Not every politician gets a warm and fuzzy retirement profile in the New York Times. But not every politician is Joe Lieberman. Jennifer Steinhauer's piece (11/27/12) is a tribute mostly to Lieberman's close bond with Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The "Three Amigos" traveled the world together, advocating for one hawkish foreign policy idea after another: Their hawkish world views often placed them at odds with their respective parties, but together they secured a place at the center of every major foreign policy debate. That's mostly true of Lieberman, but it's hard to figure how McCain and Graham much [...]
On NBC Nightly News (11/15/12) , correspondent Martin Fletcher gives viewers a sense of the suffering on both sides of the Israel/Gaza conflict: FLETCHER: Terror in Israel. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: "There is another one," a soldier screams. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: More than 200 missiles fired at Israel today. And in Gaza, despair. (SHOUTING) FLETCHER: Burying an infant killed in an Israeli attack. Frightened Israeli soldiers are being terrorized. And Gazans burying a child? Something else, apparently.
It's bad enough when media refer to civilian deaths in U.S. wars as "collateral damage," but it was jarring to see how the phrase was used in a Washington Post headline today: Obviously, they're talking about the sex-and-emails scandal. How could dead Afghan civilians ever threaten the career of a high-ranking U.S. official?
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 [...]
The London Independent published a harrowing story on October 14, "Iraq Records Huge Rise in Birth Defects." The piece focuses on the legacy of the U.S war in Iraq, in particular the two massive U.S. military invasions of the city of Fallujah in 2004. The Independent reports: High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiraling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad. [...]
ABC World News' David Muir (9/30/12) took note of the 2,000th U.S. military death in Afghanistan this way: Overseas now to Afghanistan, and a stark reminder tonight of the human cost of war. An attack at a checkpoint left two Americans dead, one of them a serviceman, the 2,000th U.S. military death since the war began. That kind of language is revealing in that it presents American deaths as evidence of the "human cost of war." But, of course, that is a human cost almost every day most wars. What they're saying is this is primarily something we should think [...]
Crooks & Liars (9/26/12) notes Bill O'Reilly is proposing a naval blockade of Iraq: Says O'Reilly: We're going to block it, nothing in, nothing out. OK? That's what we're going to do. And if you challenge the blockade, we'll do what we have to do like the Cuban missile crisis, same thing–not gonna do it, not gonna let your nukes in Cuba. Kennedy did that. Not gonna let your nukes in Iran. BANG! That's what we're gonna do. So you've either got to stop now and not force us to do it, because if you force us to do it, [...]
The protests and violence in Egypt, Libya and Yemen have caused a notable uptick in media discussions about, as Newsweek's cover puts it, "Muslim Rage." Part of the corporate media's job is to make sure real political grievances are mostly kept out of the discussion. It's a lot easier to talk about angry mobs and their peculiar religion than it is to acknowledge that maybe some of the anger has little to do with religion at all. Take the news out of Afghanistan yesterday: A NATO airstrike killed eight women in the eastern province of Laghman who were out collecting [...]
NBC's Olympics broadcast last night included a profile of Grenadian runner Kirani James. The small island is peaceful now, viewers learned, thanks in no small part to Ronald Reagan's decision to invade. Here's the clip: (UPDATE: As you can see, someone at NBC is keeping tabs on YouTube, and they've taken this down twice. You can watch the segment– along with a shampoo ad– at the NBC site.) The U.S. invasion is described as an attempt to "put down an Communist coup and restore the Grenadian government"; the broadcast goes on to refer to the U.S. "liberation" of the country. In [...]
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 [...]
There are plenty of worthwhile things media could try to tell us about U.S. drone wars. But does the world need another uncritical piece about the difficult life of a drone pilot? Apparently someone at the New York Times thought so, and so readers get a story (7/30/12) headlined "A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away." Reporter Elisabeth Bumiller (perhaps best known for a testy C-SPAN appearance where she explained that New York Times reporters "can't just say the president is lying") gives us a glimpse into the struggles of the pilots who spend hours–even days–tracking [...]
The Supreme Court decided on Thursday that lying about medals and military service, while "contemptible," is protected under the First Amendment's free speech clause. The court said the federal "Stolen Valor" law was overly broad and imposed a chilling effect on free speech. This news enraged Rush Limbaugh, who responded on is radio show with disdain, facetiously wondering, "I don't know if they legalized pedophilia or not." An interesting non sequitur, but back on point: Limbaugh's comprehension of freedom of speech has always been a crabbed affair, pretty much limited to the view that he and his conservative allies–people who enjoy [...]
It's been said (by me!) that the big spending cuts set to hit the federal budget next year–so-called "sequestration"–are not created equal, at least in the eyes of the corporate media. The cuts, as designed, hit the military budget and non-military spending in roughly equal measure. The political calculation was that Republicans would object to the military cuts while Democrats would object to cuts in social spending. But in the corporate media, those non-military cuts hardly ever get any attention–perhaps because there are not powerful lobbyists and Cabinet officials complaining loudly about how the safety of the country is at [...]