May
16
2012

Action Alert: Address Conflict of Interest at NYT's Jerusalem Bureau

A new FAIR Action Alert (5/16/12) calls on the New York Times public editor to address the conflict of interest posed by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner's marriage to someone whose job it is to sway the coverage of international outlets like the Times in a pro-Israel direction. Please leaves copies of your messages to the Times, or comments on the alert, in the comments thread below.

May
15
2012

The Only Beltway White Guy Pundits Too Hot for the Sunday Shows?

Norman Ornstein at the Center for American Progress.

Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann are well-known in the Beltway. They work at big-time think tanks (Brookings and American Enterprise Institute), appear on television chat shows, and write books and op-eds that powerful people pay attention to. Lately, though, it seems they've become dangerous men. Mann and Ornstein recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post (4/27/12) based on their new book. In it, they argued that whining about increased polarization or partisanship in politics obscures a central truth: This problem is not seen in equal measure on both sides. The headline summed it up: "Let's Just Say It: The […]

May
15
2012

New Evidence of Stop-and-Frisk Abuses Prompts NYT to Call for More Evidence

 The New York Times editorially decried the New York City police department's stop-and-frisk practices ("Injustices of Stop and Frisk," 5/13/12), noting that the criterion of "furtive movements" most often used for stopping disproportionately black and brown people is "so vague as to be meaningless," that people of color are treated more violently than white people when stopped, and that the excuse that stop-and-frisk keeps guns off the street is not supported. The paper's conclusion: "The mounting evidence reveals a pattern of abusive policing that warrants the attention of the Justice Department, which should be using its broad authority to investigate […]

May
15
2012

Time Ignores Climate Change to Paint a 'Golden Age' of Fracking

You have to wonder: Do journalists covering energy issues imagine they and their loved ones are going to be living on another planet in the not-too-distant future? That seems like the only reason you would write a piece about the world discovering ways to extract and burn vast new quantities of hydrocarbons without mentioning one word about climate change. That's what Bryan Walsh gave us in the May 21 issue of Time magazine–an article about fracking that doesn't mention the technology's powerful contribution to global warming. The headline over this article: "The Golden Age." Walsh does refer to fracking's ecological […]

May
15
2012

WaPo Surprised Voters Getting Chance to Weigh In on Ryan Budget

The Washington Post (5/13/12) ran a piece by Ed O'Keefe under this headline: Ryan Budget Still an Issue in Congressional Races Still? You mean candidates keep talking about Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to replace Medicare with an entirely inadequate privatized health insurance program–even though the upcoming elections are the first chance voters will have to say what they think of the idea? Yep: "More than a year after the proposal's initial release, Republican candidates continue to find themselves on the defensive about what the plan will actually do, and Democrats continue to make claims about the dire consequences if it […]

May
14
2012

The Complex Panorama of Supporting the Wrong Side in Bahrain

Of all the Arab Spring uprisings, Bahrain probably gets the least attention in the U.S. press. There are perhaps some good arguments why;  it could be the fact that the United States is on the side of the monarchy violently suppressing the democratic aspirations of its people. So it was news that the United States decided on Friday to ahead and continue selling arms to Bahrain. But barely news. The Washington Post's Karen DeYoung (5/12/12) gave space to some critics of the deal to point out the troubling level of support for a regime torturing and imprisoning dissidents. The administration […]

May
14
2012

Newsweek Enables Colin Powell's Iraq War Revisionism

Right before the United States invaded Iraq, Newsweek magazine published a remarkable story. Reporter John Barry revealed that former Iraqi weapons chief Hussein Kamel had told UN inspectors in 1995 that the country had destroyed its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. As FAIR pointed out at the time, this was a remarkable discovery, especially considering that Kamel's words had be used so often by U.S. officials to serve the opposite point–that Iraq still posed a dire threat.  As FAIR pointed out: According to Newsweek, Kamel told the same story to CIA analysts in August 1995. If that is true, […]

May
11
2012

Oily Propaganda on ABC World News

If you watch TV news you're bound to see a lot of commercials for oil companies. As Miranda Spencer reported in Extra! (2/12), there are far more commercials about energy companies and natural gas than there are actual news reports about controversial industry practices like hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." But then there are the news segments that might as well be commercials. Last night's ABC World News broadcast (5/10/12) featured a report on the oil boom in the Midwest that looked more like an ad than anything else. "A rising number of Americans are finding a windfall right where they […]

May
08
2012

Media, Austerity and Bad Medicine

The election results in Greece and France sent a clearer message about austerity: Voters don't like it. That sentiment isn't hard to fathom; massive spending cuts and pay cuts aren't fixing the problems in their economies–they're making things worse. Media coverage seems to be clearer these days about what the public thinks of austerity. But the assumption that austerity is mostly "good" still seems firmly in place. Like this Washington Post lead (5/7/12): Voters in France and Greece redrew Europe's political map Sunday in a powerful backlash against the German-led cure for the region's debt crisis: painful austerity. It's not […]

May
08
2012

Hillary Clinton's Iran Weapons Lie Is 'Tough Talk'

Covering Hillary Clinton's trip to India, USA Today's Richard Wolf writes (5/8/12): Fielding rapid-fire questions at a town-hall-style event in Kolkata, she denounced Iran's nuclear arms program and urged India to reduce its Iranian oil imports further. "We appreciate what has been done, and of course we want to keep the pressure on Iran," she said. When I read that I thought, "Here we go again, another outlet misstating the basic facts about the Iran debate." Then I checked the transcript of the Clinton's town hall, and that is indeed what she said, in response to a question about U.S. […]

May
07
2012

It's Hard to Change the Discussion of Poverty on Sunday Morning

FAIR's recent study of the Sunday morning network shows documented a distinct right-wing bias in the guestlists. Republicans and conservatives were everywhere; progressives and people of color, not so much. Since the study was released, there left-leaning commentator/TV host Tavis Smiley has been on two shows, CBS's Face the Nation (4/22/12) and ABC's This Week (5/6/12) The latter showed how a guest like Smiley can broaden the discussion– at one point he invoked Martin Luther King's critique of militarism to talk about current U.S. policy. And he talked about poverty: I think we have to all agree here, though, that […]

May
04
2012

Matthews Remembers Mission Accomplished (Some of It)

On Wednesday (5/2/12), MSNBC host Chris Matthews played a long clip from the Daily Show, where Jon Stewart mocked Republicans who are complaining about Barack Obama's celebration of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Stewart naturally recalls George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" photo op stunt from 2003.  Stewart points out that if Republicans are angry about Obama "spiking the football," Bush was spiking the ball before the game started. So the clip played, and then we cut to Matthews, chuckling away. Of course Stewart's point is right on–anyone who listens to this whining from the right is bound to recall […]

May
04
2012

Misremembering Gaza, Again

The New York Times shouldn't be trusted to report on future wars if it can't get the facts about previous wars right. Once again, the Times misleads readers about the lead up to Israel's invasion of Gaza in late 2008. Isabel Kershner writes (5/3/12): Up to 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during Israel's three-week offensive against Hamas in Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, which came after years of rocket fire into southern Israel by Gaza militants. So Israel was responding to "years of rocket fire." The real story is a bit different. 2008 actually saw a remarkable […]