Nov
05
2004

Defining Bush's "Mandate"

Winning 51 percent of the popular vote in Tuesday's election , Bush administration officials were quick to declare that the results constitute a "mandate" for Bush's second term. This interpretation of the election caught hold in the mainstream media-- a sign perhaps that White House spin was triumphing over the actual numbers recorded on Election Day. The Boston Globe (11/4/04) reported that Bush's victory grants him "a clear mandate to advance a conservative agenda over the next four years." The Los Angeles Times (11/4/04) made the somewhat peculiar observation that "Bush can claim a solid mandate of 51 percent of […]

Nov
05
2004

Miles Rapoport on voting rights, Dave Lindorff on Bush's 'bulge'

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Long lines of people waiting to vote, many giving up and going home; shortages of provisional ballots, registered voters who found their names weren't on the rolls, last-minute polling site changes, and don't forget those electronic voting machines. Despite big media's desire to declare the 2004 general election over and essentially unproblematic, our guest says that many vital questions remain about the sanctity of the vote in this country. And the big question is, "Why can't we get our elections systems right?" We'll talk with Miles Rapoport, president of the public policy group Demos. […]

Nov
05
2004

New York Times Killed "Bush Bulge" Story

November 5, 2004 Five days before the presidential election, the New York Times killed a story about the mysterious object George W. Bush wore on his back during the presidential debates, journalist Dave Lindorff reveals in an exclusive report on this week's CounterSpin , FAIR's weekly radio show. The spiked story included compelling photographic and scientific evidence that would have contradicted Bush's claim that the bulge on his back was just a matter of poor tailoring. "The New York Times assigned three editors to this story and had it scheduled to run five days before the election, which would have […]

Nov
01
2004

Meet the Stenographers

Press shirks duty to scrutinize official claims

A bizarre debate has emerged regarding whether journalists have a duty to investigate and assess the credibility of sources and their claims. Some highly placed journalists seem to say such judgments are not their job. Citing what they say are journalistic principles, they claim that investigating and reporting about the veracity of claims and the credibility of sources is just not what they do. In fact, it's not only their job, it's an essential task of journalism. The Society of Professional Journalists is very clear on the subject: At the top of the group's Code of Ethics, under the heading […]

Nov
01
2004

A Different Race

The black press reveals gaps in mainstream election coverage

On March 16, 1827, the first African-American newspaper, Freedom's Journal, began publication in New York. During its short but significant two-year run, Freedom's Journal established the central role of the independent black press in the United States. In particular, the editors pledged to serve their readers in ways that the white press would not, by providing accurate information about African-American leadership and concerns; by covering relevant issues and events that other newspapers failed to acknowledge; and by printing perspectives absent in the white press. The nation's media have, of course, progressed since the era of this first periodical. Newspapers in […]

Nov
01
2004

Murdoch Exploits 9/11 for Kerry Smear

November 1, 2004 In a naked attempt to exploit the September 11 attacks for partisan political gain, Rupert Murdoch's New York Post ran a deceptive front-page headline on its October 30 edition that declared that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden "Urges Bush Defeat." Of course, the taped message from bin Laden played on Al-Jazeera (10/29/04) did not call for George W. Bush's defeat. Indeed, toward the end of the message, bin Laden declares, "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush." Still, Murdoch's media empire seems dedicated to convincing voters that Kerry is the candidate of […]

Oct
29
2004

Robert Jensen on Iraq explosives, Rob Perks on environmental coverage

Download MP3 For several weeks there has been talk of a possible October surprise-- a stunt engineered by the Bush team to win the election. But another story stole the spotlight-- the NY Times and CBS broke the news of hundreds of tons of explosive materials in Iraq that apparently cannot be accounted for. The Bush team and their friends in the media pushed back hard, accusing the liberal media of trying to defeat Bush. What can we say about the story, and the media's response to these charges? We'll ask Robert Jensen, professor of journalism at the University of […]

Oct
29
2004

Missing the Evidence on Missing Explosives

Reports ignore videotapes that debunk administration claims

When the New York Times reported on Monday (10/25/04) that over 300 tons of high-explosive materials appeared to be missing from an Iraqi weapons facility, it was no surprise that the Bush administration and conservative pundits would quickly challenge the story. But recent reporting has taken this spin as proof that the facts of the story are in dispute-- even though new evidence disproves the administration's rebuttals. On October 28, ABC affiliate KSTP released footage that was shot by its embedded reporters on April 18, 2003, showing members of the 101st Airborne Division searching the Al Qaqaa bunkers. Clearly visible […]