Sep
29
2008

Lehrer's Debate Ignores World's Vast Majority

PBS's Jim Lehrer, as the moderator of the sole presidential debate dedicated to international policy and security issues, asked a narrow set of questions that left the vast majority of the world and its problems undiscussed. Lehrer spent much of the debate asking about the ongoing global financial crisis, quoting President Dwight Eisenhower as saying that "the foundation of military strength is economic strength." When he turned to questions more specifically about foreign policy, he asked about the "lessons of Iraq"; whether "more U.S. troops should be sent to Afghanistan, how many and when"; the degree of threat posed by […]

Sep
26
2008

Eartha Jane Melzer on Ohio GOP vote suppression, Sarah Anderson on Wall Street CEO pay

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Lose your house, lose your vote? A report from a new investigative journalism outfit says that Michigan Republican Party officials are planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to challenge voters on Election Day—targeting a largely poor, African-American pool of voters who would likely lean heavily towards the Democratic Party. Michigan party denied the allegations just as soon as the story started making its way into the mainstream media. We’ll speak with Michigan Messenger reporter Eartha Jane Melzer about what she uncovered, and what she makes of the pushback against her reporting. Also […]

Sep
22
2008

CBS Cheats on Tax Coverage

Manipulation of data leaves viewers disinformed

CBS Evening News called the suggestion that both major candidates will raise taxes "one of the most explosive political charges of the election" (9/15/08)--but so far, CBS's coverage of this issue has been a big dud. CBS has promised more long-form coverage of policy issues this election season “to help you make an informed decision” (9/9/08)--a welcome development, since as FAIR has shown (Extra!, 5-6/08), it's possible to watch hours of campaign coverage and learn virtually nothing about what the candidates promise to do if elected. But one of the first special issue segments, CBS Evening News' September 9 report […]

Sep
15
2008

The Myth of Pro-Obama Media Bias

Little evidence for self-proclaimed ‘lovefest’

If there has been one unquestioned assumption of the 2008 election, it is that the media love Barack Obama. Rush Limbaugh declared that the media were following Obama with “their tongues dragging along the concrete to the floors.” “Lenin, Stalin never got this kind of coverage from their media,” Limbaugh claimed (7/22/08), which he blamed on the “chickification of our culture and the news business” (7/21/08). Joseph McQuaid, publisher of the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader, wrote an editorial headlined “Obama Orgy” (7/21/08) that denounced “the outrageous imbalance in the major media’s coverage of the candidates.” Such proclamations bolstered a […]

Sep
12
2008

Jim Naureckas on McCain/Palin campaign claims, George Farah on open debates

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: John McCain may have fired-up the GOP base with his pick of Sarah Palin as a running mate, and his campaign's increasingly rancorous rhetoric, but along the way his campaign has made a number of claims that beg for media scrutiny. We'll be joined by Jim Naureckas, the editor of FAIR's publications, to discuss McCain campaign claims and how the media is doing covering them. Also on CounterSpin today: As the 2008 presidential campaign intensifies, some attention is shifting to the four scheduled debates between the major party candidates. The events will be covered […]

Sep
11
2008

Post's Post-Convention 'Balancing' Act

The problem with the paper's 'fact-check'

A September 7 Washington Post article purported to offer "a guide to some of the more questionable assertions" coming from the Republican and Democratic presidential tickets at the recent party conventions. But what the paper really gave readers was a lesson in media "false balance," where corporate journalists feel obligated to give equal attention to political lies or exaggerations from both sides--even when the facts suggest that the deception is mostly on one side. The article - which appeared on the Post website as a Michael Dobbs "Fact Checker" feature - was introduced with an equal criticism of both major […]

Sep
08
2008

Brokaw Responds to FAIR

NBC anchor Tom Brokaw responded to FAIR's August 29 action alert, which criticized Brokaw's warning to Democrats that they should be "careful" about how they criticize Republican presidential John McCain. As FAIR noted, Brokaw's argument was that McCain was a "Vietnam War hero" and that Democrats "have to be careful about how you go after John McCain because of that Vietnam experience." Brokaw's response was as follows: Thanks for the courtesy—but your action alert is provocatively misleading. I did not advise anyone to lay off John McCain. I merely said it was a tricky issue for Democrats—and cited Jim Webb's […]

Sep
05
2008

Heidi Boghosian on convention protests, David Moore on polling

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Most of the coverage of the political conventions focused on what was going on inside the arenas; so what about what was happening outside? Crackdowns on protests, arrests of journalists, and pre-emptive house raids could provide a very different measure of the state of American democracy. Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild will join us to tell us what she saw. Also on the show: A new book attests to what some have long suspected: that opinion polls can distort understanding of public opinion more than illuminate it-- ginning up controversy where none […]