Nov
19
2012

The People Have Spoken: Benghazi, Not Afghanistan

Martha Raddatz (photo: Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne)

At the end of ABC's This Week (11/18/12), Martha Raddatz presented a brief viewer-mail segment: And finally, "Your Voice This Week." Today's question comes from Cheryl Robinson, who writes, "What happened in Benghazi was terribly tragic, and now we're hearing of another Middle Eastern war on the brick. Let us and you, the media, not forget about the war that our own kids are fighting for us in Afghanistan. Why is there so little coverage?" Well, because, unfortunately, very few people feel the way you do, Cheryl. There is a war-weariness with the public, and outside of campaign season, the […]

Nov
19
2012

NYT Reports: In Wyoming, Tradition of White People Complaining About Black People Alive and Well

Flagguy

"In Wyoming, Conservatives Feeling Left Behind" is the headline on a report by the New York Times' Jack Healy (11/19/12) on how "since the election, a blanket of baffled worry has descended on conservatives here like early snow across the plains, deepening a sense that traditional, rural and overwhelmingly white states in the center of the country are losing touch with an increasingly diverse and urban American electorate." Healy reports: Republican explanations for Mitt Romney's loss–that Democrats turned out the urban vote, that the United States is no longer its "traditional" self, or that Mr. Obama had showered "gifts" on […]

Nov
16
2012

FAIR TV: False Gaza Timelines, Failing at the 'Fiscal Cliff' and David Gregory's CEO Story

This week: What do corporate media get wrong about the "cycle of violence" in Gaza? Is there really such a thing as a "fiscal cliff"? And David Gregory says Obama's big mistake was not having an economy-boosting event with CEOs. You mean like the one he had a week after being inaugurated in 2009? Take a look–and spread the word:

Nov
16
2012

It's Terrorism When It Happens in Israel

NBC-terror(1)

On NBC Nightly News (11/15/12) , correspondent Martin Fletcher gives viewers a sense of the suffering on both sides of the Israel/Gaza conflict: FLETCHER: Terror in Israel. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: "There is another one," a soldier screams. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: More than 200 missiles fired at Israel today. And in Gaza, despair. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: Burying an infant killed in an Israeli attack. Frightened Israeli soldiers are being terrorized. And Gazans burying a child? Something else, apparently.

Nov
16
2012

Who Started Gaza Conflict? Well, the U.S. Says…

cnn-gaza

Who started the latest round of violence in the Middle East? This pretty remarkable exchange between the host and a reporter on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight show (11/15/12) tells us that no one can really say for sure, but the U.S government will tell you what they think: MORGAN: Like with all these things in that region, apportioning blame from afar is a very precarious business because each side blames the other for the reasons leading up to these incidents. What is your sense of how this is playing out in the international stage? FRED PLEITGEN: It's very difficult to […]

Nov
15
2012

Justifying Certain Acts of Violence

Fareed Zakaria (photo: Sebastian Derungs/World Economic Forum)

Today's New York Times editorial (11/15/12) begins: No country should have to endure the rocket attacks that Israel has endured from militants in Gaza. The Times has questions about the wisdom of a ground invasion in Gaza–questions that mostly involve whether it would be wise from an Israeli point of view. Such an escalation would be "especially risky," and might not be the "most effective way of advancing" Israel's "long-term interests." But from the start, the message is that this violence is, on some level justified. On CNN (11/14/12), Fareed Zakaria endorsed the Israeli attacks:  I think there is no […]

Nov
15
2012

When Does Israel/Palestine Violence Start?

A rare sight in U.S. media: A grieving Palestinian father on the front page of the Washington Post.

Military attacks and other violence in the Gaza Strip and Israel have resulted at this point in over a dozen deaths, most of them Palestinians, and sparked fears of an Israeli ground invasion similar to the 2008-09 assault that claimed over 1,000 Palestinian lives. The past 24 hours of violence was sparked by Israel's killing of Hamas military leader Ahmad al-Jabari on Wednesday. The question, then, is a familiar one: What prompted this action? The conventional corporate media timelines usually stress, whatever the facts, that Israel is responding to violent attacks by Palestinians, as FAIR documented over 10 years ago […]

Nov
14
2012

Syrian Civil War Strays Into…Syrian Territory

Hamat Gader, Golan Heights (photo by Job de Graaf)

After Syrian mortar fire from Syria's civil war reportedly strayed into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights last weekend, some U.S. journalists seemed confused about the political geography of the region. For instance, CBS Evening News reported (11/12/12) reported: Syria's civil war has now touched Israel. For the second straight day, a shell from Syria landed in Israeli territory. Well, no. The shells in question landed on the Golan Heights, a part of Syria that has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967–but is internationally recognized as continuing to be Syrian territory. A CNN Wire report, "For Second Time in […]

Nov
14
2012

Collateral Damage–Not the Usual Kind

wp-collateraldamage

It's bad enough when media refer to civilian deaths in U.S. wars as "collateral damage," but it was jarring to see how the phrase was used in a Washington Post headline today: Obviously, they're talking about the sex-and-emails scandal. How could dead Afghan civilians ever threaten the career of a high-ranking U.S. official?

Nov
14
2012

Fiscal Cliff Not a Cliff? Tell That to USA Today

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Some commentators and journalists have pointed out the metaphor for the impending tax increases and spending cuts in 2013–the "fiscal cliff"–is highly misleading, and probably intentionally so. There is no way to reverse course when you fall off a cliff; you are plummeting towards the ground, making a terrible mess upon impact. Thus the brakes must be applied before the end of the year. In reality, this isn't true; Congress and the White House can actually go past the "cliff" deadline, and strike a deal early next year, without the supposedly dire consequences. The numbers thrown around in the press […]

Nov
14
2012

Friedman Asks: Why Did Iraq Do That to George W. Bush?

Thomas Friedman

Some days it's not easy to make it through a Tom Friedman column. Take today (11/14/12), for instance. I got all the way to the second sentence: Virtually every American president since Dwight Eisenhower has had a Middle Eastern country that brought him grief. In case you're wondering, he really means every president: For George W. Bush, it was Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, why did those countries give the man so much trouble? For anyone trying to make it all the way through the column, I recommend letting Matt Taibbi walk you through the loopy Friedmanesque metaphors: Iraq is a […]

Nov
14
2012

Fox's 'Best Journalistic Instincts' Are Nothing to Write Home About

Fox News' Brit Hume

New York Times media reporter David Carr (11/12/12) had some kind words for Fox News Channel's Election Night coverage: On Tuesday night, the people in charge of Fox News were confronted with a stark choice after it became clear that Mr. Romney had fallen short: was Fox, first and foremost, a place for advocacy or a place for news? In this moment, at least, Fox chose news. After relating the story of Karl Rove's contrarian insistence that Obama had not won Ohio and thus the election–including the oddest part of the story, which is that one of Fox News' featured […]

Nov
13
2012

David Gregory: Obama's Failure to Embrace CEOs

usatsoothe

Post-election lessons are everywhere in the media, as pundits either try to explain how Mitt Romney lost or what Obama must do in his second term. My favorite example of this came on the front page of USA Today (11/8/12): If you think it's somewhat odd that Obama would need to "soothe Wall Street," then you'll never make it in big media. On Sunday, NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory (11/11/12) was offering similar advice alongside CNBC host Jim Cramer (the one whose prediction of a massive Obama landslide doesn't prevent him from being a political pundit): GREGORY: Jim, […]