Feb
14
2013

If There's a 'War Against Boys,' Why Are Men Still Winning?

The-War-Against-Boys-Sommers-Christina-9780786118601

Christina Hoff Sommers, who played a starring role in the anti-feminist backlash of the 1990s, is back again with a new edition of her book The War Against Boys. Originally subtitled¬† How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men, it's now relabeled How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men; she now stresses–in a major New York Times op-ed (2/3/13) and a 10-minute one-on-one interview on NPR's Tell Me More (2/12/13)–that changing schools to help boys do better educationally is just a question of "basic fairness." She writes in the Times: That boys struggle with school is hardly news…. Over […]

Dec
19
2012

Journalists Back on the Chained Gang

Chicken Cow, by Egui_

Don't expect much help from corporate media on understanding the "Chained CPI," because selling the "grand bargain" requires citizens not really knowing what this part of the deal entails.

Dec
18
2012

Fracking: Too Much of a Good Thing, Says Planet Money Guy

Photo:Flickr/joshlopezphoto

There is no serious discussion of environmental costs borne by the public, and there is not one word about climate change–a pretty shocking oversight when one considers the potential ramifications of a massive new investment in a fossil fuel industry.

Nov
07
2012

Pundits: In Victory, Obama Must Accommodate His Opponents

Matt Bai (photo by Nicole Mays)

With the election over, you're seeing familiar corporate media advice about the need for Obama to move to the right and learn to compromise with Republicans. Some of this is based on a frankly nonsensical view of the polarization that accompanied his first term. Matt Bai of the New York Times writes (11/7/12): There are, of course, plenty of explanations for why Mr. Obama's election did not usher in a less contentious political moment. Republicans say he squandered his opportunity to remake the political climate by adopting a traditionally liberal agenda. They point to his first big initiative, the stimulus […]

Oct
25
2012

NPR Could Use Some 'Energy Independence' of Its Own

NPR's Tom Gjelten

NPR's Tom Gjelten had a story on Morning Edition today (10/25/12) that made an important point about a prominent fallacy in the energy debate–and then spent the second half of the story falling into the exact same fallacy. The story questioned the constant use of the phrase "energy independence" in political discussions of U.S. energy policy. Gjelten noted: In truth, it would be virtually impossible for any country to be totally independent where energy is concerned. Not only would it have to produce all its own oil; it would also have to be independent of the global economy. Like sugar, […]

Aug
31
2012

FAIR TV: Paul Ryan, Bill O'Reilly's No Spin RNC and NPR "Truth Telling"

Aug
23
2012

Politicians Lie–and Reporters Can't Report That

There's an interesting Politico story (8/22/12) about Andrea Seabrook, who until recently was a Capitol Hill reporter for NPR. She's moved on to a new independent reporting project, but it's what she said about her previous gig that's most revealing: "I realized that there is a part of covering Congress, if you're doing daily coverage, that is actually sort of colluding with the politicians themselves because so much of what I was doing was actually recording and playing what they say or repeating what they say," Seabrook told Politico. "And I feel like the real story of Congress right now […]

Aug
17
2012

At NPR, You Can Take Money From Banks–Just Don't Protest Them

Even if you're not be an expert in media ethics, you'd probably agree that a show about finance and business exclusively sponsored by one giant bank has an obvious conflict. The fact that the show is on public radio might make such an arrangement all the more curious. And the fact that the host of the show also makes money giving speeches to the financial institutions he covers…. Well, now, that's not how things are supposed to work. But that's precisely how things work for Adam Davidson, the host of NPR's Planet Money. His program's exclusive underwriter is Ally Bank, […]

Jun
19
2012

Turning Down a Free Palace for Everyone Requires a Very Good Reason

Imagine an amazing new invention that allowed anyone to duplicate any existing building, using no resources. However, the law requires you to pay for such instant buildings, at about the price of those made the old-fashioned way, on the grounds that allowing everyone to live in their ideal home for free would make it hard for architects to make a living. Relatively little of the money paid for the new houses, though, goes to architects–or even to their great-grandchildren, many of the actual architects being long dead; most of it, rather, goes to builders and real estate agents, even though […]

Mar
16
2012

Do Afghans Love Their Holy Book More Than Their Kids?

I felt like there was something slightly off about this New York Times story yesterday (3/15/12), "In Reactions to Two Incidents, a U.S.-Afghan Disconnect." Reporter Rod Nordland wanted to explore why Afghans seemed so much more outraged over the recent burnings of the Quran than they were about a massacre of 16 civilians by a U.S. servicemember. His piece begins: KABUL, Afghanistan–¬Ě The mullah was astounded and a little angered to be asked why the accidental burning of Korans last month could provoke violence nationwide, while an intentional mass murder that included nine children last Sunday did not. "How can […]

Mar
13
2012

Dead Afghans Muck Up War Strategy

There is, as we pointed out yesterday, plenty of media coverage of the recent massacre of 16 Afghans–mostly children–as a PR problem. A related storyline is the discussion of the killings as presenting problems with the war strategy. Two headlines at the NPR website, for example: That piece advises that it "may be tough there for U.S. troops in the days and weeks ahead." Of course, the assumption in the headline is that there is a "strategy" in the first place. The other headline: That piece included a photo caption that explained that the dead Afghan children "could make the […]

Mar
02
2012

How Breitbart Got Away With His Lies

Andrew Breitbart (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Kudos to Paul Farhi of the Washington Post (3/2/12) for talking about the obvious deceptions and inaccuracies in right-wing publisher Andrew Breitbart's work: News organizations found, for example, that the ACORN videos–which purported to show a young Mr. Breitbart ally named James O'Keefe posing as a pimp seeking advice from the organization about how to establish a brothel and evade taxes–actually presented a heavily edited account of what had happened. An investigation by the California attorney general's office concluded that O'Keefe had added footage of himself and an ally dressed in flamboyant costumes that they had not worn to ACORN's […]

Feb
03
2012

Iran and the Threat of Not Having Future Wars

The conventional understanding you get from the media is that Israel is worried that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a serious threat to the country's existence. Is that really what's happening, though? Another interpretation is that Iran might want nuclear weapons not to launch any such an attack but to prevent an attack on its country–nuclear deterrence, in other words. (Of course, it's important to note that there is currently no evidence that Iran is pursuing a weapons program.) I was struck when I heard Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman bring up some of these ideas on NPR's Talk of the […]