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 […]

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 […]