Oct
01
2010

Soundbites

O’Reilly Sticks Up for Scapegoating When a Pakistani-American suspect was arrested in the Times Square attempted bombing, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (USA Today, 5/7/10) declared that this should not lead to scapegoating by religion or ethnicity: “We will not tolerate any bias or backlash against Pakistani or Muslim New Yorkers.” Who could argue with that? Well, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, for one, who opened his show (5/4/10) with the retort, “Well, maybe somebody should remind the mayor that Muslim fanatics have been threatening New York City and the entire country for almost 20 years.” It’s hard not to read […]

Jul
01
2010

Defending Arizona

Pundits scramble to justify anti-immigrant law

When Arizona passed a patently unconstitutional law, SB 1070, requiring residents to prove their citizenship to any suspicious police officer, the state did not lack for defenders in the corporate press. One of the first out of the box was George Will, who concluded his April 28 Washington Post column with this observation: Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their back yards at 3 […]

Jul
01
2010

Reporting Israeli Assault Through Israel's Eyes

Attack on humanitarian flotilla to Gaza prompts little media skepticism

On May 31, the Israeli military attacked a flotilla of boats full of civilians attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip. Nine of the activists on board were killed, though some details remain sketchy due to Israel’s confiscation of all photo and video records of the assault. Much of the U.S. media coverage has been remarkably unskeptical of Israel’s account of events and their context, and has paid little regard to international law. The New York Times (6/1/10) glossed over the facts of the devastating Israeli siege of Gaza. As reporter Isabel Kershner wrote, “Despite sporadic rocket fire […]

Jul
01
2010

Cheerleading for 'Abusive' Mascots

Critics of Native American sports symbols are sidelined

On April 8, 2010, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education let stand its May 2009 vote to retire the University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo over the 2010-11 academic year. The decision marked the end of a bitter debate on the athletic use of Native American culture at the 13,000-student university. As expected, students, alumni and citizens of the university’s eastern Dakota host city, Grand Forks, expressed shock and rage over what one resident called the board’s “duplicitous” and “cynical” decision (Grand Forks Herald, 4/12/10). North Dakotans were not alone in their despair over the […]

Jul
01
2010

Freedom of the Press in Indian Country

Censorship an issue when tribal governments pay the bills

Indian Country: 1.9 million people and 564 tribes spread over more than 55 million square acres. Running staccato from the tip of the Florida panhandle to the tip of Maine, down through the Catskills, out along the Great Lakes through the Badlands of the Dakotas to the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, down through California and through the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, up through the Martian red sands of the Four Corners, coming full circle in the heart of Oklahoma, the original Indian ghetto, formerly “Indian Territory.” As such, the Indian Country galaxy is as diverse and as fractious as […]

Jul
01
2010

Hamas and 'Israel's Destruction'

This article was originally published as a sidebar with "Reporting Israeli Assault Through Israel's Eyes."   In the aftermath of the deadly Israeli assault on the international flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the establishment press has repeatedly distorted the political positions of Hamas, the Islamist movement that governs Gaza. The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner (6/5/10) reported that Hamas “rejects Israel’s existence.” USA Today’s Oren Dorell (6/7/10) wrote that “Hamas has been designated a terrorist group by the United States and European Union and seeks the destruction of Israel.” A New York Daily News editorial (6/5/10) referred […]

Jul
01
2010

It's All Greek To Them

Austerity for all is seen as bailout’s message

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/tjuel

In recent months, the Greek financial system has collapsed, necessitating a nearly $150 billion bailout backed by other European nations. Corporate media in the U.S., led by Fox News and the Washington Post, have taken this as an opportunity to proclaim the demise of the European social model and to castigate working-class protests against austerity measures. CNN (5/6/10) host Jack Cafferty chastised Greek workers: “The panic was triggered in part by Greece. Greece is a world-class welfare state. People retire in their 50s. They’re accustomed to government handouts at every turn. Now the Greek government says we’re going to have […]

Jul
01
2010

Still Drill, Baby--Despite Spill

Little rethinking of oil after Deepwater disaster

Photo Credit: Huffington Post/AP/Dave Martin

The BP Deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that began on April 20 is now thought to be the greatest environmental catastrophe in the country’s history. Despite this, news coverage in the wake of the spill downplayed the harm, reasserted the need for offshore drilling and minimized the White House’s—and the corporate media’s—recent endorsement of additional offshore oil exploration. On May 2, the New York Times ran a Week in Review piece from Jad Mouawad headlined “The Spill vs. a Need to Drill.” The tone of the article was clear—“emotions are running high” as the disaster gets worse, […]