When a family of nine is killed in an airstrike, what is the proper way to grieve? That question might not occur to you, but readers of the New York Times (11/20/12) were treated to correspondent Jodi Rudoren's unusual critique of a funeral for members of the Dula family, whose home in Gaza City was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on Sunday. "There were few if any visible tears at the intense, chaotic, lengthy funeral," she wrote. "Instead, there were fingers jabbing the air to signal 'Allah is the only one,' defiant chants about resistance and calls for revenge, flags in [...]
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 [...]
Writing about journalistic treatment of the superstorm and climate change, CJR's Curtis Brainard (10/30/12) criticizes the New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert for the wrong reason. He takes issue with her statement (10/29/12): As with any particular "weather-related loss event," it's impossible to attribute Sandy to climate change. However, it is possible to say that the storm fits the general pattern in North America, and indeed around the world, toward more extreme weather, a pattern that, increasingly, can be attributed to climate change. He's unhappy with the second part–retorting that you can't attribute a trend toward extreme weather to climate change. But [...]
A new FAIR action alert takes the PBS NewsHour to task for reporting claims about Iran having a nuclear weapons program as if they were facts. If you write a letter to to the NewsHour, please consider posting it in the comments section below.
MSNBC's Morning Joe had a remarkable discussion of U.S. drone attacks today (10/23/12). Here's a clip of the most intense moments of the exchange between the conservative-leaning Joe Scarborough and Time columnist Joe Klein, who is occasionally mistaken for a liberal: Scarborough offered up a more passionate critique of drone attacks than you're likely to hear from his left-leaning MSNBC colleagues: "If you're between 17 and 30, and you're within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up." When Klein interjects to argue that drones are "decimating bad guys," Scarborough responds that the attacks are "taking out a [...]
USA Today (10/17/12) ran a story about a battery manufacturer filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But the story might as well have been a press release from the Mitt Romney campaign. "Another Blow for Green Energy" read the headline. Wendy Koch's piece led off with this: An electric vehicle battery maker that was awarded $249 million in federal stimulus funds filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on Tuesday, giving GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney potential ammunition to attack President Obama's green-energy subsidies. It's a short article, but it's hard to avoid the central theme: This is good news for the [...]
U.S. media have shown great, and warranted, interest in Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head October 9 by members of a Taliban faction for her outspoken promotion of education for women. The attack "has horrified people across the South Asian country and abroad," reports the Washington Post, and "has also sparked hope that the Pakistani government will respond by intensifying its fight against the Taliban and its allies." In recalling conversations with Yousafzai, the Christian Science Monitor's Owais Tohid noted her sources of inspiration: The first time I met Malala, a couple of years ago, I [...]
Mitt Romney has a multi-trillion dollar tax cut plan that he says won't add to the deficit. How does that work? He won't say, other than to pledge that he'd close some loopholes and deductions, but that none of those would harm "middle-class" Americans. Analysts have argued that this is not mathematically possible. So how do you factcheck that? That was the task for CBS Evening News last night (10/15/12). And their answer seemed to boil down to: Well, maybe. CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews explained: "Romney argues that lower rates will stimulate the economy and he is emphatic the middle-class [...]
Time's Michael Scherer (10/9/12) responded to a FAIR Blog post by FAIR's Peter Hart (10/3/12), who apparently spoke for many: Peter Hart, writing for the liberal Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, summed up many of the tweets I received. "The article kicks off with a hefty helping of false balance–the tendency to see all problems as coming more or less equally from both sides," he wrote. "One of the most common problems with media factchecking is the need to always be balanced–no matter what is happening in reality." Scherer responds: I don’t disagree with Hart's underlying point…. I would love [...]
The new episode of FAIR TV. This week we take a look at Time's big fact checking cover story and how the Washington Post talks about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. We also ask the question: Do media think Afghans are humans too? Take a look and please share this with your friends.
Washington Post ombud Patrick Pexton (9/30/12) presents conservative opinion as a prima facie case for a left-wing slant in corporate news media: "Republicans think the news media are being too easy on Barack Obama…. Everyone sees more bias, and Republicans see it more than other groups." Offering this as evidence of a left media bias is, of course, highly dubious. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans say that humans aren't warming the planet. Sixty-three percent still maintain that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans "believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 [...]
This week on FAIR TV: Was Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's UN address, illustrated with a cartoon bomb, really "professorial"? Plus some thoughts on whether the media should be declaring the Afghan surge "over," and an update on what the Washington Post is telling activists about its ties to Big Oil.