Dec
04
2012

Turning Their Back on Bradley Manning

Whistleblower speaks--but press doesn't listen

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Bradley Manning is accused of leaking incredibly vital information that made headlines around the world. But the developments at his trial last week were evidently not newsworthy.

Nov
09
2012

When Is a Mandate Not a Mandate?

Different standards for different elections--and parties

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When it comes to explaining election results, there's no precise way to determine whether voters gave the winner a "mandate"--defined by Oxford as "the authority to carry out a policy, regarded as given by the electorate to a party or candidate that wins an election." That makes it interesting to see how media use the expression--and which presidents they think earned one.

Oct
26
2012

The Moderators' Agendas

What was--and wasn't--asked at debates

The establishment media figures who moderated the 2012 major-party candidate debates confined the discussion to a remarkably narrow range of topics, a FAIR analysis of debate questions finds. A wide variety of topics were never brought up in questions during the six total hours of debate. Among economic subjects, no questions were asked about poverty, income inequality, the housing crisis, labor unions, agriculture or the Federal Reserve. Social issues were similarly truncated, with no questions raised about race or racism, gay rights (including marriage equality), civil liberties, criminal justice or drug legalization. Despite the fact that four Supreme Court justices […]

Oct
18
2012

Factchecking Libya

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."

Oct
03
2012

Moderate Debates and Debate Moderators

Debate process needs more scrutiny, not less

Jim Lehrer is hopping mad. The New York Times (10/2/12) reports that the PBS anchor "has been seething. He said he was outraged by suggestions that he was a 'safe' and uninspired choice to moderate the first of four debates." The focus of the Times piece is the fact that people have more ways to express their opinions about the presidential debate moderators: In the Twitter age, when anyone can immediately render swift and harsh judgment, the stress of hosting an event as politically charged as a presidential debate is heavier than ever. While the New York Times seems bothered by the "partisan rancor in this hyper-politicized climate," it's difficult […]

Aug
15
2012

Paul Ryan's 'Self-Reliance'

Concocting an 'origin story' for VP hopeful's character

As corporate media tell and retell Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan's life story, one theme emerges above all others: His "self-reliance. "David Fahrenthold and Paul Kane in the Washington Post (8/11/12) asserted that Ryan’s big ideas bear the stamp of his own story: They stress independence and self-reliance, the qualities that took him from the mailroom to a spot on his party’s presidential ticket. What government owes its citizens, Ryan says, is not a guarantee of happiness--only a fair shot to pursue it....“ He lost his father early and had to grow up sooner than he wanted to,” said Rep. Jeff […]

Aug
14
2012

The Media's Favorite 'Wonk'

Paul Ryan according to Beltway media

Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his Republican running mate has unleashed yet another torrent of fawning coverage touting Ryan's intelligence and bravery for advocating a fiscal plan of massive government spending cuts and massive tax breaks for the wealthy.

Aug
01
2012

You Didn't Build That--or Say It

In election attacks, 'working' trumps true

Sometimes the problem with corporate media’s coverage of elections is the absence of factchecking. And then there are times when the problem is more fundamental than that–when reporters suspend a minimal level of critical judgment in order to allow a political campaign to set a preferred storyline. Recent campaign coverage has focused on a supposed Barack Obama “gaffe” that was made to appear to be an attack on small business owners.