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 […]

Feb
21
2012

Bombing Iran: A Real Headache for Israel

Bombing Iran could be a real strain for Israel, reports Elisabeth Bumiller in the New York Times ("Iran Raid Seen as a Huge Task for Israeli Jets," 2/19/12). No one's sure they can pull it off, what with the logistics involved: Should Israel decide to launch a strike on Iran, its pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran's air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously–and use at least 100 planes. Everyone apparently agrees on the task in front of Israel, as Bumiller puts it: "Given that […]

Feb
15
2012

Bizarre Record of Fox's Rape-to-Be-Expected Pundit

Liz Trotta, a Fox News contributor and former Washington Times editor, drew attention this week (2/12/12) when she suggested that women serving in the U.S. military should expect to be sexually assaulted by their male counterparts: But while all of this is going on, just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, […]

Jan
03
2012

New Audio of Hannity's Homophobic History

Sean Hannity got his start in radio on UC Santa Barbara's KCSB in the late 1980s, where he got in trouble for promoting homophobia and disinformation about HIV and AIDS. I wrote about this in a 2003 Extra! profile of the then-Fox News show Hannity & Colmes: After airing for less than a year, Hannity's weekly show was canceled in 1989, when KCSB management charged him with "discriminating against gays and lesbians" after airing two shows featuring the book The AIDS Coverup: The Real and Alarming Facts About AIDS (Independent, 6/22/89). Written by homophobic Christian-right activist Gene Antonio, the book […]

Dec
09
2011

Do as Bill O'Reilly Does and He'll Hit You With His Umbrella

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claims he was accosted by a "screaming" man "armed with a cell phone camera" on December 7 while walking to a media party at the White House in Washington, D.C. On his show the next night (O'Reilly Factor, 12/8/11), O'Reilly explained, I told the guy to get lost, but he came closer and closer, armed with a cell phone camera. When he was about a foot away, I turned to shield myself and my assistant with an umbrella. At this point, we were just a few feet away from the White House gate. According to […]

Sep
12
2011

Biden's Feel-Good 9/11 Spin Goes Unchallenged

Al-Qaeda, bin Laden, never imagined that the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day would inspire 3 million to put on the uniform and harden the resolve of 300 million Americans. They never imagined the sleeping giant they were about to awaken. – Vice President Joe Biden at September 11 commemoration (9/11/11) Actually, that's precisely what bin Laden imagined: Al-Qaeda's central strategy was to draw its Western foes into economically ruinous wars in Muslim lands (Extra!, 7/11). But I suppose it would be bad form for journalists to raise this fact as the U.S. commemorates a decade of war […]

Sep
01
2011

Fox Business Uses Fake Quote to Bash Islamophobia Report

Recently on Fox Business (8/30/11; cite by Think Progress, 8/31/11), host Eric Bolling tried to discredit the Center for American Progress's excellent new report on Islamophobia with this colossal falsehood: I need to point this out–I'm reading directly from this report: "The Obama-allied Center for American Progress has released a report that blames Islamophobia in America on a small group of Jews and Israel supporters in America, whose views are being backed by millions of dollars." You would have to be an idiot to read those words and not realize that they weren't CAP's. In fact, Bolling was quoting from […]

Aug
19
2011

ProPublica's False Balance on Economic Myths

ProPublica's factcheck of seven economic myths facing the country makes some good points: Taxes aren't going up, for instance. Some of the "myths" are a bit muddled: "The stimulus has been full of/free of fraud, waste and abuse." Is someone really saying the latter? But overall the piece tries vainly to balance myths that will please both the right and the left. For instance, Myth #3 doesn't appear to be a myth at all, but a difference of opinion between economists. But labeling it a myth serves the conservative perspective: The stimulus should have been bigger. This is a red […]

Jul
15
2011

Fox's Eric Bolling Fans on Terror Facts–Twice

Glenn Beck's temporary replacement in the 5 p.m. slot on Fox News, Eric Bolling, has started out with a bang. On the July 13 edition of his new show the Five, the host declared: "America was certainly safe between 2000 and 2008. I don't remember any attacks on American soil during that period of time." After Bolling's error, erasing 9/11 and several other deadly terrorism attacks from the Bush record, was pointed out by outlets including Media Matters and Huffington Post, the host returned to the air Thursday to issue a correction that sounded more like a retaliation against those […]

Jul
15
2011

USA Today Debunks Once Again the Myth of the Bloody Border

USA Today published a useful investigation today (7/15/11) finding that "rates of violent crime along the U.S./Mexico border have been falling for years," that U.S. border cities are "statistically safer on average than other cities in their states" and "border cities, big and small, have maintained lower crime rates than the national average, which itself has been falling." The USA Today report is not the first to dispel what it calls the "bloody" picture of the U.S. border with Mexico. But while it cites politicians, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, for spreading the myth, the piece lets right-wing media, including […]

Jun
08
2011

WaPo's False Equivalence on Founder Misquotes

"Senators, congressmen and even President Obama have misquoted the Founding Fathers in recent years," writes Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold in a June 7 piece suggesting that there is a bipartisan trend of misquotation and misrepresentation of historical events. After citing Sarah Palin's recent botched account of Paul Revere's revolutionary ride, Fahrenthold implies that historical distortion comes from a variety of political quarters: But in Washington, nobody should feel too smug, as Palin is hardly the only politician with a habit of helpfully twisting the historical record, accidentally or not, and sometimes with politically handy consequences. If Fahrenthold means […]

Jun
08
2011

Democracy Now!: Moyers on the Media

Bill Moyers appeared on Democracy Now! this morning (6/8/11) to discuss his new book about his days at PBS, The Conversation Continues. Interviewed for the hour by anchors Any Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Moyers said, "The consensual seduction of the mainstream media by and with the government is one of the most dangerous toxins at work in America today." He spoke, too, of the lost mission of public broadcasting,and how its reliance on the political whims of Congress for some of its funding prevents it from living up to its potential: Sometimes self-censorship occurs because you're looking over your shoulder, […]

Jun
03
2011

Politico Uses Anonymous Sources to Attack Hersh…for Using Anonymous Sources

Seymour Hersh reports in the New Yorker (6/6/11–subscription required) that there is s virtually no evidence Iran has a nuclear weapons program, despite huge efforts on the part of the U.S. to prove otherwise. Though Hersh's findings do not contradict the past two National Intelligence Estimates, they do fly in the face of long-held official and corporate media views. Corporate media routinely treat the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program as a matter of fact. New York Times reporter Michael Gordon has done it at least twice (2/24/03, 10/19/04), in one case suggesting that a U.S.-friendly regime in Iraq might pressure […]