Jan
01
2012

On Iran, an Unsmoking Nongun

Nuclear report doesn’t say what media want it to

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Erjkprunczyk

The release of a United Nations report on Iran’s nuclear program in early November was, according to much of the corporate media, the long-awaited confirmation of something many outlets had already treated as established fact: Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. You would have a hard time figuring out that the report from the International Atomic Energy Agency did not actually arrive at that conclusion. As has happened with past IAEA reports on Iran, some coverage presented a sneak preview of the supposed conclusions, based on leaks from sources intent on portraying Iran in a more negative light. On […]

Jan
01
2012

Islamophobia Still Rising-With the Right's Help

The mainstreaming of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories

Graffiti on the Islamic Center of America--Photo Credit: Center for American Progress

When the Center for American Progress (CAP) released the report Fear, Inc. in September (8/26/11), alleging that U.S. anti-Muslim propaganda is largely driven by a well-funded network of groups and individuals, confirmation of its claims came quickly. Just four days after publication, the Fox Business Network aired a wildly inaccurate two-part feature on Follow the Money (8/30/11) smearing the report, its authors and Muslim Americans. Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlets like FBN are among the country’s leading Islamophobic media organizations, according to Fear, Inc. The first segment featured self-styled terrorism expert Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism—named by CAP […]

Jan
01
2012

Israel Takes Back Gaza Charge-After Attack

U.S. media fail to notice retraction of accusations

Benjamin Netanyahu--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Downing Street

When armed militants crossed the Egyptian border last August and launched a multi-pronged attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers in Eilat that killed eight people, U.S. media repeated the Israeli government line, blaming the attack on Palestinians from Gaza. Three months later, Israel itself has concluded that the attackers were Egyptian—but U.S. media have failed to correct the record. As Israelis reeled from the August 18 assault, Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, declared that the “source of the terrorist attacks is Gaza.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to a group based in Gaza called the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), […]

Jan
01
2012

Israel Takes Back Gaza Charge-After Attack

U.S. media fail to notice retraction of accusations

When armed militants crossed the Egyptian border last August and launched a multi-pronged attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers in Eilat that killed eight people, U.S. media repeated the Israeli government line, blaming the attack on Palestinians from Gaza. Three months later, Israel itself has concluded that the attackers were Egyptian—but U.S. media have failed to correct the record. As Israelis reeled from the August 18 assault, Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, declared that the “source of the terrorist attacks is Gaza.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to a group based in Gaza called the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), […]

Jan
01
2012

Jobs Are at Stake When Profits Are at Stake

Lobbyists help media pay attention to employment

When debate heated up in November over the Keystone XL pipeline—a 1,700-mile-long structure that would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands deposits to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast—reporters soon found themselves chasing the answer to a question: How many jobs would be lost if the pipeline didn’t happen? Wall Street Journal senior editor Mary Anastasia O’Grady suggested on Fox News (10/28/11) that the pipeline would create “118,000 indirect jobs” from “feeding and housing all of these people who are going to work on the pipeline,” a number that her Journal editorial board colleague Collin Levy repeated in a Web […]

Jan
01
2012

Journalism Under Arrest

Clamping down on reporters at Occupy crackdowns

Former FAIR intern John Knefel arrested for being a journalist at OWS--Photo Credit: Salon

Responding to a report in the online publication the Awl (11/17/11) about 26 journalists who had been arrested around the country at Occupy protests, New York City mayoral spokesperson Stu Loeser declared in a note to the press (New York Observer, 11/17/17), “You can imagine my surprise when we found that only five of the 26 arrested reporters actually have valid NYPD-issued press credentials.” Since the Awl story was tallying arrests nationwide, it’s not surprising that few of the journalists had credentials issued by New York’s police—who are notoriously reluctant to issue such credentials anyway. What’s telling, though, is the […]

Jan
01
2012

It's All of Us; Except the 1 Percent

Frances Fox Piven on poverty and Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy movement has garnered, if not the respect, at least the acknowledgement of a corporate press corps inclined for any number of reasons to ignore it. Still, coverage is centered on the protesters themselves, without necessarily engaging their ideas or allowing those ideas to shape reporting. It’s entirely possible for media to say these ideas matter and still not act as though they do. How, for example, does media’s interest in the 99 Percent affect their understanding of how poverty is defined? Or whose perspectives should be included in news on the economy? CounterSpin’s Janine Jackson explored these issues […]

Jan
01
2012

Super Cuts!

Military budget, not social spending, prompts media concern

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/alsokaizen

The failure of the Congressional “supercommittee” to come up with a $1.2 trillion, 10-year deficit reduction plan means that automatic “trigger” cuts might take place in discretionary spending—roughly half of which is supposed to come from the military budget. Corporate media have given extensive time to panicked warnings about the dangerous impact of military cuts, but made little mention of the effects of cutting other spending. Under the “trigger” plan, the military budget is supposed to be reduced by almost $600 billion over the next decade—a move Republican politicians have vowed to block. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been quoted […]