Feb
01
2013

FAIR REPORT: 13th Annual Fear & Favor Review

Revealing the hidden influence behind the news

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It’s a fair indication of the current state of play in U.S. media that, in 2012, TV newscasts were acknowledged to be “increasingly seeded with corporate advertising masquerading as news” (Washington Post, 1/3/12)—and the regulatory response was to call, not for an end to the practice of deceiving audiences, but for broadcasters to make note of such arrangements in an online file. While we work on creating the sort of unfettered news media that democracy requires, calling out compromised reporting as we do each year in Fear & Favor is just another way to note where and why the current […]

Feb
01
2013

A Passion for Job Insecurity

Targeting Europe's 'burdensome' worker protections

Ségolène Royal--Photo Credit: © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

If there’s one thing the media seem to be convinced of—or at least seem to want to convince the public of—it’s that rules that protect workers kill jobs and are therefore to blame for high European unemployment rates.

Feb
01
2013

Whitewashing in the Name of 'Inclusion'

Chicago public radio cancels Smiley & West

Tavis Smiley--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In the view of the head of Chicago public radio, Smiley & West—a show with two African-American hosts focusing largely on the powerless—was an obstacle to inclusivity because its opposition to poverty and inequality alienates those with other views.

Feb
01
2013

BOOK EXCERPT: The Origins of Reefer Madness

Yellow journalism and the anti-cannabis crusade

'Smoke Signals' by Martin A. Lee--Photo Credit: smokesignalsthebook.com

On August 11, 1930, Harry Jacob Anslinger became the director of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) in Washington, D.C. He would run the FBN with an iron fist through six presidential administrations spanning more than three decades. An imposing, husky, bull-necked figure nearly six feet tall, he looked like a tough law-and-order drug buster. With a large square head, huge ears, a cleft chin, and glowering eyes, Anslinger took great pride in his role as the archnemesis of marijuana smokers. He was the godfather of America’s war on drugs, and his influence on public policy would be […]

Feb
01
2013

A Familiar Script on Syrian WMDs

Official claims once more treated as facts

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Anonymous government sources speaking to the New York Times, along with intelligence based on satellite imagery, tell a frightening story: The brutal leader of an unfriendly Arab country is preparing to unleash chemical weapons. Sound familiar? There are significant differences between the allegations about Syria’s WMDs today and Iraq’s nonexistent weapons in 2003. But the similarities are notable for what they reveal—not about U.S. foreign policy plans, but about the corporate media’s ability to churn out a stream of alarmist coverage based on the thinnest of evidence. Now, as then, the New York Times drove the initial storyline. On December […]

Feb
01
2013

GENDER FOCUS: Few Roles for Female Role Models

Fictional women leaders lag real world

Susan Rice--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

At a time when more women than ever before are serving in Congress, we still rarely see examples of female leaders holding positions of prestige and power in popular movies and TV shows.