Among corporate media pundits, hostility towards teachers’ unions spans the ideological spectrum (Extra!, 9/10). And in supposedly straight news reporting, the policy goals of corporate “reformers”―support for charter schools and teacher ratings based on standardized test statistical models―are treated as common sense instead of contested and controversial. So when the Chicago Teachers Union went out on strike this September, it was never in doubt which side the corporate media would take. The story of Chicago, as they framed it, was that well-paid teachers in an underperforming, cash-strapped school system wanted more money, and opposed any attempt to hold them accountable […]
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How the El Paso Times segregates the news
“Faces and Places,” says a link on the website of the El Paso Times, a venerable daily newspaper on the U.S./Mexico border. Click and you’re transported to photos of the community’s apple-pie-and-motherhood social events. In one picture, a fair-skinned little girl straddles a horse as a Stetson-hatted man guides her on a trail ride. In another, a middle-aged woman holds a fluffy dog who’s poised to jump in a pool—it’s canine swim day at an El Paso recreation center. These photos, and others just as wholesome, grace the paper’s English-language website. But over in another section, called “Fotogalerías,” the images […]
If you were unnerved to see Democratic and Republican presidential candidates competing over which was a bigger fan of coal, you weren't alone. And: Is affirmative action in danger?
Debate dispute sheds light on media's cockeyed standards
The September 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, became a contentious issue in the October 16 presidential debate (FAIR Blog, 10/17/12). The discussion didn't do much to illuminate U.S. foreign policy, but it exposed the essential uselessness in what corporate media offer as political "factchecking."
Real atrocities, dubious sources
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 […]
Tropes, tricks and tics of campaign journalism
Every four years, U.S. media spend untold time and energy covering the presidential campaign. And every election cycle there are certain media themes that keep coming back. Extra! has compiled a guide to the most popular recurring tropes, as well as some new additions to keep an eye on in 2012. Candidate Caricatures In 2008, journalists gave us McCain the maverick vs. Obama the snob (Extra!, 5–6/08, 7–8/08): easily digestible caricatures that the candidates’ every action could be forced into. It didn’t matter that McCain toed the party line more than your average Republican, or that Obama’s middle-class, community activist […]
Excluded from the newsroom, absent from the conversation
Since 1990, the Latino population in the United States has more than doubled to 16 percent, but English-language U.S. news media outlets are simply not keeping up. While people of color and women have always been underrepresented in U.S. media, Latinos consistently stand out—in the coverage as well as inside the newsroom—for their exceptionally paltry numbers relative to their population size. In coverage In Extra!’s recent study of the opinion pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal (4/12), Latinos were granted less than half a percent of the op-ed bylines over the two-month study period—writing […]
Austerity, immigration are the real civil rights issues
During recent campaigning, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have appealed to the Latino community by acknowledging the “Latino education crisis.” Romney told the conservative Latino Coalition that the poor track record of schools serving students of color is “the civil rights issue of our era” (New York Times, 5/24/12). He identified teacher unions as the obstacles to reform (Washington Post, 5/23/12): “The teachers’ unions don’t fight for our children.” His prescription included a federal school voucher program and the expansion of non-union charter schools. Obama has also linked educational reform to civil rights themes (New York Times, […]