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 […]

Nov
13
2012

Corporate Media Lose Their Favorite 'Warrior Scholar'

saveiraq

There's no doubt that the sex scandal that prompted CIA director David Petraeus's sudden resignation late last week is a big story. New details–verified or not–seem to arrive almost by the hour. But the reason it seems to have shaken so many media figures is because Petraeus was uniquely beloved by many in the corporate media, who considered him both an accessible source and a war hero. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called him (11/9/12) a "a man of such sterling reputation," and confided on the air to one guest that "it is impossible to be a member of […]

Nov
08
2012

Mittmentum: Reporters Thought He Might Win Because He Said So

Asked about the pre-election sense that Mitt Romney might win the election, CNN reporter Candy Crowley told viewers (11/7/12): There was an optimism in the Romney camp. But it wasn't based on the numbers. It was based on the feel of things. And one thing you know when you cover a campaign, the feel of things can be really deceiving. She's not alone–others had the same sense that the numbers couldn't be what they were. A Politico story (10/31/12) reported that this feeling was fairly widespread among elite media: Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign says it still has momentum. President Barack […]

Nov
05
2012

Worst Media Moment on Hurricane Sandy?

CNN's Erin Burnett (screengrab by mroach)

CNN reporter Erin Burnett's comment (10/29/12) that it was "kind of neat" to see New York City break its flooding record as the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy flooded Battery Park was bizarre, to say the very least: I just want to give everyone an update of where we are right now in terms of the record books. This is one for the record books. In terms of the storm surge here in Manhattan, Lower Manhattan where I am right now, almost a three-foot record, three feet. We're at 12.75 feet, as you can see, it's above my ankles now […]

Oct
16
2012

Playing the Role of 'Journalist' at a 'Presidential Debate'

Candy Crowley

CNN reporter Candy Crowley was apparently causing the Obama and Romney campaigns to panic over the weekend. Why? She was telling people she might ask a question at tonight's presidential debate. Time's Mark Halperin reported (10/14/12) that has done a series of interviews on her network in which she has suggested that she will assume a broader set of responsibilities. As Crowley put it last week, "Once the table is kind of set by the town-hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, 'Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?'" The campaigns apparently didn't much care […]

Oct
10
2012

CNN Exposes 'Villain' Chavez's Dastardly Plot to House the Poor

Venezuelan GDP per capita (PPP) (US$)

Corporate media's depiction of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is often cartoonish, but the lead from David Frum's piece from CNN.com (10/9/12) takes the cake: Venezuela's authoritarian president Hugo Chavez is a villain out of a Batman movie: buffoonish and sinister in equal measure. You want to be careful about throwing around words like "buffoonish," though, when you're making arguments like "Hugo Chavez has laid Venezuela's economy to waste." Here's a chart of Venezuela's per capita GDP since 1999, when Chavez was first elected; since 2003, when Chavez took control of the national oil company from its self-enriching management, the purchasing […]

Oct
05
2012

When Did Checking the Facts Become Taking a Candidate 'at His Word'?

cnn-foreman

Before the first presidential debate, CNN sent out a press release to promote the idea that they'd be doing factchecking of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It's kind of sad that this would be considered a novel enough idea to warrant a press release, but the actual factchecking was nothing you'd want to call attention to. Anchor Wolf Blitzer cued up the night's first "reality check" from correspondent John Berman, "on the president's claim that Mitt Romney wants a $5 trillion tax cut." And here comes Berman's factcheck: Now let's look at the facts here. Mitt Romney does propose across-the-board […]

Sep
07
2012

FAIR TV: Iran Misreporting, Labor Day and CNN's Unbelievable Romney

The new episode of FAIR TV is here, featuring misreporting on Iran's nuclear energy program, NewsHour lecturing labor leaders on Labor Day, and some of the most embarrassing biographical puffery for a presidential candidate you're likely to ever hear. Please share it with your friends, and let us know what you think in comments below.

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
17
2012

David Gergen Factchecks His Friends—and Financial Partners—at Bain

There are some pretty intense factchecking fights over what is true and not true about the Obama campaign's claims about Romney's record at Bain Capital. Media outlets are struggling with how to render a verdict; most seem to think Obama has exaggerated. But one outlet has found a voice willing to deliver a judgment. CNN has published a column (7/16/12) by veteran pundit David Gergen headlined: Facts don't support Obama's charges against Romney This is, for Gergen, pretty strong stuff; he's a talking head whose head mostly talks about campaign strategy and the like. He's not one usually to call […]

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

The Race to Be First to Be Wrong at the Supreme Court

In corporate media there is always a race to be first to report a breaking story seconds before your competitors. It means nothing to the rest of the world–we're talking a matter of seconds, much of the time–but it's a point of pride in the news business to be first. Being right is more important, by several miles, and on that score a few prominent outlets failed spectacularly yesterday at the Supreme Court, telling viewers that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act had been struck down. The prime offenders on cable were Fox News (photo by @jasonkeath)  and […]

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 […]