Aug
01
2012

The Threat–Again–of Left-Wing Latin American Democracy

You can count on U.S. corporate media to express alarm about the threat posed by left-wing governments in Latin America. Sometimes it's military hype (think Soviet MiGs in Nicaragua), but more typically it takes the form of a generalized concern about certain governments' commitment to democratic ideals. But how do you sound the alarm about left-wing threats to democracy when actual elected left-wing leaders are being removed in anti-democratic coups? That's no easy feat, but some reporters are up to the challenge. In the Washington Post on July 22 (under the headline "Latin America's New Authoritarians"), reporter Juan Forero explains […]

Jul
30
2012

Pundit Accountability: What an Idea!

Writing in Newsweek, Peter Beinart has a pretty good idea: America's foreign-policy debate desperately needs some measure of accountability. I'm not suggesting that politicians and pundits who got Iraq wrong be banished from public life. (This standard would leave me looking for other work.) But neither should they be able to flee the scene of the disaster. Imagine if every time Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton or John Bolton or John McCain or William Kristol was interviewed about military intervention in Iran or Syria, the interviewer began by asking what they've learned about the subject from their experience supporting the […]

Jun
28
2012

Newsweek's 'New Media' List Resembles Old Media

The new issue of Newsweek magazine is full of lists. This is a surefire way to generate buzz, since people are bound to disagree with who's on your list– and then write about it. Which is exactly what I'm doing. But one of the lists really jumped out. The magazine selected the top "Opinionists," who are apparently the "best online writers at war with the obvious." The first thing you notice is that two of the five judges are Newsweek-affiliated columnists: conservative David Frum and the right-leaning Andrew Sullivan. And who made the list of top opinion writers? Frum and […]

Jun
11
2012

Newsweek: In Praise of Ray Kelly, Crime-Fighting Superhero

Ray Kelly

Last night's on CBS' 60 Minutes, viewers got to see an encore broadcast of an embarrassingly sycophantic tribute to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Glenn Greenwald takes it apart at Salon.com, explaining how CBS regaled viewers with "news" about "the heart of the man with a world of worry," and documented—through dogged investigative work—how Panetta "stays in touch with his humanity." This was no isolated incident; hero worship is a endemic feature of corporate media. Consider the current issue of Newsweek, where one can find another embarrassing tribute to a supposedly tough talking leader. This time it's New York Police Department […]

May
14
2012

Newsweek Enables Colin Powell's Iraq War Revisionism

Right before the United States invaded Iraq, Newsweek magazine published a remarkable story. Reporter John Barry revealed that former Iraqi weapons chief Hussein Kamel had told UN inspectors in 1995 that the country had destroyed its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. As FAIR pointed out at the time, this was a remarkable discovery, especially considering that Kamel's words had be used so often by U.S. officials to serve the opposite point–that Iraq still posed a dire threat.  As FAIR pointed out: According to Newsweek, Kamel told the same story to CIA analysts in August 1995. If that is true, […]

Feb
15
2012

Newsweek and the 'War on Christians'

A cover that declares a "War on Christians" is bound to get some attention. Writing in the February 12 issue of Newsweek, author Ayaan Hirsi Ali's argument is just as blunt. Enough with all this talk "about Muslims as victims of abuse," because really it's the other way around: A wholly different kind of war is underway–an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm. To suggest that a genocide is underway is, of course, a serious charge. And […]

Jan
27
2012

When Experts' Bitter Medicine Is Really Snake Oil

Niall Ferguson is undoubtedly an expert. As the bio on his Newsweek column points out, he's "a professor of history at Harvard University. He is also a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution." His latest column (1/23/12) is about the need to sell the public on the policies recommended by experts: To the kind of people who spend their careers inside elite institutions, the technocratic turn is welcome. Decisions about economic policy, they reason, are too difficult to be entrusted to the people's elected representatives…. But there's a catch. The […]

Jan
25
2012

Newsweek and That Neverending Liberal Media Bias

You may have heard last week that right-wing media critics were howling about this: "Those liberals are calling us dumb!" seemed to be the feeling on the right–a strange reaction to a piece written by conservative Andrew Sullivan. Newsweek is back on the case this week: The response to conservative Sullivan comes from…. conservative writer David Frum. When will the liberal media give conservatives a fair shake, I ask you?

Oct
19
2011

Newsweek's Funny Numbers on Green Jobs

An article in the new issue ofNewsweek (10/24/11)–"Obama's Big Green Mess: How the White House lost its Eco-Mojo"–presents White House policy as a series of failures. It starts off with federal inspectors finding serious problems with various weatherization projects. That's just the tip of the iceberg–from Solyndra to stimulus, things aren't looking good. But writers Daniel Stone and Eleanor Clift seems to want to give White House critics an assist with things like this: Overall, as the $787 billion economic stimulus–the primary engine for the green-energy agenda–came to an end September 30, it is clear that the program created far […]

Aug
26
2011

Zakaria, Libya and Iraq: Don't Remember What I Wrote

Fareed Zakaria cheers the Libya War in Time magazine this week for not following the Iraq model: It has been prosecuted with the memory of the Iraq war firmly in mind. Only this time the approach has been to view the last war as a negative example. The international coalition–and even the Libyan opposition–is doing pretty much the opposite of what was done in Iraq. Zakaria explains that Obama "was clearly trying to avoid the mistakes of Iraq." Among the mistakes the Bush administration made: Had UN weapons inspectors been given more time in the spring of 2003, the UN […]

Aug
17
2011

She Was After His Money: Newsweek's Anonymous Strauss-Kahn Rumor Mill

A few weeks ago Newsweek's piece on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case offered a welcome break from some of the sloppy, offensive coverage of the case we've seen elsewhere in the media. The magazine even cast doubt on some of the reporting coming from the New York Times. This week, though, is another matter. John Solomon has a piece outlining the Strauss-Kahn defense, and he includes this: Now sources familiar with Strauss-Kahn's case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, say the defense could speculate that the encounter went bad when housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo discovered she would not receive any […]

Jul
25
2011

Mistakes, Madeleine Albright and Dead Iraqi Children

Newsweek has a feature called "My Favorite Mistake," where a famous person talks about something they've done wrong.http://www.fair.org/blog/wp-admin/edit.php This week (7/24/11) it's former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The mistake she cited was when she wore the wrong pin to a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and then said something critical about his Chechnya policy. (The best mistakes are the most self-serving ones, apparently.) When I saw the headline, I was half-wondering if she'd talk about her famous defense of killing Iraqi children on 60 Minutes (5/12/96): Leslie Stahl asks Albright: "We have heard that half a million children […]

Jul
25
2011

Diallo Speaks: Are There Holes in the 'DSK Case Crumbles' Narrative?

Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who has accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is now speaking out publicly–weeks after press coverage took a turn against her, based on the notion that something about her made her allegations less credible. "Strauss-Kahn Prosecution Said to Be Near Collapse" was the July 1 New York Times headline. One of the strongest bits of evidence was the claim that Diallo spoke to a friend, in prison on a drug charge, about Strauss-Kahn's wealth–the implication was that she and a criminal associate were plotting out how to profit from the assault. Newsweek's cover story this week is based […]