Aug
18
2010

Bigot or Colorful Activist? Washington Post is Neutral on Islamophobes

The Washington Post (8/18/10) profiles some of the "conservative writers and bloggers critical of Islam" that have been fueling the national uproar over the proposed Muslim community center that would sit two-and-a-half blocks away from Ground Zero. Michelle Boorstein looks at figures such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and reports that "while some have dismissed them as bigoted attention-seekers, their attacks on the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan have gained currency in recent weeks among some Republican leaders. And their influence appears to be growing." So are they bigots? The Post never says. Here's Boorstein's description of Pamela […]

Aug
12
2010

Jeffrey Goldberg Pushes for War With Iraq–er, Make That Iran

Former Israeli soldier and current writer for the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg has a long cover story (9/10) on the "better than 50 percent chance" that Israel will launch air strikes against Iran by next July, with the aim of taking out the alleged nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic. Based on roughly 40 interviews with American, Arab and Israeli officials–some of them anonymously–Goldberg meanders from describing the worst-case scenario for what will happen after Israel attacks Iran to relaying dubious Israeli claims about how Iran is the new Nazi Germany to an analysis of Netanyahu's relationship with his right-wing 100-year-old […]

Aug
10
2010

Washington Post Bungles History of Gaza Blockade

In an article (8/10/10) on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's testimony to an Israeli panel investigating the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the Washington Post gets the facts wrong on crucial history and context relating to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Joel Greenberg writes: Netanyahu said that the naval blockade, imposed by the previous Israeli government in January 2009 during a military offensive against Hamas, was meant to prevent the smuggling of arms to the Gaza Strip, which he described as "a giant weapons depot and base for attacks on Israel." He added that 12 ships had […]

Aug
02
2010

News Flash: Arabs Care Deeply About Palestine

Israeli historian Efraim Karsh argues in the New York Times (8/2/10) today that Arabs have lost interest in the Palestinian cause, which apparently is a good thing because that severs "the spurious link between this particular issue and other regional and global problems," making it a "positive" sign of hope for future Arab/Israeli peace. But Karsh's argument has little basis in fact. The opinion piece takes off from his selective interpretation of a recent poll which, as Marc Lynch of Foreign Policy points out, is not at all scientific. Conducted by the Arabic-language news outlet Al Arabiya (National, 7/22/10), the […]

Jul
20
2010

WashPost Sheds Light on Secret Government–but Alt Media Were There First

The Washington Post's blockbuster story (7/19/10) by reporters Dana Priest and William Arkin on the bloated, secretive and largely privatized national security apparatus established after the September 11, 2001, attacks is making a lot of noise, and for good reason. The Post describes a "top-secret world" that has become "so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work." But the story of how many "national security" functions of the U.S. government have been […]

Jul
16
2010

NYT Ties Turkish Group to 'Terrorism'–by Mixing It Up With a Different Group

Ever since the Israeli raid on a Turkish group's boat filled with aid for the Gaza Strip, there has been a lot of attempts in the press (FAIR Blog, 6/10/10), following Israel's lead, to label the Turkish humanitarian group IHH a supporter of "terrorism." The latest salvo comes from a New York Times article (7/15/10) about the Turkish group having "extensive connections with Turkey's political elite." The Times reports: On Monday, Germany banned the charity's offices, citing its support for Hamas, which Germany considers a terrorist organization. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the charity abused donors' good intentions "to […]

Jul
15
2010

Isabel Kershner Misleads on Israel's 'Far-Reaching Proposal'

New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner (7/15/10) writes a news analysis of why "peace talks" between Israel and the Palestinians are at a virtual standstill, despite the "upbeat atmosphere" in Washington following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama's recent meeting. When she attempts to contextualize the "peace talks," Kershner throws in this misleading history: Mr. Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert made a far-reaching proposal in late 2008 to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. It included an Israeli withdrawal from 93.5 percent of the West Bank, with land swaps and a safe route for Palestinian travel between Gaza and the West […]

Jul
13
2010

At Wall Street Journal, Reporting Assault Through Israel's Eyes

In a news report on the Israeli military's investigation of its own deadly raid on the Gaza aid flotilla, the Wall Street Journal (7/13/10) passes off as fact, with no qualifier, the Israeli government's claim that members of IHH, a Turkish humanitarian organization, "attacked the Israeli soldiers as they boarded the ship." While it's true that activists on board the Mavi Marmara tried to defend themselves against Israeli naval commandos and fought with the Israelis (War in Context, 6/6/10), the Journalâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s framing of the incident gets what happened on board the ship backwards, implying that it was the activists who […]

Jul
07
2010

NY Times Prints Call for Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians

Can we agree that calls for a government to violate international law are not a helpful contribution to the public debate? That's what the New York Times (7/6/10) offered when it published a call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land in a letter from Richard Gertler of Teaneck, New Jersey. Gertler argues against the "two-state solution" because it would lead to "the dissolution of Jewish sovereignty" and would amount to the "ethnic cleansing" of Jews living in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. He concludes by saying: "If the creation of a Palestinian state necessitates transfer […]

Jul
02
2010

Time's Alex Perry Responds to FAIR

Time's Alex Perry, the magazine's Africa bureau chief, responded in the FAIR Blog comments section to FAIR's Julie Hollar, who recently (FAIR Blog, 6/25/10) criticized Perry for neglecting to mention the U.S. and Belgium's role in propping up the Mobutu regime in Congo. Perry said: The idea that the U.S. created Mobutu and maintained him in power belittles Africans and is typical of the kind of racism that dogs analysis of Africa from commentators and journalists who get as close to Africa as, er, America, like old Julie here. The U.S. did not create Mobutu. They certainly did support him. […]

Jun
30
2010

In 'Ramallah Bubble,' Gaza and West Bank Poverty Don't Exist

Writing from the confines of what some Palestinians call the "Ramallah bubble" (Ha'aretz, 1/1/09), Thomas Friedman (New York Times, 6/30/10) thinks he knows how to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict: "quietly support[ing]" the Palestinian Authority while it builds a "real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy." Friedman has a curious definition of a Palestinian state, which according to Friedman is 'in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.â┚¬Ã‚ Gaza is missing from this equation, and probably not by accident, as Friedman has a history of trying to dismiss Hamas-run Gaza as 'undemocratic,â┚¬Ã‚ and therefore […]

Jun
24
2010

The Petraeus Surge Narrative Is Back

With Gen. David Petraeus back in the media spotlight after being tapped to take control of the Afghanistan war following General Stanley McChrystal's fall from grace, the corporate media are trumpeting the "successful" surge in Iraq (Extra, 9/10/08) that Petraeus oversaw and are looking to him as the man to turn around the Afghan war. Columnist David Ignatius (Washington Post, 6/24/10) writes: Gen. David Petraeus didn't sign on as the new Afghanistan commander because he expects to lose. That's the boldest aspect of President Obama's decision: He has put a troubled Afghanistan campaign in the hands of a man who […]

Jun
21
2010

Racist Against Arabs? That's A-OK

For anyone who doubts that there is a double standard regarding racism in the U.S. media, read Marty Peretz's blog post (New Republic, 6/19/10) on the "crooked little emirate" of Dubai, in which he glibly comments that "Arabs are deft at disguising reality." Peretz will certainly be able to continue to freely publish his anti-Arab screeds with little condemnation, yet Helen Thomas was pushed out of her job and rebuked by President Obama himself (AP, 6/8/10) and some pundits (FAIR blog, 6/14/10) for her comments telling Israelis to "get the hell out of Palestine" and to "go home" to Poland, […]