Apr
28
2009

A Note from the Publisher

Dear FAIR Friend, It’s with great excitement that Extra! moves into the new year with our new monthly edition. So far we’ve received great feedback; we hope that people continue to send us letters to the editor, quick notes or emails about the format and the stories we are covering. We work hard every day to monitor the corporate media. They’re a slippery bunch and it’s easy to forget how you can just read right by the “unnamed sources” and the “Pentagon says.” But you know when you receive your monthly issue of Extra!, hear the latest CounterSpin show or […]

Apr
01
2009

Unsafe as Milk

How journalism failed to protect babies against BPA

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/sunsurfr

When researchers identified the common plastic additive Bisphenol-A (BPA) as being potentially harmful, CBS ran a segment on the morning news. The anchor introduced the story, “A new study finds that a chemical found in plastic baby bottles and other plastic containers and wraps could be dangerous to your health.” This may seem like an unsurprising opener, given the relatively heavy coverage BPA received in the past year. What’s remarkable about this story, though, is that it aired on May 12, 1999. Almost a decade ago, both CBS and ABC reported on a Consumers Union study (5/99) that found the […]

Apr
01
2009

Dangerous Revisionism Over Guantánamo

Citing dirty evidence to defend dubious detentions

On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, the New York Times (11/3/08) published a front-page article headlined “Next President Will Face Test on Detainees,” which attempted to highlight the problems that Barack Obama will face in pursuing his pledge to close the Guantánamo prison camp. “The next president will have to contend with sobering intelligence claims against many of the remaining detainees,” reporters William Glaberson and Margot Williams warned, picking out examples from the cases of some of the 255 prisoners who are still held at the prison. Unfortunately, the quality of the supposed evidence against the Guantánamo prisoners […]

Apr
01
2009

International Law Seldom Newsworthy in Gaza War

Israeli justifications often cited uncritically

U.S. corporate media coverage of the Israeli military attacks launched December 27 that, as of January 13, had reportedly killed over 900 and injured thousands more—many of them civilians—has overwhelmingly failed to mention that indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets are illegal under international humanitarian law. Israel’s aerial attacks on Gazan infrastructure, including a TV station, police stations, a mosque, a university and even a U.N. school have been widely reported. Yet despite the fact that attacks on civilian infrastructure, including police stations, are illegal (Human Rights Watch, 12/31/08), questions of legality are almost entirely off the table in the U.S. […]

Mar
01
2009

Overlooking Evidence

Media ignore environmental connections to breast cancer

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/TipsTimes

Breast cancer is now epidemic, affecting one in eight women, according to the American Cancer Society and others. The leading cause of death in women in their late 30s to early 50s, it's estimated to have killed 40,000 people in 2008. Known risk factors for breast cancer—such as age, genetics, reproductive history and alcohol consumption—account for only half the cases. (Genetics, the culprit du jour in the media, accounts for just 5 to 10 percent of all cases.) What about the other 50 percent? A growing body of private, university and government environmental health research on animals and human populations […]

Feb
01
2009

SoundBites

‘Moral Clarity’ or Potential War Crime? The Associated Press reported (12/27/08) that “thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons.” Columnist Charles Krauthammer cited this report (Washington Post, 1/2/09), as evidence that while “some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated . . . the Israel/Gaza war is not.” Krauthammer declared, “It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating. Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger.” Amnesty International […]

Feb
01
2009

FAIR Study: Human Rights Coverage Serving Washington's Needs

FAIR finds editors downplaying Colombia’s abuses, amplifying Venezuela’s

chavez

Click here to download pdf. Any evenhanded comparison of the Colombian and Venezuelan governments’ human rights records would have to note that, though Venezuela’s record is far from perfect, that country is by every measure a safer place than Colombia to live, vote, organize unions and political groups, speak out against the government or practice journalism. But a new survey by FAIR shows that, over the past 10 years, editors at four leading U.S. newspapers have focused more on purported human rights abuses in Venezuela than in Colombia, and their commentary would suggest that Venezuela’s government has a worse human […]

Feb
01
2009

Letters to the Editor

Debating Racism and Sexism I don’t much care what a “second-wave” feminist is, but I do know that Shirley Chisholm stated around the time she ran for president in the ’70s that she had experienced more discrimination as a woman than she had as a black person. That’s pretty strong testimony that Gloria Steinem wasn’t making “questionable use of racism as a foil to sexism,” as Julie Hollar contended in her generally useful piece, “Beyond Clinton & Palin” (Extra!, 1/09). Both “isms” were rightfully on the table for discourse during the recent campaign, not as a substitute for discussion of […]