Over the past decade, it has gotten much more difficult for women in the United States to access safe and legal abortion services. How have national media kept up with this dramatically changing landscape? Not so well.
Private Chelsea Manning will be serving out a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth prison for revealing classified information to WikiLeaks. Are you confused by that sentence? Not sure what case we're talking about here? Maybe there were two Private Mannings who are now tied for the record of longest prison sentence in the history of this country for whistleblowing? It's hard to imagine that, more than 24 hours after Manning made her gender identity public through a written statement read on the Today show (8/22/13), any reader or viewer would not figure out pretty quickly who the news was talking […]
The New York Times reports that in the last few years, several elite U.S. universities have begun to cover sex reassignment surgery and/or hormones for transgender students. On the one hand, it's great that they're reporting news like this, and after years of extremely disrespectful coverage of transgender issues, it feels like a victory that their "balance" is limited to noting that "the idea still seems radical to plenty of people." On the other hand, not a single trans-identified person is quoted. But what I really want to highlight here is how this kind of article utterly fails to connect some […]
On Tuesday (6/5/12), ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer introduced a news segment: Michelle Obama appeared today with the CEO of our parent company, Disney, because Disney decided to do something historic to help fight childhood obesity and called in the big guns to do it, including a very, very famous mouse. The "historic" move: Food ads during ABC's children's programming will now have to meet what correspondent Reena Ninan called "strict nutritional standards." Ninan also touted Disney's earlier decision to phase out trans fats from its theme parks and offer "healthier options." ("They say they saw real results. […]
Thomas Friedman on Face the Nation this past Sunday (5/20/12): You know, I believed from the beginning we had four choices in Afghanistan, Bob: lose early, lose late, lose big, or lose small. And, you know, my hope was that we would lose small and early. Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, November 2, 2001: A month into the war in Afghanistan, the hand-wringing has already begun over how long this might last. Let's all take a deep breath and repeat after me: Give war a chance.
Over the weekend, the New York Times (3/18/12) published an article pondering why no one has taken Gloria Steinem's place as ubiquitous spokesperson for women's rights: Over the last 40 years, Gloria Steinem has almost always been at the other end of the phone when some member of the news media has sought comment about a pressing issue involving women's rights…. And that raises a question well worth asking in 2012: Where is the next Gloria Steinem, and why–decades after the media spotlight first focused on her–has no one emerged to take her place? But is it well worth asking? […]
NBC (Nightly News, 7/19/11) did some polling to see what the public thinks about the Republican and Democratic positions on the budget and debt ceiling : CHUCK TODD: Now, look, any sort of deal is putting pressure on the bases of both parties. For Republicans, a large majority of the country is telling Republicans get off the no new taxes pledge and compromise, 62 percent. TEXT: NBC News/The Wall Street Journal Should Republicans Compromise? Agree to Raise Taxes Yes 62% No 27% TODD: But inside those numbers, tea party supporters, 65 percent of them say to Republicans, "No. Stick to […]
In the wake of the News Corp scandal and the resignation of their own paper's publisher/CEO, the editors of the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal came out swinging today (7/18/11) against critics who would question the Journal's own standards and even "perhaps injure press freedom in general." Today's editorial first goes for deflection: Scotland Yard's failure to stop the hacking is "more troubling than the hacking itself," and "it is also worth noting the irony of so much moral outrage devoted to a single media company, when British tabloids have been known for decades for buying scoops and digging up dirt […]
Renee "McMontagne" brought NPR listeners another McDonald's PR story yesterday morning. On April 5, Montange and her Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep uncritically previewed McDonald's big PR campaign revolving around a one-day hiring blitz to "recast its jobs not as dead-end work, but in ads starring its happy employees as desirable employment" (FAIR Blog, 4/6/11). I noted that McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc gave NPR a 9-figure bequest a few years ago. Well, Montagne returned to the story yesterday with an on-the-ground report from the scene of a McDonald's hiring event in Philadelphia, where an NPR correspondent interviewed three of those […]
Newsweek's cover story this week is on the plight of college-educated white men aged 35-64. The magazine laments that "this hitherto privileged demo isn't just on its knees, it's flat on on its face." The subhead of the piece asks, "Can manhood survive the lost decade?" Now, I have much sympathy for all who are struggling with unemployment. But are middle-aged, college-educated white males flat on their face and worthy of a trend cover story? It's hard to square that with the piece's own admission that their jobless rate is just above 5 percent. Most demographic groups would give anything […]
The Sunday New York Times (4/17/11) ran a big front-page piece on John Tanton, founder of the anti-immigration organizations Federation for American Immigration Reform and Center for Immigration Studies. I guess it's positive that someone in corporate media is finally paying attention to Tanton's racism (long documented here at FAIR–1/1/93–and by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center–Winter/08), and reporter Jason DeParle does include a good deal of damning information about Tanton and some of his own racist words. But he also manages to interview almost exclusively people currently or formerly affiliated with Tanton's groups (six of these people in […]
NPR Morning Edition (4/5/11) keeps its audience informed about important business news (that just so happens to be about an image-burnishing campaign by the company whose heiress gave them a 9-figure bequest a few years ago): RENEE MONTAGNE: And our last word in business today comes from another Illinois-based employer. The word is McJobs. That word has meant low-paid work at a particular fast food chain. But McDonald's is trying to, quote, "turn the word on its ear," as one marketing executive put it to Ad Age magazine. Yesterday, McDonald's launched a McJobs campaign, with the goal of recruiting 50,000 […]