Feb
17
2012

Postal Service Broke? Letter Explains What USA Today Omitted

Much of the coverage about the U.S. Postal Service tells us that it is losing money hand over fist. But one of the questions journalists are supposed to ask–why?–is rarely posed. A letter to the editor in today's USA Today tries to fill in that gap: Letter: Congressional mandate behind Postal Service woes Your article "Anything Good in the Mail?" is misleading about the reasons for the U.S. Postal Service's financial problems. It focuses on competition from the Internet, conventional wisdom that doesn't withstand scrutiny ("Bell Tolls for the U.S. Mail, as We Know It"). Almost 90 percent of the […]

Feb
17
2012

Is Iraq Media Failure 'Coloring' Iran Coverage?

Huffington Post reporter Michael Calderone (2/17/12) has a fairly comprehensive lookat the way media are covering Iran (I wish he'd cited FAIR's long record on this; perhaps next time). The point is that Iran coverage looks a whole lot like Iraq coverage, circa 2002. Really bad, in other words. Calderone gets a pretty revealing comment from an insider: One national security reporter, who has covered the intelligence community and Iran but was not authorized to comment, says that pre-Iraq War coverage and recent Iran coverage are "terrifyingly similar." "I don't think we are falling totally back into where we were […]

Feb
17
2012

Corporate Pundits Waiting for a Palestinian Gandhi? Meet Khader Adnan

For years prominent corporate media pundits have told us that the world–and the media–would embrace a dramatic, non-violent Palestinian resistance movement. If only such a movement–perhaps led by a Gandhi-like figure–were to finally emerge, we are told, the media coverage will come, and sympathy from across the world will strengthen support for the Palestinian cause. This is nonsense–there has been non-violent Palestinian resistance for years. But that fact hasn't stopped pundits like Time's Joe Klein, as recently as last year, from wondering why Palestinians haven't found their Gandhi. Or New York Times columnist Tom Friedman from writing a column (5/24/11) […]

Feb
15
2012

Newsweek and the 'War on Christians'

A cover that declares a "War on Christians" is bound to get some attention. Writing in the February 12 issue of Newsweek, author Ayaan Hirsi Ali's argument is just as blunt. Enough with all this talk "about Muslims as victims of abuse," because really it's the other way around: A wholly different kind of war is underway–an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm. To suggest that a genocide is underway is, of course, a serious charge. And […]

Feb
15
2012

NYT: Okinawans' 'True Views' Aren't What They Say

That a majority of people living on the island of Okinawa want the U.S. Marines gone seems a well-established fact. A plan to build a new airfield on a different part of the island in the town of Henoko is even more unpopular. One recent poll found 84 percent opposition to the new base. And yet the New York Times tells readers today that it knows better. The headline alone over the piece by Martin Fackler tells youthat those polls–not to mention the massive demonstrations against the base–shouldn't be believed: "Amid Image of Ire Toward U.S. Bases, Okinawans' True Views […]

Feb
15
2012

Bizarre Record of Fox's Rape-to-Be-Expected Pundit

Liz Trotta, a Fox News contributor and former Washington Times editor, drew attention this week (2/12/12) when she suggested that women serving in the U.S. military should expect to be sexually assaulted by their male counterparts: But while all of this is going on, just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, […]

Feb
15
2012

NYT: 'Scrutiny' of Iran's Nuke Sites Means Bombing Them

The media coverage of Iran is terrible, and seems to be getting worse–see Glenn Greenwald's latest piece on the ABC and NBC nightly newscasts. And today the New York Times (2/15/12) tells readers this about Iran's nuclear program: The new uranium enrichment plant, known as Fordo, has raised Western concerns because it is buried deep underground, making it more impervious to scrutiny. That struck me as odd, since Fordo is, like other Iranian nuclear facilities, regularly inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency. And the Times seems to know this, since a few paragraphs later, correspondent Rick Gladstone reported: Last […]

Feb
14
2012

Bill O'Reilly Admits He Has 'No Blanking Idea'

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly celebrated the release of the White House budget by demonstrating on last night's program (2/13/12) that there are a lot of things doesn't understand. Or at least pretends not to understand. He started by making the same point many others in the press have seized on: Obama promised to cut the deficit in half in his first term, and he will fall short of that goal. O'Reilly played a clip of his Fox colleague Chris Wallace putting this to White House chief of staff Jack Lew: WALLACE: The president isn't close to keeping his promise […]

Feb
14
2012

ABC and the 'Family Budget' Fallacy

Last year New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (7/8/11) wrote a sharp critique of those who argue that the federal government's budget should be compared to a family. He called it one of the "right's favorite economic fallacies," pointing out: No, the government shouldn't budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. He expanded upon it again this year (1/1/12), calling the government-as-family trick "a really bad analogy," and explained how governments don't pay off debts the way a family does–"all they need […]

Feb
13
2012

Do TV Networks 'Practice' for War?

Alexander Cockburn's latest piece at CounterPunch (2/10/12) included this from a tipster: I was visiting ABC News the other day to see a friend who works on graphics. When I went to his room, he showed me all the graphics he was making in anticipation of the Israeli attack on Iran; not just maps, but flight patterns, trajectories and 3-D models of U.S. aircraft carrier fleets. But what was most disturbing–was that ABC, and presumably other networks, have been rehearsing these scenarios for over two weeks, with newscasters and retired generals in front of maps talking about missiles and delivery […]

Feb
13
2012

For NYT, Apple Making Less Profit Is Not Even an Option

In the Times Sunday Review Jesse Kornbluth writes (2/12/12): There are things that do not happen in the real world. Noam Chomsky becoming president. Unflattering photos of Jennifer Aniston. Apple doubling the price of iPhones so its Chinese assemblers can work a 40-hour week. OK, I know he's being cheeky (Chomsky hasn't declared as a presidential candidate yet), but there is still something that should be said about this idea that Apple products simply have to be manufactured in sweatshops. Last week, the Times tech writer David Pogue (2/9/12) made a similarly flawed argument: Bringing workplace standards and pay in […]

Feb
10
2012

The Way to Voters' Hearts Is Proposing What They Don't Want

You often see pundits making suggestions to political candidates like David Brooks makes in his New York Times column today (1/10/12): If Romney is to thrive, he really needs to go on an integrity tour. He needs to show how his outer pronouncements flow directly from his inner core. He needs to trust that voters will take him as he really is…. He needs to stop opportunistically backtracking on his Medicare position, just to please whatever senior group he happens to be in front of. He needs to show that he is willing to pursue at least a few unpopular […]

Feb
10
2012

Professor Gingrich Still Wowing NYT

His campaign might fading, but Newt Gingrich is still wowing the New York Times (2/10/12). Reporter Trip Gabriel writes: Mr. Gingrich is well known as the candidate of big ideas, hatched from a deep knowledge of politics and policy. But he is less recognized for his warehouse of everyday facts, the kind of small-bore knowledge useful in winning bar bets–or in impressing voters and arguing down skeptical reporters. And: Mr. Gingrich appears to have a steel-trap mind and would make a dangerous opponent at Trivial Pursuit. Praising Gingrich's intellect isn't new, but it's a reminder that Gingrich isn't always dazzling […]