New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan responded to a FAIR Action Alert by saying that she agreed coverage of an Amnesty International report about US torture in Afghanistan "would have benefited Times readers."
Public editor sees FAIR's point on Amnesty report
CBS told viewers the recent presidential election in Afghanistan was a major victory for the US military. The idea that 12 years of war and occupation have gifted that country with peace and stability is shaping up as the line of the day in US media. Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies has a different take.
And author Alfie Kohn talks about his new provocative new book, "The Myth of the Spoiled Child," which argues that much of the conventional wisdom about children and parenting is just wrong.
Extra! November 2012
Don’t Look to NYT to ‘Litigate’ the Facts Margaret Sullivan, the new New York Times public editor (9/16/12), used the topic of “voter fraud” to illustrate the concept of “false balance”―when two sides are treated as equivalent even when one side has reality on its side. Despite Republican efforts to pass laws to prevent voting by the ineligible, research finds next to no examples of this problem―but coverage often treats the absence of fraudulent voting as a partisan assertion (Extra!, 10/12). While Sullivan rightly observed that “journalists need to make every effort to get beyond the spin and help readers […]
Media treat killings as PR problem for occupation
The news that a U.S. Army sergeant killed 16 civilians, most of them children, in southern Afghanistan early Sunday morning was treated by many media outlets primarily as a PR challenge for continued war and occupation of that country. "Afghanistan, once the must-fight war for America, is becoming a public relations headache for the nation's leaders, especially for President Barack Obama," explained an Associated Press analysis piece (3/12/12). Reuters (3/12/12) called it "the latest American public relations disaster in Afghanistan." On the NBC Today show (3/11/12) the question was posed this way: "Could this reignite a new anti-American backlash in […]
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The burning of copies of the Koran by US military in Afghanistan touched off a week of protests, including attacks on US soldiers. While US media have by and large denounced the Koran burning as unacceptably stupid, they still seem to be having trouble placing the current violence within the context of the larger decade-long violence that is the US/NATO occupation. We'll talk to Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan's Women Mission and KPFK's Uprising radio show about what the Washington Post calls "saving the Afghan strategy." Also on CounterSpin today: Elite media have always […]
Media's selective memory on Obama escalations
Barack Obama's June 22 announcement of a phased troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was often portrayed as a major step towards ending the war, with many outlets neglecting to accurately explain the pace of escalation that has happened under his watch. When Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. had about 34,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has initiated two major troop increases in Afghanistan: about 20,000 additional troops were announced in February 2009, followed by the December 2009 announcement that an another 33,000 would be deployed as well; other smaller increases have brought the total to 100,000. Much of the media […]
Maddow's military boosterism takes center stage at MSNBC
Of the cable news channels, MSNBC has the most progressive image, based largely on the persona of now-fired anchor Keith Olbermann, but also reflecting the presence of hosts like Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Olbermann’s replacement Lawrence O’Donnell. To test how much this left-leaning reputation actually reflects the content of MSNBC’s news, Extra! looked at the network’s coverage of the Afghan War on four primetime shows—Schultz’s Ed Show, Olbermann’s Countdown, the Rachel Maddow Show and O’Donnell’s Last Word—from July 2010 through December 2010. Extra! counted all sources interviewed by MSNBC about Afghanistan, excluding taped soundbites pulled from other sources. Commentary […]