Nov
07
2014

On Iran Policy, America Is Not 'the World'

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When reporters talk about what "the world" thinks about Iran, they really just mean the United States.

Feb
04
2013

When 'Confirmed' Means 'An Official Told Me So'

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NBC's Richard Engel report that "what we've been able to confirm" is that a Syrian convoy attacked by Israel "was packed with fairly sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles." It is highly doubtful that Engel could "confirm" any such thing–unless by "confirm" he means that NBC is confirming that government sources are claiming what they are claiming.

Jan
31
2013

Iran's 'Nuclear Weapons Program,' Again

FireShot Screen Capture #328 - 'Israeli Warplanes Make Strike on Weapons Convoy in Syria I PBS NewsHour I Jan_ 30, 2013 I PBS' - www_pbs_org_newshour_bb_middle_east_jan-june13_israel_01-30_ht

On Monday's edition of the NewsHour (1/28/13), host Gwen Ifill referred to concerns about the "threat posed by Iran's nuclear program," and told viewers that a story "looks at the debate in Israel over how to deal with the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran." How hard is it for NewsHour to understand that allegations are not facts?

Jan
31
2013

PBS and the Poor Pentagon

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When the PBS NewsHour took a look at military spending cuts, the segment unfortunately presented a very narrow view of the issue–one that mimics the kind of coverage we see elsewhere in the corporate media.

Jun
10
2011

Debating the Big Issues, NewsHour Style

One of the most common criticisms of the PBS NewsHour is that it too often mimics the elite bias of the commercial media. A recent broadcast of the NewsHour (6/8/11) had two segments about the debate over the Afghan War–the first a news report covering the Senate nomination hearings for Ryan Crocker, Obama's nominee to be ambassador to Afghanistan. Quoted in the piece were senators Jim Webb (D.-Va.) and Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Barack Obama. The discussion segment that accompanied it featured two more senators: Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez. […]

Mar
24
2011

Public TV and Libya: Govt. Officials, Current and Former

Last night (3/24/11) Jim Lehrer introduced a NewsHour discussion segment about the Libya War: Now, how it looks to two former U.S. senators, Democrat Gary Hart of Colorado and Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Senator Hart is now a scholar in residence at the University of Colorado and chair of the Defense Department's Threat Reduction Advisory Council. Senator Coleman is CEO of the American Action Network, an issue advocacy organization that supports Republican candidates and policies. The same broadcastfeatured an interview with Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough. Monday's broadcast featured this segment: JIM LEHRER: Now some perspective on the […]

Sep
24
2010

NewsHour's Tax Cuts Series Off to a Bad Start

On Wednesday night's broadcast of the PBS NewsHour (9/23/10), Gwen Ifill announced: "Now to the first of several conversations on whether or not to extend tax cuts that expire at the end of the year." The first guest was Republican Glenn Hubbard, who Ifill told viewers "was the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, and he helped to design those cuts." Not surprisingly, he is a big supporter of extending the tax cuts, and gave the usual laundry list of reasons why, and criticized Obama for creating uncertainty in the markets and so on. […]

Sep
15
2010

When the Umpire Won't Call Balls or Strikes

There was something depressing about a recent discussion on the PBS NewsHour Monday night (9/13/10) about the debate over what to do with the Bush-era tax cuts. The politics of the tax debate is well-known; most Democrats want to extend them for all but the top brackets, while the Republicans want to renew the cuts that affect only the wealthiest taxpayers (which could cost the government an additional $700 billion in lost revenue over the next decade). The Republican argument is that allowing the tax cuts to expire on families earning more than $250,000 would hurt "small businesses." So here's […]

Sep
16
2009

NewsHour Poses a Moral Conundrum

PBS's NewsHour's Gwen Ifill (9/15/09), quizzing Richard Goldstone on his U.N. fact-finding mission that found that both Israel and Palestinian fighters had committed war crimes in the Gaza conflict: The term "even-handed" is the problem that Israel has with the conclusions in the report. Your criticism of Israel seems so much harsher than that of the Palestinians. Why is that? CBS News (9/9/09), summarizing a report by Israel's leading human rights group: Well over half of nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel's Gaza war were civilians, including 252 children younger than 16, a leading Israeli human rights groups said Wednesday, […]

May
12
2009

PBS's 'Washington Bubble' Invisible to Inhabitants

Noticing how PBS's Gwen Ifill has a penchant for "filling her Washington Week program with journalists who almost invariably agree with each other instead of actually debating the issues of the week," critic Charles Kaiser decided to contact her (CJR.org, 5/8/09) about a recent "discussion of torture in which the only issue the panelists identified was how the Obama administration should deal with the political fallout from the demands for a full-scale investigation and/or prosecution of the officials responsible for American torture." Kaiser's question of whether it would "ruin the discussion to have one person who believes that a full […]