Jun
08
2009

NY Times Ombud Agrees with Activists

Paper failed to question Pentagon propaganda on Gitmo prisoners

Citing a FAIR Action Alert (5/27/09), New York Times ombud Clark Hoyt agreed with media activists who asked him to challenge the Times' unskeptical coverage of a leaked Pentagon report on former Guantánamo prisoners. In his column "What Happened to Skepticism?" (6/6/09), Hoyt called the Times' May 21 front-page story on the report "seriously flawed." He wrote that the article provided "ammunition" for Dick Cheney's campaign against Obama's plan to close the offshore prison camp, and compared the piece to the Times' uncritical coverage of leaked intelligence on WMDs in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Hoyt also noted that […]

May
27
2009

NYT's Pentagon Propaganda

Misleading report on Guantánamo and terrorism

While former Vice President Dick Cheney has been front and center in the media debate over the current White House's national security policies, he's not the only one trying to challenge the White House's message. The New York Times published a front-page article (5/21/09) that bolstered the notion that former Guantánamo prisoners "return" to terrorist activity. The remarkably credulous Times story, under the headline "1 in 7 Freed Detainees Rejoins Fight, Report Finds," was based on a Pentagon report leaked to the paper before its release yesterday evening. The article emphasized the notion that former prisoners "returned to terrorism or […]

May
20
2009

Does the CIA Ever Lie?

Parsing the Pelosi torture controversy

The debate over Bush-era torture tactics like waterboarding has morphed into a full-blown Washington scandal. But the target isn't the Bush administration officials who ordered the torture; instead, the corporate media's focus is on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who claims that she was not fully briefed by the CIA on the use of waterboarding in late 2002. The prevailing assumption in much of the coverage is that the CIA couldn't possibly have misled members of Congress--despite the fact that this has happened repeatedly. The media reaction has been intense. Right-wing pundits and the Fox News Channel are treating the issue […]

May
12
2009

CBS Pro-Drone Propaganda

60 Minutes slights critics of controversial weapons

On May 10, CBS's 60 Minutes presented a remarkably one-sided report on unmanned Air Force drones firing missiles into Afghanistan and Iraq. Though the drones have been criticized for killing civilians in both countries, CBS viewers heard from no critics of the weapons. Instead, correspondent Lara Logan seemed awed by the drones from the very start of the broadcast: "Every so often in the history of war, a new weapon comes along that fundamentally rewrites the rules of battle. This is a story about a revolution in unmanned aviation that is doing just that." She described the drones as "hunting […]

Apr
25
2008

Norman Solomon on Pentagon pundits, Sheldon Rampton on Earth Day greenwashing

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: An April 20th New York Times investigation reveals a secret Pentagon propaganda program providing military pundits with talking points to repeat in media-- in some cases even when "they suspected the information was false or inflated." But could the Pentagon pull off such a program without a willing media? We'll talk to "War Made Easy" author and FAIR associate Norman Solomon. Also on CounterSpin today: Much of the media's celebration of Earth Day involves giving space to corporations to tout their environmentally friendly practices in puff pieces and paid advertisements. Sheldon Rampton of the […]

Sep
28
2007

Ervand Abrahamian on Iran, Andrew Tilghman on Al Qaeda in Iraq

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York for a meeting at the United Nations, which had much of the media in a frenzy. But does the debate over free speech and Ahmadinejad's criticism of the United States steer us away from more important matters—like whether the U.S. is planning military action against Iran? We'll speak with Baruch College history professor Ervand Abrahamian. Also on CounterSpin today: in 2006 most military experts placed the strength of Al Qaeda in Iraq at 3 to 5 percent of the insurgency. But 2007 saw the estimates of […]

Aug
31
2007

Heather Boushey on Census poverty report, Scott Horton on 'Coups 'R Us'

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: the Census Bureau report on income and poverty came out last week, generating a fair amount of big media attention. This year, it seems, the news was good—or not so good. Depending on which outlet you saw and sometimes, how far into the story you read. We'll help sort through what the numbers mean with Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Also on the show: with the White House pushing for extending the troop surge in Iraq, is there another development to pay attention to—namely, the collapse of […]

Mar
03
2007

Inexplicable Tongue-Lashing

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to Back to the Future in Nicaragua.] A New York Times “Week in Review” piece by Warren Hoge (9/24/06), in the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s criticisms of George W. Bush at the United Nations, recalled other U.N. speeches critical of Washington, including a 1987 speech by Nicaragua’s then-President Daniel Ortega “denouncing Mr. Reagan’s decision to continue financing Contras fighting his Sandinista regime” and saying “Rambo only exists in the movies.” Hoge was compelled to ask, “Why has the United States come in for such tongue lashings?” Among his answers: Reagan-era U.N. Ambassador […]