Apr
04
2011

Only Hotheads Talk About the Effects of Budget Cuts

Corporate media's preference for"centrism" canoftentranslate intoreporting that casts two sides of a debate as equally belligerent or unwilling to compromise. ABC reporter Jonathan Karl's report yesterday on This Week (4/3/11) offers a perfect example of the absurdity of this worldview. His focuses was on the battle over the federal budget. On one side are Tea Party activists who want deeper spending cuts. Karl notes that this createssome frictionbetween the activists and GOP leaders. Then there's the other side of the debate: KARL: Democrats have their hot heads, too. One Obama administration official said the Republican bill, which cuts $5 billion […]

Sep
13
2010

But Older White Men Are 'Newsmakers'!

A new study of the guest lists for the Sunday morning chat shows finds that the networks prefer lawmaker guests who are white, male, older and Republican. The study was publishedby the George Mason University School of Law's Green Bag Journal, and got a brief write-up in the New York Times today (9/13/10). And that means we got to hear excuses from the shows about why this is the case. Meet the Press executive producer Betsy Fischer spoke about how they are "committed to having a diverse group of voices on the program whose opinions and expertise reflect the cultural, […]

Aug
03
2010

The Incredible Pettiness of Right-Wing Media Criticism

Every Sunday on ABC's This Week there is a feature that names the U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan the previous week. Christiane Amanpour is the new host of the show, and the segment continues. But her critics see something sinister at work. This is how previous host Jake Tapper generally introduced the list: This week, the Pentagon released the names of 16 soldiers and marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Sunday, this is what Amanpour said: We remember all of those who died in war this week, and the Pentagon released the names of 11 U.S. servicemembers […]

Aug
02
2010

WikiLeaks on Sunday State TV

The Afghanistan documents posted by WikiLeaks were obviously the big story of the week. So how did the network Sunday shows react to these disclosures, which have the potential to open up a real debate about the Afghan War? NBC's Meet the Press interviewed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen. ABC's This Week featured an interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. On CBS, Face The Nation had Mike Mullen. What would state broadcasting look like again? CBS also had an interview with Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations (formerly of the Bush administration), who urged […]

Jul
29
2010

On ABC, Sundays Will Never Be the Same

When ABC announced that CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour would take over as host of their Sunday chat show This Week, there were rumblings about how different things would be. Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales wrote a nasty hit piece on Amanpour in which he worried thattheshow focuses on "inside-the-Beltway palaver, an area where Amanpour is widely considered to be deficient." He seemed to mean that was a bad thing. ABC president David Westin, meanwhile, wrote in amemo to ABC staffers,"With Christiane we have the opportunity to provide our audiences with something different on Sunday mornings." Something different, something not […]

Jul
07
2010

Liberals are Liars: More on ABC's Factchecking Failure

Back in May FAIR wrote about the problems with a new factchecking project, where the PolitiFact website evaluates ABC's This Week. As we said then, this is theoretically a fine idea; the problem is that, in practice, what PolitiFact decides to analyze is almost as important as what is said on the show. A completely uncontroversial comment from Bill Clinton, for instance, was determined to be "true," though no one would suggest that it wasn't. Defense Secretary Bob Gates' somewhat tendentious criticism of Wikileaks (for releasing a video of civiliansbeing killed in Iraq by U.S. forces)was determined "Mostly True," though […]

Mar
17
2009

George Will on the Infallibility of Business Journalism

"I think the best journalism in America is business journalism precisely because they deal with real metrics. You can actually–they know things." –George Will, ABC's This Week, 3/15/09 It's possible that Will actually believes this. Read Dean Starkman's piece in Mother Jones, "How Could 9,000 Business Reporters Blow It?," for another take. Or this piece from Extra!. Or recall that, not too long ago, Will was lecturing us on how the economy was doing just fine, in spite of the gloomy message the media was delivering: Conservative pundit George Will (ABC's This Week, 12/4/05) blamed media coverage for the public's […]