It seems inadequate for U.S. media outlets to critique the level of free expression in the country where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is seeking asylum without comparing it to the level of free expression in the country he is seeking asylum from. While the United States has on paper some of the best guarantees of the right to speak in the world, its practice is considerably more chilling.
The administration's defense of domestic surveillance is in tatters, but few media outlets seem to notice; Thomas Friedman revises his Iraq War stance, again; and a farewell to journalist Michael Hastings.
The latest FAIR Action Alert asks readers to contact MSNBC and USA Today for corrections of misreporting in their coverage of Iran. Read the alert here and, if you send the outlets a letter, please share it in the comments section below.
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo (6/11/13) wrote about Edward Snowden yesterday in a way that helped make it clear why so many in the press seem upset that the former NSA consultant revealed the extent of U.S. spying programs aimed at the American public. "I'm a journalist," Marshall wrote. And back when I did national security reporting I tried to get leaks. So I don't think leaks are always wrong…. In fact, leaks are an absolutely critical safety valve against government wrongdoing and/or excessive secrecy. But officials who leak classified information are "breaking an oath and committing a crime," […]
NBC's Brian Williams called Bradley Manning "the man who may have put U.S. military secrets in the hands of Osama bin Laden." But giving classified information to the public is something that news outlets–including NBC News–routinely do, and each time they do it they too could be accused of "aiding the enemy."
USA Today's front-page headline (5/31/13): Churches Sever Scout Sponsorship The online headline, over Bob Smietana's piece on the reaction of church groups that sponsor Boy Scout troops to the Scouts' announced plan to accept gay Scouts was longer but no less sweeping: Religious Regretfully Sever Scout Sponsorships That's bad news for the Scouts, since as the article points out, "about 70 percent of Scout troops are chartered by a faith-based group." Must be tough, losing seven out of 10 sponsors all at once. Except the article doesn't report what the headlines claim at all. The article quotes one church leader, […]
The Washington Post's Wonkblog has a hopeful headline (5/28/13): The Economy Is Holding Up Surprisingly Well in a Year of Austerity And a version of this piece landed on the front page of the Post's print edition, under the headline "Economy Shows Some Endurance." And here's the good news in a nutshell: Americans with higher incomes are wealthier thanks to the stock market's 16 percent rise so far in 2013. Middle-income earners, whose assets are disproportionately tied up in their homes, are becoming wealthier thanks to higher housing prices–up 10.2 percent in 20 major cities in the year that ended […]
The New Yorker's James Surowiecki has figured out who's to blame for unsafe working conditions for garment workers: people who wear clothing: "The problem isn't so much evil factory owners as a system that's great at getting Western consumers what they want but leaves developing-world workers toiling in misery."
From Free Press's helpful explainer of the AP phone records scandal, noting the legal background: Smith v. Maryland — In this 1979 decision, the Supreme Court found that people have no expectation of privacy when it comes to the numbers they call because they understand it has to be transmitted through a third party (telephone company). Thus, the [Digital Media Law Project] notes, "the government can obtain that information simply by issuing a subpoena to a telephone company or other third party." As Mr. Bumble says, "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass–a idiot." Everyone who wouldn't […]