The P.U.-litzer Prizes for 2012

Recalling some of the stinkiest media moments of the year

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It's that time of year: When FAIR presents the P.U.-litzers, the "awards" for some of the stinkiest media moments of the year. Smearing Occupy Wall Street? Praising Paul Ryan's wonkery? Phony factchecking? It's all here. So, without further ado...


Robin Hood Isn't News

Wall Street Transaction Tax Missing from 'Cliff' Coverage


We're told that the "fiscal cliff" requires spending cuts and more revenue. But there's a simple way to get more tax dollars-- a small "Robin Hood" tax on financial transactions. So why won't the press talk about it?


Turning Their Back on Bradley Manning

Whistleblower speaks--but press doesn't listen


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.


When Is a Mandate Not a Mandate?

Different standards for different elections--and parties


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.


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 […]


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."


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 […]


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 […]