Jul
16
2013

Voter ID Laws: More He Said, She Said

The recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act is bound to bring voter ID laws back into the media discussion. And, unfortunately, that means some of these discussions will suffer from a familiar problem: The unwillingness to point out that the problem such laws are allegedly fighting–voter fraud– doesn't exist.

Sep
04
2009

Papers Still Deem Reality of War 'in Poor Taste'

Editor & Publisher's Joe Strupp (9/4/09) has an update on U.S. papers' "mixed reaction to the controversial Associated Press photo distributed today of a Marine who died in combat in Afghanistan last month." The picture's inclusion in "a group of images taken by AP photographer Julie Jacobson" predictably was "blasted" by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, whose censure came via "a formal letter of complaint." Strupp reports that the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times ran the photo on its website with an AP story about the images, while the Commercial Appeal in Memphis provided an online photo gallery of all of […]

Aug
09
2009

AP Reports 'Breached Basic Journalistic Principles'

In his latest "Dispatch from the Bolivarian Revolution", blogger Eric Wingerter (BoRev.net, 7/18/09) asks, "Man oh man, how bad does AP reporting have to get before a group of Latin American studies professors from top U.S. universities decides they need to take out a FULL-PAGE AD in the Columbia Journalism Review to respond?" His answer is "Bad bad"–as illustrated in the ad's text: The Associated Press has breached basic journalistic principles with these false reports: [Hugo] Chávez initially suggested the synagogue attack might have been carried out by Jews eager to portray his government as anti-Semitic. â┚¬”AP February 8, 2009 […]

Aug
07
2009

AP Responds to 'Hit-Us-Over-the-Head Bluntness'

As news comes of "yet another horrific mass shooting by yet another disaffected man armed with ammo and a deep hatred of women"–this time "killing three women and injuring nine more" at a Pennsylvania health club–Jennifer Pozner (Women In Media & News, 8/5/09) notices that "the gunman's stated intention to target only women is eerily similar to the Montreal Massacre of 1989, in which a man opened fire on students after screaming: 'You're women, you're going to be engineers. You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists'": Perhaps it takes this level of hit-us-over-the-head bluntness for media to notice […]

Aug
05
2009

Dobbs OK Because Not 'Actually Questioning the Facts'

Reporting for Associated Press (7/3/09), David Bauder has an update on CNN's insistence on "standing behind" Lou Dobbs, who has "become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and…on top of all that, his ratings are slipping." Bauder asks outright: "How does Lou Dobbs keep his job" while plugging the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama "wasn't born in the United States despite convincing evidence to the contrary"? Dobbs' work has been so unpopular that even Ann Coulter has criticized him. Dobbs has acknowledged that he believes Obama was born in Hawaii. But he gives airtime to disbelievers, and has […]

Jul
20
2009

'Objectivity'–Sotomayor's, Sessions' and AP's

In another example of how the racist record of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's top Republican questioner has gone down the memory hole, Associated Press had a whole story (7/19/09) about Sen. Jeff Sessions' assertions that Sotomayor was too prejudiced to get his vote without mentioning that the Senate Judiciary Committee had rejected Sessions when he was up for a federal judgeship precisely because of his long pro-discrimination history. On MSNBC, the subhead of the story was "Top GOP Member of Senate Committee Still Concerned About Her Objectivity." And AP reporter Douglass Daniel would tell you, I expect, that "objectivity" […]

Jul
17
2009

AP Adds $500 Billion to Healthcare Costs

Washington Monthly's Political Animal blogger Steve Benen (7/16/09) has observed that on July 15, "the Associated Press reported that the House Democratic healthcare plan cost '$1.5 trillion,'" and "by the afternoon, the AP reporting didn't attribute the price tag to anyone; it just stated the figure as fact." Even though "the day before the AP blasted the $1.5 trillion figure to the world, the Congressional Budget Office pointed to a roughly $1 trillion cost over 10 years," Benen notes how "the AP not only went with the much higher figure, it made no reference to the CBO score." Considering this, […]

