Dec
12
2013

Obamacare Website = Iraq War, Now with Bill Kristol

Think the comparisons between the Obamacare website and the Iraq War are done? Think again. Some people still see the connection–like Iraq War booster Bill Kristol.

Jul
19
2013

What It Takes to Get a Reporter to Correct An Error

cnn-barnes

When Jeremy Scahill called out a CNN reporter for an error, she eventually corrected her mistake on the air. That's good– and more outlets should be doing the same. Unfortunately the "non-correction correction" is more typical–or, as in the case of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, a media figure will simply ignore the issue.

Dec
07
2012

FAIR TV: Bradley Manning Blackout, Tax Hike Spin, Covering Poverty– and $450 Starbucks Gift Cards

The stories that came out due to the information Bradley Manning allegedly leaked have been explosive, front page news. But his trial? Not so much. And Maria Bartiromo told Meet the Press that tax increases on the wealthy are really tax increases for everyone. And why was a Starbucks $450 gift card front page news at USA Today– right underneath a stirring piece about poverty? FAIR TV breaks it down:

Jun
24
2011

USAT Debates Afghan Withdrawal, Minus the Debate

USA Today has a piece today headlined "Drawdown's effects debated"– meaning the timetable for troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. The article starts with critical comments from U.S. military officials David Petraeus and Mike Mullen, who say they think the troop withdrawals are too much, too soon. And on the other side of this debate? USA Today explains: "Critics however say the drawdown risks reversing hard-won gains against the Taliban." In other words, critics who question the wisdom of the troop withdrawal. The piece quotes a litany of such pro-war voices: Seth Jones of the Rand Corporation, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Danielle Pletka […]

Jun
21
2011

USA Today Misses the Point on Voter ID Laws

USA Today's Fredreka Schouten reports (6/20/11) on states adopting photo ID laws to crack down on the nearly non-existent problem of voter fraud. Schouten lays out the argument: Proponents say the measures prevent vote fraud. Opponents say they are designed to stifle turnout among students, poor people and minorities, who are more likely to vote for Democrats but might lack government-issued IDs, such as driver's licenses and passports. Actually most opponents tend to point out that there is no voter fraud problem. Any decent report on this subject would point this out– otherwise readers are left with the impression that […]

Jun
09
2011

USAT, Baker and Shell: Update

We noted here on June 3 that a USA Today column by former Secretary of States James Baker was missing some important disclosure. Baker argued that the United States needs to encourage more domestic oil drilling. Baker championed efforts by Shell to drill in Alaska, which have been stymied by government bureaucrats. As FAIR noted, Baker's Rice University institute receives funding from an array of energy companies, including Shell– which also funds the institute's lecture series. It would be normal for a newspaper to mention this to readers, but USA Today did not. After receiving a letter from FAIR, the […]

Mar
23
2011

USA Today's Advertiser-Friendly Future

A condensed version of an AP story (3/23/11) about USA Today's new business plan: The nation's second-largest newspaper is expanding its coverage of advertising-friendly topics, designing content for smartphones and tablet computers and refreshing the look of its print edition, whose circulation has fallen by 20 percent over the past three years…. For readers, it means lots of travel tips, gadget reviews, sports features, financial advice and lifestyle recommendations. Top editors say investigative journalism will also be emphasized…. Even as it publishes more stories aimed at attracting advertisers, USA Today is promising to produce more hard-hitting coverage from an expanded […]

Apr
13
2010

Rewriting Ratzinger's Record to Create a Hero of the Abuse Scandal

While FAIR Blog complained earlier (3/30/10) that coverage of the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal was overlooking Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's involvement in the story before he became Pope Benedict XVI, yesterday two prominent op-eds focused on this history. Unfortunately, both op-eds present a highly selective version of Ratzinger's role. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat (4/12/10) cites the reporting of Jason Berry (National Catholic Reporter, 4/6/10), who is critical of Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, for his support of Marcial Maciel Degollado, a child molester who founded the influential Legion of Christ: Only one churchman comes out of Berry's […]

Mar
31
2010

Fox News Commentators Find 'Common Ground' in Praising Fox News

One of USA Today's regular op-ed features is a "right-left" conversation between conservative columnist Cal Thomas and "liberal" Democratic strategist Bob Beckel in which they seek "Common Ground"–the name of the op-ed feature–on "issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot." Last week (3/25/10) Thomas and Beckel tackled the issue of "Bias and Fox News"–and really, what could be a better subject of debate for two paid Fox News commentators? Incredibly, they were able to overcome their great differences to defend the network that pays their bills. Some of the highlights: Cal: What the Obama administration and Raines and many at the […]

Nov
04
2009

USA Today Transmits a Warning to Imaginary Democrats

Under the headline "Va., N.J. Give GOP Reason to Celebrate," USA Today's front-page election report (11/4/09) featured this quote from GOP strategist Frank Donatelli: The warning is that if you're in a moderate district, or you're in a moderate-to-conservative state, you should think twice before you rubberstamp Obama's agenda. Well, there were two districts choosing representatives and two states picking governors yesterday. Both the districts, including the one generally described as "moderate," went for the Democratic candidate, so it's not clear what warning that sends about Obama's agenda. In both states, the Democrat lost the governor's race, and one of […]

Sep
17
2009

USA Today's Afghanistan Non-Debate

USA Today 's left/right op-ed feature today is a doozy– a "debate" on escalating the Afghan War between regulars Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel. The headline gives it away: Time to Dig In, Not Bail Out Forget left or right. Forget politics. Think "war on terror." Bob and Cal agree that now is not the time to abandon the war in Afghanistan. The back and forth between arch-conservative Thomas and TV leftist Beckel ends with this exchange: Bob: As much as my liberal instincts want us out of this war, I have to agree with you that it's time to […]

Sep
17
2009

Baucus Plan: No One Likes It, So It Must Be Good

Conservative Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana unveiled his long-awaited health reform proposal yesterday, the results of weeks of negotiations among the Senate Finance Committee's so-called "Gang of Six"–three Democrats from the right-wing of their party and three moderate-to-conservative Republicans. The bill (unsurprisingly) does not include a public option andcouldend up leavingmiddle-income Americans paying too much for health insurance (Think Progress, 9/15/09). At the same time, no Republican–including those in the Baucus' Gang–has indicated that they intend to vote for this bill. But some of the early media coverage seems to find it encouraging that the Baucus bill pleases almost […]

Jul
15
2009

PR Successfully Sicced on 'Sicko'

Former PR agent Wendell Potter's stories of how he helped the health insurance's industry's campaign "to discredit Michael Moore and his film Sicko" calls to mind just how successful that campaign was. Corporate media coverage of the debate raised by the film's expose of the for-profit insurance system went out of its way to demonize Moore. USA Today ran an editorial tied to the film against a single-payer healthcare plan, which was paired with an "Opposing View" from an insurance executive that denounced single-payer even more harshly. CBS News' Jeff Greenfield distinguished himself with his (inaccurate) claim that the U.S. […]