Jul
25
2013

The Whistles That Didn't Blow on the PBS NewsHour

Ray Suarez (cc photo: Kevin Griffin Moreno)

It would be good to hear why the interview the NewsHour announced with two NSA whistleblowers never made it to the air.

Jul
24
2013

Nate Silver Didn't Fit In at the New York Times Because He Believed in the Real World

Nate Silver's failure to fit in with the culture of the New York Times illustrates the difference between objectivity and "objectivity"–the latter being the belief that it's impossible to know what's real, so all you can do is report the claims made by various (powerful) people.

Jul
05
2013

David Brooks Applies His Mental Equipment to the Egypt Coup

David Brooks

"Islamists…lack the mental equipment to govern," New York Times columnist David Brooks writes today (7/5/13). "Incompetence is built into the intellectual DNA of radical Islam." Now, Brooks has been known to cite eugenicist¬† Steve Sailer on "white fertility rates" (12/7/04; Extra!, 4/05).¬† But let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that rather than making a racist argument, he's simply appearing to be racist as a metaphor (as when he wrote recently that interracial marriage was producing a "nation of mutts"–6/27/13). So he's saying, then, that Islamists govern as if they were biologically inferior. And his evidence for […]

Jul
03
2013

Dick Durbin Wants to Stop You From Being a Journalist

Sen. Dick Durbin (cc photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund)

Sen.¬† Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.), writing in the Chicago Sun-Times ("It's Time to Say Who's a Real Reporter," 6/26/13), says it's time to stop letting just anyone call themselves a journalist. Everyone, regardless of the mode of expression, has a constitutionally protected right to free speech. But when it comes to freedom of the press, I believe we must define a journalist and the constitutional and statutory protections those journalists should receive. By this he means, basically, that the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press probably don't apply to you: Not every blogger, tweeter or Facebook user is a […]

Jun
30
2013

Chalk Another One Up to Free Speech Hypocrisy

Prosecuting chalkers, not banksters.

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.

Jun
25
2013

People Who Urge Calm Over NSA Spying Make Me Nervous

Hendrik Hertzberg (cc photo: Spencer Selvidge/Texas Tribune)

It's as if it's not possible for the government to violate people's Fourth Amendment rights (to be protected against "unreasonable searches and seizures") unless it violates their First Amendment rights at the same time.

Jun
21
2013

FAIR TV: Spinning Surveillance, Friedman's Iraq Revisionism, Farewell to Michael Hastings

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.

Jun
21
2013

Action Alert: Iran Misinformation From MSNBC, USA Today

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.

Jun
20
2013

NYT Pays Tribute to Hastings by Attacking Him After Death

John Hess (New York Times)

When a journalist dies, how can you tell if they've had a career that's upheld the proudest journalistic traditions of challenging the powerful and fearlessly exposing the truth? The New York Times will attempt to piss on that career in the journalist's obituary.

Jun
19
2013

Michael Hastings, Bridge-Burning Journalist (1980-2013)

Michael Hastings

What Tim Dickinson called Hastings' "enthusiastic breaches of the conventions of access journalism" were what enabled him to report the unguarded assessments of the officers running the occupation of Afghanistan.

Jun
12
2013

Edward Snowden and the State-Identified Journalist

Josh Marshall (Bill Moyers Journal)

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," […]

Jun
05
2013

Brian Williams Makes the Case for Putting NBC on Trial

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."

May
31
2013

Two Churches Make an Anti-Gay Trend at USA Today

Boy Scout Eric Klein at DC rally (cc photo: mar is sea Y)

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, […]