Feb
25
2009

Challenging George Will's Reign of Climate Error

After eight years of George W. Bush's rule, popular disapproval of policies that had come to be regarded as grave mistakes–from the invasion of Iraq to the response to the economic crisis–drove the Republicans from power. Unfortunately, the media system has no such built-in check on powerful pundits, as the unchallenged reign of another George W. with a long record of mistakes can attest. The ongoing controversy over a recent error-plagued climate change column penned by George Will–a Washington Post syndicated columnist whose record of error spans decades–offers a good case study in the impunity of the punditocracy. As bloggers, […]

Feb
21
2009

Tom Friedman's Terrorism Hypocrisy

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman referred disparagingly this week to the praise that terrorism allegedly receives in "mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera." In his February 18 column, Friedman wrote: To be sure, Mumbai's Muslims are a vulnerable minority in a predominantly Hindu country. Nevertheless, their in-your-face defiance of the Islamist terrorists stands out. It stands out against a dismal landscape of predominantly Sunni Muslim suicide murderers who have attacked civilians in mosques and markets–from Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan–but who have been treated by mainstream Arab media, like Al Jazeera, or by extremist Islamist spiritual leaders and websites, […]

Feb
06
2009

Help Challenge Media Misinformation on Labor Bill

A new FAIR action alert is targeting CNN host Lou Dobbs for peddling anti-union propaganda about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), after Dobbs falsely suggested on his show (Lou Dobbs Tonight, 2/4/09) that the proposed new labor law would "end a secret ballot." In fact, the EFCA would not take away workers' rights to have a secret vote if they choose to; it would take away employers' ability to force workers to have such a vote. (Click here to watch Dobbs' misleading report about EFCA.) You can take action by emailing Dobbs at lou.dobbs@turner.com. Please copy and paste your […]

Feb
03
2009

FAIR Challenges CBC's Report on Israel/Palestine Film

FAIR issued a press release today (2/4/09) challenging the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation over false and biased claims made by its ombud after the CBC came under pressure from a campaign launched by groups that advocate for uncritical coverage of the Israeli government. The campaign was launched in response to CBC's October 23, 2008 airing of the 2003 educational documentary Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land (which can be viewed online here). The film cited a FAIR report on U.S. media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict, prompting the CBC's French-language radio ombud Julie Miville-Dechene (12/08) to question the independence of FAIR's […]

Jan
16
2009

NYT: International Law Is 'Anti-Israel'

The New York Times today makes a rare, if highly obfuscatory, reference to the fact that Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory continues despite nearly unanimous international consensus, expressed annually via the United Nations General Assembly. As a FAIR media advisory recently pointed out, international law is largely missing from U.S. media reporting on Israeli actions. However, the New York Times article goes further than mere omission, echoing the Israeli government's position that international law is "anti-Israel": Describing some of the abiding challenges, Israeli officials note that the same 21 anti-Israel resolutions are passed by an automatic majority in the […]

Jan
16
2009

NYT Hypocrisy on White Phosphorus

When white phosphorus was used by Saddam Hussein, the weapon was identified by U.S. intelligence as a "chemical weapon." The New York Times (3/22/95) seemed to concur; In an article noting that white phosphorus was technically classified as an "incendiary weapon," the paper nonetheless described it as one of "the worst chemical weapons" in existence: a "waxy substance [that] adheres to flesh, and when it is exposed to air, it bursts into flame." As Seth Ackerman observed in an article for FAIR's magazine Extra! (3/4/06), in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, "U.S. media vividly evoked the cruel effects" […]

Jan
14
2009

Action Alert: Terrorism on the NY Times Op-Ed Page

In the wake of NY Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman's call today for terrorism against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, a new FAIR Action Alert is calling on the Times to clarify whether this column meets the paper's standards. You can post copies of your letters to the New York Times in the comments section below. Please remember that letters that maintain a civil tone are most effective.

Jan
12
2009

AP Undercounts Gaza Protesters

After taking pictures at a New York demonstration in which, as the Indypendent summarized, "thousands of people rallied at Times Square Sunday afternoon, calling for an immediate end to the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip," I was rather taken aback by AP's account of the same event, which put the number of pro-Palestinian demonstrators at a mere 150. AP's report stated: Across town at Times Square, about 150 pro-Palestinian demonstrators waved signs with pictures of dead and wounded children and chanted, "No justice, no peace! Israel out of the Middle East." As would have been evident to any journalist […]

Jan
12
2009

Washington Post Protest Makes the (French) News

Readers of the French wire agency Agence France Presse learned yesterday about a demonstration on Saturday in which "several thousand protesters descended on the White House Saturday in support of Palestinians in war-ravaged Gaza" before marching to "the headquarters of the Washington Post newspaper to protest" what one of the demonstration organizers identified as "its hard pro-Israeli line." Strangely, readers of the Washington Post would have been hard-pressed to find anything about the demonstration targeting their newspaper. There was no mention of the rally and march in the paper's A section, and the event wasn't even mentioned in the metro […]

Jan
07
2009

Sanjay Gupta's Skills: Attacking Single-Payer

Writing today on the choice of CNN health correspondent Sanjay Gupta as surgeon general for the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported that if he is confirmed by the Senate, Gupta would provide the administration with a skilled television personality to help market what is planned to be a massive reorganization of the U.S. health system. Yet judging from Gupta's evidence-free attack on Michael Moore's documentary Sicko last year (see FAIR's Action Alert, 7/11/07), it would seem that surgeon general nominee's most relevant experience in communicating about healthcare reform is arguing dishonestly against proposals for a single-payer healthcare system. For […]

Dec
18
2008

Murdoch's New Hire

One would think that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's record of taking his campaign against undocumented immigrants to what the New York Times has called "unconstitutional extremes" would make any prospective new employer hesitant about hiring him. Not so for Rupert Murdoch; starting December 27, Arpaio will star in a new law enforcement reality TV show on Murdoch's Fox reality channel. Writing on Huffington Post, Immigration Policy Center director Angela Kelley goes through the soon-to-be Fox star's list of offenses during his tenure as Maricopa County (Ariz.) sheriff; citing a report by the conservative Goldwater Institute, Kelley notes that the sheriff "failed […]

Dec
17
2008

O'Reilly: Shoe-Thrower Shows 'How Difficult It Is to Deal With Some Muslims'

Commenting yesterday on the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W. Bush, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly declared that "this horrendous story points out how difficult it is to deal with some Muslims": Many Americans are simply fed up with these displays in the Arab world: unchecked violence, irrational thinking. One could say that many people are fed up with displays of unchecked violence. Actually, as Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi was hurling his shoes at Bush, he explicitly cited the largest recent case of "unchecked violence in the Arab world"–the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. If Americans […]

Dec
16
2008

FAIR Gives Media Failing Grade on Education 'Debate'

A just-released FAIR advisory documents the mediaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s lopsided debate in the lead-up to Obamaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s Education secretary selection today. Across a wide range of national media outlets, FAIR provides evidence that only one side has for the most part been allowed to do the talking, marginalizing the most progressive candidate in the running for the post as an unacceptable pick.