Jul 01 2015

Zero for 40 at Predicting Attacks: Why Do Media Still Take FBI Terror Warnings Seriously?

CNN: US on Terror Alert

A casual search reveals the FBI and DHS are a pitiful 0 for 40 warning of terror attacks—some of which were specifically about 4th of July threats, none of which materialized in any way.

Jun 01 2015

At CBS, CIA + GOP = ‘All Segments of American Life’

John Brennan on Face the Nation

The idea that the establishment’s favorite right-wing presidential candidate and the head of the CIA qualify as “interesting people from all segments of American life” can only make sense in the insular world of Beltway journalism.

Mar 14 2014

No More Media Silence on TPP

Networks Skip Controversial Trade Deal

TPP

The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has drawn heavy criticism. Over 500 labor, environmental and farm groups oppose granting the White House “fast track” authority to speed the pact through Congress. The deal, still being negotiated in secret, has spawned protests around the world.

But there’s one thing that TPP hasn’t generated: news. Let’s try to change that.

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 01 2012

Not So Fast on Fast and Furious

Fortune investigation shoots holes in scandal narrative

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Gregory Wild-Smith

When it comes to ginning up scandals, the Obama administration has been a disappointment for the right-wing media, which had much more luck in the Clinton era. But they’ve found some red meat with “Fast and Furious”—thanks in large part to CBS Evening News, the story’s most prominent platform. Like most Clinton scandals (Extra!, 9–10/95, 11–12/96, 1–2/97), however, the story looks far less scandalous when you learn the details left out of most media accounts. The “Fast and Furious” story, as peddled by the right, tells us that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)—a perennial target of pro-gun […]

Dec 13 2011

CBS Revises Iraq Death Toll

New tally still lower than other estimates

After a FAIR Action Alert (12/2/11), the CBS Evening News has changed its count of civilian deaths–citing a new figure that is roughly twice their original count. On December 1 the CBS Evening News reported: It is estimated that more than 50,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the war. As FAIR pointed out, this was totally inadequate–even the source for the network’s claim (iCasualties.org) warned that this was not a comprehensive count. On December 12, CBS anchor Scott Pelley closed a segment about “how life has changed inside Iraq” with this: We looked into the human toll of the Iraq […]

Dec 02 2011

CBS Undercounts Iraqi Deaths

Rewriting Iraq War history

A December 1 CBS Evening News report about the Iraq War managed to mislead viewers about the start of the war and severely diminish the loss of civilian lives. Reporting on the handover of the U.S. military headquarters to Iraqi forces, anchor Scott Pelley announced: What began in 2003 as an effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein became a vicious religious war, pitting Iraqi against Iraqi–with the U.S. caught in the middle. Of course, the United States invaded Iraq with the stated aim of disarming Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist. (“The opening stages of the disarmament of […]

Apr 01 2010

Will Face the Nation Factcheck Guest’s Healthcare Lies?

CBS's Schieffer owes TV audience the truth

CBS‘s Face the Nation (3/28/10) covered the passage of healthcare reform by inviting Democratic National Committee chair Tim Kaine and two Republican critics on the program–one of whom spread misinformation that went unchallenged by host Bob Schieffer. What’s notable about this is that CBS has since posted on its website a debunking of the two claims made by the guest, conservative Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann from Minnesota. At the very beginning of the interview, Bachmann explained her opposition to the new healthcare law: “Now we have the federal government, Bob, taking over ownership or control of 51 percent of the […]