Aug
17
2011

It Would Be Violent if We Left Iraq

A headline and subhead in the Los Angeles Times: Iraq attacks raise new concerns about U.S. pullout Suicide bombings, car explosions and gunfire that killed at least 70 in an apparently coordinated assault suggests Iraqi forces may be overwhelmed by insurgents after American troops withdraw. Of course, these attacks happened while U.S. troops are still in the country– making the point about the U.S. "pullout" somewhat hard to follow. But this is a familiar argument. Remember the Time magazine cover photo of a disfigured Afghan woman last July? The magazine's political point was summed up by the text on the […]

Jul
25
2011

Mistakes, Madeleine Albright and Dead Iraqi Children

Newsweek has a feature called "My Favorite Mistake," where a famous person talks about something they've done wrong.http://www.fair.org/blog/wp-admin/edit.php This week (7/24/11) it's former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The mistake she cited was when she wore the wrong pin to a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and then said something critical about his Chechnya policy. (The best mistakes are the most self-serving ones, apparently.) When I saw the headline, I was half-wondering if she'd talk about her famous defense of killing Iraqi children on 60 Minutes (5/12/96): Leslie Stahl asks Albright: "We have heard that half a million children […]

Oct
19
2009

Know Your Enemy

Politico (10/14/09) published a list of top topics on Glenn Beck's Fox News show, based on a search of Nexis transcripts since the show's January 2009 debut. It's instructive to look at the placement of some individuals, groups and places in the news as an indication of Beck's sense of whom and what his audience should be informed about: ACORN: 1,224 Van Jones: 267 SEIU: 259 Afghanistan: 97 Iraq: 95 Valerie Jarrett: 52 Mark Lloyd: 50 Al-Qaeda: 50 Bill Ayers: 46 John Holdren: 43 Jeremiah Wright: 42 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: 41 Osama Bin Laden: 40 Taliban: 38

Sep
15
2009

Tea Party News Proves MSM Still 'Wired for the GOP'

In citing how Talking Points Memo creator Josh Marshall "has talked many times about the ways in which the Washington establishment is 'wired for the GOP,'" Steve Benen (Political Animal, 9/13/09) notes that "the Washington Post offers a helpful example today"–as posted on Media Matters: "Behold the media's glaring double standard. Today, the Post puts the 'tens of thousands' of Obama-hating tea bagger protesters on A1; makes it the lead story as a matter of fact." Compare and contrast. And just so there's no doubt in people's mind, the blanket coverage the mini-mobs are lapping up (i.e., the mobs are […]

Jul
15
2009

NYT and the Pro-Withdrawal Majority (of 2004)

New York Times reporter John F. Burns turned in a piece on Sunday about the debate in Britain over the Afghanistan war ("Criticism of Afghan War Is on the Rise in Britain," 7/12/09), in light of the increase in British casualties in recent weeks. Burns writes: So far, however, the reaction in Britain has not run to the kind of popular groundswell for withdrawal that President George W. Bush faced when the war in Iraq worsened after his re-election in 2004. To careful readers of the Times, this is more than a little jarring. While there is certainly some truth […]

May
17
2009

U.S. Media Solution for War: More Wars

Pointing to a May 9 Boston Globe editorial saying that Barack "Obama conveyed the right message last week by hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari" to emphasize "the close link between Pakistan and the anti-Taliban struggle in Afghanistan," before admitting that "U.S. military strikes against militants in both countries inevitably provoke anger and indignation among civilians," Palestine Chronicle editor Ramzy Baroud (5/14/09) notes that "this is as much as most U.S. media… are willing to concede as far as U.S. responsibility in lethal wars, civil strife and militancy in both countries is concerned." Baroud elaborates […]

Apr
01
2009

Cable Grows, News Shrinks

Despite the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism's new "State of the Media" report likening the current U.S. media condition to "someone about to begin physical therapy following a stroke suddenly contracting a debilitating secondary illness," Eric Alterman and Danielle Ivory spot (Center for American Progress, 3/26/09) "one sunny area in the news business, according to the report": "Cable 'shined' in 2008. Its audience grew by 38 percent. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC gained viewers and expected to see record profits." While "unlike their paper-based compadres, they actually had money to burn on things like newsgathering and international bureaus," Alterman […]

Mar
27
2009

Howard Kurtz: Media Critic and Comedian

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has an explanation (3/23/09, ad-viewing required) for why he thinks that Howard Kurtz's belief that the image of corporate reporters as "just a bunch of cozy Washington insiders" is not "that big a deal"–because "there's such a built-in adversarial relationship between the press and the pols"–constitutes "an extremely funny joke today, showing why he is the 'media critic' for both the Washington Post and CNN": That is some very penetrating media criticism there. The media and political leaders are at each other's throats so viciously, they have such sharply conflicting interests, that it's a wonder they can […]

Mar
18
2009

ABC Touts Good News From Iraqi Poll, Downplays Bad News for U.S.

The ABC network, in conjunction with the BBC and Japan's NHK, has repeatedly polled Iraqis about the state of their country and the U.S. occupation. On Monday night (3/16/09) they aired a report that featured findings from the latest poll. Anchor Charles Gibson reported: Every year we have taken an extensive look at where things stand. Polling Iraqis and sending reporters across the country, both at times dangerous undertakings. But this year, extraordinary change, real optimism. 59 percent of Iraqis now say they feel very safe in their communities. And 65 percent say things are going well in their own […]

Jan
16
2009

Chris Matthews, Now and Then

Chris Matthews reacting Bush's speech (as transcribed by the right-wing Media Research Center): The idea that we have some brand new neo-conservative ideology of freedom that's going to bring peace over in that part of the world is not true, and he's still selling it, and that's the tragedy of the last eight years. The very same Chris Matthews, reacting toa Saddam Hussein statue being pulled down in Baghdad (4/9/03): We're all neo-cons now.

Dec
15
2008

The Mixed Message of Shoe-Throwing

By now most people have seen the video footage of the Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi throwing his shoes at George W. Bush. The New York Times helps you put it in perspective: The shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad punctuated Mr. Bush's visit here–his fourth–in a deeply symbolic way, reflecting the conflicted views in Iraq of a man who toppled Saddam Hussein, ordered the occupation of the country and brought it freedoms unthinkable under Mr. Husseinâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s rule but at enormous costs. From the Times' account, al-Zaidi yelled at Bush, "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in […]

Dec
01
2008

USA Today Sees Obama Cabinet Diversity

The headline (and subhead) in today's print edition: National Security Team Would Be Diverse Mix Obama Picks Span Eras; Some Espouse More Centrist Views And what, exactly, makes for a "diverse mix?" Holding "moderate" views against a troop withdrawal from Iraq, apparently: Obama's latest picks would give him a foreign policy team with a moderate cast. Both Clinton and Vice President-elect Joe Biden have taken a more cautious approach to withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq than Obama, who wanted it done within 16 months of taking office. Jones, who last year chaired an independent commission appointed by Congress to assess […]

Nov
24
2008

The L.A. Times Must Think You Won't Click Its Links

It says something for the weakness of your argument when you have to turn your opponents' argument on its head. Take the L.A. Times editorial today (11/24/08) headlined "An Unfair Litmus Test." The editorial claims that "some ardent supporters of Barack Obama are aggrieved because the president-elect's emergent national security team includes supporters of the Iraq War," and argues that "making opposition to the war a litmus test for service in the new administration would be both unfair and impractical." But are the complaints from the left really that supporters of the Iraq invasion are not being treated as "pariahs," […]