May
20
2010

NYT Tale on Oil Spill: From Bad to Worse

The New York Times ran a story on May 4 that advanced a rather unusual argument: BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill was probably bad, but not that bad. Helping the paperflesh out that line was a group called the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, which the Times dubbed"a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Texas. " As we pointed out, ProPublica blogger Marian Wang did some digging, and found that"at least half of the 19 members of the group's board of directors have direct ties to the offshore drilling industry." The Times published an Editor's Note admitting that they should have […]

May
19
2010

A Lousy Year to Be a Democrat–If You've Been a Republican for 44 Years Before That

I've commented before on the corporate media's tendency to cherry-pick election results to illustrate their favorite political moral: that Democrats need to move to the right. Still, I was surprised, after a day of voting in which there was one major race pitting a Democrat against a Republican–the special election in Rep. Jack Murtha's old district in Pennsylvania, which the Democrat won quite handily–the New York Daily News provided this analysis (5/19/10): Tuesday's balloting is a fresh reminder of what all the combatants have understood for months: It's a lousy year to be a Democrat, an incumbent or Barack Obama. […]

May
19
2010

Citizens Revolting… Over the Deficit?

The Washington Post has a story today (5/19/10)that leads with this: With voters up in arms over the mounting federal debt, congressional Democrats are growing increasingly queasy about adding to the nation's tab,with some arguing that additional spending to prop up the economy and help the unemployed should be paid for or abandoned. The headline–"Democrats Queasy About Deficit Spending"–seems true enough, in the sense that reporter Lori Montgomery quotes some Democrats saying as much. But are voters really "up in arms" over the debt? That's not borne out by polls of voters' concerns. If you check the recent surveys at […]

May
19
2010

O'Reilly's Arizona Panic Continues

Fox host Bill O'Reilly continued his efforts to link Arizona's harsh immigration law to the non-existent immigrant crime wave. Last night (5/18/10), with Cathy Areu of Catalina magazine: O'REILLY: OK, so you would just sit there and just status quo it? Status quo? AREU: Immigration is down, actually, in Arizona. Status quo's working beautifully. O'REILLY: Down everywhere. AREU: Well, crime is down and immigration is down. So, actually, things are better. O'REILLY: Crime in Arizona is up. Immigration's down because of the economy. As we pointed in our Action Alert– and has been pointed out elsewhere by actual journalists–crime is […]

May
19
2010

Iran, Sanctions and Maintaining 'International Unity'

The U.S. has drawnup a new round of proposed sanctions against Iran that they intend to present before the U.N. Security Council. Thisis obviouslya rebuke of Brazil and Turkey for negotiating their own deal with Iran. The Washington Post refers to the countriesas "two junior Security Council members" that " swooped in with their own deal with Iran to forestall new penalties on the Islamic republic." Brazil and Turkey are unsurprisingly upset at the U.S. move, and thePost tells us (5/19/10) that this reaction is of some concern: The reaction signified potential difficulties ahead in winning unanimous approval for the […]

May
18
2010

NYT, Iran and the 'International Consensus'

A deal between Iran, Brazil and Turkey to ship some of Iran's uranium out of the country to be enriched in Turkey and returned for use in a Iranian medical reactor has elicited some elite media panic. An early New York Times Web headline read, "Iran Offers to Ship Uranium, Complicating Sanctions Talks." The Wall Street Journal (5/17/10) went with "Iranian Nuclear Deal Raises Fears." The story in the print edition of the Times (5/18/10) focuses much of its attention on the U.S. reaction to the deal. This passage is especially meaningful: Rejecting the new deal, however, could make President […]

May
18
2010

Online Journalism–Where Advertisers Make Content Too!

