Nov
09
2010

Papers Pick a Midterms Winner: 'Free Trade' Agreements

Whatever lesson you want to draw the midterms, the nation's top editorial pages want to make one thing perfectly clear: Now is the time to move on bipartisan, corporate-friendly "free trade" agreements. "A time for free trade," was the Washington Post's November 7 headline. "The Democratic majority in the House was heavily influenced by organized labor and hostile to trade," the paper announced. "Now that the Republicans are in the majority, all three trade agreements have better prospects–good news for the American companies and workers who would benefit from expanded exports, and for the American consumers who would benefit from […]

Aug
13
2010

Missing From L.A. Times' 'Debate Over Democratic Process': More Than One Viewpoint

The Los Angeles Times reports today (8/13/10) that the "moral argument" over California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriages, "has morphed into a debate over the democratic process and the propriety of judges overturning laws approved by voters." It's strange, then, that an article on this "debate" would feature only viewpoints from one side: the side that says, "The people voted on it and it should be left alone." All five of the sources quoted by reporter Mike Anton took this position. (There was also a two-word quotation from Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling: "moral disapproval.") Anton does note that "tension […]

Jul
16
2010

Burqa Ban: Coverage of a Law to 'Free' Women Leaves Them Voiceless

As France's lower house of parliament approved a ban on wearing full-face Islamic veils such as the burqa or niqab, many U.S. news outlets left out a key voice in their reports: the Muslim women in France who are actually affected by the ban. Several major outlets, including the New York Times (7/14/10), Washington Post (7/14/10) and the Los Angeles Times (7/14/10), have managed to cover the story without seeking commentary from a single Muslim woman. Out of 11 named sources used bythese newspapers in their July 14 reports, only two were Muslim–both men, one a rector and one leader […]

Jul
06
2010

LAT Film Critic Shouldn't Throw at Stone

L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan (7/2/10), reviewing Oliver Stone's documentary South of the Border, remarks in passing that "a recent piece in the New York Times pointed out numerous errors" in the film's discussion of Latin American politics. Turan might have noticed that the Times' supposed debunking, by former Latin American correspondent Larry Rohter, has itself been quite thoroughly debunked. But even more important when pointing out a filmmaker's "numerous errors" is to avoid making glaring errors of one's own, as Turan did when he recommended other documentaries similar to Stone's: If you are interested in the fascinating events […]

Jul
02
2010

Another Latin American Left President Under Fire?

The new Oliver Stone documentary South of the Border israisingawareness of the often shabby U.S. media treatment of Latin America. A recent example is a June 24L.A. Times piece by Alex Renderos headlined "El Salvador President Under Fire." The president is former FMLN leader Mauricio Funes, who waselected last year. According to the Times, things are going poorly for him: Crime and corruption are still problems, he is facing an"avalanche of criticism," and "Salvadorans are growing impatient." The paperadds: Funes' failures have hit the poor and working class especially hard. After two decades of one-party right-wing rule, they greeted the […]

Aug
25
2009

The Downside to Murdoch's Plan to Control Online News

The problem with Rupert Murdoch's proposal to create an online news consortium, in which major publishers would all band together to put their news content behind pay walls (L.A. Times, 8/21/09), is that it's not illegal to discuss news events online. And you don't want to make it illegal to discuss news events online. And yet, absent a law forbidding such discussions, there's nothing to stop someone from buying subscriptions to the various pay news sites and starting a website (like this one, but more so) in which they write about what they've learned from them–thus offering for free what […]