After London Police Killing, Media Focus on Problem of Police Restraint

Much of the media coverage of the riots in England dwells on the issue of police restraint. There is a "public backlash against police restraint," the Washington Post explained (8/11/11), with some wanting "a tougher response to the rash of disturbances that has sullied Britain's image." The problem is the "seemingly halting, even timorous, policing," according to one New York Times story (8/12/11). Another Times piece added: A former senior riot police officer with knowledge of current operations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the most recent riots were allowed to rage, in part, because police officers […]


ABC's Raddatz, Citing Her 'Combat Mission,' Says Bombs Must Go On

Afghan president Hamid Karzai denounced once again U.S./NATO airstrikes that killed civilians. In this recent incident, 14 were killed, including 11 children. This prompted ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer (5/31/11) to call in ABC reporters to sort things out, leading to this exchange with Pentagon reporter Martha Raddatz: SAWYER: He's talking to the Afghan people. But Martha, he put restrictions on what U.S. troops can do, what the NATO troops can do. How onerous are these? RADDATZ: Well, he's trying to put restrictions on. I mean they simply have to carry out air strikes over there. It's a very […]


Navy SEALs: Subtle, Brainy Superhumans's Justin Elliot has a good piece about media adoration for the Navy SEALs, focusing on an NBC report. Lest anyone think that report is a weird outlier, here are some quotes from the May 3 broadcast of ABC World News (you can watch it here, if you must): DIANE SAWYER: Tonight, details are surfacing about that super-human force that took down bin Laden, the Navy SEALs known as Team Six. A force so elite you cannot apply to join their ranks, you are just silently recruited. ** CHRIS CUOMO: You know, Diane, as impressive as the details of the […]


ABC on WikiLeaks: When Will They Be Arrested?

On the October 22 broadcast of ABC World News With Diane Sawyer,the anchor weighed in on the WikiLeaks Iraq War documents by noting, "Arab television is already trumpeting the revelations." Not exactly a promising start, but the correspondent Martha Raddatz did a pretty good job of conveying the findings: hundreds of Iraqi civilians killed at checkpoints, thousands of unreported civilian deaths and torture of detainees. Then the report went back to Sawyer for a follow-up question: "I know there's a lot of outrage about this again tonight, Martha. But tell me, anything more about prosecuting the WikiLeaks group?"


Policing the Debate on Health Reform

ABC's Diane Sawyer claimed (CNN, 6/22/09) the network's June 24 forum on President Barack Obama's healthcare plan would feature "questions from every single vantage point." Yet, ignoring calls from FAIR (Action Alert, 6/22/09) and advocacy groups such as Health Care Now!, the special did not include a single question from an advocate of single-payer national health insurance–¬Ědespite the fact that the single-payer option polls well with the public (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09) and is seen by many experts as the best way of expanding coverage to the uninsured while also controlling costs. In the wake of well-publicized flak ABC received […]


Structural Racism Not on ABC's Agenda

ABC's Good Morning America did a special 3-part series on race this week, "Black and White Now," to "look at race relations in America." All three parts revisited old experiments or news stories. The first (3/31/09) was a repeat of an experiment with children playing with black and white dolls, showing that now kids don't tend to think that the black doll is mean and the white doll nice, like they did in the '40s–although some black girls still say the black doll is ugly and the white doll pretty. The report cited William Julius Wilson saying "there's still work […]