A long New York Times Magazine piece (5/16/10) aboutstart-up online journalismoutlets brings us some troubling news about the wall between editorial content and advertising: One thing many of these new strategies have in common is a willingness to transgress time-honored barriers–for instance, by blurring the division between reporting and advertising. True/Slant offers to let advertisers use the same blogging tools that contributors do, to produce content that, while labeled, is blended into the rest of the site. Such marketing deals are central to the companyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s plans for future revenue growth. "Everywhere I go, the whole notion of enabling marketers to […]

May
13
2010

Climate Bill Coverage, Minus Environmentalists

Do you want to know what environmentalists think of the "compromise" climate bill unveiled by senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman yesterday? Ifso,don't read the New York Times today. Times reporter John M. Broder (5/13/10) quotes Kerry, Barack Obama (a supporter of the bill) and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (formerly a somewhat iffy supporter). He alsoreferencesthe feelings of two main industry groups–the Edison Electric Institute and the American Petroleum Institute–as well as BP, ConocoPhillips and the United States Chamber of Commerce. Then, in the second-to-last graph: Some environmental advocates were involved in drafting the bill and were highly supportive. But […]

May
13
2010

NYT, Afghans and 'Corrosive Distrust'

Under the not-too-promising headline "Afghans' Distrust Threatens U.S. War Strategy" (5/13/10), the New York Times reports that U.S. success in the Afghan war "may well depend on whether Afghans can overcome their corrosive distrust of President Hamid Karzai's government." Why that lack of trust would be deemed "corrosive," or why they should trust someone many think stole the recent election, is not clear. Moving on to this: Despite the commitment of more troops by Mr. Obama and a new strategy that has emphasized the protection of Afghan civilians, few in Afghanistan believe that a functional government that holds the country […]

May
12
2010

The Future of Africa, Brought to You by Bono and Bob Geldof

Canada's Globe and Mail decided to do a special issue on Africa this Monday, and who better to guest edit than Bono and Bob Geldof? There's a piece about their day at the paper that's truly absurd. Here's the section on "Opinion Pages": They move back to the meeting table to discuss more content for the paper. Bono asks for a cup of tea, with a drop of milk. Geldof takes his coffee black. Comment Editor Natasha Hassan goes over options for opinion pieces to run in Monday's paper. Christy Turlington has written a piece on maternal health, drawing from […]

May
12
2010

NYT Finds CNN Hatemonger Is Really a Big Softie

There's a certain the-monster-isn't-so-bad genre of journalism–profiling some character known for vicious misanthropy, usually a right-wing media personality, only to assure readers that once you get to know them, you realize that they don't actually mean all the nasty things they say. (The Time cover story on Ann Coulter discussed here is perhaps the classic example.) Today the New York Times (5/12/10) offers us an intimate look at Eric Erickson under the headline "CNN Pundit Draws Ire From All Sides." Erickson is the blogger best known for his assertion that Supreme Court Justice David Souter was a "goat-fucking child molester." […]

May
12
2010

Newsweek and the Criminal Immigrants Next Door

Newsweek has another installment in the don't-blame-Arizonans coverage of the state's new immigration law (FAIR Blog, 4/28/10, 5/3/10, 5/4/10). Under the charming headline "Mexican Standoff," reporter Eve Conant writes: Some accuse lawmakers and the 70 percent of Arizonans who support the bill of acting like Nazis, or of turning Arizona into an apartheid state. But spend some time in Arizona, and you may come to see why so many Arizonans want this. The bulk of what follows is Conant's account of a month worth of ride-alongs with Arizona law enforcement officials, who showed her a number of ostensibly immigrant-related crimes. […]

May
12
2010

Kathleen Parker's 'Mainstream' Isn't About the Ballet Shoes

"Elena Kagan Is Miles Away From Mainstream America" is the headline on Kathleen Parker's Washington Post column this morning (5/12/10). What exactly does that mean? Well, on first blush, it seems to have to do with where she's from: "Coincidentally, she shares the same home town as the other two women on the court. Assuming Kagan is confirmed, all three women will hail from New York." And why does this matter? "Spending one's formative years walking past the infamously crime-riddled Murder Hotel en route to school, as Kagan did–and, say, walking past the First Baptist Church to ballet class–are not […]