Nov
30
2012

FAIR TV: NYT Counts Drone Victims, CBS=CEOs, AP's Iran Nukes Hoax

The new episode of FAIR TV is here!  CBS tells us what CEOs think about the "fiscal cliff" and the New York Times counts drone victims– but not very many of them. And did the Associated Press fall for a hoax with their latest "exclusive" on Iran and nuclear weapons? Check it out– and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter:

Nov
30
2012

NYT Undercounts Drone Deaths in Pakistan

bureau-pakistan

The New York Times editorial page (11/30/12) weighs in on the Obama administration's drone policies. What the paper wants is more accountability: The government "must stay within formal guidelines based on the rule of law." That's all well and good–but the paper should do a better job of counting the innocents killed by drone attacks. The Times explains that aspect of the story this way: For eight years, the United States has conducted but never formally acknowledged a program to kill terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban away from the battlefield in Afghanistan. Using drones, the Central Intelligence Agency […]

Nov
30
2012

GOP's Small Business Tax Talking Point

cbs-tax-smallbiz

Of all the arguments Republicans offer to maintain Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, one stands out: The tax increase would be a blow to small business owners. This is misleading–but you can't count on media to get this right. The CBS Evening News had a segment last night (11/29/12) taking a look at the issue. On its face, there's not much support for the Republican position:  About 2.5 percent of small business owners–a somewhat loosely defined group–would see a tax hike on income above $250,000  (Tax Policy Center, 8/5/10).  This is straightforward; so how do you make it less […]

Nov
29
2012

AP's Iran Bomb Drawing Hoax

ap-iran

Crack open USA Today (11/28/12) and you saw this headline: Diagram Suggests Iran Working on Bomb The story was short–short enough for a careful reader to see that it in no way lived up to that alarmist headline. But the piece still tried really hard to frighten people. Here's the lead:  Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by the Associated Press. The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic program […]

Nov
28
2012

Reporting on Sweatshops When Your Boss is in the Sweatshop Business

abc-bangladesh

ABC World News has done two pretty tough reports from Brian Ross on the horrible fire at the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh that killed 114 workers. On November 25, Ross talked about the shameful record, as previously reported by ABC News, of more than 600 garment factory fire deaths in Bangladesh over the last five years, a place of the cheapest labor in the world and some of the most deplorable conditions. And Ross named names: Workers' activists went into the burned-out remains today to document which major retailers they say were using the Tazreen factory. They say they […]

Nov
27
2012

NYT Waves Goodbye to Three Amigos of Militarism

John McCain and Joe Lieberman (photo: Talk Radio News Service)

Not every politician gets a warm and fuzzy retirement profile in the New York Times. But not every politician is Joe Lieberman.  Jennifer Steinhauer's piece (11/27/12) is a tribute mostly to Lieberman's close bond with Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The "Three Amigos" traveled the world together, advocating for one hawkish foreign policy idea after another: Their hawkish world views often placed them at odds with their respective parties, but together they secured a place at the center of every major foreign policy debate. That's mostly true of Lieberman, but it's hard to figure how McCain and Graham much […]

Nov
26
2012

CEO Evening News? Tell CBS Their "Fiscal Cliff" Reporting Needs Balance

FAIR's new alert takes CBS Evening News to task for relying heavily on CEOs associated with the corporate-backed Fix the Debt campaign in their recent reporting about the so-called "fiscal cliff." If you're sending an email to CBS, please consider pasting your message in the comments section below.

Nov
21
2012

Palestinians and the Proper Way to Grieve Dead Children

nyt-rudoren

When a family of nine is killed in an airstrike, what is the proper way to grieve? That question might not occur to you, but readers of the New York Times (11/20/12) were treated to correspondent Jodi Rudoren's unusual critique of a funeral for members of the Dula family, whose home in Gaza City was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on Sunday. "There were few if any visible tears at the intense, chaotic, lengthy funeral," she wrote. "Instead, there were fingers jabbing the air to signal 'Allah is the only one,' defiant chants about resistance and calls for revenge, flags in […]

Nov
21
2012

What's Missing from CBS's Gaza History?

Gaza after Operation Cast Lead (Photo: Physicians for Human Rights)

Giving viewers a quick sense of context and history is important in any story, but especially in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Doing a bad job of it is perhaps worse than not doing it at all. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley gave this summary on November 19: We wanted to remind you tonight of what Gaza is and how it came to be. The Gaza Strip was laid out in 1949 after the war that created Israel. It's home to Palestinians displaced in that war and to the generations that followed. Only 25 miles long, roughly ten miles wide, Gaza's population is 1.7 […]

Nov
21
2012

Precise Weapons Kill Civilians Too

Photo: PCHR

As a general rule, it'd be better if media accounts of war did not stress the surgical precision of the weapons being used. It's a fixture of U.S. reporting on U.S. wars, but the same rhetoric is used when U.S. allies are dropping bombs.   According to Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (11/19/12):  Israel has gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. Its air force has used new, highly accurate ammunition aiming for rocket-launching sites and government installations. For the most part, it has succeeded. Aron Heller of the Associated Press (11/17/12) had this description of the Israeli military: Israel, […]

Nov
20
2012

You Think You're Getting Social Security But You're Not, Says Multimillionaire Banker

Lloyd Blankfein (photo: Stuart Isett)

What should the U.S. do about the so-called "fiscal cliff"? Who better to ask than Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, "one of the world's most influential bankers"? That's what CBS Evening News must have been thinking, anyway, when they did a segment last night (11/19/12) all about Blankfein's opinions. CBS's Scott Pelley began: "When we asked Blankfein how to reduce the federal budget deficit, he went straight for the subject that politicians don't want to talk about." BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations. The entitlements, and what people think that they're going to […]

Nov
20
2012

False Balance and Civilian Suffering in Gaza Crisis

Washington Post photo of Gaza destruction

People who follow media criticism are likely aware of the term "false balance," used to describe coverage that presents "both sides" of an issue as if they are equivalent–when they are anything but. Does that label apply to coverage of the current Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip? A November 15 Washington Post headline read, "Civilians in Gaza, Israel Suffer Amid Conflict." The piece would appear to want to give readers the sense that comparable suffering is occurring on both sides. But reality tells a different story–one that is not so symmetrical. The piece begins in a Gaza hospital, where […]

Nov
20
2012

Roger Ailes' Fantasy World

Roger Ailes

Fox News CEO Roger Ailes recently renewed his contract, and he gave an interview to explain why. As one might expect, given the we-only-look-biased-because-the-other-guys-are-so-biased philosophy at Fox, he's motivated by what he sees as the outrageously partisan media everywhere else (MediaBistro, 11/16/12): Ailes was also sparked by what he experienced at a Washington journalists' dinner. "When I saw the president say, 'I know you all voted for me,' and a thousand people stood up and cheered and applauded and then when the applause died down, he said, 'Oh probably except you guys at the Fox table.' I thought, 'Am I […]