Jun
14
2012

Was Houla Massacre a Manufactured Atrocity?

It's been widely reported that on May 25, pro-Syrian forces massacred 108 civilians in the Syrian village of Houla, including 34 women and 49 children, many of whose throats were cut. The reported atrocity has sparked the latest round of appeals for intervention in the conflict in Syria. Syrian diplomats have been expelled from several countries over the massacre, including by U.S., Britain, France, Australia and Canada;  "Syrian Diplomats Expelled Across World as Outrage Over Houla Massacre Grows," the British Guardian (5/29/12) declared. "Who Will Stop the Massacres?" asked the headline on a May 29 Washington Post editorial.  As the editors […]

Dec
21
2011

ABC's Bogus Big Government Debate

On Sunday (12/18/11), ABC's This Week presented an installment of what it's calling "The Great American Debates." What it really was, though, was a perfect example of how corporate media adopt right-wing assumptions when framing a discussion. In this case, it was a debate over Big Government. The show's opening sounded like a Tea Party rally: CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: This week, a special program on the defining issue of 2012. Has Uncle Sam become too big, too powerful? A bailout bonanza, a welfare state? A tax-and-spend Goliath crushing the entrepreneurial spirit when America can't afford to fall behind? That's the rallying […]

Nov
07
2011

Another Sunday Morning, Liberal Media Style

ABC This Week host Christiane Amanpour (11/6/11) kicked the show off with a pretty funny joke: Clash of the titans in Texas last night, as Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich met for the first of a series of one-on-one Lincoln/Douglas-style debates. Less funny was the show's very imbalanced roundtable discussion: So let's bring in our roundtable: George Will, the Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington, former George W. Bush strategist Matthew Dowd, and historian and Newsweek columnist Niall Ferguson, author of the new book Civilization: The West and the Rest. Three conservatives and the left-liberal Huffington. But if anything, ABC's panel was […]

Oct
11
2011

ABC Interviews OWS Activist–and Media Critic

ABC's This Week (10/10/11) had a normally tilted panel on Sunday talking about, among other things, Occupy Wall Street. The show had three different types of conservatives (former Bush adviser Matthew Dowd, fixture George Will and columnist Peggy Noonan) along with Democratic pundit Donna Brazile. But then host Christiane Amanpour actually interviewed someone involved with Occupy Wall Street–DailyKos blogger Jesse LaGreca. He is perhaps best know as the guy who was interviewed by Fox News Channel at the protest–and took the chance to bash Fox News Channel. And he did media criticism on This Week too: LAGRECA: I mean, the […]

Jul
26
2011

ABC's Drivel About 'Partisan Rancor'

Some of the media commentary around the debt ceiling bemoans the state of the partisanship in Washington. Much of the chatter is about a supposed failure to compromise. As Josh Marshall argues, "this is simply false, even painfully so." By any reasonable standard, the White House and the Democratic leadership have made an array of drastic compromises in order to win favor with Republicans–who are basically refusing to go along, since denying Obama any kind of "victory" is a key part of their electoral strategy for 2012. But in corporate media, "balance" is essential. So both "sides" must be held […]

May
09
2011

Sunday Morning Torture

It's bad enough that corporate media are having such an ill-informed debate about whether torturing some prisoners helped find Osama bin Laden. But considering whom the media invite to this debate, it's probably not a surprise. Take yesterday's Sunday shows (please!). On NBC's Meet the Press, Obama national security adviser Thomas Donilon basically refused to take a definitive position on torture, waterboarding and intelligence. "No single piece of intelligence led to this," was his line. They followed up with a segment with former CIA head Michael Hayden and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom basically endorsed the idea that torture worked. […]

Feb
23
2011

ABC's Lopsided Debate on Deficits and Austerity

This is how ABC This Week host Christiane Amanpourintroduced the roundtable pundit line-up on Sunday's show: With pitched battles going on right now here in Washington and in statehouses from Florida to Wisconsin to California, with me now, our roundtable: George Will, Congressman Steve Southerland, a Republican freshman from Florida– he was elected to public office for the very first time last November and sent here to Washington on a mission to cut spending. Also with us, ABC senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl and political strategist Donna Brazile, who calls herself a labor Democrat. So the right wing Will, a […]

Aug
03
2010

The Incredible Pettiness of Right-Wing Media Criticism

Every Sunday on ABC's This Week there is a feature that names the U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan the previous week. Christiane Amanpour is the new host of the show, and the segment continues. But her critics see something sinister at work. This is how previous host Jake Tapper generally introduced the list: This week, the Pentagon released the names of 16 soldiers and marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Sunday, this is what Amanpour said: We remember all of those who died in war this week, and the Pentagon released the names of 11 U.S. servicemembers […]