Oct
03
2013

Shutdown: Media SHOULD Play the Blame Game

Lincoln Memorial shut down. (cc photo: Rich Renomeron)

Media like to dismiss the partisan "blame game," but in cases like this placing blame is something that journalism ought to do.

Sep
19
2013

NBC's News on Iran and Nukes Is Old News

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If the big news here is that the president of Iran is saying the country is not developing nuclear weapons, and does not ever intend to do so, that's not really news.

Jul
10
2013

At NBC News, the Anchor Has to Remind You You're Not Watching an Ad

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NBC's Matt Lauer issued a clarification that his news report was not an advertisement. That was helpful, because the report appeared to be virtually identical to a paid infomercial.

Jun
05
2013

Brian Williams Makes the Case for Putting NBC on Trial

NBC's Brian Williams called Bradley Manning "the man who may have put U.S. military secrets in the hands of Osama bin Laden." But giving classified information to the public is something that news outlets–including NBC News–routinely do, and each time they do it they too could be accused of "aiding the enemy."

Jun
04
2013

Bradley Manning on TV Network News

manning-nbc

If you care at all about war and peace, press freedom, whistleblowers' rights and the public's right to know what the government is doing, the trial of Bradley Manning is of enormous consequence. It would have been hard for NBC News to come up with a more hostile framing.

May
01
2013

How Dare Hamid Karzai Take Our Money!

nbc-karzai

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams had a most peculiar reaction to revelations that Afghan president Hamid Karzai receives regular deliveries of cash from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Apr
03
2013

North Korea 'Rattles Sabres'; Meanwhile, U.S. Pretends to Drop Nuclear Bombs on Them

NBC's Brian Williams

To hear U.S. corporate media tell it, there are "exercises" right next door, conducted by the world's most powerful military, which possesses thousands of nuclear weapons–and then there's menacing "saber-rattling."

Jan
25
2013

'Divided' on Abortion Rights?

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USA Today's point in covering this weekend's anti-choice "March for Life" is is to note that, 40 years after the Roe v. Wade decision, the country is divided on abortion rights. That's an odd way of describing a 24-point spread in public opinion

Dec
07
2012

This Time, Trust Anonymous WMD Claims–They've Got 'Specific Intelligence'

NBCNN-Syira

The theatrics of WMD claims about Syria–satellite images, anonymous sources and so on–are obviously reminiscent of the lead up to the Iraq War. But media stress that this time–it's different.

Nov
13
2012

Corporate Media Lose Their Favorite 'Warrior Scholar'

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There's no doubt that the sex scandal that prompted CIA director David Petraeus's sudden resignation late last week is a big story. New details–verified or not–seem to arrive almost by the hour. But the reason it seems to have shaken so many media figures is because Petraeus was uniquely beloved by many in the corporate media, who considered him both an accessible source and a war hero. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called him (11/9/12) a "a man of such sterling reputation," and confided on the air to one guest that "it is impossible to be a member of […]

Sep
25
2012

Ted Koppel's Terrible Media Criticism

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TV news veteran Ted Koppel has done two pieces on NBC's Rock Center that attempt to critique the partisanship of today's media system. But what the reports really illustrate is that some people aren't very good at playing media critic–especially when they feel obligated to suggest that "both sides" are equally at fault. Koppel's first report (9/13/12) looked at right and left watchdogs, "an industry out there on both sides monitoring and recording anything that could hurt the political opposition." That "industry" consists of the liberalĀ  Media Matters for America and the right-wing Media Research Center. As Koppel explains, "You […]

Sep
20
2012

Quantifying 'Muslim Rage'

Newsweek's "Muslim Rage" cover

Sometimes very little can tell you a lot. Here's Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, updating viewers on protests that are linked to that famous anti-Islamic video: Overseas tonight, new and deadly retribution from that amateur Internet film that's enraged much of the Muslim world. The "Muslim world" is, well, enormous–somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 billion people. A good question that doesn't get asked enough: How many Muslims are out protesting this video anyway? A helpful analysis comes from Dan Murphy at the Christian Science Monitor ("Is the Islamopocalypse Really Upon Us?," 9/17/12). He writes: While sensational headlines have […]

Feb
01
2012

Iran: This Is What Propaganda Looks Like

Alarmist corporate media coverage of the "threat" from Iran is everywhere, thanks to a Senate appearance yesterday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. But Clapper said very little in his remarks that would justify the propagandistic coverage we're seeing. His main point was that Iran could launch attacks if it felt threatened. It is hard to see how this is particularly surprising. Clapper pointed to the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington D.C. as evidence that Iran seems more eager to assert itself, perhaps even inside the United States. But there were many people who […]