The panicky style of reporting on North Korea doesn't seem to be changing much, if you glance at the front pages of the Washington Post and New York Times this morning. But both pieces, if read carefully, undermine the alarmism–and make you wonder why the stories are on the front page.
It's no secret that U.S. media loathed the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Much of that was purely political; sure, Chavez could have given shorter speeches and been nicer to his political opponents–but it's hard to imagine that would have mattered much to, say, the Washington Post editorial board. One thing that turned up constantly in Chavez coverage over the years was his suspicion that the United States government was looking to undermine his rule. As a Washington Post news article (1/10/13) put it: A central ideological pillar of Chavez's rule over 14 years has been to oppose Republican and [...]
An Israeli airstrike on Gaza yesterday is being reported as a breach of the cease-fire agreement that was reached after violence last November between the Israeli military and Hamas forces. But the new accounts are misleading: They give the impression that Israel hasn't regularly violated the agreement already.
On the 102nd anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, Janine Jackson's article in the last issue of Extra! (3/13) is a sobering reminder that not that much has changed in the last century as far as worker safety is concerned: What should be done to prevent incidents like the January 26 fire at the Smart Fashion Export factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which at least seven garment workers (three of them teenage girls) were killed, their escape impeded by a blocked exit and the absence of the most rudimentary fire safety equipment? The answer for many would be: whatever is [...]
Thanks to the Washington Post, we're still reading lies about the Iraq War ten years later.
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. [...]