Apr
12
2013

North Korea Has Deliverable Nuclear Warhead! Or Maybe Not!

washpost-nk

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.

Apr
04
2013

AP Ditches 'Illegal' Label

"No One Is Illegal" banner (cc photo: Vertigogen)

The Associated Press announced a change in their style guide: The wire service will no longer refer to "illegal immigrants," except in direct quotes. The change is a victory for activists who have called for years for journalists to stop using the term.

Apr
03
2013

Misreporting Israel/Gaza Cease-Fire

Wreckage from Israeli bombing of Gaza, November 2012 (cc photo: Norsk Folkehjelp)

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.

Mar
25
2013

102 Years After Triangle Fire, Media Still Wonder How Workers Keep Dying

Child workers, Bangladesh (Photo: Global Labour Rights)

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 […]

Mar
15
2013

The Pope and Politics

weigel-nbc

Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen as the new pope this week. But coverage often glossed over the most intense political controversies about him.

Mar
06
2013

AP: Chavez Wasted His Money on Healthcare When He Could Have Built Gigantic Skyscrapers

Venezuelan Poverty

Chavez squandered his nation's oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world's tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?

Feb
12
2013

AP Decides Your Husband or Wife Might Not Be

Wedding kiss, by Ben Salter

AP's intention was presumably to remain neutral on the issue of marriage equality–but its initial policy did take a position, indicating that no matter what their state government says, AP was not going to consider legally married same-sex couples to be really married.

Feb
05
2013

Where Are They Now? The Reporters Who Got Iraq So Wrong

Colin Powell at the UN

Ten years ago today, Colin Powell made the Bush administration's case for going to war against Iraq, and much of what he said was false. Most of the journalists who promoted his justifications for the war paid no price for their failures.

Jan
29
2013

Iranian Meddling in Yemen, Says Unnamed Official From Meddling Country

Sanaa, Yemen (photo: Ammar Abd Rabbo)

The country that has invaded and occupied two countries in the region, and is currently waging a drone war in Yemen–not to mention the occasional cluster bomb attack–is granted anonymity to call out another country's alleged "meddling" there.

Jan
04
2013

Phony Occupy Link to Weapons Cache

cbs-ows

It's bad enough to treat a unsubstantiated claim by a partisan news outlet, with a record of sensational misinformation on the same subject, as a relevant fact in a story. But how do you justify using this junk journalism as a chance to let a source give free rein to his fantasies of how Occupy might take a turn towards violence?

Nov
29
2012

AP's Iran Bomb Drawing Hoax

ap-iran

Crack open USA Today (11/28/12) and you saw this headline: Diagram Suggests Iran Working on Bomb The story was short–short enough for a careful reader to see that it in no way lived up to that alarmist headline. But the piece still tried really hard to frighten people. Here's the lead:  Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by the Associated Press. The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran's atomic program […]

Nov
21
2012

Precise Weapons Kill Civilians Too

Photo: PCHR

As a general rule, it'd be better if media accounts of war did not stress the surgical precision of the weapons being used. It's a fixture of U.S. reporting on U.S. wars, but the same rhetoric is used when U.S. allies are dropping bombs.   According to Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (11/19/12):  Israel has gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. Its air force has used new, highly accurate ammunition aiming for rocket-launching sites and government installations. For the most part, it has succeeded. Aron Heller of the Associated Press (11/17/12) had this description of the Israeli military: Israel, […]

Nov
14
2012

Syrian Civil War Strays Into…Syrian Territory

Hamat Gader, Golan Heights (photo by Job de Graaf)

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 […]