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.

Mar
05
2012

Frank Bruni and the Media's Snowe Crush

If you want an example of how much corporate media love so-called moderate Republicans, look no further than Frank Bruni's New York Times column (3/4/12): Back in 1999, when I covered Congress, I had a kind of crush on Olympia Snowe. Many of us in the Senate press gallery did. Well, that's good to know. As Bruni tells it, Snowe "dared to disagree with her party," which is something pundits always say they want to see more of. But Snowe's record on this count has always been a bit exaggerated. Snowe often ended up arguing for minor tweaks to Republican […]

Feb
21
2012

Apple's ABC Friends Get China Exclusive

With all the recent critical attention to Apple's manufacturing policies, it was perhaps only a matter of time before the company decided to push back.One way Apple might do this is by granting an "exclusive" to a media outlet that might put out a different kind of story than the one that people have encountered via the New York Times (1/25/12) or This American Life (1/6/12). So here we have the news that ABC has been granted "exclusive" access to the massive Foxconn facility that has been at epicenter of the controversy over Apple's labor practices. Why ABC? Forbes contributor […]

Feb
17
2012

Postal Service Broke? Letter Explains What USA Today Omitted

Much of the coverage about the U.S. Postal Service tells us that it is losing money hand over fist. But one of the questions journalists are supposed to ask–why?–is rarely posed. A letter to the editor in today's USA Today tries to fill in that gap: Letter: Congressional mandate behind Postal Service woes Your article "Anything Good in the Mail?" is misleading about the reasons for the U.S. Postal Service's financial problems. It focuses on competition from the Internet, conventional wisdom that doesn't withstand scrutiny ("Bell Tolls for the U.S. Mail, as We Know It"). Almost 90 percent of the […]

Jan
25
2012

USA Today: Keystone Job Cops

With New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane continuing to puzzle over whether (or how) the Paper of Record should factcheck politicians, one might wonder whether other newspapers worry about the same thing. Take USA Today (please!). Yesterday the paper reported on the very contentious matter of the Keystone XL pipeline and jobs–a favorite issue for Republicans. The paper (1/24/12) told readers: Obama hasn't been willing to ignore politics, says Bruce Josten, an executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He cites several instances–from the failure to reach a deficit-reduction deal with Republicans last year to the rejection […]

Jan
20
2012

Joe Klein Notices Newt Stole His Kid Janitor Idea

Time columnist Joe Klein jumped to Newt Gingrich's defense (12/19/11) when the Republican presidential candidate floated the idea that poor school children should work as janitors at their schools. Klein's endorsement (FAIR Blog, 12/9/11) earned him a coveted P.U. Litzer Prize. But apparently there's more to it. As Klein explains in this week's issue of Time (in an article that bears a title "Racial Slant Aside, Newt's Poverty Plan Could Work"), "When you strip away the racial appeals, though, Gingrich proposes some very creative ways to address poverty and dependency." He added: And yes, as Newt suggested, that last idea […]

Nov
01
2011

What Would Steve Jobs Do?

On the Meet the Press roundtable on Sunday (10/30/11), talk turned to Steve Jobs. And, as one might expect from the avalanche of hero worship that accompanied news of his death, the chatter concerned how we might all one day live up to Jobs' legacy. Here's host David Gregory, speaking to Tom Brokaw: Tom, it's interesting, author and journalist Jeff Greenfield tweeted recently about Steve Jobs the following: "Imagine a Steve Jobs in the auto industry, in healthcare, in energy, even in government. We'd have a different country." We know from Walter Isaacson's biography that Jobs had some pretty strong […]

Oct
13
2011

Bait-and-Switch Boosterism on Trade Pacts

Corporate media's incredibly uncritical boosterism of so-called "free trade" deals has been remarked on many times, and continues to be remarkable. What else but blind faith would allow a story to carry a line like one in the October 12 New York Times, about textile industry opposition to the new deal with South Korea: "The production of shirts and sheets has shifted steadily from the United States to countries with lower-cost labor. Economists argue that this process strengthens the economy as companies and workers shift to more productive and lucrative kinds of work." Of course, if the Times has evidence […]

Oct
07
2011

Is Glenn Beck Back at Fox News Channel?

It sounded like it, but it was just Bill O'Reilly channeling Beck's Soros/MoveOn/Big Labor paranoia, minus the chalkboard: On Wednesday in New York City, there was another far-left demonstration as a bunch of people marched on Wall Street. Why? We aren't exactly sure. What we do know is that these folks are zealots who are being organized by some very interesting people. Does the name MoveOn.org mean anything to you? How about George Soros? Well, for the first time, MoveOn, funded in part by Soros, has openly allied itself with the protesters. In addition, we have some unions in the […]

Sep
20
2011

Unfortunately for Michael Barone, 'Sellout to Unions' Actually Helped Economy

Columnist Michael Barone, best known for editing The Almanac of American Politics, wrote a piece (Boston Herald, 9/20/11) declaring that Barack Obama's "Sellout to Unions Staggers Economy." After noting that "some pro-union moves have a certain ritual quality," he got down to the really troubling behavior: Other steps are more important. Fully one-third of the $820 billion stimulus package passed almost entirely with Democratic votes in 2009 was aid to state and local governments. This was intended to keep state and local public employee union members–much more numerous than federal employees–on the job and to keep taxpayer-funded union dues pouring […]

Aug
08
2011

Covering the Verizon Strike: Are the Bosses Telling the Truth?

Labor disputes are often about compensation– salary and/or benefits. Management claims its employees are actually doing just fine, workers say otherwise. 45,000 Verizon workers are on strike on the East Coast over salary, pension and health benefits and collective bargaining rights. One would hope that reporters would try to referee such disputes over compensation. In the New York Times, Steven Greenhouse prints the claims side by side. Yesterday: Verizon called its unionized employees well paid, saying that many field technicians earn more than $100,000 a year, including overtime, with an additional $50,000 in benefits. But union officials say that the […]

Jun
22
2011

NYT and the Pampered Public Worker's Pension

When you see a headline like "Public Unions Take On Boss to Win Big Pensions," you know what you're going to get– more scaremongering about runaway public employee pensions. The New York Times delivers, with a lengthy front-page piece by Charles Duhigg that mostly takes the side of the Republican lawmakers trying to cut benefits in the name of fiscal discipline. The article is largely based around Jim Righeimer, a conservative activist turned city council member in Costa Mesa, California, whose become something of a national star on the right. He can rattle off the anecdotes about sky-high pensions: The […]

Jun
17
2011

NYT's Greenhouse vs. 'Generous' Public Worker Compensation

Yesterday New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse (6/16/11) reported on efforts in several states to get public-sector workers to increase contributions to state pension funds–or, to put it more bluntly, to take a pay cut. Political leaders are claiming this is simply the only thing they can do–and Greenhouse helps them make their case. Right from the start, Greenhouse frames the political shift as "the most definitive sign yet that the era of generous compensation for public-sector employees is ending." Many studies have shown that public sector compensation isn't actually all that generous, and such workers might lag slightly […]