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 killed in Afghanistan.

Washington Post critic Tom Shales, still apparently enraged that Amanpour got the job in the first place, slammed this performance:

Perhaps in keeping with the newly globalized program, the commendable “In Memoriam” segment ended with a tribute not to American men and women who died in combat during the preceding week but rather, said Amanpour in her narration, in remembrance of “all of those who died in war” in that period. Did she mean to suggest that our mourning extend to members of the Taliban?

That got a plug from NewsBusters, the blog affiliated with the right-wing Media Research Center. The MRC’s Brent Baker had already weighed in, slamming Amanpour on Sunday for “phraseology which put the U.S. deaths second to all the wars around the world.”

Meanwhile, back in reality, Amanpour’s debut featured an interview with Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that focused on the threat to the Afghanistan war effort posed by the WikiLeaks disclosures. In her other interview, Amanpour brandished a copy of the new issue of Time magazine and asked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, “Is America going to abandon the women of Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan, again?”

And Amanpour tried to put the best spin on the war:

What I think a lot of people maybe don’t get is that the Afghan people still want the American forces there. In the latest ABC poll, it shows that 68 percent of the Afghan people actually want the American forces still there. Do you think that there has been an opportunity missed or should there be an opportunity seized by yourself, maybe by the president, to go out and speak to the American people more about Afghanistan, about the strategy, about why it’s important?

Spoken like a true Taliban sympathizer.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.