Apr
09
2004

Pundits to Kerry: Move Right

Every four years, loud voices in the media advise the Democratic presidential candidate to abandon progressive stances and occupy the political center. With Sen. John Kerry having emerged as the presumable nominee, the pundits are once again issuing the same prescription. Time magazine's Joe Klein wrote (4/12/04) that Kerry needs to be bold: "The ideal step would be to make [Republican Senator] John McCain his choice for vice president and announce a government of national reconciliation composed of moderate Democrats and Republicans." Klein recommended making a "radical move to the middle, a campaign that looks and sounds different from the […]

Mar
08
2004

GOP Rhetoric on Kerry's Voting Record Goes Unchallenged

After John Kerry emerged as the likely Democratic nominee for president, the Republican National Committee (RNC) began criticizing his record on military spending. The campaign against Kerry's record escalated on February 22 when the RNC released a list of weapons systems that Kerry allegedly "voted against." Republican spokespeople used this list to make sweeping claims about Kerry in the media: "I think the more that the president and the Republicans describe accurately-- they don't have to exaggerate at all; they just have to describe accurately and calmly-- what it means...to have voted against every major weapon system," Newt Gingrich declared […]

Sep
16
2003

Wesley Clark: The New Anti-War Candidate?

The possibility that former NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark might enter the race for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination has been the subject of furious speculation in the media. But while recent coverage of Clark often claims that he opposed the war with Iraq, the various opinions he has expressed on the issue suggest the media's "anti-war" label is inaccurate. Many media accounts state that Clark, who led the 1999 NATO campaign against Yugoslavia, was outspoken in his opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The Boston Globe (9/14/03) noted that Clark is "a former NATO commander who also happens to […]

Aug
22
2003

Journalists Find "Calm" When Only Palestinians Die

The deadly bus bombing in Jerusalem on August 19 was foreshadowed by a pair of suicide attacks a week earlier which killed two Israeli civilians. While U.S. media tended to portray these attacks as a return to violence after a relatively peaceful period, there were numerous killings in the weeks leading up to the suicide bombings that underscore the lack of evenhanded attention given to loss of life in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. When the two Palestinian suicide bombers each killed an Israeli civilian along with themselves on August 12, U.S. news outlets immediately depictedthe attacks as an apparent resurgence in […]

Jul
18
2003

Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg

George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address

Five months later, the truthfulness of one claim in George W. Bush's State of the Union address has become the focus of growing media scrutiny. The attention media are paying to this single assertion should be part of a larger journalistic inquiry into other misstatements and exaggerations that have been made by the Bush administration about Iraq. In the January 28 speech, Bush claimed that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." That assertion was similar to claims made previously by administration officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell (CBS Evening […]

Jul
15
2003

Savage Anti-Semitism

Radio host Michael Savage, whose MSNBC cable show was cancelled on July 7 after the host dubbed a caller "a sodomite" and told him to "get AIDS and die," has amassed a lavish record of on-air bigotry of many kinds: dismissing child victims of gunfire as "ghetto slime," referring to non-white countries as "turd world nations," calling homosexuality "perversion" and remarking that Latinos "breed like rabbits." (See FAIR Action Alert, 2/12/03; http://www.fair.org/activism/msnbc-savage.html .) Less well publicized is Savage's penchant for applying ugly ethnic stereotypes and slurs to Jews he perceives to be political enemies. An article to be published in […]

Jun
10
2003

Troubles at the Times

Beyond Blair

With the resignations of New York Times executive editor Howell Raines and managing editor Gerald Boyd, the newspaper regarded as the "paper of record" is going through a severe credibility crisis. The controversy concerns former Times reporter Jayson Blair, and the plagiarism and numerous fabricated or inaccurate stories that editors failed to catch while he was with the paper. While Blair's record was shameful, it is important to recall that the Times has been guilty of sloppy or inaccurate reporting involving domestic and international stories of greater consequence than those Blair covered. Some examples: —The Times' Judith Miller has been […]

Apr
10
2003

Is Killing Part of Pentagon Press Policy?

The Pentagon has held up its practice of "embedding" journalists with military units as proof of a new media-friendly policy. On April 8, however, U.S. military forces launched what appeared to be deliberate attacks on independent journalists covering the war, killing three and injuring four others. In one incident, a U.S. tank fired an explosive shell at the Palestine Hotel, where most non-embedded international reporters in Baghdad are based. Two journalists, Taras Protsyuk of the British news agency Reuters and Jose Couso of the Spanish network Telecino, were killed; three other journalists were injured. The tank, which was parked nearby, […]