Feb
01
2010

When Is a Terrorist Not a Terrorist?

FAIR has long complained (Extra!, 7-8/95; Extra Update!, 12/98) about corporate media's avoidance of the word "terrorism" to describe the murder of doctors who perform abortions, even though it meets the standard definition: the use of violence against non-combatants to achieve a political purpose. But the term is still glaringly absent from the corporate media discussion of attacks like Scott Roeder's assassination of abortion provider George Tiller. (For an exception to the rule, see an Oregonian editorial, 1/29/10.) The choice of terms makes a crucial difference in the way the issue of violence against women's health clinics is discussed. Take […]

Jan
29
2010

Presenting the Fed as Financial Philosopher Kings

AP's story (1/28/10) on Ben Bernanke's reconfirmation as chair of the Federal Reserve states plainly what is more usually the unstated assumption in corporate media coverage of the Fed: The battle over Bernanke's confirmation has been a test of central bank independence, a crucial element if the Fed is to carry out unpopular but economically essential policies. From this perspective, the Federal Reserve is an organization of financial philosopher kings who must be insulated from democracy in order to do what is best for us. There is another way to look at it, of course: that the Fed essentially represents […]

Jan
28
2010

Another Embarrassing Factcheck From Calvin Woodward

AP's Calvin Woodward, who has the standing assignment of "factchecking" political speeches, continues to be an embarrassment to genuine factcheckers everywhere–substituting his own weird value judgments, semantic games and crystal-ball gazing for genuine examination of facts (FAIR Blog, 10/30/08, 2/25/09, 4/30/09). In his post-State of the Union effort (1/27/10), he singles out Barack Obama's call for a non-military discretionary spending freeze, pointing out that during the 2008 campaign Obama had said that rival John McCain's proposal for a spending freeze was "using a hatchet where you need a scalpel." Saying that Obama's "proposal is similar to McCain's," Woodward complained that […]

Jun
07
2009

Gains for Europe's Right–or AP's Wishful Thinking?

An AP story (6/7/09) previewing today's European Parliament election is headlined on MSNBC, "Europe Leans Right Ahead of Parliament Voting: Amid Economic Gloom, Conservatives Look Set to Win Big in Europe-Wide Poll." The article, by Michael Weissenstein and Robert Wielaard, begins: Europe was leaning to the right ahead of European Parliament elections Sunday, with voters in many countries favoring conservative parties against a backdrop of economic crisis. Opinion polling showed right-leaning governments with edges over their opposition in Germany, Italy and France. Conservative opposition parties were tied or ahead in Britain, Spain, and some smaller countries. So how big is […]

May
20
2009

Media Cheer Obama Moves Toward Bush's 'Center'

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (5/19/09, ad-viewing required) "gives the lie to the collective national claim that we learned our lesson and are now regretful about the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism": Republicans are right about the fact that while it was Bush officials who led the way in implementing these radical and lawless policies, most of the country's institutions–particularly the Democratic Party leadership and the media–acquiesced to it, endorsed it, and enabled it. And they still do. Nothing has produced as much media praise for Obama as his embrace of what [the New Republic's Jack] Goldsmith calls the "essential elements" of "the […]

Apr
20
2009

Media Discover 'Obscure' Latin American Book

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave U.S. President Barack Obama a copy of Eduardo Galeano's book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent at last weekend's Summit of the Americas, the corporate media appeared to be caught off guard. In its initial report, CNN (Newsroom, 4/18/09) appeared to be completely unaware of Galeano's classic 1971 treatise on the history of European and U.S. imperialism in Latin America, failing to correct Obama's initial mistaken belief that the book was penned by Chavez himself. Both CNN (CNN Newsroom, 4/18/09) and AP (4/19/09) contrasted the immediate […]

Feb
25
2009

AP's Obama 'Fact-Check' Does Not Meet the 'Gotcha' Threshold

This AP "fact check" (2/24/09) of President Barack Obama's speech is, as usual, a sad effort. You really need to have some threshold for calling "gotcha," and some of these–maybe all of these–really don't measure up. Obama says, "Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market," and AP's Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn retort, "This may be so, but it isn't only Republicans who pushed for deregulation of the financial industries." But Obama didn't say–or suggest–that they were. Nor is he the sort of politician who routinely pretends that his party […]

Feb
24
2009

AP Stuck in Social Security Crisis Groove

Media Matters (2/24/09) catches AP reporter Liz Sidoti garbling Barack Obama's position on entitlements: He called the long-term solvency of Social Security "the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far" and said reforming healthcare, including burgeoning entitlement programs, was a huge priority. What Obama actually said was: In the coming years, we'll be forced to make more tough choices and do much more to address our long-term challenges, from the rising cost of healthcare that Peter [Orszag, Office of Management and Budget director] described, which is the single most pressing fiscal challenge we face by far, to the […]

Feb
06
2009

Dewey Defeats Truman; AP Hopes to Defeat 1st Amendment

We noted recently Fox News' peculiar understanding of the Fair Use doctrine, which allows writers, artists and others to make reasonable use of copyrighted material so long as they don't infringe on the copyright owners' commercial rights; Fox interprets this to mean that critics should only be allowed to make use of Fox video if Fox is allowed to sell ads to run alongside the criticism. Now another corporate media company is making strange claims against Fair Use. The Associated Press is claiming that the well-known "HOPE" poster of Barack Obama violates its copyright, because artist Shepard Fairey used an […]

Dec
01
2008

The AP's 'Untold Number of Iraqis' Killed

Well aware that "from the aftermath of the 2003 'shock and awe' bombing campaign all the way through Thanksgiving Day 2008, major U.S. news outlets have nearly uniformly blacked out or downplayed reports of the Iraqi death toll," critic Brad Jacobson notes (MediaBloodhound, 11/30/08) that "a recent Associated Press article reveals the depths to which these outlets are still willing to delve to censor this information": In the November 27 article "Iraqi Parliament OKs U.S. Troops for 3 More Years," by Christopher Torchia and Qassim Abdul-Zahra, AP editors approved the following characterization of Iraqi deaths suffered since the US invasion: […]

Oct
30
2008

AP: Obama Misleads by Not Promising Austerity

The Associated Press (10/29/08) does its usual sad job trying to fact-check candidate statements–this time working a hefty dose of neo-Hooverism into the mix. AP's Calvin Woodward charges that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office. For instance, Woodward responds to Obama outlining his economic proposals by noting: "His proposals–the tax cuts, the low-cost loans, the $15 billion a year he promises for alternative energy, and more–cost money, and the country could be facing a record […]