Feb
02
2011

Pimps and Prostitutes…Again?

In late 2009 and early 2010, right-wing activist James O'Keefe concocted a story that got widespread media coverage. The tall tale went like this: O'Keefe and his associate went to offices affiliated with the community organizing group ACORN in order to solicit advice on running a brothel and evading taxes. The problem was that nothing much like that actually happened. As FAIR summarized (Action Alert, 3/11/10): O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp during his visits to ACORN offices, seems to never actually represent himself as a "pimp," and the advice he solicits is usually about how to file income taxes […]

Oct
29
2010

Adam Nagourney Wonders Why Women Aren't Republicans

New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney has a long piece (10/29/10) about California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, the Republican candidate for Senate. Both are expected to lose on Tuesday, which leaves Nagourney wondering why women aren't more eager to support female politicians. The piece poses a lot of big questions–the fact that both are struggling "raising questions about money, gender and Americans' views of candidates who come out of corporate boardrooms." It is surprising that they are trailing Democrats who are"symbols of liberal policies and nearly as old as talking pictures." Nagourney gets to gender: And […]

Sep
29
2010

James O'Keefe, Now Even Creepier

You may remember James O'Keefe as the video hoaxter who fooled media into thinking ACORN gave tax advice to a man wearing a pimp costume (FAIR Action Alert, 3/11/10). Or as the miscreant whose attempts to interfere with Sen. Mary Landrieu's office phones got him arrested (Extra!, 4/10). Now O'Keefe has a new claim to fame as the guy who tried to turn sexual harassment into reality TV. CNN is reporting today (9/29/10) that one of its reporters, Abbie Boudreau, was the target of a bizarre, misogynistic scheme by O'Keefe's video production team–"Project Veritas"–to lure her on to a boat […]

Sep
29
2010

Media Blitz Against the Paycheck Fairness Act

There's a push for the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act before Congress adjourns for the season, which has sparked some pushback from right-wingers given prominent platforms in the corporate media. The Act, which already passed the House, would help enforce and close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963; under the law, women would actually be able to find out how much their male colleagues make without either of them facing retaliation. A September 22 New York Times op-ed by Christina Hoff Sommers of AEI and an October 4 George Will Newsweek column both attack it as […]

Sep
03
2010

NYT Gender Bias–in Book Reviews and Beyond

A recent FAIR study (Extra!, 8/10) looked at politically themed books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review and the C-SPAN show After Words and concluded that both outlets heavily favored white male authors and reviewers. The Times came off particularly badly in the study, which revealed 95 percent of the U.S. authors reviewed, and 96 percent of the reviewers, were white. As far as gender was concerned, women–who obviously make up roughly 50 percent of the population–accounted for just 13 percent of the authors and 12 percent of the critics. Today, Slate weighed in on the New York […]

Aug
26
2010

NYT Piece on Candidate's Shoes Is Irrelevant, Trivial and Sexist–According to Its Author

The New York Times' Susan Dominus, writing an article (8/24/10) entirely about a congressional candidate's footwear, makes an attempt at self-inoculation: I know. We, the news media, are not supposed to ask female candidates about their hairstyle or their choice of pantsuits over skirts or their shoes. It is irrelevant. It is trivializing. It is sexist. "You would never write about Chuck Schumer's shoes," Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand said in a New York magazine article in response to a question about her flats. So why write this article that is irrelevant, trivializing and sexist? Because, as it turns out, the […]

Jul
16
2010

Burqa Ban: Coverage of a Law to 'Free' Women Leaves Them Voiceless

As France's lower house of parliament approved a ban on wearing full-face Islamic veils such as the burqa or niqab, many U.S. news outlets left out a key voice in their reports: the Muslim women in France who are actually affected by the ban. Several major outlets, including the New York Times (7/14/10), Washington Post (7/14/10) and the Los Angeles Times (7/14/10), have managed to cover the story without seeking commentary from a single Muslim woman. Out of 11 named sources used bythese newspapers in their July 14 reports, only two were Muslim–both men, one a rector and one leader […]

Jul
13
2010

Women's Sports Gets 1.6% of Local TV News Sports Coverage

No, that's not a typo: Only 1.6 percent of sports coverage on L.A.'s three major network affiliates went to women's sports. On ESPN Sportscenter, it's 1.4 percent. It's just slightly higher when you add in ticker-tape coverage. And it's getting worse, not better: Those numbers are down from about 5 percent in 1989. And a major part of that drop, according to study co-author Michael Messner of the University of Southern California, is because of a drop in "insulting or trivialization or humorous sexualization of women athletes, like a nude bungee jumper or leering court reports on tennis players like […]

May
11
2010

NBC's Curious Definition of Diversity

Correspondent Pete Williams last night on NBC Nightly News (5/10/10) gave viewers the scoop on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's record as dean of Harvard law school: "She diversified the faculty, hiring prominent conservatives." Kagan also hired almost no people of color and very few women, in a historically white and male faculty. It's an interesting definition of "diversify."

May
11
2010

Washington Post's Sexist TV Critic

Washington Post critic Tom Shales (5/11/10) didn't think much of the debut of the PBS show Need to Know. Given the reactions from viewers at the Need to Know website, and those published by PBS ombud Michael Getler, he's not the only one who found the show a disappointment–or, as Shales put it,a "monstrosity"and "a specious wheeze." But he seemed to save a special kind of scorn for co-host Alison Stewart. Responding to the show's fawning interview with Bill Clinton, Shales wrote that "she looked as though she would have been much more comfortable in Clinton's lap." Uh huh. When […]

Apr
10
2010

Newsweek's Implausible Defense of Catholic Priests

The evidence Newsweek presents to back up the heading of a recent Web article–"Priests Commit No More Abuse Than Other Males" (4/8/10)–is remarkably unpersuasive. Here's the main argument offered by reporter Pat Wingert: The only hard data that has been made public by any denomination comes from John Jay College's study of Catholic priests, which was authorized and is being paid for by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops following the public outcry over the 2002 scandals. Limiting their study to plausible accusations made between 1950 and 1992, John Jay researchers reported that about 4 percent of the 110,000 priests […]

Apr
05
2010

NPR Studies NPR's Gender Balance

NPR ombud Alicia Shepard has posted an article (4/2/10)headlined "Where Are the Women?,"a summary of a study of the gender diversityofhigh-profile NPR programs. The most important findings: With the aid of NPR librarian Hannah Sommers, we compiled a list of regular commentators, who are not NPR employees but are paid to appear on air. There are 12 outside commentators who appeared at least 20 times in the last 15 months. The only woman is former NPR staffer, Cokie Roberts (51 times), who is on ME [Morning Edition] most Mondays talking politics. And: We also looked at the number of people […]

Mar
12
2010

CounterSpin: Lynn Paltrow on Utah Miscarriage Law, Susan Linn on Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

This week on CounterSpin: A new law in Utah says some women who miscarry should go to jail. You may have seen some coverage, but are journalists asking the right questions about the law's implications, and is there a bigger story here that's being missed? We'll hear from Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Also on CounterSpin this week: With a name like the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, you'd expect such a group is going to upset some big corporations. And they have, including launching a very successful campaign against media giant Disney. Well, maybe […]