Bait-and-Switch Boosterism on Trade Pacts

Corporate media’s incredibly uncritical boosterism of so-called “free trade” deals has been remarked on many times, and continues to be remarkable. What else but blind faith would allow a story to carry a line like one in the October 12 New York Times, about textile industry opposition to the new deal with South Korea: “The production of shirts and sheets has shifted steadily from the United States to countries with lower-cost labor. Economists argue that this process strengthens the economy as companies and workers shift to more productive and lucrative kinds of work.” Of course, if the Times has evidence […]


Corporations Want to Create Jobs (and Other Myths)

New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer takes a look (8/26/11) at U.S. trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that are currently languishing in Congress. The piece calls them “free-trade” agreements, which is generally misleading: Trade deals usually involve complicated horse-trade negotiations regarding tariffs, patent protection and the like–meaning they make trade in some ways less free. But more important are the other assumptions in the piece: The three free-trade agreements, which originated with the Bush administration, would eliminate tariffs on cross-border transactions, expanding exports of American goods by about $12 billion a year, according to estimates by the […]


Panama: When Journalists Learned to Rally ‘Round the Flag

With the discussion of Afghanistan sounding more and more like the debate over Iraq these days, we thought it would be worthwhile to point out how similar the media rhetoric around all of the U.S.’s recent wars has been. To that end, we’ve put up some classic FAIR articles from the January/February 1990 issue of Extra!–which happens to be the first issue that I edited–critiquing corporate media coverage of the Panama invasion. There’s the main piece, “How Television Sold the Panama Invasion” by Mark Cook and Jeff Cohen, documenting how U.S. journalists viewed the brief war through the eyes of […]