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 […]

Oct
13
2009

NYT: 'FAIR Had a Point'

Paper's public editor agrees with activists

In response to FAIR's September 22 action alert, New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt agreed (10/11/09) that the paper's September 20 article about Medicare for all excluded supporters of a single-payer healthcare system. FAIR pointed out that the article, written by Katharine Seelye, laid out many arguments against single-payer--it would mean a big tax increase, it would hurt doctors, and so on--without including balancing responses from supporters. Hoyt agreed: The Times has focused its coverage on proposals that editors and reporters judge to be politically feasible, which means that tort reform, popular with conservatives, and single-payer health coverage, popular […]

Sep
23
2009

Helping to Fill the Gap in the Healthcare Debate

Dear FAIR Supporter, FAIR loves being able to bring you recent successes we've had in standing up to the corporate media. On July 28, FAIR led an inspiring activist action where we delivered our petition signed by more than 13,000 physicians, activists and concerned citizens to ABC News headquarters in New York, demanding that the TV network open up the debate on healthcare reform to include advocates for single-payer proposals. Single-payer, or Medicare for all, is supported by 59 percent of the public and an equal percentage of physicians, but corporate media have almost entirely silenced such supporters. But our […]