Nov
30
2012

FAIR TV: NYT Counts Drone Victims, CBS=CEOs, AP's Iran Nukes Hoax

The new episode of FAIR TV is here!  CBS tells us what CEOs think about the "fiscal cliff" and the New York Times counts drone victims– but not very many of them. And did the Associated Press fall for a hoax with their latest "exclusive" on Iran and nuclear weapons? Check it out– and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter:

Nov
30
2012

NYT Undercounts Drone Deaths in Pakistan

bureau-pakistan

The New York Times editorial page (11/30/12) weighs in on the Obama administration's drone policies. What the paper wants is more accountability: The government "must stay within formal guidelines based on the rule of law." That's all well and good–but the paper should do a better job of counting the innocents killed by drone attacks. The Times explains that aspect of the story this way: For eight years, the United States has conducted but never formally acknowledged a program to kill terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban away from the battlefield in Afghanistan. Using drones, the Central Intelligence Agency […]

Sep
06
2012

NYT Still Has a Torture Problem

What do you call it when prisoners are slammed into walls, forced to wear diapers, placed in stress positions and subjected to drowning? You call that torture–unless you're the New York Times, and the United States is accused of being the torturers. A new report from Human Rights Watch indicates the group has found another victim of CIA waterboarding. This is especially significant because the Agency has long claimed that they had only tortured three people this way. The Human Rights Watch investigation was reported in the New York Times (9/6/12) by Charlie Savage and Scott Shane. But their report […]

Jun
18
2012

Pakistan's Weird Media

Pakistan has seen a television revolution over the past decade or so, opening up the political dialogue and in some cases giving voice to pro-democracy demonstrators. But there's been a downside, as the New York Times noted: But the television revolution has also, in some respects, been bad news for Pakistan. Some shows have given an unchallenged platform to extremists like Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, for whom the United States has offered a $10 million bounty. Conservative clerics have used the airwaves to reinforce prejudice and even urge violence against minorities. Editorial independence is […]

Jun
06
2012

NYT: Drone Strikes 'Combat Militancy' by Increasing Militants

In today's New York Times article (6/6/12) about the apparent drone killing of Al-Qaeda "deputy leader" Abu Yahya al-Libi, Declan Walsh and Eric Schmitt write: If his death is borne out this time, it would be a milestone in a covert eight-year airstrike campaign that has infuriated Pakistani officials but that has remained one of the United States' most effective tools in combating militancy. That's revealing. It's inarguable that the drones kill people the U.S. government wants to kill, and some it doesn't intend to kill. But does this really qualify as "combating militancy"? In Yemen, the increase in drone  […]

Jun
01
2012

MSNBC: No Time for Obama's Kill List?

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 […]

Apr
13
2012

On Drones and Democracy

Yesterday (4/12/12) Pakistan's parliament unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that, among other things, calls for an immediate end to CIA drone strikes in their country. The Washington Post's account of this news included this curious observation: From Washington's perspective, the debate in Parliament was a healthy exercise in democracy but one that is unlikely to affect the drone war. The military leaders of both nations see the drones as efficient and effective in eliminating hard-core Islamic militants that plague both the U.S. and Pakistani armies. I know that the Post is merely conveying "Washington's perspective," but let's think […]

Mar
19
2012

NYT's Anonymous Drone Defenders

There is a big piece in the New York Times today (3/19/12) on the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. And, as has been the case before, the U.S. perspective comes via anonymous government officials: A senior American official in Washington said that the CIA had consistently taken precautions to reduce the risk to civilians, and noted that some strikes had killed Pakistan's insurgent enemies, too. "These efforts have been extremely precise and effective," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the program's covert status. And later readers get this: "The overriding concern is to avoid […]

Feb
24
2012

NYT Public Editor on Anonymity and Drone Story

After our new alert (2/24/12), the New York Times public editor's office contacted FAIR to let us know that Arthur Brisbane responded to readers who complained about one of the articles discussed in the alert. Below is that response, which was emailed to readers. It was not published on the Times' site. Thanks for your message, one of a number I received about this story. I have had an opportunity to ask the reporter, Scott Shane, about it and reflect on the circumstances. On the positive side, I applaud the Times for covering the findings of the Bureau of Investigative […]

Feb
08
2012

LAT: Where's the Drone Deaths Coverage?

A Los Angeles Times editorial (2/7/12) begins: When the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism released a report Sunday claiming that U.S. drone strikes have killed dozens of civilian rescuers and mourners in Pakistan, the American media scarcely noticed. It's a good point.The Bureau's report got remarkably little media attention. A New York Times story (which included an anonymous U.S. official smearing the researchers as Al-Qaeda sympathizers) might be the only story in the mainstream media; the only stories coming up in the Nexis news database are from Antiwar.com (2/5/12) and papers in Pakistan. The report was covered on Democracy Now! […]

Feb
06
2012

NYT Lets Nameless Official Smear Drone Researchers as Al-Qaeda Fans

Not even a week after Barack Obama declared that not too many civilians die in the CIA's drone strikes in Pakistan, a new report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism finds that "at least 50 civilians" have been killed in rescues attempts, 20 in strikes on funerals, with at least 282 total civilians killed since Obama took office. That much you learn from the New York Times report by Scott Shane (2/6/12): WASHINGTON – British and Pakistani journalists said Sunday that the CIA's drone strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan have repeatedly targeted rescuers who responded to the scene of […]

Jan
31
2012

Loose Lips Sink Drones

Barack Obama did something yesterday that government leaders tend not to do: He talked about the CIA drone war in Pakistan. This admission–which, it should be pointed out, happened in a Google-sponsored Q & A with the public, not a session with reporters–made it into the papers. The New York Times (1/31/12) flagged civilian deaths as the most newsworthy aspect, headlining a report by Mark Landler "Civilian Deaths Due to Drones Are Not Many, Obama Says." Landler writes: Mr. Obama, in an unusually candid public discussion of the Central Intelligence Agency's covert program, said the drone strikes had not inflicted […]

Jan
03
2012

Time Cheers the Drone War

The new issue of Time magazine promises on its cover "Essential Info for the Year Ahead." One apparently essential report: U.S. drones are awesome. The report–written by Mark Thompson, available to subscribers only explains that a "hot military trend" this way: Today's generals and admirals want weapons that are smaller, remote-controlled and bristling with intelligence. In short, more drones that can tightly target terrorists, deliver larger payloads and are some of the best spies the U.S. has ever produced, even if they occasionally get captured in Iran or crash on landing at secret bases. And also, you know, kill innocent […]