it was striking to see the parallels between the way Margaret Thatcher's death was covered on the PBS NewsHour and Fox News Channel's most popular show, the O'Reilly Factor. Though some people like to think that PBS and Fox couldn't be further apart, they were basically singing the same tune.
When NewsHour anchor Gwen Ifill said, "We will hear more from Margaret [Warner] as she travels through Israel, the West Bank and Gaza over the next week and a half," That sounded like it could be be an interesting opportunity for TV viewers to get a glimpse of Palestinian life. But that's not what PBS chose to put on the air.
NBC's Richard Engel report that "what we've been able to confirm" is that a Syrian convoy attacked by Israel "was packed with fairly sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles." It is highly doubtful that Engel could "confirm" any such thing–unless by "confirm" he means that NBC is confirming that government sources are claiming what they are claiming.
On Monday's edition of the NewsHour (1/28/13), host Gwen Ifill referred to concerns about the "threat posed by Iran's nuclear program," and told viewers that a story "looks at the debate in Israel over how to deal with the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran." How hard is it for NewsHour to understand that allegations are not facts?
One of the most troubling aspects of all the media coverage of an attack on Iran is that it can make a radically destabilizing act of unprovoked war seem like just another policy choice. I thought of this when I saw a PBS NewsHour segment (3/28/12) that set out to ponder the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran. PBS reporter Margaret Warner oddly framed Israeli public opinion this way: Though the Iranian regime has vowed to destroy the Jewish state, recent polls in Israel show only 19 percent would support their government attacking Iran unilaterally. Hearing that, you might [...]
Evaluating reporting and commentary about Iran could be reduced to one simple rule: There is no evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. Statements that suggest otherwise are misleading. Reports that fail to point this out are doing readers/viewers/listeners a disservice. That sounds simple enough. But don't tell that to the outlets that are being criticized over their Iran reporting. Take NPR and PBS, both of which were singled out by the group Just Foreign Policy. A few days ago (1/10/12), the FAIR Blog featured a post criticizing the PBS NewsHour for a deceptive report on Iran. The [...]
As if tensions between the United States and Iran weren't high enough, here's PBS NewsHour anchor Margaret Warner (1/9/12): The Iranian government insists that its nuclear activities are for peaceful energy purposes only, an assertion disputed by the U.S. and its allies. On CBS yesterday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta repeated international demands that Iran stop enriching uranium. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA: But we know that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that's what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us. They need [...]