Extra! May/June 1990

    Press Ignores the Obvious in U.S. Energy Policy

    Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Wall Street Journal (9/10/90) reported on why Japan has been so much more successful in conserving oil than the U.S. The report focused on the role of Japan’s government in coordinating energy programs and compelling corporations to install energy-saving machinery. Yet it managed to overlook what Ronald Morse, an energy specialist quoted in the article, subsequently described to EXTRA! as the most important reason of all: a tax policy that keeps Japanese energy prices high and demand low. The omission was indicative of the daily press’ persistent myopia concerning energy issues. While showing …

    Study Aftermath: FAIR Debates MacNeil/Lehrer

    The April 1990 release of FAIR’s study, “All The Usual Suspects: MacNeil/Lehrer and Nightline,” rekindled the debate over TV news bias. The study was reported by major U.S. dailies, was endorsed by numerous columnists and TV critics, and led to a TV debate involving FAIR’s Jeff Cohen and NewsHour co-anchor Robert MacNeil. The six-month study, conducted by sociologists Bill Hoynes and David Croteau, found that while Nightline had slightly broadened its guest list since FAIR’s original 1985-88 study, PBS‘s NewsHour was narrower, whiter, more male-dominated, more government-oriented and more conservative than Nightline. Ninety percent of MacNeil/Lehrer‘s U.S. guests were white, …

    Northern Ireland From London’s Perspective

    In October 1988, British Home Secretary Douglas Hurd announced a ban on broadcasting statements by members or appar­ent sympathizers of eleven political and paramilitary organizations (three of them legal). “This is not censorship,” Hurd announced. Affected journalists tried to adapt to the new conditions. Some news reports in Britain and Ireland now declare that stories have been affected by govern­ment restrictions. Silent images of for­bidden speakers appear with their words subtitled or dubbed in by an announcer. But as East German writer Christa Wolf once said, the government censor you can escape; it’s the censor in your head you have …

    New Improved Nukes

    “Revive the Atom,” proclaimed the New York Times (12/8/89), trumpeting a campaign to resurrect nuclear power we will hear much of in the coming years. “Nuclear power is not inherently unworkable,” editorialized the Times. “Technology is the easiest part–a new generation of safer, cheaper nuclear power plants is already on the drawing boards. The tough part is changing public attitudes.” And the Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other mainstays of establishment media seem intent on doing whatever they can to change public attitudes. The crusade for the dying technology (no nuclear plant has been ordered in the U.S. …

    Polluters’ PBS Penance

    Has your firm lost its corporate luster due to a few evacuated neighborhoods, the odd near-meltdown, or a few hundred deaths? Is some environmentalist giving you a bad name because of one or two little setbacks? Some of America’s most enterprising businesses have found a solution: Sponsor a show on public television, particularly one with a green theme. The following are a few of the companies who have used the PBS penance to say “I’m sorry” to those who are touchy about the environment. This table lists the company, the crime, and the penance: BASF—One of Western Europe’s most energetic …

    The Antisemitic Roots of Eastern European Nationalism

    Press coverage of the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe in late 1989 and early 1990 has failed to provide adequate context concerning the antisemitic and fascist currents in Eastern European nationalism.

    CIA Chief Bush Suppresses the News

    Documents obtained by FAIR, released through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), show that George Bush, as head of the CIA in 1976, tried to bottle up a news story that exposed the apparent duplicity of another former CIA chief, Richard Helms. The story, broken on Oct. 1, 1976, by David Martin (now CBS Pentagon correspondent, then with Associated Press), revealed that Helms had given misleading testimony to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John Kennedy. Helms testified that the CIA had not “even contemplated” making contact with Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin. Through the FOIA, Martin obtained …

    Holes in Ozone Coverage

    With the amount of lip service paid to environmental threats, one would have expected the media to leap at an expose dealing with ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)–like Dennis Hayes’ article in Mother Jones (12/89), which showed that Silicon Valley electronics firms began using CFCs to clean circuit boards and microchips after the 1976 ban on CFCs in aerosol cans, negating the impact of the aerosol ban. But when Mother Jones distributed advance copies of the story to the media, it got a cold shoulder. The electronics industry’s use of CFCs wasn’t important news. But when the industry, responding to Earth Day …

Articles in the print edition


Salvadroan Disinformation in the Miami Herald

Tea-time at the Times

New York Times Amnesia

Sunday Morning Bloodlust

DOW Jones
Going for the Glitz?
by Doug Henwood

Interview With Pearlstine
“Sick, Twisted Scum”
by Doug Henwood

“Terror” Across the Border
U.S. and Canada Use of a Buzzword
by James Wittebols

The World’s Most Dangerous Headline

Red-Baiting Jennings

News Goes Better With Pepsi

“Tonight on Nightline: The Failure of Capitalism in Latin America”

Warning to Journalists: Beware of Planets
by Wayne Green