Dec
15
2008

The Art of Dodging

The New York Times' bizarre claim that the now infamous shoe-throwing is indicative of Iraqis' "conflicted views" on Bush should perhaps come as no surprise. As independent journalist Dahr Jamail reveals in the latest issue of FAIR's magazine Extra!, the paper of record is just as apt a dodger of the indisputable facts of Iraqi opinion as the president proved himself to be in yesterday's press conference. Jamail's article, "As Usual, NYT Ignores Iraqi Opinion: Anecdotes trump polls on withdrawal," which is now available online, documents the Times' record of ignoring scientific evidence of overwhelming Iraqi support for ending the […]

Dec
02
2008

Responses from ABC or WaPo on Bush's Iraq Inspectors Lie?

Thanks in advance to all the folks who are participating in FAIR's action alert, "Media Still Letting Bush Lie on Iraq Inspectors." Please post any responses you receive from ABC and the Washington Post in the comments section of this blog. Update: Feel free to post your letters to ABC and the Washington Post here as well.

Dec
01
2008

MSNBC's Pentagon Pundit

A recent New York Times article (11/29/08) offers fresh documentation of conflicts of interest involving one of TV's most famous retired generals, Barry McCaffrey, who continues to be employed as an NBC military analyst even as he rakes in profits from military contractors. The story of how McCaffrey and at least 74 other retired generals were receiving briefings through a secret Pentagon propaganda program was broken by the New York Times back in April (4/20/08); however, it received scarcely a mention on the TV news outlets that employed these Pentagon pundits. One exception was Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MNSBC (4/21/08). […]

Dec
01
2008

An Advocate of Strong Action Against Mass Killing?

A New York Times headline today about President-elect Barack Obama's nomination of Susan Rice to be U.N. ambassador declared "Obama's Choice for U.N. Is Advocate of Strong Action Against Mass Killings." Undoubtedly, one of the greatest mass killings of recent years has been the Iraq War, which Just Foreign Policy estimates has killed nearly 1.3 million Iraqis. So where did Rice stand on that? As Jeremy Scahill recently pointed out on AlterNet, she promoted the myth that Saddam had WMDs. "It's clear that Iraq poses a major threat," she said in 2002. "It's clear that its weapons of mass destruction […]

Nov
27
2008

Hype About Obama's Nominees Shows Media's Corporate Bias

Obama's selection of a host of Clinton-era centrists for top posts have been greeted with cheers in the press. ABC's George Stephanopoulos gushed that "we have not seen this kind of combination of star power, brain power and political muscle this early in a cabinet in our lifetimes." Last week, even conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks, who makes a point of his disdain for what he calls the "O-phoria," praised Obama's transition as "impressive," saying, "He's off to a start that nearly justifies the hype." As a new FAIR advisory points out, a central trope in this media […]

Nov
27
2008

NYT vs. Venezuela's Election Results

Anyone who followed the results of Venezuela's regional elections last Sunday will know that President Hugo Chavez's party won 17 out of 22 contests up for grabs, garnering 52.5 percent of the popular vote to the opposition's 41.1 percent. Unless, that is, they were relying on New York Times Latin America correspondent Simon Romero. Despite a well-documented pattern of media misinformation about Chavez, many media outlets, including L.A. Times and CNN, conceded the fact of Chavez allies' victory in Sunday's races. But not Romero! Yesterday, the Times published an article by Romero titled, "Chavez Supporters Suffer Defeat in State and […]

Nov
24
2008

Hannity Without Colmes

The announcement that Alan Colmes is leaving Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes show, where he serves as co-host to Sean Hannity, raises the pressing question: Will anyone notice? Fox News executives have long represented the show as an evenhanded nightly debate. Yet a reviewer in Britain's Sunday Business Post (8/24/03) perhaps summarized the peculiarity of this Fox-style "debate" best in noting that "the titleâ┚¬Ã‚¦Hannity & Colmes is something of a misnomer, because the other host–the timid, bespectacled liberal Alan Colmes–acts essentially as a sacrificial lamb and may as well not be there." Colmes identifies himself (USA Today, 2/1/95) as […]

Nov
18
2008

Failed Reporting on Somalia–or Didn't-Even-Try Reporting?

