Search Results for: John F. Sugg

Oct
01
2013

On Syria, Another Shortage of Skepticism

A second secretary of State's claims go unchallenged

John Kerry presenting his speech

In the days after a suspected chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, media coverage was on a familiar war footing. Television screen graphics diagrammed likely attack scenarios, and the question was when, not if, the United States would attack. “Tonight the clock is ticking on US military action in Syria,” ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer (8/27/13) told viewers. “The White House says a decision is near and US warships are in position.” On NBC Nightly News (8/28/13), Andrea Mitchell announced: “The warships are ready. The targets are chosen, limited cruise missile strikes against airfields, artillery, and […]

Aug
01
2013

After Ahmadinejad, Alarmism Still Reigns

Spinning Iranian election results to maintain an official enemy

ABC's Dan Harris and Jonathan Karl parrot AIPAC on "pro-nuclear Iran."

With the surprise election (CNN, 6/15/13) of moderate pragmatist Hassan Rouhani as the next president of Iran, and the attendant departure of the West’s favorite bogeyman, outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, from the political stage, U.S. elite media have had to rapidly adapt the collective narrative in order to maintain their alarmist depiction of the Islamic Republic. For the past eight years, references to what is perceived as Ahmadinejad’s bombastic rhetoric abounded in political speeches and were readily parroted by the press (Extra!, 6/12). He was routinely presented as a megalomaniacal, apocalyptic madman, hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons in order to […]

Apr
01
2013

Joe Biden, Aesthetic Populist

A track record of screwing the little guy

Biden breaking from Secret Service to shake NBC's Al Roker's hand during the 2013 inaugural parade.--Photo Credit: NBC

Joe Biden’s popularity stems from his perception of “folksiness.” In reality, though, Biden’s record is anything but working class–friendly.

Oct
01
2012

Skepticism Essential in Syria Reporting

Real atrocities, dubious sources

Syria's Flag--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Freedom House

As I.F. Stone taught us, all governments are liars, and the Syrian government is a particularly good example, refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of a homegrown opposition and denying the overwhelming evidence (CBS News, 2/4/12) that it has shelled civilian neighborhoods (Human Rights Watch, 2/9/12).By nearly all accounts, the Syrian government is responsible for a lion's share of the killing in that nation's civil war. It has also been accused of purposely killing journalists (Reporters Without Borders, 5/7/12). Because the Syrian government allows journalists almost no independent access, and perhaps in part because of the pro-opposition sympathies of much of […]

Aug
30
2012

FAIR in the News

FAIR in the News On Coverage of Iraq ...concerns about efforts by mainstream news media organizations to downplay public interest in the crises in the Middle East and the war in Iraq in particular are well founded according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), the nation’s most prominent media watchdog group. A FAIR Media Advisory dated 12/19/07 is titled “War Is Over--Say the Pundits: But it's media, not voters, who seem to have lost interest in Iraq.” FAIR reports that, “To hear many in the mainstream media tell it, the Iraq War is of diminishing importance to American voters. […]

Aug
30
2012

FAIR in the News

FAIR in the News As part of our outreach work, FAIR spokespersons discuss and debate media issues on national TV and radio programs, and on local shows across the U.S. Below are a few highlights from recent coverage of FAIR's work. Zogby-O'Leary Poll: ConWebBlog, (10/27/09) We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily author Brad O'Leary uses slanted polling by Zogby to peddle his right-wing attacks on President Obama. Well, O'Leary has outdone himself. As Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting noted, the latest Zogby-O'Leary poll includes the following question: Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good […]

Jul
01
2012

Fantasy Economies

Enforcing neoliberalism through myth

Money--lots of it.

When reality fails to confirm the “truths” held by the international financial establishment, the corporate media can be relied on to concoct more cooperative scenarios. In the real world, Argentina’s economy has been one of the most robust in the world for the past decade. But in the world of corporate journalism, Argentina is an economic rogue on the road to ruin. When its economy is discussed in U.S. corporate media, it’s largely to portray it as an example of national leaders making bad economic choices, a model of what not to do. This is what happened when Argentina recently […]

May
01
2012

Discounting Expertise

How journalism embraces right-wing anti-intellectualism

James Inhofe--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Ars Skeptica

From the Scopes trial’s crackdown on Darwinism to William F. Buckley’s famous preference for government by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book over the 2,000 members of the Harvard faculty, from columnists George Will (Washington Post, 11/28/10) and Jonah Goldberg (L.A. Times, 8/30/11) lashing out at the “cult of expertise” to Rick Santorum’s rants against universities as “indoctrination centers for the left” (AP, 2/28/12), the American right regularly expresses contempt for expertise, education and other manifestations of “book learnin’.” As if that’s not damaging enough to public discourse, corporate media outlets often seem to embrace the same […]