Mar
01
2013

Republican Pals and Their 'National Security' Passion

mccain-graham

Time magazine has a profile this week of Senate Republican buddies John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and one passage really stands out–not for what it reveals about them, really, but about the media. Michael Crowley writes: Graham and McCain have been friends for more than a decade, a partnership born of their shared passion for national security (McCain was a Navy pilot, Graham is still an Air Force Reserve lawyer), a willingness to poke their party's base in the eye and an uncanny knack for attracting the media's attention. More surprising and quotable than bland party leaders like Mitch McConnell […]

Jan
02
2013

Some Cluster Bombs More Newsworthy Than Others

photo from Amnesty International.

The use of cluster bombs against civilians is newsworthy depending on who is using them. If it's an enemy state, like Syria or Qaddafi's Libya, you can expect to read about it, and in clear language on the front page. And an article like this will mention, almost in passing, that our own government does the same.

Nov
27
2012

NYT Waves Goodbye to Three Amigos of Militarism

John McCain and Joe Lieberman (photo: Talk Radio News Service)

Not every politician gets a warm and fuzzy retirement profile in the New York Times. But not every politician is Joe Lieberman.  Jennifer Steinhauer's piece (11/27/12) is a tribute mostly to Lieberman's close bond with Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The "Three Amigos" traveled the world together, advocating for one hawkish foreign policy idea after another: Their hawkish world views often placed them at odds with their respective parties, but together they secured a place at the center of every major foreign policy debate. That's mostly true of Lieberman, but it's hard to figure how McCain and Graham much […]

Nov
19
2012

The People Have Spoken: Benghazi, Not Afghanistan

Martha Raddatz (photo: Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne)

At the end of ABC's This Week (11/18/12), Martha Raddatz presented a brief viewer-mail segment: And finally, "Your Voice This Week." Today's question comes from Cheryl Robinson, who writes, "What happened in Benghazi was terribly tragic, and now we're hearing of another Middle Eastern war on the brick. Let us and you, the media, not forget about the war that our own kids are fighting for us in Afghanistan. Why is there so little coverage?" Well, because, unfortunately, very few people feel the way you do, Cheryl. There is a war-weariness with the public, and outside of campaign season, the […]

Oct
19
2012

CBS Libya 'Factcheck' Will Live in Infamy

Franklin Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Japan (National Archives)

CBS Evening News (10/17/12) provides another example of corporate media's through-the-looking-glass  media "factchecking" of the Libya exchange at the second Obama/Romney debate (FAIR Media Advisory, 10/18/12). CBS's Jan Crawford set up the issue this way: For weeks, Republicans have said the president's reluctance to call the attacks terrorism is a sign his administration doesn't have a competent national security policy. Last night, the president said he did call it an act of terror within 24 hours of the attacks. That is a new explanation, and it triggered a clash between the president, Romney and the debate moderator. Note how the […]

Oct
17
2012

Noise and Nonsense on Benghazi Attack

hofstra

Over the past few weeks of the presidential campaign we've been hearing a lot–maybe too much–about the September 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. It's been turned into a campaign issue by the Romney team, which has used the incident to charges that the Obama administration is unable to manage foreign affairs and so forth.  The intensity of the Republican pushback has made this into a major story. It was the lead issue in the vice presidential debate, and has been a regular subject on the Sunday […]

Sep
13
2012

The Case of the Disappearing NYT Piece

Mitt Romney

At Huffington Post (9/13/12), Ryan Grim and Michael Calderone are raising questions about the somewhat mysterious disappearance of a New York Times news article: On Wednesday, the New York Times published a provocative story bylined by David E. Sanger and Ashley Parker, leading with the news that Mitt Romney had personally approved the blistering Tuesday night statement on the attacks in Libya and Egypt that landed his campaign in trouble. But hours later, the newspaper wiped the story out and replaced it with a significantly rewritten piece bylined by Peter Baker and Ashley Parker…. The later version, which appeared on […]

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 […]

May
21
2012

Now They Tell Us: Iranian Diamonds, Megrahi Questions

Two things in the New York Times today that readers should have already known more about: –Reporter William Broad has an article (5/21/12) on the state of nuclear inspections in Iran, particularly the military facility at Parchin. Broad tells readers about the "proposed inspection of a building that the agency suspects Iran used in testing explosives that can trigger a nuclear blast." People following this story know that the facility in question is at the heart of the case against Iran. When the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report last November that finally detailed some of the allegations against […]

Apr
17
2012

NYT: Iranians and Their Lying Religion

There are different ways media talk about how you can't trust Iran. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, for one, went straight for bigotry: "These Persians lie like a rug," he wrote in 2009. The New York Times took a slightly different route on Saturday (4/14/12) : Maybe Iran can't be trusted because their religion permits–or perhaps even encourages–duplicity. "Seeking Nuclear Insight in Fog of the Ayatollah's Utterances" was the headline over the piece by James Risen. It's hard to know what the fog might be; the Iranian leader who actually has control over the nuclear program–supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei–has […]

Feb
22
2012

James Traub Bids a Fond Farewell to an Era of Constant Warfare

James Traub seemed a little bummed in a Sunday New York Times op-ed ("The End of American Intervention?," 2/18/10), that military cuts and changing priorities will mean fewer humanitarian interventions in America's future. So we must accept, if uneasily, the future which now seems to lie before us: We will do less good in the world, but also less harm. A leading advocate of "humanitarian intervention," Traub doesn't waste many words on the "harm" produced the by two decades of them, but he seems pretty sure about the "good." For instance, he writes that the post-Cold War period "raised the […]

Dec
19
2011

Now It Can Be Told: Libyan Civilian Deaths

The Sunday New York Times (12/18/11) featured a powerful investigation of civilian casualties resulting from the NATO war in Libya–casualties that, to hear NATO officials tell it, maybe don't even exist. The Times' C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt report: But an on-the-ground examination by The New York Times of airstrike sites across Libya–including interviews with survivors, doctors and witnesses, and the collection of munitions remnants, medical reports, death certificates and photographs–found credible accounts of dozens of civilians killed by NATO in many distinct attacks. The victims, including at least 29 women or children, often had been asleep in homes when […]

Oct
21
2011

John McCain, Libya Expert

As one would expect, corporate media reacted to the developments in Libya by turning to one of their favorite sources: Republican Sen. John McCain. He was on CNN this morning (and last night as well), and odds are that he'll be on a Sunday show. McCain's line on Libya is that the White House should have waged a more aggressive war. If any of these outlets wanted to challenge him on his record on Libya, all they would need to do is talk about this ancient newspaper article from August 2009: Or perhaps this item from Politico, from way back […]