Aug
14
2013

Little NSA Debate at CBS

Why can't Face the Nation face dissent on NSA spying?

Bob Schieffer (right) interviews former NSA chief Michael Hayden.

The CBS Sunday morning show Face the Nation featured a discussion of NSA surveillance with the former head of the agency and two politicians who vigorously defend the agency's mass surveillance programs. The August 11 show featured a softball interview with Michael Hayden, who oversaw some of the most controversial Bush-era tactics at the NSA, including the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens (New York Times, 12/16/05). As Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald (8/12/13) observed, that eavesdropping was repeatedly found by federal judges to be unconstitutional and a felony. But the person in charge of overseeing that program was not brought on […]

Aug
13
2013

Defining Drone Deaths in Yemen

Media present dubious official claims as fact

cbs-yemen

The United States has reportedly carried out nine drone attacks in the last few weeks in Yemen, generating headlines about the targeting and killing of suspected Al-Qaeda militants in the impoverished country. But how can media know for sure who is being killed? The uptick in attacks is apparently related to the alleged terrorist chatter that prompted the U.S. government to close down embassies and diplomatic offices. To hear the media tell it, the U.S. is striking at terrorist fighters. "An American drone delivers a deadly message to Al-Qaeda," announced the CBS Evening News (8/7/13). Correspondent Bob Orr reported, "For […]

Jun
28
2013

AAM Responds on Funding of Fracking Show

But ombud glosses over conflicts of energy industry sponsors

Fracking tower (cc photo: Helen Slottje)

America Abroad Media has responded to FAIR's recent Action Alert (5/31/13) about the public radio service's pro-fracking public documentary (4/13) that was backed by funders with a financial interest in promoting natural gas. AAM acknowledged the need for a clearer explanation of fracking's environmental risks, but unfortunately almost completely ignored the funding conflict in its response. “The action alert from FAIR generated 477 emails from FAIR supporters, at the time of this writing,” AAM ombud Jeffrey Dvorkin reported (6/5/13). (Twenty-five of those messages were shared in the comments section of this FAIR Blog post.) The flood of reader messages prompted […]

Jun
21
2013

USA Today, Maddow and Iran Misinformation

Treating nuclear claims as facts

The Rachel Maddow Show

The recent elections in Iran may change some things--but inaccurate media depictions of Iran might not change much at all.

Jun
11
2013

Pundits vs. Edward Snowden

Informing public of government spying 'self-indulgent' and 'grandiose'

Edward Snowden

There are plenty of people working in the media who don't have much use for whistleblowers--and they've been having a field day going after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

May
31
2013

Pro-Fracking Spin on Public Radio

Brought to you by Qatar

america-abroad

Public Radio International's recent energy special had a very positive take on fracking. Which is not surprising when you find out who's funding the show.

May
15
2013

Justice Department Attacks the Press

AP records seizure a troubling fishing expedition

apnewsroom

The Justice Department's seizure of AP phone records constitutes a troubling encroachment on the freedom of the press and underscores longstanding concerns about the Obama administration's willingness to trample the First Amendment.

May
15
2013

Iraq Then, Syria Now?

New York Times, sarin and skepticism

New-York-Times-office

During the run-up to the Iraq War, the New York Times amplified erroneous official claims about weapons of mass destruction (FAIR Action Alert, 9/8/06). Looking at the paper's coverage of allegations of chemical weapons use by Syria, some of the same patterns are clear: an over-reliance on official sources and the downplaying of critical or skeptical analysis of the available intelligence. In "Syria Faces New Claim on Chemical Arms" (4/19/13), the paper told readers that, according to anonymous diplomats, Britain and France had sent letters to the United Nations about "credible evidence" against Syria regarding chemical weapon use. On April […]