discussion segment about the Libya War: Now, how it looks to two former U.S. senators, Democrat Gary Hart of Colorado and Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Senator Hart is now a scholar in residence at the University of Colorado and chair of the Defense Department's Threat Reduction Advisory Council. Senator Coleman is CEO of the American Action Network, an issue advocacy organization that supports Republican candidates and policies. The same broadcastfeatured an interview with Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough. Monday's broadcast featured this segment: JIM LEHRER: Now some perspective on the […]

Mar
24
2011

USA Today 'Debates' Nuclear Power

USA Today has a regular left-right feature between hard-right pundit Cal Thomas and TV "liberal" Bob Beckel. Today's topic? Nuclear power. And the verdict? Well, the headline tells you all you need to know. Knee-Jerks and Nukes Cal and Bob agree that despite the chorus of hand-wringers, it would be foolish to give up on nuclear power plants in the wake of Japan's tragedy To give you a sense of the seriousness of the discussion, here's Beckel criticizing Joe Lieberman: Bob: I grew up in his home state near one of the country's oldest nuclear power plants (the Connecticut Yankee […]

Mar
24
2011

Known Knowns: Libya, Kristof and Certainty

In his New York Times column today (3/24/11)–headlined "Hugs From Libyans"–Nicholas Kristof boils down the argument in favor of the war in Libya: Then, on Wednesday in Benghazi, the major city in eastern Libya whose streets would almost certainly be running with blood now if it weren't for the American-led military intervention, residents held a "thank you rally." They wanted to express gratitude to coalition forces for helping save their lives. Kristof goes on to write that "a humanitarian catastrophe has been averted for now," and that the air strikes could not wait: "A couple of days of dutiful consultation […]