Jul 20 2010

PBS Ombud Agrees With FAIR on Shultz Tribute

Says funding gives series a 'credibility problem'

In response to hundreds of letters from FAIR activists, PBS ombud Michael Getler (7/16/10) agreed with FAIR’s criticism (Action Alert, 7/12/10) of the 3-hour PBS documentary Turmoil and Triumph, a tribute to former Reagan-era Secretary of State George Shultz funded in part by institutions and individuals with close ties to Shultz. Getler found Turmoil to be “over-the-top, in my view, with praise, but with relatively little critical appraisal of some of the more controversial actions of Shultz’s tenure.” He wrote: This series, for me, as a viewer and an ombudsman, created at least the appearance of a conflict of interest; […]

Jun 04 2010

Where Is O’Reilly’s Anti-Immigration Retraction?

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly cited one reason to support Arizona’s harsh new anti-immigrant law: the state’s exploding crime rate. As FAIR documented in a May 17 Action Alert, there is no such crime wave in the state. What’s more, most research shows that immigrants tend to commit less crime than the population at large. The day after the FAIR alert, O’Reilly (5/18/10) was still at it, declaring that “crime in Arizona is up.” When his guest, Cathy Areu of Catalina magazine, pointed out that the El Paso “is one of the safest cities in the United States”– […]

Mar 23 2010

PBS Ombud Responds on New Public Affairs Show

Moyers 'not exactly replaceable'--so here's Meacham instead

PBS ombud Michael Getler (3/18/10) responded to a FAIR Action Alert (3/10/10) that criticized PBS‘s choice of Jon Meacham as co-host of the PBS public affairs show that will fill the slot left vacant by Now and Bill Moyers Journal. Wrote Getler: During the past week, my office has received about 3,000 e-mails from people, most of whom seemed to be subscribers to FAIR–the media watchdog group that describes itself as “progressive” and stands for “Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting”–and were spurred on by an online “action alert” on March 10. Getler reiterated his concern that Now and Bill Moyers […]

Mar 22 2010

NYT Public Editor Admits ACORN Errors

In a response to a FAIR action alert (3/11/10), New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt (3/21/10) acknowledged that the paper got key facts wrong in reporting on the undercover videos attacking the community organizing group ACORN. The main issue was the fact that James O’Keefe, the activist who produced the videos, did not actually dress up like a “pimp” when he visited the offices. This was a major theme in stories that appeared in the Times and elsewhere: As FAIR pointed out, O’Keefe’s supposed get-up was one of “the key contentions of the ACORN smear–that the group is so […]

Feb 12 2010

NYT Responds on Family Tie to Israeli Military

Hoyt urges Bronner's reassignment; Keller denounces 'savage partisans'

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt (2/6/10) responded to messages from FAIR activists (Action Alert, 1/27/10; FAIR Blog, 1/27/10) by affirming that a reporter covering a conflict in which his child is an armed participant ought to be reassigned. But Times executive editor Bill Keller (2/6/10) rejected Hoyt’s reasoning, saying that Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner would remain at his post despite revelations that his son had joined the Israeli Defense Forces. Calling Bronner a “superb reporter” with “an excellent track record,” Hoyt said the news about his son’s enlistment (Electronic Intifada, 1/25/10) raised “tough questions”: The Times sent […]

Feb 05 2010

NPR Ombud: ‘Critics are right’ on Zinn obituary

Cites 'Flood of Emails'

NPR ombud Alicia Shepard responded to the over 1,500 activists who wrote to NPR regarding the Howard Zinn obituary that aired on “All Things Considered.” Her response is below. Thanks to all of those on the list who wrote to NPR. http://www.npr.org/ombudsman/2010/02/howard_zinns_obit.html Activist Historian Howard Zinn’s Obit Causes a Firestorm There’s a taboo not to speak ill of the dead. Or if you are going to, then at least be nuanced and even-handed about it. And that’s what hundreds said about a Jan. 28 remembrance of Howard Zinn, the activist historian who died Jan. 27. Zinn was decidedly left of […]

Jan 26 2010

PBS Responds to FAIR Petition

More than 14,000 have called for hard-hitting public journalism

FAIR presented a petition with more than 11,000 names to PBS on January 13, calling for worthy replacements for the exiting programs Bill Moyers Journal and Now. In all, 14,462 people signed the petition, including names added after it was delivered to PBS. In a January 22 response, PBS described its new Friday night offering, Need to Know, but gave no indication of whether the program will continue the hard-hitting tradition of its predecessors. Corporate Communications director Jan McNamara wrote that “PBS is committed to maintaining the highest level of news and public affairs programming” and that “changes to our […]

Jan 13 2010

WaPo Ombud Responds on Fiscal Times

Alexander denies article was 'propaganda,' but acknowledges flaws

Responding to complaints by FAIR activists and others (FAIR Action Alert, 1/6/10), Washington Post ombud Andy Alexander (1/10/10) denied that a Post article (12/31/09) underwritten by an anti-Social Security crusader constituted “propaganda,” but he acknowledged that the piece contained serious flaws. The Post had come under fire for running a piece from the Fiscal Times, a for-profit news outlet launched by Peter Peterson, a billionaire who has spent millions promoting cuts in entitlement spending (Extra!, 3-4/97). Alexander maintained that it was “false” to say that by publishing the Fiscal Times story–about the possible creation of a bipartisan commission that would […]