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 […]

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 […]