Nov
14
2012

Syrian Civil War Strays Into…Syrian Territory

Hamat Gader, Golan Heights (photo by Job de Graaf)

After Syrian mortar fire from Syria's civil war reportedly strayed into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights last weekend, some U.S. journalists seemed confused about the political geography of the region. For instance, CBS Evening News reported (11/12/12) reported: Syria's civil war has now touched Israel. For the second straight day, a shell from Syria landed in Israeli territory. Well, no. The shells in question landed on the Golan Heights, a part of Syria that has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967–but is internationally recognized as continuing to be Syrian territory. A CNN Wire report, "For Second Time in […]

Oct
12
2012

Debate Deceptions Are a Time-Tested GOP Strategy

Corporate journalism is not known for standing up to powerful politicians–or for its long memory. And so, when factchecks of the first presidential debate revealed that GOP candidate Mitt Romney was often not very truthful, sometimes even misstating his own policies, the media not only failed to make much of a fuss over Romney's falsehoods, they also failed to tie them into a GOP tradition of debate dissembling. Wait, did I just say a GOP tradition of debate dissembling? That's right–it's a strategy that was acknowledged as far back as 1984, but it's gone virtually unmentioned in U.S. media since […]

Sep
27
2012

Praising Obama's Defense of Free Speech, NYT Leaves Much Unsaid

Barack Obama at the UN General Assembly (Africa Renewal)

The New York Times' September 26 coverage of Barack Obama's UN address on Arab democracy, free speech and violence included a good sampling of the distortions, double standards and bigotry often present in U.S. corporate reporting on these issues. Helene Cooper's news report (9/26/12) explained that Obama's speech was a "strong defense of America's belief in freedom of speech," challenging "fledgling Arab and North African democracies to ensure that right even in the face of violence." According to Cooper, Obama also "asserted that the flare-up of violence over a video that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad would not set off a […]

Sep
05
2012

Politicians in Tampa, Charlotte Massaged by Media—Literally

Huffington Post Oasis

When it comes to journalists socializing and otherwise cozying up to the powerful, there's not a lot new under the sun. More than 20 years ago, then-FAIR associates Martin Lee and Norman Solomon wrote about it in their book Unreliable Sources: TV's top journalists are part of the wealthy and influential elite, often socializing with people they're supposed to be scrutinizing. At an awards banquet for the Radio & Television Correspondents Association during Reagan's second term, Kathleen Sullivan (at the time with ABC) was photographed on the arm of then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, while CBS Face the Nation host Lesley Stahl […]

Jul
05
2012

Shamir Remembered–With Selective Amnesia

In death, the U.S. media remembered the late Yitzhak Shamir as "a political hard-liner who served two terms as Israeli prime minster" (CNN, 6/30/12), "the hawkish Israeli leader who balked at the idea of trading occupied land for peace with the Palestinians" (MSNBC, 6/30/12) and "a man of iron will and simple tastes" (Washington Post, 6/30/12) who prided himself on his hard-line views, his relentless determination to hang onto every square inch of what he considered the Land of Israel, and his championing of Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, defying the demands of Israel's most […]

Jun
29
2012

Is Limbaugh Sure He Wants Lying to Be a Crime?

The Supreme Court decided on Thursday that lying about medals and military service, while "contemptible," is protected under the First Amendment's free speech clause. The court said the federal "Stolen Valor" law was overly broad and imposed a chilling effect on free speech. This news enraged Rush Limbaugh, who responded on is radio show with disdain, facetiously wondering, "I don't know if they legalized pedophilia or not." An interesting non sequitur, but back on point: Limbaugh's comprehension of freedom of speech has always been a crabbed affair, pretty much limited to the view that he and his conservative allies–people who enjoy […]

Jun
14
2012

Was Houla Massacre a Manufactured Atrocity?

