Aug
27
2013

Heading to War With Syria

USAT-Syria

Providing convincing evidence that chemical attacks actually were the work of the Syrian government should be the first order of business. But it's hard not reach the conclusion that some in the media have already made up their minds.

Apr
16
2013

'Terror Returns'–but When Did It Go Away?

TERROR RETURNS: USA Today front page, April 16, 2013

"TERROR RETURNS" ran across USA Today's front page (4/16/13) in inch-high letters. Below, the story it referred to had a smaller headline: "That Post-9/11 Quiet? It's Over." Rick Hampson and Chuck Raasch's story began: The blasts on Boylston Street were felt across the nation, shaking and sometimes shattering a fragile hope–formed slowly in the years since 2001–that maybe it won’t happen here. Not again. Then it did. But what happened in Boston that hasn't happened since September 11? All we really can say with confidence so far is that somebody tried to kill a large group of people; as USA […]

Mar
12
2013

Killing a Citizen: NYT, Awlaki and 'Muddying the Moral Clarity'

Anwar Al-Awlaki (Al-Malahem Media/screenshot: Magharebia)

The Obama administration has not wanted to explain in any great detail how it justified killing an American citizen in Yemen. But there were apparently plenty of current and former officials willing to explain their case to the New York Times.

Jan
08
2013

Is John Kiriakou a Whistleblower?

abc_John3_071210_ssh

The Obama administration has pursued an unprecedented campaign to prosecute whistleblowers. The fact that John Kirikaou is facing such punishment reinforces the sense that he should be viewed as such a whistleblower, someone who was trying to expose the CIA's torture practices. But was that really his motivation?

Jan
07
2013

Chuck Hagel, Dove?

hagel

Barack Obama nominated Republican ex-Senator Chuck Hagel to be his next Defense secretary today. The story can seem a little bit confusing–often because of misleading recaps of Hagel's career, which can make him sound like more like Dennis Kucinich than like the Republican who voted in favor of the Iraq War.

Jan
07
2013

Brennan's Support for Torture Is Not an 'Accusation'

John Brennan

Reporting on the news that President Barack Obama plans to nominate his terrorism adviser John Brennan to be head of the CIA, the New York Times writes that critics had been "claiming that…Brennan had supported, or at least had failed to stop, the use of interrogation techniques like waterboarding."
That Brennan was a torture supporter is not a claim, though–it's a matter of public record.

Feb
24
2012

NYT Public Editor on Anonymity and Drone Story

After our new alert (2/24/12), the New York Times public editor's office contacted FAIR to let us know that Arthur Brisbane responded to readers who complained about one of the articles discussed in the alert. Below is that response, which was emailed to readers. It was not published on the Times' site. Thanks for your message, one of a number I received about this story. I have had an opportunity to ask the reporter, Scott Shane, about it and reflect on the circumstances. On the positive side, I applaud the Times for covering the findings of the Bureau of Investigative […]

Feb
06
2012

NYT Lets Nameless Official Smear Drone Researchers as Al-Qaeda Fans

Not even a week after Barack Obama declared that not too many civilians die in the CIA's drone strikes in Pakistan, a new report from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism finds that "at least 50 civilians" have been killed in rescues attempts, 20 in strikes on funerals, with at least 282 total civilians killed since Obama took office. That much you learn from the New York Times report by Scott Shane (2/6/12): WASHINGTON – British and Pakistani journalists said Sunday that the CIA's drone strikes on suspected militants in Pakistan have repeatedly targeted rescuers who responded to the scene of […]

Sep
01
2011

NYT on WikiLeaks: Move Along, No Atrocity to See Here

(UPDATE: Today's Times includes a story about the WikiLeaks Iraq cable, under the somewhat strange headline "Cable Implicates Americans in Deaths of Iraqi Civilians." Still very little in the rest of the press– nothing on television, according to a search of the Nexis database). One of the main media tropes regarding WikiLeaks' release of State Department cables last year was that there was either nothing new to be learned, or that private conversations they revealed were remarkably consistent with what U.S. officials were saying publicly. That was totally misleading, but for many pundits the story seemed to end there. Now […]

Aug
12
2011

Drones in Pakistan: Equal Time for Killers?

The New York Times has a long piece (8/12/11) looking at the question of how many civilians in Pakistan are killed by CIA drones. The agency doesn't even speak about the program on the record, except to make the far-fetched claim that no civilians have died in the past year or so. The article, written by Scott Shane, includes some useful criticism of the CIA, and it's hard not to conclude that the agency's claims are not very credible. But the real problem with the piece is that it gives much weight to the CIA's defense at all, using their […]