Extra! March 1993

    Back to Iraq

    The US press was full of explanations for the attack on Iraq in January 1993, many of them misleading or wrong.

    SoundBites March 1993

    ‘Anti-Liberal’ Media Dorrance Smith, a top media strategist for the Bush White House, will join fellow administration alumni C. Boyden Gray and Evan Kemp in launching an “anti-liberal public affairs network” on cable TV, the LA Times reports (1/11/93). Smith has the right experience for the task: As a former news executive at ABC, he was the creator of This Week With David Brinkley, and was, until he was hired by Bush in 1991, the executive producer for Nightline. Apparently he doesn’t find the shows he used to run “anti-liberal” enough. Interlocking Directorates Last issue, Extra! noted that the New …

    Super Bowl Sunday

    The Super Bowl is one of the most widely viewed television events every year. Unfortunately, many women’s shelters report that Super Bowl Sunday is also one of the worst days of the year for violence against women in the home. At the request of FAIR’s Women’s Desk and other advocates for women, NBC Sports aired a public service announcement (PSA) on domestic violence during the network’s coverage of this year’s Super Bowl. For too many households, the violence of football’s most-watched game is not confined to the TV screen. The Super Bowl brings together many activities that may “trigger” a …

    Project Censored Ignored By Mainstream Press

    The most significant story of 1992, according to Project Censored’s panel of judges, was the story of the ’80s: how major news media failed to report on the economic cost of Reaganomics while directly benefitting from conservative economic policies. “As they were dispensing their relentlessly positive news about Reaganism, they were being allowed by the government to create giant, monopolistic media empires,” Ben Bagdikian wrote in Mother Jones (5-6/92), in an exceptional article cited by the media watch project. “For almost 10 years, the media remained silent on the obvious–that Reaganite policies were taking a frightful toll in human suffering …

    Close Encounters of the Nuclear Kind

    A space probe with 50 pounds of plutonium aboard–theoretically enough if dispersed to give everyone in the world lung cancer–made an extremely risky low-level “flyby” of the Earth in December 1992. But you wouldn’t have known any danger was involved by reading most of the mainstream U.S. media. Indeed, the New York Times‘ Dec. 8 account of the Galileo space probe flyby–which occurred later that day–didn’t mention the word “plutonium” once, or “nuclear.” Nor did the story, by John Noble Wilford, give any indication of concerns expressed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or by General Electric, the manufacturer of Galileo’s …

    Iran/Contra: Sweep It Away

    Most of the major media reacted to George Bush’s last-minute pardon of leading Iran/Contra figures with less than outrage. The conventional wisdom in media circles for years has been that the scandal is old news and it should just go away. Robert MacNeil of the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (12/24/92) spoke for many in the media when he asked Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive: Mr. Blanton, why does this issue remain important? Clearly, the public is bored with it. The polls all show that years ago they stopped being interested in it. Why not, as Mr. Bush describes in his …

    Media Litmus Test on Clinton’s Cabinet

    The Washington Post (12/11/92) reported on Clinton’s economic team in an article headlined “Clinton Appointees Form a Collage of Varying Economic Views.” The piece claimed that Clinton’s administration would be a “tent big enough to accomodate a wide variety of viewpoints.” How wide are the viewpoints represented? The article cites Lloyd Bentsen, an “old-time wheeler-dealer” who supports “tax incentives” for business; Rep. Leon Panetta and the Brookings Institution’s Alice Rivlin, who are described as “deficit hawks”; and investment bankers Robert Rubin and Roger Altman, who are said to provide “real world imput.” “If you’re in favor of any of these …

    Tragedy Made Simple

    The first question national media need to ask themselves about Somalia is: Where were we? In January 1991, six leading relief agencies warned that 20 million people in Africa faced starvation unless food aid was forthcoming–mainly in Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. (See Hunger in Africa — A Story Still Untold, Extra! September 1992) In the fall of 1991, U.N. officials estimated that 4.5 million Somalis faced grave food shortages. In all of 1991, Somalia got three minutes of attention on the three evening network news shows. From January to June 1992, Somalia got 11 minutes (Tyndall Report, cited in Inter …

Articles in the print edition

Super Bowl Sunday: A Wake-Up Call on Domestic Violence

Close Encounters of the Nuclear Kind: Reporters Ignore Space Probe’s Plutonium Payload

Back to Iraq: News Reporting Echoes Biases of Desert Storm

Critics Explore Desert Storm’s Information Gulf

The Three Faces of Amy Fisher

Journalists Report on Haiti Camps-Under Pentagon Rules

The “Drug War” Hoax: Who Will Finally Tell the People?

Public Access Producers Fight for Cable Rights

Not Channel Zero: Media Producers, Media Critics