Last night, MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosted a discussion on the Obama administration's recently disclosed "white paper" justifying its policy of using drones to strike at U.S. citizens. Matthews ultimately deciding that the policy was defensible–on the grounds that the CIA director Leon Panetta goes to church.
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 […]
The New York Times has a news piece today (11/6/12) reporting that MSNBC is just like Fox News, and isn't that awful. Now, MSNBC, for all its flaws, is not really anything like Fox News. And most of Times reporter Jeremy Peters' evidence for their similarity comes from a Pew study of "positive" and "negative" news coverage–the kind of study that will only be meaningful after someone comes up with an objective scale for measuring how positive or negative reality is. But I was struck by this anecdotal example of the Fox-like "partisan bitterness" supposedly on display on MSNBC: In […]
FAIR's new alert takes aim at the Sunday morning chat shows (Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday) for ignoring climate change this weekend– right after "superstorm" Sandy devastated the East Coast. As we noted, NBC host David Gregory said early on his program: "Should more attention be paid to a changing climate's impact on the severity of these storms?" That was the last mention of climate change on the show. I know a lot of people might say, "Well, with the election around the corner, politics shows have to stick to electoral politics." I […]
The gossipy, horse race-obsessed outlet Politico ran a story on October 29 about the credibility of polling expert Nate Silver, whose 538 blog at the New York Times is a must-read for people interested in election forecasting. What Silver does isn't, on one level, all that tricky–his model combines national and state polls and generates probabilities about election outcomes. This model finds it highly likely that Barack Obama will win the election. It's probability, not a crystal ball or a bet. Politico's Dylan Byers notes that Silver's model says this "even as the polls have [Romney] almost neck-and-neck with the incumbent." […]
On the new episode of FAIR TV: Is a new Obama ad…racist? We'll take a look at how PBS is misreporting Iran, and also take a look at Joe Klein's remarkable defense of killing four-year-old girls in other countries. Take a look–and please spread the word.
MSNBC's Morning Joe had a remarkable discussion of U.S. drone attacks today (10/23/12). Here's a clip of the most intense moments of the exchange between the conservative-leaning Joe Scarborough and Time columnist Joe Klein, who is occasionally mistaken for a liberal: Scarborough offered up a more passionate critique of drone attacks than you're likely to hear from his left-leaning MSNBC colleagues: "If you're between 17 and 30, and you're within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up." When Klein interjects to argue that drones are "decimating bad guys," Scarborough responds that the attacks are "taking out a […]
On the subject of why politicians aren't worried about corporate media factcheckers, a New York Times article from last week (8/31/12) by Alessandra Stanley is worth a second look. Under the headline, "How MSNBC Became Fox's Liberal Evil Twin," Stanley wrote: "You can agree with everything that Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz say on MSNBC and still oppose their right to say it." Stanley's problem was that "all that attitude" on MSNBC "leaves fewer choices for viewers who like their election coverage with informed commentary without a twist of bias": All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up […]
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 […]
The New York Times' lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama's drone "kill list" should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama's criticism of the Bush administration's "war on terror" policies? What does it tell us about how the administration identifies "militants" who are targeted for assassination? But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts–and are basically absent from the liberal cable news channel MSNBC. In fact, a far more interesting discussion of these questions can be heard on Fox News Channel. It's not all good on Fox, naturally. Host Bill […]
It is a very good thing that the Nation's Chris Hayes has a weekend show on MSNBC. The panelists are smart and the lively conversations dig deeper than virtually anything else on cable news. (The same can be said for MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry.) In other words, sounds like a recipe for trouble. And trouble arrived after a Memorial Day show that aired on May 27. Here's the clip that caused the controversy. To me, his words sound carefully measured, and I think you get a better sense of that tone from seeing the clip rather than from reading a transcript […]