It's been widely reported that on May 25, pro-Syrian forces massacred 108 civilians in the Syrian village of Houla, including 34 women and 49 children, many of whose throats were cut. The reported atrocity has sparked the latest round of appeals for intervention in the conflict in Syria. Syrian diplomats have been expelled from several countries over the massacre, including by U.S., Britain, France, Australia and Canada;  "Syrian Diplomats Expelled Across World as Outrage Over Houla Massacre Grows," the British Guardian (5/29/12) declared. "Who Will Stop the Massacres?" asked the headline on a May 29 Washington Post editorial.  As the editors […]

Jun
01
2012

Cyberwar Is War, White House Said—but NYT Didn't Notice

For the second time this week, the New York Times has published a revealing report on a secret, legally questionable Obama administration program, but failed to include independent legal analysis of the controversial program. Tuesday's Times report on the White House's drone assassination program included no critical analysis of the thorny legal issues raised by the program. Surely independent legal experts would have something to say about the  program at large, but particularly about such details as the White House's bizarre definition  that counts any military-aged male found in the vicinity of a bombing target as a combatant, and thus […]

May
24
2012

If GOP Was Anti-Racist, Why Wasn't Buckley a Democrat?

The conservative National Review, which has had a longstanding attachment to racism (FAIR Blog, 4/11/12) which it has lately shown signs of regretting, now has a cover story (5/28/12) by Kevin Williamson that argues that the Democratic Party is now and always has been the party of racism, while the GOP has always been the party of civil rights. Sample: That is because those Southerners who defected from the Democratic Party in the 1960s and thereafter did so to join a Republican Party that was far more enlightened on racial issues than were the Democrats of the era, and had […]

May
03
2012

Fox Host Leaps to Link Occupy to White Powder Mailings

On New York City Fox station WNYW, Good Day New York celebrated May Day by attempting to link the Occupy Wall Street movement to the mailing of letters containing white powder and the greeting "Happy May Day." On a segment where Good Day hosts Greg Kelly and Rosanna Scotto were joined by NYPD commission Ray Kelly–Greg Kelly's father, and a frequent guest on his son's show–the younger Kelly all but concluded that Occupy was behind the frightening mailing that saw seven letters delivered to six banks and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Greg Kelly noted that the powder had been identified […]

Apr
19
2012

Now They Tell Us: Iran Didn't Actually Threaten to Wipe Israel Off the Map

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor acknowledged on Al Jazeera English (4/14/12) that Iranian leaders have never called for Israel to be "wiped" off the map. Meridor agreed with interviewer Teymoor Nabili's suggestion that the supposed remarks were never actually made; Iranian leaders, Meridor said, come basically ideologically, religiously, with the statement that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They didn't say "we'll wipe it out," you are right, but [that] it will not survive, it is a cancerous tumor, it should be removed. Hostile words, to be sure, but not the menacing threat endlessly reported in […]

Apr
11
2012

A Racist at National Review? Do Tell

Conservative Forbes columnist Josh Barro is happy that John Derbyshire was fired for writing a racist column: I'm pleased to see that National Review has fired John Derbyshire as a result of his racist screed in Taki's Magazine last week. Derbyshire's remarks were beyond the pale, and this severing of ties is important for the credibility of one of the pillar institutions in conservative publishing. Barro, a contributor to National Review (NR) and National Review Online (NRO), was one of the first conservatives to call for Derbyshire's ouster, arguing that keeping company with a racist like Derbyshire presented a "problem […]

Feb
22
2012

James Traub Bids a Fond Farewell to an Era of Constant Warfare

James Traub seemed a little bummed in a Sunday New York Times op-ed ("The End of American Intervention?," 2/18/10), that military cuts and changing priorities will mean fewer humanitarian interventions in America's future. So we must accept, if uneasily, the future which now seems to lie before us: We will do less good in the world, but also less harm. A leading advocate of "humanitarian intervention," Traub doesn't waste many words on the "harm" produced the by two decades of them, but he seems pretty sure about the "good." For instance, he writes that the post-Cold War period "raised the […]