Nov
30
2012

FAIR TV: NYT Counts Drone Victims, CBS=CEOs, AP's Iran Nukes Hoax

The new episode of FAIR TV is here!  CBS tells us what CEOs think about the "fiscal cliff" and the New York Times counts drone victims– but not very many of them. And did the Associated Press fall for a hoax with their latest "exclusive" on Iran and nuclear weapons? Check it out– and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter:

May
30
2012

Those Children Weren't Civilians–Says Nobody

On Sunday, there were reports of a NATO airstrike in the eastern Paktia province of Afghanistan. The early reports said that a family of eight was killed, as the New York Times reported: The casualties took place in eastern Paktia province on Saturday night when the family's home was hit by a bomb, said Rohullah Samoon, a spokesman for the governor of Paktia. Six children were killed, four boys and two girls, as well as their mother and father, whose name was Safiullah. But an Associated Press report that appeared in the Washington Post (5/28/12) looked very different, thanks mostly […]

Feb
08
2012

LAT: Where's the Drone Deaths Coverage?

A Los Angeles Times editorial (2/7/12) begins: When the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism released a report Sunday claiming that U.S. drone strikes have killed dozens of civilian rescuers and mourners in Pakistan, the American media scarcely noticed. It's a good point.The Bureau's report got remarkably little media attention. A New York Times story (which included an anonymous U.S. official smearing the researchers as Al-Qaeda sympathizers) might be the only story in the mainstream media; the only stories coming up in the Nexis news database are from Antiwar.com (2/5/12) and papers in Pakistan. The report was covered on Democracy Now! […]

Feb
06
2012

NYT Lets Nameless Official Smear Drone Researchers as Al-Qaeda Fans

Not even a week after Barack Obama declared that not too many civilians die in the CIA's drone strikes in Pakistan, a new report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism finds that "at least 50 civilians" have been killed in rescues attempts, 20 in strikes on funerals, with at least 282 total civilians killed since Obama took office. That much you learn from the New York Times report by Scott Shane (2/6/12): WASHINGTON – British and Pakistani journalists said Sunday that the CIA's drone strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan have repeatedly targeted rescuers who responded to the scene of […]

Dec
19
2011

Now It Can Be Told: Libyan Civilian Deaths

The Sunday New York Times (12/18/11) featured a powerful investigation of civilian casualties resulting from the NATO war in Libya–casualties that, to hear NATO officials tell it, maybe don't even exist. The Times' C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt report: But an on-the-ground examination by The New York Times of airstrike sites across Libya–including interviews with survivors, doctors and witnesses, and the collection of munitions remnants, medical reports, death certificates and photographs–found credible accounts of dozens of civilians killed by NATO in many distinct attacks. The victims, including at least 29 women or children, often had been asleep in homes when […]

Sep
01
2011

NYT on WikiLeaks: Move Along, No Atrocity to See Here

(UPDATE: Today's Times includes a story about the WikiLeaks Iraq cable, under the somewhat strange headline "Cable Implicates Americans in Deaths of Iraqi Civilians." Still very little in the rest of the press– nothing on television, according to a search of the Nexis database). One of the main media tropes regarding WikiLeaks' release of State Department cables last year was that there was either nothing new to be learned, or that private conversations they revealed were remarkably consistent with what U.S. officials were saying publicly. That was totally misleading, but for many pundits the story seemed to end there. Now […]

Feb
24
2009

NY Times: The Military's View of Afghanistan

Apparently the New York Times hasmoved Elisabeth Bumiller over to the Pentagon beat. Her record as Bush White House correspondent producedsome memorable missteps ("You canâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t just say the president is lying," for example), so it wasn't a surprise to see her byline under the story, "From a Carrier, Another View of America's Air War in Afghanistan" (2/24/09). The piece was little more than pro-military propaganda (is that "another" view?) with lines like "pilots circle Taliban strongholds like an airborne 911 service and zoom in," and: From 15,000 feet up, the pilots protect supply lines under increasing attack, fly reconnaissance missions […]

Feb
04
2009

NYT and the Perils of Mideast 'Balance'

New York Times reporters Ethan Bronner and Sabrina Tavernise went to Gaza (2/4/09) to look into stories of civilian atrocities, and turned up some very powerful examples. Unfortunately, the impact of that reporting was undermined by the all-too-familiar tendency to "balance" these facts with criticisms of Palestinians. Fora piece that is attempting to get a better sense of who's "version" of events is more accurate, the Times reveals its bias from the start,rendering a white phosphorous attack on a house as a"phosphorus smoke bomb," the qualifier "smoke" helpfully suggesting that the bomb, which accidentally incinerated most of a family in […]

Feb
04
2009

Move Over, Taliban–CBS Is the Real Master of Manipulation

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric (1/27/09) introduced a segment on civilian casualties in Afghanistan by saying, "Our Elizabeth Palmer spoke with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who says the Taliban have become masters of manipulating public opinion." That commander, Gen. David McKiernan, was CBS's sole on-camera source for the segment, making assertions like "we try to avoid [killing civilians]. The insurgent does it on purpose." The U.S. military also served as an off-camera source for Palmer as well, cited for claims like "80 percent of Afghan civilians are killed by the Taliban…. But there's huge frustration that anytime […]

Nov
10
2008

The Peculiarities of Afghan Society

New reports of civilian casualties in Afghanistan (37 dead) were covered in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. The story provides a decent sense of thedeath toll, but near the end makes a rather bizarre point (see bold): Afghan weddings are traditionally large, drawn-out affairs, and wedding parties several times have been the target of errant airstrikes, in part because from the air the gatherings can appear similar to concentrations of Taliban fighters. In Afghanistan's clan-based society, civilian deaths can cause otherwise peaceable villagers to declare a vendetta against those they consider responsible for killing their kin–in many cases, Western […]