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 […]

Jun
25
2010

Congo: The Sucking Vortex Where Africa's Heart Should Be

That's according to Time magazine's Alex Perry (7/5/10): If you want to see what's wrong with Africa, take a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The size of Western Europe, with almost no paved roads, Congo is the sucking vortex where Africa's heart should be. Independent Congo gave the world Mobutu Sese Seko, who for 32 years impoverished his people while traveling the world in a chartered Concorde. His death in 1997 ushered in a civil war that killed 5.4 million people and unleashed a hurricane of rape on tens of thousands more. Today AIDS and malaria are epidemic. […]

Jun
16
2010

What an Estate Looks Like to the New York Times

This weekend the New York Times (6/13/10) reminded me once again that I am not the paper's target audience. While supporters say the estate tax affects only the richest members of society and helps counteract the concentration of wealth, that million-dollar limit would seem to ensnare many people who consider themselves decidedly middle class–especially in the Northeast and California where home values are high. What is the dividing line between wealthy and upper middle class? Or between someone who owns an estate and someone lucky enough to have bought a home decades ago and watched its value grow to seven […]

May
24
2010

Kristof's 'Simplest Option' for Ending Poverty: Blame the Poor

In his May 23 column–"Moonshine or the Kids?"–New York Times columnist Nick Kristof has hit upon the "simplest option" for keeping poor African kids in school (and ending malaria): getting their fathers to stop drinking, smoking and whoring. There's an ugly secret of global poverty, one rarely acknowledged by aid groups or U.N. reports. It's a blunt truth that is politically incorrect, heartbreaking, frustrating and ubiquitous: It's that if the poorest families spent as much money educating their children as they do on wine, cigarettes and prostitutes, their children's prospects would be transformed. Much suffering is caused not only by […]

May
20
2010

Covering Africa Through Celebrities, Exhibit Eleventy Million

NBC reporter Ann Curry's fawning interview with actor Ben Affleck (NBC Nightly News, 5/19/10), about his celebrity activist work in the Congo, is downright embarrassing: CURRY: Why do you pick the place that people think is actually one of the worst places in terms of the number of atrocities, in terms of the level of suffering, one of the worst places on Earth? AFFLECK: I really do see tremendous hopefulness. I'm really moved by the power of folks to find solutions to their own problems. The Congolese sense of kind of strength and self-sufficiency and resilience. CURRY: And he's seen […]

May
12
2010

The Future of Africa, Brought to You by Bono and Bob Geldof

Canada's Globe and Mail decided to do a special issue on Africa this Monday, and who better to guest edit than Bono and Bob Geldof? There's a piece about their day at the paper that's truly absurd. Here's the section on "Opinion Pages": They move back to the meeting table to discuss more content for the paper. Bono asks for a cup of tea, with a drop of milk. Geldof takes his coffee black. Comment Editor Natasha Hassan goes over options for opinion pieces to run in Monday's paper. Christy Turlington has written a piece on maternal health, drawing from […]

May
11
2010

NBC's Curious Definition of Diversity

Correspondent Pete Williams last night on NBC Nightly News (5/10/10) gave viewers the scoop on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's record as dean of Harvard law school: "She diversified the faculty, hiring prominent conservatives." Kagan also hired almost no people of color and very few women, in a historically white and male faculty. It's an interesting definition of "diversify."

Apr
08
2010

NYT 'Bent Over Backwards' to Deny Ground Zero Health Risks It Now Reports

As yet another study is released documenting the damaging health effects of breathing in toxic Ground Zero dust, it's good to see corporate media outlets taking it seriously. (Most media outlets, anyway–the New York Post continues to give a platform to deniers.) It's worth remembering, though–since they won't remind you–that for many months after 9/11, some outlets–the New York Times in particular–downplayed the fallout and mustered shockingly little journalistic skepticism of government reassurances about safety. The attitude of Andrew Revkin, the Times' environmental reporter at the time, says it all. As I wrote in 2006: The Times' Revkin told American […]

Apr
01
2010

Will Face the Nation Factcheck Guest's Healthcare Lies?

Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann made two false claims about healthcare on CBS's Face the Nation last Sunday that went unchallenged by host Bob Schieffer. CBS did, however, post an article on their website challenging her claims. FAIR has a new action alert encouraging Face the Nation to debunk Bachmann's lies on its upcoming April 4 broadcast. Read the alert here and post your letters to CBS below.

Mar
31
2010

Fox News Commentators Find 'Common Ground' in Praising Fox News

One of USA Today's regular op-ed features is a "right-left" conversation between conservative columnist Cal Thomas and "liberal" Democratic strategist Bob Beckel in which they seek "Common Ground"–the name of the op-ed feature–on "issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot." Last week (3/25/10) Thomas and Beckel tackled the issue of "Bias and Fox News"–and really, what could be a better subject of debate for two paid Fox News commentators? Incredibly, they were able to overcome their great differences to defend the network that pays their bills. Some of the highlights: Cal: What the Obama administration and Raines and many at the […]

Mar
25
2010

GritTV: The Witch Hunt Against ACORN

FAIR's Jim Naureckas appeared on GritTV yesterday to discuss media coverage of ACORN:

Mar
18
2010

All Smart People Are Centrists–and Other News From PBS

Broadcasting & Cable (3/17/10) spoke with the head of PBS's flagship New York station about the recent hire of Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and former MTV and NPR host Alison Stewart for PBS's forthcoming program Need to Know, which is replacing Now and the Bill Moyers Journal: WNET.org president Neal Shapiro did not rule out the possibility of future synergies between Newsweek and Need to Know. "We haven't talked about anything specific," he said. "But I think all kinds of natural synergies may happen." Shapiro said he is not concerned that Stewart and Meacham, who has been a frequent guest […]

Mar
11
2010

Evidence That Media Need to Use Different Unemployment Measures

Actual Washington Post headline today (3/11/10): Rise in Washington Area Unemployment Seen as Good Sign for Economy's Recovery Reporter V. Dion Hayes tries to explain: Rising unemployment as a positive sign may sound counterintuitive, but economists explain it this way: The increase suggests that long-term unemployed people in the D.C. area who had given up looking for work have restarted their job hunt, perhaps because they see evidence that the region's economy is improving and that employers are beginning to hire again. On the other hand, the declining national rate indicates that discouraged workers elsewhere have remained out of the […]