Oct 15 2013

Washington Post OKs Covering Your Spouse’s PR Client

No conflict seen in Jerusalem reporter's husband representing Israel

The Washington Post responded to FAIR’s Action Alert about the Post’s Jerusalem bureau reporter, Ruth Eglash, whose husband’s links to the Israeli government pose a major conflict of interest. But the paper’s response–to the extent that it has any substance at all–seems to misconstrue what a conflict of interest is.

Sep 30 2013

NBC’s Iran Bomb

Shocking nuclear news wasn't news at all

NBC-Iran-Williams

NBC Nighly News reports that Iran is “suddenly” claiming it doesn’t want nuclear weapons. But that’s what they have been claiming–and NBC has been reporting– for years.

Sep 26 2013

Washington Post’s New Jerusalem Hire Too Close to Story

Family tie to Israeli PR poses major conflict of interest

Washington Post Jerusalem correspondent Ruth Eglash

The Washington Post may be violating its own conflict of interest rules by hiring a Jerusalem correspondent whose spouse works for an Israeli government-linked public relations firm. As the website Electronic Intifada (9/18/13) pointed out, correspondent Ruth Eglash’s husband, Michael Eglash, is a founding partner of the pro-Israel advocacy group Upstart Activist and is the president of its affiliated PR consulting firm, Upstart Ideas. EI reports that Upstart Ideas has been “deeply involved in efforts to promote Israel and Israeli government policy for years,” adding that pro-Israeli propaganda is now Upstart’s “main business.” A 2010 Jerusalem Post profile (“Zionist Start […]

Sep 23 2013

CNN’s Conflicted ‘Leftist’

Is Stephanie Cutter 'from the left'--or from the White House?

This month, CNN brought back its left-right debate show Crossfire. But is one of the left co-hosts representing the progressive viewpoint–or the White House? Stephanie Cutter was a campaign strategist for the 2012 Obama campaign, and currently heads up a PR firm called Precision Strategies. But while the premise of the CNN show is that Cutter is “from the left,” she still maintains working ties to the White House. According to a Fox News report (9/3/13), Cutter was part of a PR strategy session on selling the White House’s Syria policy. If so, Cutter was meeting with the White House […]

Aug 28 2013

Getting Iran Wrong, by Way of Syria

NPR, USA Today misrepresent nuclear story

Mara Liasson (cc photo: Andy Carvin)

While investigators try to establish the facts around what may be a horrific chemical attack in Syria, some media outlets are using the situation as an opportunity to make inaccurate claims about Iran. On NPR‘s All Things Considered (8/27/13), correspondent Mara Liasson claimed that Barack Obama “has done everything he can to avoid another foreign military involvement, but he can’t avoid it after the widespread use of chemical weapons on this scale.” Putting aside Liasson’s declaration that non-military options are impossible, how does she know Syria launched the attack? Liasson explained: We now hear that U.S. intelligence officials are getting […]

Aug 27 2013

The Accelerating Assault on Journalism

Some media figures applaud the criminalization of investigative reporting

Fox News' James Rosen

U.S. soldier Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning’s 35-year sentence represents the harshest punishment issued to date for providing media with evidence of government wrongdoing (Forbes, 8/21/13). She is the first whistleblower to be convicted under the Espionage Act, ratifying the new reality that those who give the press information that the government wants to keep secret will henceforth be treated as spies. Manning’s sentence is only the latest example of the criminalization of investigative journalism that has greatly intensified in the Obama era (Extra!, 9/11). While whistleblowers have been the chief targets of the harsh crackdown on media challenges to official […]

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 […]