As well as being infused with a modern-day "white man's burden" mythology not exactly unheard of in media reporting on Somalia, Time magazine's article "The Suffering of Somalia" (11/13/08) follows the well-documented pattern of misreporting on recent U.S. intervention on Somalia (see Extra!, 3-4/08)–downplaying the disastrous role of recent U.S. policy in that country: Somalia is not so much a failed-state as a didn't-even-try one. It hasn't had a government since 1991, when warlords took over and embarked on a series of intractable clan wars that have produced one of the world's worst humanitarian crises: hundreds of thousands dead and […]

Nov
07
2008

The NYT and the Russia/Georgia Conflict

The New York Times published today a lengthy front-page article about new evidence from independent security observers that contradicted the Georgian government's account of the conflict in the Caucasus this past August–an account that, as FAIR pointed out at the time (8/14/08), many in the U.S. media had repeated with little skepticism in their rush to fit it into an old Cold War frame. In a post aptly titled "Now They Tell Us," Left i on the News comments: In deference to the U.S. ruling class, the Times is still hedging its bets ("the accounts are neither fully conclusive nor […]

Nov
06
2008

Why Are Only Pro-Occupation Iraqi Voices Newsworthy?

As FAIR's magazine Extra! has noted (9-10/08, 11-12/07), it's often hard to tell from reading the U.S. press that polls have consistently shown a clear majority of Iraqis favor a withdrawal of American troops from their country. Today the New York Times published two articles offering Iraqi perspectives on the significance of Obama's electoral victory. A report about a recent election party at the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad noted that the the fortress-like embassy, which cost over half a billion dollars, "suggested a degree of permanence to the American presence here that at least some of the Iraqi guests […]

Nov
06
2008

Hannity: Obama's Extreme 'Liberal Agenda' Is Now 'Center-Right'

In the lead-up to the November 4 election, Fox News host Sean Hannity warned (10/26/08) that an Obama victory would represent "a complete liberal takeover." He opined that a Democratic electoral victory would herald "an unchecked, ultraliberal government, passing the most liberal agenda under the most liberal president in U.S. history." Citing the National Journal's flawed survey that called Obama the "most liberal senator," Hannity called the Democratic nominee "more extreme than Barbara Boxer or Russ Feingold, and even the admitted socialist Bernie Sanders." So what's a conservative news channel to do when the American people turn out in droves […]

Oct
28
2008

Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw Know Latinos

Tom Brokaw, the interim host of NBC's Meet the Press, and NBC analyst Chuck Todd expressed bafflement on last Sunday's Meet the Press (10/26/08) at how Latinos had "turned on the Republican Party" and their "friend" John McCain: TODD: I mean, this, this Hispanic–one of the things we–underreported story of the cycle is how Hispanics have just turned on the Republican Party, hurting John McCain. Frankly…. BROKAW: Who is a friend of theirs. TODD: Who is a friend of theirs. BROKAW: Right. TODD: You know, this is a Shakespearean–you know, the S… BROKAW: Right. It's hard to know exactly where […]

Oct
23
2008

Media's Election Profits

Analysts have projected that Barack Obama's ad spending would this week "surpass the $188 million Mr. Bush spent in his 2004 campaign." During the last two weeks of the election, the Obama campaign has budgeted $30 million for ads in contested states, according to MSNBC. Last week alone, he also spent about $12 million on national networks and national cable channels. While Obama's ad spending has far outpaced McCain's, McCain and the RNC have also been doing their bit to line corporate media coffers. Last week, McCain spent $9.4 million on ads in key battleground states, and this week MSNBC […]