Sep
30
2013

Dems and GOP Agree: Independent Journalism Is Bad News

Filmmaker Charles Ferguson announced that he was no longer going to make a nonfiction film for CNN about Hillary Clinton. The reasons why he's pulling out of the project are interesting–and disturbing.

Sep
19
2013

Is Oil Industry Funding of a Fracking Study a Problem? Let's Ask an Oil-Funded Expert

Natural gas drilling (cc photo: Helen Slottje)

To find out whether oil industry funding might have influenced a study, the New York Times went to someone who works for a think thank with numerous oil industry funders–including at least three of the companies who funded the study in question.

Sep
18
2013

The Price of Twitter Is Based on the Cost of You

Twitter birds (cc image: Darren Barefoot)

On the verge of an IPO, Twitter is estimated to have a market value of $15-16 billion. What does that mean for our society?

Sep
17
2013

UN Report Provides Information, Not 'Intelligence'

Rocket engine depicted in UN report.

The contrast between the two reports is striking: While Kerry's report avoided providing specific details to back up its claims–"in order to protect sources and methods," Kerry said–the UN report strove for maximum transparency.

Sep
10
2013

NYT's Bruni: Don't Blame Bloomberg for Inequality–He Didn't Mean It

Michael Bloomberg cc photo: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank)

As an op-ed columnist, Frank Bruni was a heck of a restaurant critic. That was demonstrated once again by his farewell (New York Times, 9/10/13) to outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who Bruni thinks is getting a bum rap from the Democrats who are vying in the primaries today for a chance to succeed him.  Bruni particularly objects to frontrunner Bill de Blasio's resonant tale of two New Yorks, the wealthy one that Bloomberg is accused of coddling and the less wealthy one that he supposedly showed the back of his hand…. It's a narrative of either-or, of […]

Sep
05
2013

The Strange Thing About Cluster Bombs

These are not the bad kind of cluster bomb, because they are dropped on and not by official enemies. (photo: US Air Force)

When they're used by official enemies, cluster bombs are weapons of indiscriminate terror. When they're used by the United States, they're not much worth talking about.

Sep
01
2013

Which Syrian Chemical Attack Account Is More Credible?

Secretary of State John Kerry making the case that Damascus has used chemical weapons (US State Department)

Which account of the mass deaths in Syria should be given more credence: the U.S. government version introduced by Secretary of State John Kerry, or the article published by the Minnesota-based news site Mint Press? The government account expresses "high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack." The Mint report bore the headline "Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack."

Aug
30
2013

When It Comes to State Violence, Too Much Is Never Enough

U.S. warship firing one of 110 cruise missiles at Libyan forces (photo: DoD)

Time magazine's Michael Crowley (9/9/13) offers an analysis of how the Syrian situation reflects on Barack Obama's presidency: Whatever comes of Obama's confrontation with Assad, an even more dangerous confrontation lies in wait–the one with Iran. If another round of negotiations with Tehran should fail, Obama may soon be obliged to make good on his vow to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. "I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests," Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2012. But to his critics, Obama does […]

Aug
26
2013

Jeffrey Toobin, Expert on Bizarre Analogies

Jeffrey Toobin (cc photo: University of Missouri/Kansas City)

In his attack last week on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin (8/20/13) started off by comparing the release of classified information about government spying to the assassination of Martin Luther King: The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy led directly to the passage of a historic law, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Does that change your view of the assassinations? Should we be grateful for the deaths of these two men? Of course not. That's lunatic logic. But the same reasoning is now being applied to the actions of Edward Snowden. […]

Aug
23
2013

Bait-and-Switch on Stop-and-Frisk

Homicide Rate in New York City (Wikipedia)

There's a powerful urge to believe, it seems, that abusing the Fourth Amendment rights of young men of color somehow makes the rest of us safer.

Aug
15
2013

NYT Sees Shift in Global Economy–by Using a Lot of Imagination

Earth (NASA/Reto Stöckli)

You begin to see why Nathaniel Popper doesn't include numbers–because they completely contradict his thesis of a dramatic shift in global growth patterns.

Aug
14
2013

What's the Message of Clinton's Noncampaign for the Office She Might Run for in Three Years?

Dan Balz

Hillary Clinton hasn't announced that she's running for president in 2016, and launched a campaign yet. But the Washington Post is already complaining that her nonexistent campaign for an office she may or may not seek lacks a clear message. "Clinton’s gender likely would be a significant asset," writes chief correspondent Dan Balz (8/12/13), adding: "It, however, is not a message." One has to admire the first 44 presidents of the United States, each of whom somehow managed to achieve the office without the benefit of this asset. The next day (8/13/13), Post columnist Richard Cohen picked up on Balz's […]

Aug
14
2013

Action Alert: Face the Nation Needs NSA Debate

A new FAIR Action Alert (8/14/13) asks where Face the Nation's dissenters are on NSA surveillance. Please leave copies of your messages to CBS, or comments on the alert, in the comments thread below.