Jul 1 2012

“Hope It’s in Your Backyard!”

Gushing over fracking ignores climate crisis

Fracking Operation--Photo Credit: Mother Jones/zhuda/Shutterstock

One of the difficulties of reporting on climate change is its incremental nature: It’s hard to expect every media mention of someone driving a car or running an air conditioner to include a note about its effects on the environment. Yet even when the climate impacts of an action are unambiguous and central to a story, reporters all too often avoid the subject. Take the natural-gas extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing (Extra!, 2/12). Better known as “fracking,” the process involves cracking open underground rock layers containing oil and gas deposits by blasting them with a high-pressure chemical slurry. Of the […]

Jul 1 2012

Fantasy Economies

Enforcing neoliberalism through myth

Irish anti-austerity protest (StreetsOfDublin.com)

When reality fails to confirm the “truths” held by the international financial establishment, the corporate media can be relied on to concoct more cooperative scenarios. In the real world, Argentina’s economy has been one of the most robust in the world for the past decade. But in the world of corporate journalism, Argentina is an economic rogue on the road to ruin. When its economy is discussed in U.S. corporate media, it’s largely to portray it as an example of national leaders making bad economic choices, a model of what not to do. This is what happened when Argentina recently […]

Jun 26 2012

RACE LENS: Demographics and Destiny

Misplaced alarm over ‘majority minority’ nation

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Crystal Marie Lopez

The past four years have supplied ample evidence to dismiss the idea that America is witnessing a new post-racial era–but will the coming decades see the beginning of a post-white one? That appears to be the implication of a new federal government report released on May 17, dryly titled, “Most Children Younger Than Age One Are Minorities, Census Bureau Reports.” According to the Bureau’s estimates, as of July 1, 2011, slightly more than 50 percent of the national population under age one is minority—meaning not having “white” as your sole race, or else having “Hispanic” ethnicity. In short, whites are […]

Jun 26 2012

Their Man on Havana (and Everywhere Else)

Michael Shifter, media’s conflicted Latin America expert

Michael Shifter--Photo Credit: Inter-American Dialouge

If you’re covering Latin America for U.S. corporate media, Michael Shifter is the person to turn to when you need a quote. Currently the president of the Inter-American Dialogue research group, Shifter offers soothing centrism about political developments across the region—giving reporters soundbites on everything from a papal visit to Cuba to elections in Argentina to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Readers might wonder how one expert could be so valuable to elite media. What these papers don’t reveal is that Shifter is also valuable to an array of international corporations who fund his think tank—along with several governments of […]

Jun 26 2012


July 2012

SoundBites May Day Media The New York Times (5/2/12) summed up corporate media reaction to Occupy Wall Street’s May Day protests: “At May Day Demonstrations, Traffic Jams and Arrests.” ABC’s Good Morning America (5/1/12) talked about the protests causing “a potentially brutal morning commute.” “Occupy Wall Street Resurgence a Dud” was Reuters TV’s headline (5/1/12)—though after thousands marched in the afternoon, Reuters’ Twitter feed clarified: “Occupy Wall Street resurgence far from being a dud.” Don’t Worry—Be Occupied Reporting on President Barack Obama’s May 2 trip to Afghanistan, the New York Times’ Alissa Rubin (5/2/12) wrote, “The trip communicated something of […]

Jun 1 2012

NATO Protesters Free to Shout Down Hole

Praising police, ignoring protesters’ message

Veterans tossed away their medals at the NATO protest--Photo Credit: Democracy Now!

If a protester shouts in a city and no one’s there to hear, does she make a sound? Police corral protesters into so-called “free speech” zones, far from their intended political targets and on streets emptied of passersby. Corporate mass media barely cover the protesters’ message. The voices of protest are heard almost exclusively by fellow protesters on the streets and readers of independent media, and corporate journalists declare it a triumph of free speech. This is the reality of American protest today, on display in Chicago during the NATO summit protests in May. The news story that emerged was […]

Jun 1 2012

‘There’s Way Too Much of a History of Lying’

Dana Frank on Honduras

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was reportedly involved in the May 11 killing of four innocent civilians on Honduras’ Mosquito Coast. The operation caused condemnation in Honduras, and scrambling among U.S. officials, who mobilized to defend the DEA with on-the-record statements denying the agency did any actual shooting, and anonymous officials casting suspicion on the victims. With a few exceptions, U.S. media have not distinguished themselves. One of those exceptions is Dana Frank. Her piece, “Honduras: Which Side Is the U.S. On?,” appearing on the Nation website (5/22/12), discusses the killings and the U.S. role in the escalating drug war […]

Jun 1 2012

The ‘Printing Money’ Phobia

Monetary stimulus as crime against nature

If you oppose the idea of restoring the economy by expanding the monetary supply (Extra!, 2/12), you have a ready rejoinder: You can accuse the government of “printing money.” Washington Post columnist George Will (5/9/12) chided, “An axiom of scarcity is understood by people not warped by working for the federal government, which can print money when it wearies of borrowing it.” Investor’s Business Daily’s Mike Getlin (4/25/12) dismissed signs of economic recovery, writing, “The problem is that these improvements are not built on actual wealth invested in these markets, but on printed money created from thin air.” “Whatever restraint […]