This week on FAIR TV: CBS Evening News looked like it was covering an immigrant rights rally– but it was merely a set up to talk about chaos at the border. Time's Joe Klein goes after the "gun lobby" by saying… both sides are at fault? And Cokie Roberts hears the public doesn't want to start a war with Syria. Why does she think that's "dangerous"?
Some days the Newspaper of Record says a lot–not always in ways you might expect. Today (3/21/13) a story by Mark Landler and Rick Gladstone about allegations of chemical weapons in Syria includes something you see often–anonymous government sources. That can often be a bad thing; but today it's pretty useful: Two senior Israeli officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak, said that Israel was sure that chemicals were used, but did not have details about what type of weapons were used, where they came from, when they were deployed, or by whom. [...]
NBC's Richard Engel report that "what we've been able to confirm" is that a Syrian convoy attacked by Israel "was packed with fairly sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles." It is highly doubtful that Engel could "confirm" any such thing–unless by "confirm" he means that NBC is confirming that government sources are claiming what they are claiming.
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.
If you were concerned that the Syria WMD stories didn't already feel enough like the Iraq WMD reports, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius had one just for you. It's not that Ignatius doesn't know that this story sounds, well, familiar–but it's important to recall more of the journalism from the Iraq invasion era.
After Syrian mortar fire from Syria's civil war reportedly strayed into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights last weekend, some U.S. journalists seemed confused about the political geography of the region. For instance, CBS Evening News reported (11/12/12) reported: Syria's civil war has now touched Israel. For the second straight day, a shell from Syria landed in Israeli territory. Well, no. The shells in question landed on the Golan Heights, a part of Syria that has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967–but is internationally recognized as continuing to be Syrian territory. A CNN Wire report, "For Second Time in [...]
It's been widely reported that on May 25, pro-Syrian forces massacred 108 civilians in the Syrian village of Houla, including 34 women and 49 children, many of whose throats were cut. The reported atrocity has sparked the latest round of appeals for intervention in the conflict in Syria. Syrian diplomats have been expelled from several countries over the massacre, including by U.S., Britain, France, Australia and Canada; "Syrian Diplomats Expelled Across World as Outrage Over Houla Massacre Grows," the British Guardian (5/29/12) declared. "Who Will Stop the Massacres?" asked the headline on a May 29 Washington Post editorial. As the editors [...]