Oct
21
2014

A 'Worthless and Whiny' Attack on a Genuine Journalistic Hero

Robert Parry

The Washington Post was one of the major newspapers to attack Gary Webb for his revelations about the CIA-backed Contras and the crack epidemic. It's 2014, and they're still at it.

Oct
07
2014

Audio: Gary Webb on 'Dark Alliance,' CIA and Drugs

Gary Webb (San Jose Mercury News)

A CounterSpin special broadcast about Gary Webb's reporting featured excerpts from a talk by Webb, along with an interview with Norman Solomon discussing inaccuracies and distortions in establishment media attacks on Webb.

Feb
24
2014

Heritage Foundation: Where Have All the Scholars Gone?

Robert Rector (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Is the Heritage Foundation really drifting away from its scholarly roots–or has it always been more of a corporate-funded right-wing lobby?

Jan
14
2011

The Martin Luther King You Still Don't See on TV

As we approach the Monday holiday, we're hearinga Pentagon lawyer suggest that Martin Luther King would support the war in Afghanistan. That makes it an ideal time torecall a 1995 column by FAIR founder Jeff Cohen and longtime associate Norman Solomon (Media Beat, 1/4/95). The full column appearsbelow, and is archived here. The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon It's become a TV ritual: Every year in mid-January, around the time of Martin Luther King's birthday, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader." The remarkable thing about […]

Sep
15
2009

'War-Stoking Mindset Is Replicating' in Big Media

Of deteriorating governmental control in Afghanistan, Norman Solomon (Common Dreams, 9/8/09) says that "a stale witticism calls Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai 'the mayor of Kabul.' Now, not even." He points to the "corrupt, inept and–with massive election fraud–now illegitimate" administration as a "notable work product" of "those who believe in making war": After 30 years, the results are in: a devastated city…. Meanwhile, a war-stoking mindset is replicating itself at the highest reaches of official Washington–even while polls tell us that the pro-war spin has been losing ground. For the U.S. public, dwindling support for the war in Afghanistan has […]

Aug
31
2009

Corporate Media 'Default Position': 'War Must Go On'

Media Monitors Network has the latest column from Norman Solomon (8/26/09), in which the longtime analyst of corporate media boosterism for U.S. wars considers a recent swath of stories that "have compared President Johnson's war in Vietnam and President Obama's war in Afghanistan." True, "the comparisons are often valid," Solomon finds, "but a key parallel rarely gets mentioned–the media's insistent support for the war even after most of the public has turned against it": This omission relies on the mythology that the U.S. news media functioned as tough critics of the Vietnam War in real time…. In fact, overall, the […]

Aug
16
2009

Media's Afghan 'Metrics' Exclude 'Value of Human Life'

As "official Washington is buzzing about 'metrics'" of success in the U.S. war on Afghanistan, Norman Solomon (ZNet, 8/13/09) notes of media's persistent question, "Can the war in Afghanistan be successful?"–"Don't ask the dead": On August 7, under the headline "White House Struggles to Gauge Afghan Success," a New York Times story made a splash. "As the American military comes to full strength in the Afghan buildup, the Obama administration is struggling to come up with a long-promised plan to measure whether the war is being won." Don't ask the dead. They don't count. The Times article went on: "Those […]

Jul
24
2009

Sands of Healthcare Truth Beneath 'Oceans of Media'

Noticing that "days ago, buried in a chart under the headline "How the Health Care Bills Compare," the New York Times provided some cogent yet cryptic information," Norman Solomon (Guernica, 7/23/09) has done some valuable decoding of a Senate committee bill's "public plan that would 'compete with private insurers,'" as "the Times chart explained on July 18": The public plan "would provide 'only the essential health benefits,' as defined by the bill, 'except in states that offer additional benefits.'" Meanwhile, the newspaper noted, "Democrats from three House committees are working on a single plan." Under that plan, "Different levels of […]

Jul
20
2009

On Cronkite as (Belatedly) 'Courageous Truth-Teller'

Norman Solomon has noticed (Common Dreams, 7/20/09) that "media eulogies for Walter Cronkite–including from progressive commentators–rarely talk about his coverage of the Vietnam War before 1968." An "obit omit" Solomon deems "essential to the myth of Cronkite as a courageous truth-teller": But facts are facts, and history is history–including what Cronkite actually did as TV's most influential journalist during the first years of the Vietnam War. Despite all the posthumous praise for Cronkite's February 1968 telecast that dubbed the war "a stalemate," the facts of history show that the broadcast came only after Cronkite's protracted support for the war. In […]

Jul
12
2009

Big Media Push Escalation in Afghanistan and at Home

Noting how "the president has set a limit on the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. For now," FAIR associate Norman Solomon is letting Huffington Post readers know (7/9/09) "that's how escalation works. Ceilings become floors. Gradually": A few times since last fall, the Obama team has floated rising numbers for how many additional U.S. soldiers will be sent to Afghanistan. Now, deployment of 21,000 more is a done deal, with a new total cap of 68,000 U.S. troops in that country. Solomon warns that "'escalation' isn't mere jargon. And it doesn't just refer to what's happening outside the United […]

Jul
02
2009

Big Media 'Lenses…Ground With Ideology, Nationalism'

Noticing that "the New York Times used three square inches of newsprint on Tuesday to dispatch two U.S. Army soldiers under the headline 'Names of the Dead,'" Norman Solomon (Common Dreams, 7/1/09) points out how apparently "there wasn't enough room for any numbers, names or ages of Afghans who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations." Having observed wartime media long enough to know that "that's the way routine death stories go," Solomon has also observed that "reporting on life is like that, and reporting on death is like that: even more so when the […]

Jun
20
2009

How 'Adulatory News Coverage' Impedes Democracy

Norman Solomon uses his most recent Creators Syndicate column (6/19/09) to call for journalism that "is open scrutiny of the dynamics of power. Reporters should shine a bright light on behind-the-scenes maneuvers that block congressional oversight of administration policies": Last Tuesday, when the House of Representatives approved a supplemental spending bill for more war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there must have been celebration at the White House. Days of intense arm-twisting paid off. The Obama administration had brandished the weapon of retribution against the newest Democratic arrivals in the House. Most news coverage seemed oblivious, but not all. As the […]

Jun
19
2009

If It Bleeds, It (Sometimes) Leads

Looking beyond "the yellow-tape segments that bleed and lead local TV news" Norman Solomon (Creators Syndicate, 6/13/09) discerns what he dubs "Media's Love/Hate Affair with Violence"–as exemplified by the kind of violence–rarely occurring in the light of day–that gets scant media attention. With somewhere around 2 million people behind bars in the United States, all kinds of violent acts are happening in the nation's prisons and jails. The violence that some guards inflict on prisoners is even less apt to make the news than what stressed-out prisoners do to one another. Various forms of what could be called "institutionalized violence" […]