Jun
10
2011

Debating the Big Issues, NewsHour Style

One of the most common criticisms of the PBS NewsHour is that it too often mimics the elite bias of the commercial media. A recent broadcast of the NewsHour (6/8/11) had two segments about the debate over the Afghan War–the first a news report covering the Senate nomination hearings for Ryan Crocker, Obama's nominee to be ambassador to Afghanistan. Quoted in the piece were senators Jim Webb (D.-Va.) and Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Barack Obama. The discussion segment that accompanied it featured two more senators: Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez. […]

Jun
10
2011

Sunday Morning Shocker!

Guess who's booked to appear on the CBS Sunday morning chat show Face the Nation this weekend? None other than Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan. It has, after all, been an eternity since Sunday TV viewers had a chance to listen to Ryan talk about his Medicare-slashing budget plan. May 22 on Meet the Press, to be exact. FAIR's new petition to the television networks asks why Ryan's far-right plan has been getting so much more coverage than the People's Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Add your voice today!

Jun
09
2011

Libya's Lousy PR

One theme of the coverage of the NATO bombing of Libya is that the Libyan government is lousy at propaganda. It was somewhat jarring, though, to see all of these headlines in the space of two days this week. It's worth pointing out– as some of these stories (and others) do– that the NATO bombing has intensified over the past few days, making these 'no dead civilians here' pieces seem curiously timed. I guess this could be seen as a message to the Libyan government: This is how the professionals do it. New York Times (6/7/11): "Libya Stokes Its Machine […]

Jun
09
2011

Connecticut Lurches Left–From the NYT's Center-Right POV

"Connecticut is closing out its most activist, liberal legislative session in memory," Peter Applebome reports in the New York Times (6/8/11), with "the largest tax increase in Connecticut history" as the centerpiece of his case. "They decided to tear up the antitax, budget-slashing, confront-the-unions script that has characterized state legislative sessions elsewhere," Applebome writes, noting that "Republicans say the last five months of lawmaking have been a liberal joy ride and a capitulation to the state's powerful unions…. 'Their solution is to tax the wealthy in Fairfield County, redistribute income and hope people in Greenwich and Darien don't move to […]

Jun
09
2011

USAT, Baker and Shell: Update

We noted here on June 3 that a USA Today column by former Secretary of States James Baker was missing some important disclosure. Baker argued that the United States needs to encourage more domestic oil drilling. Baker championed efforts by Shell to drill in Alaska, which have been stymied by government bureaucrats. As FAIR noted, Baker's Rice University institute receives funding from an array of energy companies, including Shell– which also funds the institute's lecture series. It would be normal for a newspaper to mention this to readers, but USA Today did not. After receiving a letter from FAIR, the […]

Jun
08
2011

WaPo's False Equivalence on Founder Misquotes

"Senators, congressmen and even President Obama have misquoted the Founding Fathers in recent years," writes Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold in a June 7 piece suggesting that there is a bipartisan trend of misquotation and misrepresentation of historical events. After citing Sarah Palin's recent botched account of Paul Revere's revolutionary ride, Fahrenthold implies that historical distortion comes from a variety of political quarters: But in Washington, nobody should feel too smug, as Palin is hardly the only politician with a habit of helpfully twisting the historical record, accidentally or not, and sometimes with politically handy consequences. If Fahrenthold means […]

Jun
08
2011

Democracy Now!: Moyers on the Media

Bill Moyers appeared on Democracy Now! this morning (6/8/11) to discuss his new book about his days at PBS, The Conversation Continues. Interviewed for the hour by anchors Any Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Moyers said, "The consensual seduction of the mainstream media by and with the government is one of the most dangerous toxins at work in America today." He spoke, too, of the lost mission of public broadcasting,and how its reliance on the political whims of Congress for some of its funding prevents it from living up to its potential: Sometimes self-censorship occurs because you're looking over your shoulder, […]

Jun
08
2011

Fed a Line of Bull by the NYT

"Fed Wants Priority Put on Deficit" was the New York Times' headline over Binyamin Appelbaum's June 8 story on the front page of the business section. Summarizing a speech Fed chair Ben Bernanke gave the day before, Appelbaum wrote, "He said that growth remained slow and uneven, but he made no mention of the possibility that the Fed would intervene, noting instead that 'a healthy economic future' required a plan to shrink the federal deficit." Appelbaum also cited a speech by the head of the New York Fed, a member of the national Fed's board of governors: "William C. Dudley, […]

Jun
07
2011

Reading the Headlines When the Left Wins

Two elections, different outcomes, different headlines at the Wall Street Journal (6/6/11). When the left loses: Portugal Decisively Ends Leftist Rule Portugal on Sunday voted decisively to end six years of leftist rule, electing the country's main conservative party and boosting prospects for austerity measures tied to a $114 billion aid package from the EU and IMF. But when the left wins: Peru Votes in Divisive Runoff for President Voters in one of the world's most dynamic economies went to the polls Sunday to choose between two divisive presidential candidates. The latter piece included this: "Financial markets, which have been […]

Jun
07
2011

Sean Hannity and Scandalous Double Standards

Last night (6/6/11), Fox News host Sean Hannity was talking with WorldNetDaily's Joe Farah: FARAH: Charles Rangel is still in the House. Barney Frank is still in the House. Bill Clinton is getting awards. Gerry Studds got a standing ovation from House Democrats. This is a guy who had sex with a congressional page, correct? HANNITY: But what about–you know, you think back when Republican scandals come up, they all bail out. I can't think of one that ever stayed, can you? He's got a point. Except for Republican Sen. David Vitter (prostitution scandal, still in office). And Republican Sen. […]

Jun
07
2011

Richard Cohen, Oxymoron

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen writes (6/7/11): I once worked for an editor who banned the word "oxymoron." I don't know why. It's a good word, meaning a contradiction in terms. The dictionary offers some examples: "wise fool" and "legal murder." I would like to cite another: Barack Obama. He sends contradictory messages. That sounds reasonable enough–what are some good examples? Cohen writes: The fact remains, no matter what Obama says–and almost no matter what he does–the business community deeply feels that he is unsympathetic to them and their goals. They say all they want to do is make an […]

Jun
07
2011

Ron Paul Gets Covered in the New York Times

In the New York Times corrections box (6/7/11): An article on Monday about Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, omitted the name of one of the other declared candidates, who number six, not five. Ron Paul, a Republican congressman from Texas, is also running. One of the main tasks the media perform in a campaign is excluding the candidates they deem unworthy of consideration. The Times is off to an early start.

Jun
06
2011

ABC's Raddatz, Citing Her 'Combat Mission,' Says Bombs Must Go On

Afghan president Hamid Karzai denounced once again U.S./NATO airstrikes that killed civilians. In this recent incident, 14 were killed, including 11 children. This prompted ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer (5/31/11) to call in ABC reporters to sort things out, leading to this exchange with Pentagon reporter Martha Raddatz: SAWYER: He's talking to the Afghan people. But Martha, he put restrictions on what U.S. troops can do, what the NATO troops can do. How onerous are these? RADDATZ: Well, he's trying to put restrictions on. I mean they simply have to carry out air strikes over there. It's a very […]