Aug
25
2009

Take Action for a Real Debate on Afghanistan War

In the wake of growing public dissatisfaction with the war in Afghanistan, FAIR is challenging the Sunday morning shows to include war critics and peace advocates as guests on their programs. Click here to read FAIR's action alert about these shows' complicity in government officials' efforts to reverse the trend of declining public support for the war; then add your voice to our call for a real debate on Afghanistan by writing to the Sunday morning talkshows. (Email contacts are provided in the alert.) You can share your letters by pasting them in the comments section below.

Jul
30
2009

Real Journalism: A Prerequisite for Real Debate on Healthcare

For coverage of our delivery of FAIR's ongoing petition demanding that the TV networks cover proposals for a single-payer or Medicare-for-all system to ABC News' NYC studio, you can tune into Democracy Now!–a media outlet that could teach the networks a thing or two about how to contribute to, rather than interfere with, the public debate on healthcare reform. If the public has managed to get any TV news at all about single-payer, or to hear the perspectives of the large numbers of physicians and citizens who support this proposal, it is thanks to outlets like DN! and shows like […]

Jul
29
2009

LA Times Acknowledges Gaping Hole in Media's Healthcare Debate

An LA Times column today cited FAIR's petition demanding that the TV networks include single-payer in their coverage of the healthcare reform debate, acknowledging that there is a "gaping hole in much of the media coverage–caused by the failure to investigate practices around the rest of the world, particularly European-style, single-payer programs." The Times' James Rainey concluded his column, "TV Needs To Deepen Coverage of Healthcare Reform," with a report on the delivery of FAIR's petition at ABC–the network that disinvited Obama's longtime physician Dr. David Scheiner, a single-payer advocate, from its June 24 "Prescription for America" program: The liberal […]

Jun
26
2009

Policing the Debate on Health Reform

ABC's Diane Sawyer claimed (CNN, 6/22/09) the network's June 24 forum on President Barack Obama's healthcare plan would feature "questions from every single vantage point." Yet, ignoring calls from FAIR (Action Alert, 6/22/09) and advocacy groups such as Health Care Now!, the special did not include a single question from an advocate of single-payer national health insurance–despite the fact that the single-payer option polls well with the public (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09) and is seen by many experts as the best way of expanding coverage to the uninsured while also controlling costs. In the wake of well-publicized flak ABC received […]

May
07
2009

'Civilian Deaths Imperil Support for Afghan War'

In the wake of the release of the U.S. military's own figures showing a record number of bombs were dropped by U.S. warplanes in Afghanistan during April, newspapers are reporting today on a particularly deadly bombing attack on Monday that killed over 100 civilians, according to Afghan officials and witnesses. Anonymous U.S. military officials of course vigorously denied that they were responsible, instead blaming the deaths on Taliban grenades. As one anonymous offiical put it in an interview with the Washington Post, "the Taliban went to a concerted effort to make it look like the U.S. airstrikes caused this;" however […]

Apr
24
2009

Banning of Popular Party 'Threatens' Haitian Election's 'Success'

Voter turnout in last weekend's Haitian Senate elections was very low; observers cited in a Reuters report, "Haitians Largely Boycott Senate Election," estimated it at less than 10 percent, which an Al Jazeera report attributed in part to "resentment over the banning of a popular party"–Fanmi Lavalas–as well as disenchantment with the ruling government and poverty. A short Associated Press report published in the New York Times (4/20/09) about the vote had an odd spin on these issues: The success of Sunday's election was threatened by voter apathy and opposition from the Fanmi Lavalas Party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. […]

Apr
24
2009

Media Echo U.S. Gov't Attacks on Chavez

Images of the U.S. media's longtime foe, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, with Obama at last weekend's Summit of the Americas in Trinidad prompted some corporate reporters to take the unusual step of questioning the political motivations behind an official photo-op. On ABC's World News, Jake Tapper referred to Chavez's gift of The Open Veins of Latin America to Obama as a "stunt" (video available here). George Stephanopoulos questioned whether Chavez was not just posing with Obama in order to take advantage of Obama's popularity. "You have to wonder who would win a popular vote between Obama and Chavez in Venezuela […]

Apr
21
2009

Challenging Media Distortions on Pro-Labor Bill

NBC Today show host Matt Lauer introduced Today's exclusive interview with Wal-Mart's new CEO by saying, 'If you really want to know how the economy is affecting the average American, he's the guy to talk to.â┚¬Ã‚ Trust the corporate media to see a wealthy CEO as the most-qualified source to tell the public about ordinary people's experiences of economic hardship! It was an inauspicious beginning for a program in which the host himself repeated the business lobby's false claim that a proposed law that would make it easier for workers to form unions would eliminate the secret ballot in union […]

Apr
20
2009

Media Discover 'Obscure' Latin American Book

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave U.S. President Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano's book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent at last weekend's Summit of the Americas, the corporate media appeared to be caught off guard. In its initial report, CNN (Newsroom, 4/18/09) appeared to be completely unaware of Galeano's classic 1971 treatise on the history of European and U.S. imperialism in Latin America, failing to correct Obama's initial mistaken belief that the book was penned by Chavez himself. Both CNN (CNN Newsroom, 4/18/09) and AP (4/19/09) contrasted the immediate […]

Apr
10
2009

A Victory for Media Activism

Single-payer healthcare has proven to work well in other countries. It has been proposed in a bill with considerable congressional support, itpolls well with the public, and it's supported by a majority of physicians. So why is it so rarely mentioned in corporate media? In the wake of a Frontline documentary that failed to examine single-payer national healthcare system as a possible alternative to the U.S. healthcare system, even PBS's own ombud is asking the question. Citing FAIRâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s recent study, "Media Blackout on Single-Payer Health Insurance," which documented that single-payer advocates were all but shut out of the media discussion […]

Mar
26
2009

'Hold Us Accountable!' Says Unaccountable Darfur Pundit

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof issued a call in his column today for pundit accountability. After making a problematic argument about knowledge and experience being overrated, Kristof correctly pointed out that in the media, "the marketplace of ideas for now doesn't clear out bad pundits and bad ideas partly because there's no accountability," and he concluded his article with a call for action: "Hold us accountable!" Does this mean Kristof will now acknowledge the error of his prediction last month that the president of Sudan would not kick out aid groups in Darfur if the International Criminal Court issued […]

Mar
25
2009

Holding Fox Accountable for O'Reilly's Harassment

A new FAIR action alert calls on the Fox News Channel to answer for host Bill O'Reilly's pattern of ambushing his critics. O'Reilly (O'Reilly Factor, 3/23/08) recently targeted Think Progress blog editor Amanda Terkel while she was on vacation, sending his producer Jesse Watters to confront Terkel in one of the ambush-style interviews that he specializes in. Terkel had dared to point out that O'Reilly, who was invited to speak at a fundraiser for a foundation for rape survivors, had previously suggested that a "moronic" rape/murder victim had invited assault by her drinking and the way she was dressed. FAIR's […]

Feb
27
2009

Nothing Personal About CBS's Affinity for the G.O.P.

Ira Forman set off a furor in the blogosphere this week when he reported that CBS's pick for senior VP of communications, Jeff Ballabon, had once suggested "that Democrats are inherently bad people." (Forman–who is the executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council–maintains that this is what Ballabon had stated during a debate between Republican and Democratic Jews in New York ten years ago, while Ballabon has denied the charge.) Yet for the billionaire who owns the controlling shares of CBS, the question of whether or not the Democrats are "bad people" was ruled a moot point years ago. […]