New York Times reporter Rod Norland (5/29/11) gave readers a lighter look at the war in Libya from rebel-controlled Benghazi. Some versions of the story were actually headlined, "In Benghazi, Warmth for West Doesn't Come from Burning Flags"–which pretty well captures the tone of the piece. Norland observes: Americans and, for that matter, all Westerners are treated hereabouts with a warmth and gratitude rarely seen in any Muslim country–even those with 100,000 American troops–in probably half a century or more. I'm not sure there's a reliable survey of Muslim hospitality, but the idea that even Iraqis or Afghans aren't fond [...]
On Sunday George Will wrote a strong Washington Post column about Obama, the Libya War and the law: In a bipartisan cascade of hypocrisies, a liberal president, with the collaborative silence of most congressional conservatives, is traducing the War Powers Resolution. Enacted in 1973 over President Nixon's veto, the WPR may or may not be wise. It is, however, unquestionably a law, and Barack Obama certainly is violating it. "Liberals are situational ethicists regarding presidential warmaking," Will explained, going on to suggest that George W. Bush would have been treated much differently than Obama. And Will had harsh words for [...]
Newsweek has a new piece wondering why it is that the United States doesn't seem to muster protest movements like we're seeing in Europe and in a number of Arab countries. The headline and image on their website: If you read that caption you see that protest happened on March 12* May 12– one of several mass mobilizations that have attracted almost no corporate media attention–a subject we discussed on CounterSpin last week with journalist Allison Kilkenny, who's been covering them for a variety of independent outlets. Yes, there could certainly be a sensible discussion about why the political system [...]
There was some Congressional debate over extending certain parts of the Patriot Act last week– this Institute for Public Accuracy release is a helpful guide to some of the criticisms of the Act. But don't let anyone tell you there wasn't much coverage of this. On Friday, NBC Nightly News skipped reporting on what was at stake and went right for what really matters: May 27, 2011 Friday BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Back in D.C., a four-year extension of the revised Patriot Act passed by Congress was signed into law minutes before midnight last night. You would be correct to ask, [...]
According to Tim Dickinson's new piece in Rolling Stone, Fox honcho Roger Ailes lives in fear of "those gays": Murdoch installed Ailes in the corner office on Fox's second floor at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. The location made Ailes queasy: It was close to the street, and he lived in fear that gay activists would try to attack him in retaliation over his hostility to gay rights. (In 1989, Ailes had broken up a protest of a Rudy Giuliani speech by gay activists, grabbing a demonstrator by the throat and shoving him out the door.) Barricading himself [...]
A good friend of FAIR happened to catch this segment on MSNBC. Turns out it was a false alarm; the noted Peace Prize winner was a guest, talking about another war criminal.
NPR ombud Alicia Shepard has a piece (5/25/11) about internal discomfort with a recent $1.8 million grant from the George Soros-connected Open Society Foundation. Shepard writes: The money is for a worthy purpose. NPR is using the two-year grant as seed money to start a local-national initiative, known as the Impact on Government project. Eventually, the plan is to have two public radio reporters in every state keeping tabs on state government issues that are woefully under-reported by the media. This is to be a multi-media project for radio, the Web and social media. It's hard to argue against the [...]
MSNBC host Ed Schultz has been suspended without pay for a week for calling right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut" on his radio show. Schultz apologized on MSNBC last night, calling his words "terribly vile." This is not a new thing at MSNBC. In 2006, Keith Olbermann did a bit about Paris Hilton being assaulted–joking that she has "had worse things happen to her face." The on-screen graphic was "A Slut and Battery." In 2009 he called right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin a "big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."
Every so often reports surface about the Justice Department's prosecution of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling–often due to the government's attempts to convince New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about his interactions with Sterling. The Times reported on the latest such efforts yesterday (5/25/11): Federal prosecutors are trying to force the author of a book on the CIA to testify at a criminal trial about who leaked information to him about the agency's effort to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program at the end of the Clinton administration. Such efforts to get journalists to testify often lead media outlets to [...]
On the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, conservative pundit Shelby Steele lays out the argument that Barack Obama's blackness is a unique asset that makes him difficult to beat in 2012. The argument–which, on some level, is worth taking seriously–is that "his presidency flatters America to a degree that no white Republican can hope to compete with. He literally validates the American democratic experiment, if not the broader Enlightenment that gave birth to it." You can see how this might be true for a segment of the American population–I wrote in 2007 about pundits who made such arguments–but it's unclear [...]
In today's New York Times (5/25/11), columnist Tom Friedman issues yet another call for Palestinians to practice non-violence: May I suggest a Tahrir Square alternative? Announce that every Friday from today forward will be "Peace Day," and have thousands of West Bank Palestinians march nonviolently to Jerusalem, carrying two things–an olive branch in one hand and a sign in Hebrew and Arabic in the other. The sign should say: "Two states for two peoples. We, the Palestinian people, offer the Jewish people a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders–with mutually agreed adjustments–including Jerusalem, where the Arabs will control their [...]
The New York Times (5/25/11) is reporting, perhaps accurately, that Newt Gingrich may have trouble living down his $500,000 credit line at Tiffany's. But this sentence by Sheryl Gay Stolberg is so Timesian: The way some voters out in the rest of America might see it, he's a guy who paid more for jewelry than some people pay for their houses. It will no doubt come as a surprise to folks at a newspaper that reports (1/1/97) that $100-a-bottle wine was an "everyday occurrence," and told readers where they could have dinner for two for under $100 as "an experiment [...]
There have been a lot of complaints about New York Times business reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin being too cozy with the Wall Street powers that he's covering. Some of those critics are in-house; a New York magazine article went so far as to quote a Times staffer who (like several others at the paper) likened Sorkin to disgraced WMD reporter Judith Miller. Sorkin was on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, part of a roundtable discussion that followed an appearance by Republican Paul Ryan. And that's where Sorkin said this: SORKIN: I got to tell you, I got an email [...]