When Jeremy Scahill called out a CNN reporter for an error, she eventually corrected her mistake on the air. That's good– and more outlets should be doing the same. Unfortunately the "non-correction correction" is more typical–or, as in the case of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, a media figure will simply ignore the issue.
Washington Post columnist David Broder sees one way for Barack Obama to demonstrate leadership after the midterms–push for war with Iran. Lest one be accused of misrepresenting his argument, this is what he wrote in his October 31 column, which starts out talking about the how a president can influence the economy: What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy. Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II. Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong […]
Various forces have been accused of being behind the January 12 killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi–including the Iranian government, the Iranian opposition, the United States and Israel. To sort through this murky subject, MSNBC (1/12/10) turned to Democratic congressmember Jane Harman, who confidently told Andrea Mitchell: I think the logic here is that the Iranian government or some group associated with them took this guy out. I mean, it's a sign of desperation to start killing your own nuclear scientists. So who is Harman, that we should trust her sense of what the "logic" behind Middle East […]
As negotiations begin in Geneva between Iran, Germany and the U.N. Security Council permanent members, Juan Cole debunks the prevailing myths about Iran. Myths that could not endure if U.S. news outlets took journalism seriously and challenged U.S. officialdom on Iran.
Realizing that "by now, talk of the Iranian elections will have traversed into the abyss of yesterday's news," Warehouse magazine contributing writer Mohsen al Attar (7/10/09) still thinks "the events narrate a highly educational tale about the role of media in present-day society": Few would question the media machine's efficiency. Once a major media outlet decides to run with a story–as was done with the Iranian election protests–there is little to arrest its circulation or to challenge the implications the particular telling makes. Of the Iranians and non-Iranians supporting the protests–and they are numerous in Canada alone–an important distinction can […]
Independent investigative journalist John Pilger recently (7/6/09) gave Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman his view of the broad media landscape, informed by the fact that "we have many alternative sources of information now, not least of all your own program, though I wouldn't call that alternative": But for most people, the primary source of their information is the mainstream. It is mainly television. Even the Internet, for all its subversiveness, is still a very large component of the mainstream. And that means we're getting still this singular message about wars, about the economy, about all those things that touch our lives. […]
Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research had one of the most informative pieces I've seen on the Iranian election, published on WashingtonPost.com (6/26/09). Weisbrot examines the actual Iranian vote-counting procedures, and concludes that in Iran, "large-scale fraud is extremely difficult, if not impossible, without creating an extensive trail of evidence." Since votes are supposed to be counted at individual polling places in the presence of 14-18 witnesses, Weisbrot points out that "if this election was stolen, there must be tens of thousands of witnesses–or perhaps hundreds of thousands–to the theft. Yet there are no media accounts […]
Knowing how much "we reporters love a catch phrase," Iran writer Reese Erlich (ZNet, 6/28/09) wants you to know that, despite "Twitter being all a flutter in the west," current reporting is "highly misleading" in that "Iran is not undergoing a Twitter Revolution. The term simultaneously mischaracterizes and trivializes the important mass movement developing in Iran." After tracing the concept's origins back to self-obsessed Western media–"desperate to find ways to show the large demonstrations…reporters were getting most of their information from Tweets and YouTube video clips"–Erlich gives us the reality of the situation: First of all the vast majority of […]
Veteran independent Mexico reporter John Ross (CounterPunch.com, 6/28/09) wants to know which countries come to mind when thinking about "a stolen election by an entrenched regime," "demands for a recount to which election officials respond by offering to recount just 10 percent of the vote," or even "a regime-controlled media that exalts the incumbent's victory and demonizes the loser"? Are you thinking "Iran 2009? Yes!" or "Mexico 2006? Yes and no." Toward showing that "the stealing of the Mexican presidential election by the right-wing oligarchy stirred little indignation anywhere outside of Mexico," Ross finds that "a comparison of coverage extended […]
Proving his memory better (or at least less selective) than that of the institution of corporate journalism, Media Bloodhound blogger Brad Jacobson (6/24/09) is proposing that "It might be more difficult for Republicans to bash President Obama for being 'timid' in his comments about the Iranian government's violence against protesters if the U.S. media didn't consistently censor U.S./Iranian history": Take CNN's recent Iran timeline, titled "A Brief Look at Iran's History." According to the timeline, which begins in 1979, Iran has "been at odds with the West and some of its neighbors" since the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, […]
Discussing (5/31/09) the "story on the two U.S. journalists detained in North Korea," NPR Check's Mytwords states clearly that it "deserves coverage, as did some coverage of [Roxana] Saberi's arrest in Iran (though not the wall to wall attention given by NPR)." But a reader's link to the L.A. Times' May 24 "article on another irregular (illegal?) detention of a journalist" sheds light on a glaring double standard: In this case the journalist was seized by U.S. forces and its allies. The reader noted the lack of NPR coverage on the abduction/detention of Ibrahim Jassam, complaining that NPR has voiced […]
Reporting that "the Obama administration has recently paid a lot of lip service to freedom of the press, particularly around the case of Iranian-American journalist Roxanna Saberi, who was released May 11 from an Iranian prison," Jeremy Scahill asks (Rebel Reports, 5/26/09) the simple question, "If Iran Freed Roxanna Saberi, Why Won't the U.S. Release Journalist Ibrahim Jassam?" Part of the answer might lie in a media environment heeding former Col. Ralph Peters' recent "essay for a leading neocon group calling for future U.S. military attacks on media outlets and journalists" along with "censorship" and "news blackouts." Of course, Scahill […]