Mar
06
2012

ABC and the (Still) Growing Iran Threat

ABC World News was responsible for a flagrantly propagandistic report about Iran on January 31. They're still at it. At the top of the March 5 report, anchor Diane Sawyer announced that Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were talking about "the growing nuclear threat from Iran." Sawyer warned that it might be the "last chance" for the two to meet face to face before a possible Israeli attack. The two agreed, as Jake Tapper put it, that Iran "cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon." And what if they did? Jake Tapper asks, "What might result?" […]

Feb
14
2012

ABC and the 'Family Budget' Fallacy

Last year New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (7/8/11) wrote a sharp critique of those who argue that the federal government's budget should be compared to a family. He called it one of the "right's favorite economic fallacies," pointing out: No, the government shouldn't budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. He expanded upon it again this year (1/1/12), calling the government-as-family trick "a really bad analogy," and explained how governments don't pay off debts the way a family does–"all they need […]

Dec
12
2011

Great Moments in Campaign Journalism…

Three moments, actually: –NBC's Chuck Todd yesterday on Meet the Press (12/10/11), commenting on Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich: Well, first of all, those are a couple of nimble debaters. They are pretty good. I think we have seen it. This is the final two. I'm old enough to remember when Todd had the campaign narrowed down to a Top Three, way back in August: "We have a top tier. It is Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann." –ABC host Diane Sawyer, asked to describe (This Week, 12/11/11) the most revealing lesson she learned about the candidates after she […]

Nov
04
2011

ABC Exclusive: Greek Fatcat Retirees Stealing From American Workers!

The November 1 broadcast of ABC World News couldn't have been any clearer about what's happening in Greece: Their pampered, early-retiring workforce is stealing from Americans. Anchor Diane Sawyer explained: If you were watching your stocks today, you saw a nosedive. The Dow down nearly 300 points, so, what changed? Well, blame it on the country of Greece, long criticized for being undisciplined, and now threatening American retirements. OK, since we probably were all "watching our stocks" on Tuesday–like any other day–why is Greece doing this to us? ABC correspondent Dan Harris explains how this all works by introducing us […]

Aug
12
2011

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 […]

Jun
06
2011

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 […]

May
05
2011

Navy SEALs: Subtle, Brainy Superhumans

Salon.com'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 […]

Oct
25
2010

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?"

Jun
26
2009

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 […]

Apr
03
2009

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 […]