May
28
2013

Did Obama's Speech Really 'Narrow' the War?

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If you followed the coverage of President Barack Obama's May 23 speech at the National Defense University, you would think something big happened to the "war on terror." That was probably the message the White House wanted the press to send. But is true?

May
17
2013

Is There Really a 'Scandal Trifecta'?

Benghazi, the Justice Department seizing AP phone records, and the IRS targeting Tea Party groups: Much of the Beltway press corps–which has pushed the Benghazi story for months–is seeing the Obama presidency in a state of near free-fall. But what's actually happening?

May
16
2013

The Supreme Court Is an Ass

The government attacking press freedom.

From Free Press's helpful explainer of the AP phone records scandal, noting the legal background: Smith v. Maryland — In this 1979 decision, the Supreme Court found that people have no expectation of privacy when it comes to the numbers they call because they understand it has to be transmitted through a third party (telephone company). Thus, the [Digital Media Law Project] notes,¬† "the government can obtain that information simply by issuing a subpoena to a telephone company or other third party." As Mr. Bumble says, "If the law supposes that, the law is a ass–a idiot." Everyone who wouldn't […]

May
06
2013

What's the Standard on Reporting Israeli Airstrikes?

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The claims made about Israeli airstrikes against Syria could be true, or not. What is certain is that the assessments of the airstrikes are being shared anonymously by governments involved in carrying them out, a scenario that cries out for more skepticism.

Apr
30
2013

Syria and the 'Red Line' Nonsense

Red line (cc photo: Michael Lusk)

The pundits' message on Barack Obama's talk of a "red line" on Syria is that they are concerned about the credibility of the president's threats of violence–much more so than about the credibility of his evidence.

Apr
26
2013

Texas Fertilizer Plant Disaster: Little Coverage, Much of It Wrong

West Fertilizer Co. plant

The West Fertilizer Co. explosion last week was largely obscured by blanket coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. More than that, says legendary EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman, a guest on this week's CounterSpin, what coverage there was often obscured the real story.

Apr
23
2013

George W. Bush Is a Swell Guy, Just Ask His Friends

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The opening of the George W. Bush library is generating coverage about the state of the Bush legacy. But if the journalists who were far too generous in their coverage of Bush's presidency are the same ones writing about how that presidency should be viewed now, he's in safe hands.

Apr
22
2013

Don't Quote Me by Name, But My Friends the Koch Brothers Respect the Hell Out of Press Freedom

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The New York Times finds anonymous sources to assure us that the Koch brothers are not trying to buy the Tribune newspapers in order to "destroy the other side." But Mother Jones finds an actual person who explains how the Kochs actually treat media outlets whose reporting they don't like.

Apr
12
2013

North Korea Has Deliverable Nuclear Warhead! Or Maybe Not!

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The panicky style of reporting on North Korea doesn't seem to be changing much, if you glance at the front pages of the Washington Post and New York Times this morning. But both pieces, if read carefully, undermine the alarmism–and make you wonder why the stories are on the front page.

Apr
04
2013

AP Ditches 'Illegal' Label

"No One Is Illegal" banner (cc photo: Vertigogen)

The Associated Press announced a change in their style guide: The wire service will no longer refer to "illegal immigrants," except in direct quotes. The change is a victory for activists who have called for years for journalists to stop using the term.

Apr
03
2013

Misreporting Israel/Gaza Cease-Fire

Wreckage from Israeli bombing of Gaza, November 2012 (cc photo: Norsk Folkehjelp)

An Israeli airstrike on Gaza yesterday is being reported as a breach of the cease-fire agreement that was reached after violence last November between the Israeli military and Hamas forces. But the new accounts are misleading: They give the impression that Israel hasn't regularly violated the agreement already.

Mar
25
2013

102 Years After Triangle Fire, Media Still Wonder How Workers Keep Dying

Child workers, Bangladesh (Photo: Global Labour Rights)

On the 102nd anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, Janine Jackson's article in the last issue of Extra! (3/13) is a sobering reminder that not that much has changed in the last century as far as worker¬† safety is concerned: What should be done to prevent incidents like the January 26 fire at the Smart Fashion Export factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which at least seven garment workers (three of them teenage girls) were killed, their escape impeded by a blocked exit and the absence of the most rudimentary fire safety equipment? The answer for many would be: whatever is […]

Mar
15
2013

The Pope and Politics

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Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen as the new pope this week. But coverage often glossed over the most intense political controversies about him.