Nov 01 2012


Extra! November 2012

Extra! November 2012Don’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 […]

Mar 12 2012

After Afghan Massacre, War Gets Victim Status

Media treat killings as PR problem for occupation

Media treat killings as PR problem for occupationThe 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 […]

Mar 02 2012

Sonali Kolhatkar on Afghanistan, Kevin Gosztola on WikiLeaks and Stratfor


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 […]

Jun 23 2011

Defining ‘Withdrawal’ From Afghanistan

Media's selective memory on Obama escalations

Media’s selective memory on Obama escalationsBarack 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 […]

May 01 2011

Narrow Afghan Debate on Cable’s ‘Liberal’ Channel

Maddow's military boosterism takes center stage at MSNBC

Maddow’s military boosterism takes center stage at MSNBCOf 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 […]

Mar 08 2011

How Many Afghan Kids Need to Die to Make the News?

The number of Afghan boys gathering firewood killed by a March 1 U.S./NATO helicopter attack in Kunar Province: Nine. The number of stories about the killing of the nine children on ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening news shows (as of March 6): Two. One was an 80-word report on NBC Nightly News (3/2/11), the other a brief ABC World News Sunday story (3/6/11) about Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s “harsh words for the U.S.” after the “mistaken killing of nine Afghan boys in an airstrike.” On the PBS NewsHour? Two brief mentions (3/2/11, 3/7/11), both during the “other news […]

Aug 27 2010

Pratap Chatterjee on Task Force 373, Timothy Karr on net neutrality


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The WikiLeaks Afghan War Diaries prompted waves of media coverage, though much of that amounted to “move on, there’s nothing to see here.” But digging into the documents might reveal more about the Afghan War than we knew—like the existence of something called Task Force 373, set up to capture or kill specific al Qaeda or Taliban figures. What does it really do, though, and where does it fit in with what we know about U.S. war policy? Journalist Pratap Chatterjee will join us to talk about that. Also on CounterSpin today: A few […]

Aug 24 2010

Tell NBC: Debate the Afghanistan War

Meet the Press missing antiwar voices

Meet the Press missing antiwar voicesThousands have signed on to FAIR’s petition–add your voice today and keep the pressure on NBC to have a real war debate! July saw more U.S. troop fatalities in Afghanistan than any month since the war began nine years ago. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was removed from his commanding post amid controversy, and WikiLeaks released a trove of classified documents that paint a picture of a failing war and unreported civilian casualties. How has NBC‘s Meet the Press responded to these developments? By inviting on guests to defend the war and Obama’s Afghanistan policy. Sundays on […]