Apr
06
2011

NPR: And Now, a Word From Our Sponsor

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 […]

Mar
23
2011

NYT Radiation Reassurance: Ground Zero Deja Vu

The New York Times' reassuring reporting on the radioactive plume drifting across the U.S. continues the paper's troubling tradition of parroting comforting words from officials in the midst of modern-day environmental crises–like the environmental fallout post-9/11. Let's compare headlines: "Radiation Over U.S. Is Harmless, Officials Say" (3/22/11) "Workers and Residents Are Safe, Officials Say" (11/2/01) As I have documented (Extra!, 11-12/06), in the months and years following the September 11 attacks, the Times ignored studies and voices that cast strong doubt on official proclamations that the air and dust near Ground Zero were not a serious hazard. Andrew Revkin, the […]

Mar
18
2011

FAIR at Left Forum in NYC

This Saturday I'll be on a panel at Left Forum titled "Racism and Resistance in the Immigration Debate," with former FAIR communications director Isabel Macdonald, Monica Novoa of Drop the I-Word, Sonia Guinansaca of the New York State Youth Leadership Council and Esther Kaplan of the Nation Institute, moderated by my former Paper Tiger colleague Denisse Andrade. Below is the description. I'll be talking about my recent article, "Time to 'Drop and Leave' Loaded Language," among other things. If you're in the New York area, stop by for what should be a very interesting conversation. Racist, dehumanizing terms such as […]

Mar
16
2011

On Islamist Terrorism, WSJ Entitled to Its Own Opinions–But Not Its Own Facts

Rep. Peter King

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial (3/11/11) defended the Peter King hearings on Islamist terrorism against "our friends on the left [who] are busy portraying them as the McCarthy hearings and Palmer Raids rolled into one." The editors argued that in fact, the focus on Muslims is justified based on the facts: Since 9/11, there have been more than 50 known cases, involving about 130 individuals, in which terrorist plots were hatched on American soil. These include plots to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, an office tower in Dallas, a federal court house in Illinois, the Washington, […]

Feb
15
2011

Would the Bard Have Survived U.S. Copyright Law?

A New York Times op-ed today (2/15/11) by Scott Turow, Paul Aiken and James Shapiro ("Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?") uses William Shakespeare as exhibit A in their case for copyright, noting that theater flourished in 16th century England because playwrights were able to make money by charging people to enter their theaters. This they translate into a sweeping argument against attempts to reform copyright law, disparaging a handful of law professors and other experts who have made careers of fashioning counterintuitive arguments holding that copyright impedes creativity and progress. Their theory is that if we severely weaken […]

Oct
22
2010

Tell PBS: Bring Back Now!

FAIR's exposé of PBS's prominent news and public affairs shows demonstrated that public television is failing to fulfill its mission–to "provide a voice for groups in the community that may otherwise be unheard," to serve as "a forum for controversy and debate," and broadcast programs that "help us see America whole, in all its diversity." Now, which PBS canceled without explanation and replaced with Need to Know (co-hosted by corporate media fixture Jon Meacham), lived up to that mission admirably. Need to Know does not. Join FAIR in telling PBS to bring back Now: Sign the petition today.

Oct
12
2010

WPost Asks Notorious Homophobe to Write About Gay Youth Suicides

In light of the recent and tragic spate of gay youth suicides, the Washington Post's On Faith blog chose to honor National Coming Out day with a guest post (10/11/10) by raging homophobe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The post, titled "Christian Compassion Requires the Truth About Harms of Homosexuality," accused "homosexual activist groups" like the Gay Lesbian and Straight Educators Network (GLSEN) of being the real bullies, pushing kids to come out and believe they can't change, which he argues is "likely exacerbating the very problem they claim they want to solve." As evidence, Perkins cites two […]

Sep
29
2010

Media Blitz Against the Paycheck Fairness Act

There's a push for the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act before Congress adjourns for the season, which has sparked some pushback from right-wingers given prominent platforms in the corporate media. The Act, which already passed the House, would help enforce and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963; under the law, women would actually be able to find out how much their male colleagues make without either of them facing retaliation. A September 22 New York Times op-ed by Christina Hoff Sommers of AEI and an October 4 George Will Newsweek column both attack it as […]

Sep
16
2010

How AP Can Make a Poll Say Whatever It Wants It To

An AP piece published across the Web today (9/16/10) carries this headline: AP-GfK Poll: Nearly Half Oppose Tax Hikes for Rich. Well, that's one way of looking at it–just like you could report the results of the 1988 election by saying that Michael Dukakis got "nearly half" of the popular vote. The more logical way of putting it would be that more than half support letting tax cuts expire for the rich: 54 percent to 44 percent. But framing it instead around the minority position lets them focus on how Democrats might worry about "provoking the 44 percent who say […]

Aug
31
2010

Deficit Panic Continues at NYT

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes today (8/31/10) about the possible steps Obama might take to bolster the economy: With voters angry about government spending, and economists divided about just what approach is the correct one, such aggressive steps are by now out of the question. "There's a deep frustration among economists that they simply don't know what to do under these circumstances, at least in terms of fiscal policy," said Bruce Bartlett, an economist who advised Republican presidents. "I think there are a lot of economists who, in principle, would support some new fiscal stimulus, perhaps a […]

Aug
31
2010

The Katrina Story You Don't See So Much in Anniversary Coverage

In the coverage of Hurricane Katrina's fifth anniversary, you'll find several obligatory mentions in the corporate media of the still-decimated Lower Ninth Ward, but you'd be hard pressed to find anything as direct or damning as what you find in independent media coverage–for example, this piece on Women's eNews (8/29/10) by Kimberly Seals Allers, who recently attended a conference in New Orleans on health disparities in communities of color: When a few of the local community leaders came to address us, what they had to say about the Lower Ninth Ward was appalling but not surprising. They said that of […]

Aug
25
2010

Brian Williams Rehashes Katrina Violence Myth

Dateline NBC (8/22/10) did a special look back at Hurricane Katrina last weekend in anticipation of the disaster's five-year anniversary. Watching the collage of 2005 footage and Brian Williams' present-day commentary, I was struck by his characterization of the violence: You know, I've been around a lot of guns and a lot of dead bodies, and a lot of people shooting at people to make dead bodies. But you put them all together and you put it in the United States of America and boy, it gets your attention. You can't shake that…. It was clear already there weren't going […]

Jul
13
2010

Women's Sports Gets 1.6% of Local TV News Sports Coverage

No, that's not a typo: Only 1.6 percent of sports coverage on L.A.'s three major network affiliates went to women's sports. On ESPN Sportscenter, it's 1.4 percent. It's just slightly higher when you add in ticker-tape coverage. And it's getting worse, not better: Those numbers are down from about 5 percent in 1989. And a major part of that drop, according to study co-author Michael Messner of the University of Southern California, is because of a drop in "insulting or trivialization or humorous sexualization of women athletes, like a nude bungee jumper or leering court reports on tennis players like […]