Feb 1 2009

A Note from the Publisher

By Deborah Thomas

Dear FAIR Friend,

It’s with great excitement that Extra! moves into the new year with our new monthly edition. So far we’ve received great feedback; we hope that people continue to send us letters to the editor, quick notes or emails about the format and the stories we are covering.

We work hard every day to monitor the corporate media. They’re a slippery bunch and it’s easy to forget how you can just read right by the “unnamed sources” and the “Pentagon says.” But you know when you receive your monthly issue of Extra!, hear the latest CounterSpin show or get the latest Action Alert that we are on the job.

Reporting on the New York Times front-page story (4/20/08) on the generals and the media last year, FAIR media analyst Peter Hart said (Institute for Public Accuracy, 4/22/08):

This Pentagon propaganda operation took advantage of the corporate media’s longstanding preference for using retired military officials as “independent” experts. . . . As the Times reported, the outlets showed little interest in monitoring the myriad conflicts of interest of their military analysts, many of whom worked off-camera to secure contracts for weapons manufacturers and corporations looking to do business with the U.S. military. Nor did the outlets seem interested in knowing how the analysts were getting their information about Iraq.

The Times also points out that some of these military analysts held back information about the Iraq insurgency and the search for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. In fact, one former Fox analyst recalls being briefed in 2003 that the U.S. did not have “hard evidence” of Iraq’s banned weapons. The Pentagon pundits kept quiet about this. One wonders what would have happened if they hadn’t.

Now, this doesn’t mean that they have stopped using military officials, or that “unnamed sources” and “officials say” have left your TV screens or daily paper since then. It just means that when exposure is imminent, the media will acknowledge it—and then it’s back to business as usual.

Meanwhile FAIR keeps plugging along—documenting the continued subversion of the news as it should be reported. In the past six months FAIR has produced some of its findings of other important news stories that the corporate media have been a complicit partner in underreporting or misreporting. Some of these hard-hitting stories include:

FAIR Study: TV’s Low-Cal Campaign Coverage: How 385 Stories Can Tell You Next to Nothing About Whom to Vote For

FAIR Report: Making Islamophobia Mainstream: How Muslim-Bashers Broadcast Their Bigotry

Money Is the New Green Power: The Hoax of Eco-Friendly Nuclear Energy

Media Miss Bigger Picture in Healthcare Debate: Ignoring “Mandate” Plans’ Record of Failure

So this is my first appeal of the new year—please finish reading the issue, then, if you can possibly do so, help support FAIR and all that we do by giving a donation, renewing early or making a gift subscription. If you send us a donation of $20 or more, you’ll receive a thank-you gift back: The Best of CounterSpin 2008. It can all be done conveniently using the postage-paid envelope attached in the middle of your copy of Extra!. And a big thank you from all of us here at FAIR.