Extra! December 2013


    Climate Change Is Not the Future

    Making climate change an A-section story means ceasing to think of it as something that “might happen”; it’s here now.

    Weather—Without Climate

    A new FAIR study shows that even when covering weather events that scientists suggest are linked to climate change, the news rarely mentions the changing climate. Out of 450 TV news segments about extreme weather, just 16 even mentioned climate change.

    SoundBites December 2013

    Drones Aren’t News—But UFOs Are Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both issued reports in October that examined civilian deaths caused by US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. Among their findings: Two attacks in Pakistan killed 19 civilians, and most of the drone deaths in Yemen were noncombatants. The reports made the front page of the New York Times (10/21/13) but weren’t mentioned on the nightly network newscasts. That evening, ABC, CBS and NBC all covered the new Apple product announcements. NBC had a long report about family farm tourist destinations, as well as a report about construction at …

    Seeing What They Want to See in Malala

    Malala Yousafai’s remarks portraying the US government as anything but heroic were ignored by most major US media outlets—particularly her insistence that the US government and the Taliban are both obstacles to women’s rights in the tribal regions of Pakistan, a sentiment she bravely expressed to President Obama when she met with him in the Oval Office on October 11.

    Why Media Should Play ‘Blame Game’

    Media like to dismiss the partisan “blame game,” but accurately placing blame can be a crucial journalistic function. After all, nothing promotes political irresponsibility more than the knowledge that whatever you do, media will blame both sides equally.

    Immigration’s Imaginary ‘Open Sesame’

    According to right-wing media outlets, the latest immigration threat comes in the form of a “flood” of asylum seekers at the US/Mexico border.

    The Other Education Crisis

    The monomania for testing rests on a belief, ingrained in the media, that American education is “in crisis” and the surest way to catch up with international competitors is to listen to big data.

    ‘The Real Story Is It’s Incredibly Hard to Qualify’

    CounterSpin Interview   We’re used to media scaremongering over Social Security retirement insurance, claiming that benefits must be cut because the program is about to run out of money (Extra!, 10/10). But lately media have pushed a different Social Security story, claiming that there has been an alarming and suspicious explosion in the number of people getting Social Security disability benefits. After that message was sent loud and clear by a recent CBS 60 Minutes broadcast (10/6/13), CounterSpin’s Peter Hart spoke about the reality of disability insurance with Rebecca Vallas, deputy director of government affairs at the National Organization of …

    Nursing a Grudge Over Giap

    During the 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon persuaded South Vietnam through back channels to withdraw from peace negotiations just as a breakthrough was imminent. Under a Nixon presidency, “they would get a much better deal,” he secretly promised through a campaign adviser (BBC, 3/22/13). With the peace process stymied, Nixon narrowly defeated Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He then expanded the conflict throughout the region via secret, illegal carpet bombings over Laos and Cambodia, overseen by National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Nixon presided over four more years of war and the deaths of over 20,000 US soldiers—more than a third of …

    Certain Science, Dubious Reporting

    It is hardly a surprise when conservative media deny climate change, humanity’s responsibility for it or the feasibility of stopping it. But even media that accept what science tells them are failing to effectively communicate that reality to the public.