Jul
17
2009

Va. Daily Confesses Racist Role in 'Dreadful Doctrine'

Editor & Publisher is running a wire item (Associated Press, 7/16/09) on the Richmond Times-Dispatch's recent front-page editorial and website video "expressing regret for supporting the state's fight to maintain separate schools for blacks and whites in the 1950s." The paper's confession of its "central role in the 'dreadful doctrine' of Massive Resistance–a systematic campaign by Virginia's white political leaders to block school desegregation"–functions as testament to both their current integrity and one of the darkest episodes of U.S. journalism. Here's an except: Fifty years ago Virginia had a rendezvous with destiny and came up wanting. It scorned human rights […]

Jun
29
2009

Why Read the Press Release? Just Blame the Taliban

Investigative reporter Gareth Porter's careful reading (Dissident Voice, 6/28/09) of "the official military investigation into the disastrous May 4 airstrike in Farah province" of Afghanistan, which "omitted key details" and "gave no explanation" for reasserting "that only about 26 civilians had been killed"–"well-documented reports by the government and by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission [showed] that between 97 and 147 people were killed"–yields a "central contradiction between the report and the U.S. military's 'human shields' argument" that "was allowed to pass unnoticed in the extremely low-key news media coverage of the report." In fact, news coverage of the report […]

Jun
01
2009

On Corporate Media's 'Scoop'-Driven Xenophobia

"If media reports are to be believed," Gabriel Arana of the Nation writes (5/27/09), "an Armageddon-like rash of drug-related violence–unlike any seen since 'Miami Vice years of the 1980s'–has crossed from Mexico into the United States, 'just as government officials had feared.'" But that's a pretty big if, even though "in the national media, it's become a foregone conclusion that Mexican drug violence has penetrated the United States": But the numbers tell a different story. According to crime statistics for American cities along the U.S.-Mexico border and major U.S. metro areas along drug routes, violent crimes, including robberies, have either […]

May
29
2009

Sotomayor Not a Rags-to-Rags Story, AP Explains

This Associated Press story ("Debate Over Who Sotomayor Is a Sensitive One," 5/29/09) sure is confused. Luckilyreporter Sharon Thiemermakes at least that much clear from the very start: There are two sides to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor: a Latina from a blue-collar family and a wealthy member of America's power elite. The White House portrays Sotomayor as a living image of the American dream, though its telling of the rags-to-riches story emphasizes the rags, a more politically appealing narrative, and plays down the riches. Yes, somehow the White House picked her despite the fact that she is no longer […]

May
15
2009

Journalistic Accuracy? — 'Too Good to Be True'

The Associated Press' Shawn Pogatchnik (5/12/09) has the incredible and deeply alarming story of Dublin sociology student Shane Fitzgerald having "posted a poetic but phony quote on Wikipedia" just as the world's reporters were writing up the March 18 death of composer Maurice Jarre. Intended for "testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news," Fitzgerald's fib "flew straight on to dozens of U.S. blogs and newspaper websites in Britain, Australia and India"–in short, "Wikipedia passed. Journalism flunked." "They used the fabricated material, Fitzgerald said, even though administrators at the free […]

May
06
2009

Press Ignorance Competes with Distortions on Bolivia

The North American Congress on Latin America has published (NACLA Magazine, 5-6/09) Dan Beeton's account of how, following Evo Morales' huge win in the Bolivian presidential referendum of last August, his opponents instigated "riots, economic sabotage and the massacre of more than 20 indigenous"–during which Bolivia threw out the U.S. ambassador for attempted spying and allegedly providing "funding for violent opposition groups." Yet, Beeton tells us, "save for one Washington Post article, the [subsequent U.S.] Morales visit garnered no full-length reports in major U.S. papers." This could arguably be a good thing, considering the results of what little attention was […]