Jan
09
2013

A Cabinet of Peaceniks?

obama-hagel-etc

It goes to show you how limited the debate over warmaking is when politicians whose records are mostly pro-war can be portrayed as war skeptics. That's what is happening with Barack Obama's new cabinet picks: Sen. John Kerry for secretary of State and former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary.

Sep
03
2012

When Candidates Lie, REAL Journalists Say They 'Finessed the Facts'

Rachel Maddow/photo by JD Lasica

On the subject of why politicians aren't worried about corporate media factcheckers, a New York Times article from last week (8/31/12) by Alessandra Stanley is worth a second look. Under the headline, "How MSNBC Became Fox's Liberal Evil Twin," Stanley wrote: "You can agree with everything that Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz say on MSNBC and still oppose their right to say it." Stanley's problem was that "all that attitude" on MSNBC "leaves fewer choices for viewers who like their election coverage with informed commentary without a twist of bias": All that arch sarcasm and partisan brio may rev up […]

Jul
30
2012

The Toll of Drone Wars…on U.S Pilots

There are plenty of worthwhile things media could try to tell us about U.S. drone wars. But does the world need another uncritical piece about the difficult life of a drone pilot? Apparently someone at the New York Times thought so, and so readers get a story (7/30/12) headlined "A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away." Reporter Elisabeth Bumiller (perhaps best known for a testy C-SPAN appearance where she explained that New York Times reporters "can't just say the president is lying") gives us a glimpse into the struggles of the pilots who spend hours–even days–tracking […]

Feb
21
2012

Bombing Iran: A Real Headache for Israel

Bombing Iran could be a real strain for Israel, reports Elisabeth Bumiller in the New York Times ("Iran Raid Seen as a Huge Task for Israeli Jets," 2/19/12). No one's sure they can pull it off, what with the logistics involved: Should Israel decide to launch a strike on Iran, its pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran's air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously–and use at least 100 planes. Everyone apparently agrees on the task in front of Israel, as Bumiller puts it: "Given that […]

Jan
27
2012

Pentagon Budgets and Fuzzy Math

By the tone of some of the media coverage, you might have thought Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a plan to slash military spending yesterday. On the front page of USA Today (1/27/12), under the headline "Panetta Backs Far Leaner Military," readers learn in the first paragraph: The Pentagon's new plan to cut Defense spending means a reduction of 100,000 troops, the retiring of ships and planes and closing of bases–moves that the Defense secretary said would not compromise security. The piece quotes critics of the cuts like Sen. Joe Lieberman and an analyst at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute. […]

Jul
10
2009

NYT's 'Blatant Lie' Now 'Embedded Fact… as Intended'

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (7/9/09, ad-viewing required) is extolling "The Significance of McClatchy's Act of Journalism" when reporting that recently released six-year Guantanamo prisoner Haji Sahib Rohullah Wakil–one of many who supposedly "returned to or are suspected of returning to terrorism after their release"–"far from being in hiding, operates openly among officials of Afghanistan's U.S.-allied government." Labeling Nancy Youssef's piece "a consummate example of excellent journalism," Greenwald also wants us to note the central role the New York Times played–yet again–in spreading and given credence to pure government propaganda. And the method used to accomplish that is exactly what led them […]

Jun
14
2009

Inverting Reality at 'Recidivist' NY Times

Finding the May 21 New York Times article on unconvicted (often even uncharged) former Guantanamo prisoners supposedly "rejoining" terrorist groups "especially troubling" in that "it turns the truth upside-down," Dan Kennedy (UTV, 6/9/09) explains how reporter Elisabeth "Bumiller's story played into the darkest fears promoted by Cheney and his fellow conservatives by making it appear that terrorists captured on the battlefield and sent to Guantanamo would resume their jihadist ways upon being released." In reality, "the far more disturbing truth, borne out by the Pentagon's own figures, is that we are creating terrorists at Guantanamo." Yet it has to be […]

May
27
2009

Action Alert: The NYT and the 'Return' to Terrorism

FAIR's latest Action Alert asks media activists to ask New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt about a recent Elisabeth Bumiller article that reported on former Guantanamo prisoners "returning" to terrorism–even though it was not clear there was evidence that any of the released prisoners had ever been involved in "terrorism" of any sort. Please leave copies of your messages to Hoyt in the comment thread here.

May
23
2009

NYT: Ex-Prisoners 'Return' to Terrorism Never Charged

Remembering all too well how the New York Times "helped sell the Iraq War with a bogus story about aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges and withheld evidence of illegal spying on Americans for more than a year," Consortium News editor Robert Parry (5/21/09) tells how the paper "is again mishandling a sensitive story in a way that panders to the right." Pointing to a May 21 Times headline and lead "reporting that a Pentagon study has concluded that 'about one in seven of the 534 prisoners' transferred out of the Guantanamo Bay prison 'returned to terrorism or militant activity,'" Parry […]

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 […]