Jun
28
2011

CBS Skips Bachmann Factcheck

Website notes inaccuracy, but viewers left in dark

CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer seemed well-prepared for his June 26 interview with Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. But he didn't go nearly far enough in challenging Bachmann's misinformation. On the program Schieffer told the Minnesota representative: "A lot of your critics say you have been very fast and loose with the truth. You know, PolitiFact, which is a website that won a Pulitzer, did an analysis of 23 statements that you made recently. Of these 23, only one they said was completely true." Unfortunately, Bachmann had already re-told one of those falsehoods--and Schieffer did little to correct […]

Jun
02
2011

Petition: Open the Budget Debate to the People

Media boost Ryan plan, ignore People's Budget

Thanks to the corporate media, you probably know all about Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan. After he unveiled his proposal to slash Medicare funding and cut taxes for the wealthy--all in the name of fiscal discipline--he was interviewed on all the network Sunday morning shows: NBC's Meet the Press (4/10/11), Face the Nation on CBS (4/17/11) and ABC's This Week (5/1/11). Ryan also was given one-on-one interviews on the PBS NewsHour (4/5/11) and ABC's Good Morning America (4/13/11), and was profiled by ABC World News (4/5/11). Ryan's plan was discussed in a number of segments on the nightly newscasts […]

Mar
29
2011

Public TV's Libya Limits

Narrow war debate on PBS NewsHour

If public television's mission is to bring diverse viewpoints to the airwaves, the discussions about the war in Libya on the PBS NewsHour haven't lived up to that standard. Over the past two weeks, the NewsHour has featured an array of current and former military and government officials in its discussion segments--leaving little room for antiwar voices, U.S. foreign policy critics and legal experts. -On March 18, the NewsHour interviewed the Obama administration's UN Ambassador Susan Rice. -On March 21, anchor Jim Lehrer decided to get "perspective on the Mideast turmoil from two former U.S. national security advisers"--Carter's Zbigniew Brzezinski […]

Mar
02
2011

ABC's 'Made in America' Hypocrisy

Focusing on consumers, not corporations like Disney

ABC World News With Diane Sawyer kicked off its "Made in America" series on February 28, encouraging consumers to buy U.S.-made products in order to spur job growth. But why focus on consumers and not major corporations like ABC parent Disney, who are the ones who actually choose to manufacture products overseas? The February 28 report consisted of reporter David Muir touring one family's home, discovering that the vast majority of the family's possessions are not made in the United States. Muir even checks the children's toys, only to discover that they are mostly made in China. Consumers, of course, […]

Mar
01
2011

Why Does USA Today Hate Public Workers?

Paper's Dennis Cauchon continues misleading spin

On today's front page (3/1/11), USA Today alleges that public workers in Wisconsin earn more than private sector employees--a finding at odds with much of the research on public/private compensation. Under the headline "In Wisconsin, Private Sector Pays Less," reporter Dennis Cauchon argues that "Wisconsin is one of 41 states where public employees earn higher average pay and benefits than private workers in the same state." This "USA Today analysis" suffers from the same fundamental error as Cauchon's previous attempts (Extra!, 1/11) to paint public workers as overpaid: the failure to control for factors like the type of work performed, […]

Feb
16
2011

Newsweek Defends Drones

Plays down civilian deaths, legal questions

Newsweek's February 21 assessment of the CIA's drone assassination program in Pakistan is a largely uncritical defense of the White House policy, with little space for critics who argue the killings are illegal, counterproductive and exact a heavy toll on innocent civilians. Newsweek presents the piece as an exclusive look at the targeting decisions involved in the CIA's drone program: "The formal process of determining who should be hunted down...has not been previously reported." The CIA unsurprisingly does not talk publicly about these operations. But Newsweek reporter Tara McKelvey puts a positive spin on the program: "A look at the […]

Dec
01
2010

NYT's Iran Missile Fizzle

Paper cites WikiLeaks cable, but omits doubts

A November 29 New York Times article alleging that Iran possesses powerful missiles with "the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe" appears to rest on incredibly shaky evidence--amounting to a German newspaper article that did not fully corroborate the U.S. claims the Times was touting. The piece relied on one of the cables published by the website WikiLeaks. The Times did not publish the cable on its website "at the request of the Obama administration." But the paper was willing to selectively use information from that cable to bolster the U.S. claims against Iran. Doubts about the piece […]

Nov
16
2010

Charlie Rose's Deficit Non-Debate

Public TV show excludes critics of center-right plan

A report from the co-chairs of the White House deficit commission has generated significant criticism. But on public television mainstay Charlie Rose, viewers are hearing only from supporters of the center-right plan to cut spending and lower taxes for the wealthy. The first Charlie Rose discussion on November 11 featured Harvard economics professor Martin Feldstein, who found the report "very bold," though he thought "it didn't go far enough." The other guest was David Walker of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, who found it a "courageous plan" that "could have been even more aggressive with respect to some of the […]