Sep
28
2012

FAIR TV: 'Professor' Netanyahu, the 'End' of the Afghan Surge and WaPo/Big Oil Update

This week on FAIR TV: Was Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's UN address, illustrated with a cartoon bomb, really "professorial"? Plus some thoughts on whether the media should be declaring the Afghan surge "over," and an update on what the Washington Post is telling activists about its ties to Big Oil.

Sep
28
2012

NYT and Professor Netanyahu

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At his United Nations address yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held up a cartoonish drawing of a bomb, an odd way to illustrate the supposed existential threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. People quickly posted parody versions of the bomb. But not everyone joined in the fun. Take a look at the New York Times (9/28/12), where Rick Gladstone and David Sanger wrote this: With an almost professorial air, Mr. Netanyahu held up a diagram of a bomb with a fuse to show the Israeli view of Iran's progress in achieving the ability to make a nuclear weapon. He drew a […]

Sep
28
2012

Romney's Latest Gaffe: Telling the Truth on Taxes

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We're familiar with campaign reports that don't do enough factchecking. But here's a  strange one from ABC World News (9/25/12), which seems to be complaining that Mitt Romney departed from his usual misleading claims about how Obama's been raising your taxes. Pointing this out would be a good thing. The problem is that you have a hard time figuring out what the facts are, because the truth doesn't seem to be the primary concern of the segment. Here's what correspondent David Muir said: MUIR: Today, something from Romney about the President we haven't heard before. Romney has long argued the […]

Sep
27
2012

NYT on Obama's Deficit Talk: Get a Load of Brainiac

Barack Obama at Michigan commencement, 2009.

The New York Times' Jackie Calmes has a piece yesterday (9/26/12) on Obama's failure to rein in the budget deficit. The big problem is that Obama's explanation is apparently hard to follow: Four years ago, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise to cut annual federal budget deficits in half by the end of his term. Then came financial calamity, $1.4 trillion in stimulus measures and a maddeningly slow economic recovery. Now, despite small annual improvements, the deficit for the fiscal year that ends on Sunday will surpass $1 trillion for the fourth straight time. Against that headline-grabbing figure, […]

Sep
27
2012

Praising Obama's Defense of Free Speech, NYT Leaves Much Unsaid

Barack Obama at the UN General Assembly (Africa Renewal)

The New York Times' September 26 coverage of Barack Obama's UN address on Arab democracy, free speech and violence included a good sampling of the distortions, double standards and bigotry often present in U.S. corporate reporting on these issues. Helene Cooper's news report (9/26/12) explained that Obama's speech was a "strong defense of America's belief in freedom of speech," challenging "fledgling Arab and North African democracies to ensure that right even in the face of violence." According to Cooper, Obama also "asserted that the flare-up of violence over a video that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad would not set off a […]

Sep
27
2012

Don't Tell O'Reilly, but His Iran Blockade Idea Already Worked

Crooks & Liars (9/26/12) notes Bill O'Reilly is proposing a naval blockade of Iraq: Says O'Reilly: We're going to block it, nothing in, nothing out. OK? That's what we're going to do. And if you challenge the blockade, we'll do what we have to do like the Cuban missile crisis, same thing–not gonna do it, not gonna let your nukes in Cuba. Kennedy did that. Not gonna let your nukes in Iran. BANG! That's what we're gonna do. So you've either got to stop now and not force us to do it, because if you force us to do it, […]

Sep
25
2012

Ted Koppel's Terrible Media Criticism

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TV news veteran Ted Koppel has done two pieces on NBC's Rock Center that attempt to critique the partisanship of today's media system. But what the reports really illustrate is that some people aren't very good at playing media critic–especially when they feel obligated to suggest that "both sides" are equally at fault. Koppel's first report (9/13/12) looked at right and left watchdogs, "an industry out there on both sides monitoring and recording anything that could hurt the political opposition." That "industry" consists of the liberal  Media Matters for America and the right-wing Media Research Center. As Koppel explains, "You […]

Sep
21
2012

FAIR TV: Big Media Bury Occupy, Phony Terror Plot, Afghan Airstrikes

How did the New York Times cover Occupy Wall Street's anniversary? Did corporate media even mention the NATO airstrikes in Afghanistan that killed eight women? And what makes an FBI terrorism investigation newsworthy? All that on this week's edition of FAIR TV. Please take a look, and spread the word.

Sep
21
2012

Is the Afghan Surge Really Over?

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Misleading media reports today are announcing the end of the U.S.  troop surge in Afghanistan. USA Today:         And the Washington Post:   There are many more along the same lines. It's important to understand that the troop reductions are only part of the total troop surge that happened under Obama. As FAIR noted last year (Media Advisory, 6/23/11) there were two major increases in the number of U.S. troops in 2009: When Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. had about 34,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has initiated two major troop increases in Afghanistan: about 20,000 […]

Sep
20
2012

Quantifying 'Muslim Rage'

Newsweek's "Muslim Rage" cover

Sometimes very little can tell you a lot. Here's Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, updating viewers on protests that are linked to that famous anti-Islamic video: Overseas tonight, new and deadly retribution from that amateur Internet film that's enraged much of the Muslim world. The "Muslim world" is, well, enormous–somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 billion people. A good question that doesn't get asked enough: How many Muslims are out protesting this video anyway? A helpful analysis comes from Dan Murphy at the Christian Science Monitor ("Is the Islamopocalypse Really Upon Us?," 9/17/12). He writes: While sensational headlines have […]

Sep
19
2012

ABC Misses Real Difference Between Romney, Obama Tapes

From last night's ABC World News (9/18/12): DIANE SAWYER: But we do remember four years ago the president, then candidate, was at a fundraiser, it was during the primary, but he too was caught on tape. JAKE TAPPER: That's right, he was talking about the difficulty of reaching small-town Pennsylvanians and how, because of tough economic circumstances, they get bitter, they cling to religion and guns and xenophobia. But here is the key difference between what then-Senator Obama said four years and this Mitt Romney tape. What Obama said then, that was seven months before the election. He had time […]

Sep
18
2012

NYT Buries Occupy Wall Street

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The Paper of Record has spoken: We didn't think much of Occupy before, and now what we think is that it's over. The day before Occupy activists were gathering to mark the movement's one-year anniversary, Times columnist Joe Nocera wrote (9/16/12): "For all intents and purposes, the Occupy movement is dead." Before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Nocera explains, there was complacency. It was easy to believe that housing prices could only go up and that we could always rely on debt to maintain our standard of living. We shrugged as manufacturing jobs disappeared–5.8 million just since 2000–and good middle-class […]

Sep
17
2012

After NATO Strike Kills 8 Afghan Women, Pundits Still Wonder: Why Do They Hate Us?

A Washington Post headline illustrates which lives are more valuable.

The protests and violence in Egypt, Libya and Yemen have caused a notable uptick in media discussions about, as Newsweek's cover puts it, "Muslim Rage." Part of the corporate media's job is to make sure real political grievances are mostly kept out of the discussion. It's a lot easier to talk about angry mobs and their peculiar religion than it is to acknowledge that maybe some of the anger has little to do with religion at all. Take the news out of Afghanistan yesterday: A NATO airstrike killed eight women in the eastern province of Laghman who were out collecting […]