Dec
23
2011

How Many Media Activists Does It Take….

..To keep FAIR going strong? Almost 900,000 people have visited the FAIR Blog this year. On these pages we've given you timely, informed media criticism. We've past the halfway mark to our fundraising goal for 2012. We need YOU to act now by donating. Every dollar counts, so it's easy to make a difference. Can you add your name to the list of 230 who have already given? You can help FAIR achieve bigger and better things in 2012.

Dec
22
2011

New York Times Finds Noam Chomsky Fit to Print

Left-wing activist and author Noam Chomsky is in the New York Times today: The American linguist Noam Chomsky, a prominent source of intellectual inspiration for President Hugo Chavez, made a new appeal on Wednesday for the release of Maria Lourdes Afiuni, a judge arrested two years ago by the secret intelligence police. If you find it a little surprising that Chomsky's views on international affairs would be reported in the Paper of Record, and if you'd be inclined to believe the Times finds his views newsworthy only because Chomsky is criticizing Chavez (which they've done before)… well, you might not […]

Dec
22
2011

Ron Paul Has NOT Been Ignored by Media–Except, Well, Yes He Has

"Ron Paul Ignored by the Media? Not So Much" was the headline on a National Journal post yesterday (12/21/11). "The Texan's campaign has raised millions of dollars to combat the alleged media conspiracy that, they claim, is out to destroy the candidate the media fears most," the Journal's Sarah Mimms reported. "There is just one problem: The Ron Paul revolution is being televised." By Mimms' count, "since announcing his campaign on May 13, Paul has made 87 appearances on cable television and Sunday news programs. That's more than any other candidate currently running for president." She stresses that "he has […]

Dec
21
2011

CBS, Panetta and (Hypothetical) Iranian Nukes

The Monday broadcast of CBS Evening News (12/19/11) began with big news, with anchor Scott Pelley announcing: The secretary of Defense says tonight that the United States will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. In an interview with CBS News, Leon Panetta says that despite efforts to disrupt their nuclear program, the Iranians have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less. To ratchet up the drama, Pelley told viewers that Panetta was aboard "the jet nicknamed the Doomsday Plane. This is the command post where he and the president would […]

Dec
21
2011

ABC's Bogus Big Government Debate

On Sunday (12/18/11), ABC's This Week presented an installment of what it's calling "The Great American Debates." What it really was, though, was a perfect example of how corporate media adopt right-wing assumptions when framing a discussion. In this case, it was a debate over Big Government. The show's opening sounded like a Tea Party rally: CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: This week, a special program on the defining issue of 2012. Has Uncle Sam become too big, too powerful? A bailout bonanza, a welfare state? A tax-and-spend Goliath crushing the entrepreneurial spirit when America can't afford to fall behind? That's the rallying […]

Dec
21
2011

Tom Friedman Not Sucking It on Iraq War

Today New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (12/21/11) gives readers a sense of what the Iraq War was all about: Iraq was always a war of choice. As I never bought the argument that Saddam had nukes that had to be taken out, the decision to go to war stemmed, for me, from a different choice: Could we collaborate with the people of Iraq to change the political trajectory of this pivotal state in the heart of the Arab world and help tilt it and the region onto a democratizing track? Huh. A collaborative effort with the people of Iraq? […]

Dec
19
2011

Now It Can Be Told: Libyan Civilian Deaths

The Sunday New York Times (12/18/11) featured a powerful investigation of civilian casualties resulting from the NATO war in Libya–casualties that, to hear NATO officials tell it, maybe don't even exist. The Times' C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt report: But an on-the-ground examination by The New York Times of airstrike sites across Libya–including interviews with survivors, doctors and witnesses, and the collection of munitions remnants, medical reports, death certificates and photographs–found credible accounts of dozens of civilians killed by NATO in many distinct attacks. The victims, including at least 29 women or children, often had been asleep in homes when […]

Dec
19
2011

Louis C.K. and Net Neutrality

New York Times reporter David Carr (12/19/11) takes a look at comedian Louis C.K.'s recent decision to webcast his own comedy special: A scabrous and successful champion of the everyman, Louis C. K. decided last week to go direct with his fans: no cable special, no middleman, just a simple download for $5 on his website to see his comedy show Louis C. K.: Live at the Beacon Theater. The show could be viewed as the consumer wished, with no rights protection or expensive subscription. A buy-it-and-watch-it proposition, no cable company involved. He was also, of course, enabling people to […]

Dec
16
2011

The New Anti-Corporate Populism Isn't So New

Last night (12/15/11), MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes were impressed by a new Pew poll–flagged by Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent–showing that a vast majority of the public believes that corporations and the wealthy have too much power. The picture one gets from the poll is pretty dramatic: The question that seemed most important to Maddow and Hayes was why Republican politicians aren't shifting their policies in response to this apparent surge in anti-corporate populism: MADDOW: The national sentiment right now being expressed to pollsters is that the people at the top are getting way too much of […]

Dec
15
2011

Time Paints Paul Ryan as Deficit-Slashing Superhero

The fact that Time magazine named "The Protester" its Person of the Year was maybe a little surprising. Totally unsurprising, though, was the choice of a runners-up: Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, a hero to many in the corporate media for his bold calls to slash government spending on the poor. It's hard to know where to start with reporter David Von Drehle's tribute. But let's try here: Through a combination of hard work, good timing and possibly suicidal guts, the Wisconsin Republican managed to harness his party to a dramatic plan for dealing with America's rapidly rising public debt. Dealing […]

Dec
15
2011

In Explaining Iraq War, WMD Hoax Becomes a Footnote

The Washington Post's Scott Wilson has a piece (12/13/11) looking back on the Iraq War, where he writes of the "arc of the American experience in Iraq" being "from hope to barbarity, from swaggering invasion to quiet departure." When it comes to the rationale for the entire war, things get a bit fuzzy. Like we pointed out recently about CBS Evening News, the main driver of the invasion–the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction–is reduced to something like a footnote: The premise was contested from the start, a new doctrine of preemptive war tailored to an era in which […]

Dec
15
2011

Why WaPo Won't Cover Ron Paul: He Looks Funny, Sounds Funny

The Washington Post's series of candidate profiles continues. Today it's Ron Paul's turn. In Joel Achenbach's main piece (12/15/11), readers learn, in the lead paragraph, that Paul is not the standard presidential candidate–he lacks the factory-built appearance of Mitt Romney or Rick Perry. He's thin, bony, a bantam rooster. Thankfully, the rest of the piece is focused more on substance. But a second article is peculiarly focused on Paul's looks and the sound of his voice–suggesting that this explains why he doesn't get much "attention" (which, when reporters say it, should be taken to mean "media attention," since Paul obviously […]

Dec
14
2011

Driving Out Politics From Privately Owned Public Space

Battery Park City's Winter Garden (photo: Jim Naureckas)

The Winter Garden is one of New York City's largest and most beautiful indoor public spaces. Graced by giant palm trees that would look impressive on Sunset Boulevard and a vast skylight that provides year-round balmy sunlight, this crossroads of Manhattan's Battery Park City became a symbol of Downtown's rebirth when it was reconstructed after being devastated in the September 11 attacks. Yet this crucial community gathering space–which provides a much-needed public square that's hospitable throughout the year–is actually privately owned by Brookfield Office Properties, a multinational real-estate developer that owns the World Financial Center that the Winter Garden is […]