It’s a fair indication of the current state of play in U.S. media that, in 2012, TV newscasts were acknowledged to be “increasingly seeded with corporate advertising masquerading as news” (Washington Post, 1/3/12)—and the regulatory response was to call, not for an end to the practice of deceiving audiences, but for broadcasters to make note of such arrangements in an online file. While we work on creating the sort of unfettered news media that democracy requires, calling out compromised reporting as we do each year in Fear & Favor is just another way to note where and why the current [...]
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Revealing the hidden influence behind the news
A nuclear threat—and terrorism too!
Claims that Iran has a nuclear weapons program are allegations, not facts (Extra!, 1/12)—but are treated as established background material in the corporate media: “The president, as you know, has been trying to force Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program,” explains CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley (2/6/12). The Washington Post editorializes (1/11/12) that Iran’s “drive for nuclear weapons continues.” At the end of January, another provocative claim emerged: Iran was ready to unleash terrorism against the United States. ABC World News (1/31/12) featured a blatantly propagandistic report on the Iranian threat. “America’s top spy warns that Iran [...]
—————— Aarons, Leroy Beyond balance: thorough coverage of gay controversies is still the exception (Ott), 1-2/02;27 Abbas, Mahmoud Nixed signals [when Hamas hinted at peace, U.S. media didn't take the message] (Ackerman), 9-10/06;10 ABC. see also Nightline ABC does "something useful" [programs on poor children], 11-12/91;19 ABC erased protesters [at the Oscars], 6/99up;3 ABC News goes for the gold, 9/92;16 ABC's 1984 cover-up for the gipper, 3-4/90;15 ABC's antiwar "reality check": world news tonight minimizes support for withdrawal (Hart and Naureckas), 10/05up;4 ABC's military analyst calls for "excessive force": CSIS's cordesman advocates brutality against Palestinians (Ackerman), 1-2/01;23 ABC's one-color TV, [...]
Iraq & the election
The most conspicuous thing about the mainstream media’s election-year discussion of the Iraq War is the lack of one. The numbers tell much of the story. Although it had been the main news story between January and May of 2007, totaling 20 percent of the news hole, that number declined to just 4 percent in the first three months of 2008—while the presidential campaign occupied 43 percent (Project for Excellence in Journalism, 3/26/08). Media decisions to treat the Iraq War as an afterthought have caused some correspondents to speak out publicly—most notably CBS correspondent Lara Logan, who said on Comedy [...]
Katrina Special: Colette Pichon Battle on Katrina three years later, Leigh Dingerson on New Orleans schools. Derrick Evans on the FEMA trailer tour, '
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: All eyes have been focused on Denver and the Democratic National Convention. But while the political calendar suggests the story of the day is the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential nominee, it's hard to forget that the festivities coincide with the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This week on CounterSpin we'll take a special look at where things stand in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. The federal government's response to the Katrina catastrophe was a remarkable political and media moment. That the Bush administration could manage to so thoroughly mishandle [...]
Media credit Bush for “democratization” of the Mideast
Failing to find weapons of mass destruction or an Al-Qaeda/Saddam Hussein connection almost two years after it invaded Iraq, the Bush White House fell back on its second-tier justification for the invasion: that occupying the country would start a domino-chain of democratization throughout the Middle East. In the wake of the January 30 Iraq elections, pundits and journalists eagerly spread the new White House-friendly conventional wisdom: Bush’s Iraq policy had inspired pro-democracy activists in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Palestine. Suddenly, the faltering military occupation was proof of the clarity of Bush’s alleged long-term vision. “Lately, even the harshest critics [...]
Media applaud, then excuse Bush's WMD
When presidents appear at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner, it's traditional for them to tell a few jokes. But when George W. Bush appeared at this year's dinner (3/24/04), he made a series of "jokes" about the failure to find the banned weapons that had been the central justification of his invasion of Iraq. "Those weapons of mass destruction must be somewhere," Bush cracked while showing slides of administration officials searching the White House. The routine elicited laughter from the audience of politicians and media figures. Most of the next day's press accounts did not raise questions about [...]
A study of NPR’s guest list
When National Public Radio was launched in 1971, it promised to be an alternative to commercial media that would “promote personal growth rather than corporate gain” and “speak with many voices, many dialects.” In 1993, when FAIR published a study of NPR’s guestlist that challenged the network’s alternative credentials (Extra!, 5/93), incoming NPR president Delano Lewis was still boasting about being a place where the unheard get heard (Humanist, 9/93): “Our job is to be a public radio station. So therefore the alternative points of view, the various viewpoints, should be aired.” Today, current NPR president Kevin Klose insists that [...]