Jul 01 1995

TV Lets Corporations Pull Green Wool Over Viewers’ Eyes

“How come the cars on television commercials can’t seem to find the road?” my Aunt Sue asked me a couple of years ago. Indeed, TV cars and trucks are found splashing through creeks, climbing rocky slopes, parked in wetlands, invading deserts and even perched on needlelike pinnacles, but rarely are they shown actually driving down a road. Chevrolet took this so far a few years ago that one of its print ads, with the title “Wetlands Conservation,” proudly proclaimed, “Chevy S-10 Blazer 4-Door. It takes to wetlands like a duck to water.” TV watchers everywhere must be similarly confused with […]

Jul 01 1995

Islam: Fundamental Misunderstandings About a Growing Faith

There are approximately 5 million Muslims in the U.S. — nearly as many as there are Jews, and more than there are Episcopalians. Early in the next century, Islam will probably be the largest non-Christian religion in the country (L.A. Times, 12/17/94). Yet there’s rarely a mention of Muslims in the media that doesn’t have to do with violence. In day-to-day coverage, they are largely absent; Muslim festivals like Ramadan often come and go with little note. The media is so full of reports on the “Islamic threat” from “radical Muslim terrorists” plotting “Islamic fundamentalist violence,” one could excuse the […]

Jul 01 1995

The ‘Experts’ Speak

Some of the most cited anti-terrorism sources--and their “credentials”

Steve Emerson: Emerson is a journalist (late of U.S. News & World Report and CNN) noted for his anonymous U.S. and Israeli intelligence sources (Extra!, 10-11/92, 11-12/93). These sources led him to announce, in the wake of the World Trade Center explosion, that the “bomber or bombers may be from one of the former Yugoslav republics.” (CNN, 3/2/93) That embarrassing error did not teach him caution: When the Murrah federal building was bombed, he immediately began insisting that all signs pointed to Muslim extremists. There’s more than a little bigotry in Emerson’s obsession with Muslim terrorists. To him, the fact […]

Jul 01 1995

The Myth of Social Security’s Imminent Collapse

Social Security cards

Thirty years ago, when Barry Goldwater proposed making Social Security voluntary, he was dismissed as a lunatic. Now, however, the radical transformation of Social Security–essentially its privatization–is the consensus among the political class and the pundits who serve them. The strategy of the privatizers is proving quite successful. Sow doubts about the future solvency of the system. Chip away its near-universal political support by taxing benefits of “affluent” retirees, periodically lowering the definition of affluence. Encourage the “affluent” retirees of the future to provide for themselves, because of the system’s wobbliness. And eventually turn the public pension system into welfare for […]

Jul 01 1995


True Confession “I admit it — the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.” — William Kristol, editor of the Standard, Rupert Murdoch’s soon-to-be-launched conservative weekly (New Yorker, 5/22/95) Dole’s True Lies Sen. Robert Dole condemns Hollywood for producing “nightmares of depravity,” yet he’s a regular guest on the talkshows of G. Gordon Liddy and Bob Grant — hate mongers who don’t produce fictional depictions of violence, but encourage real violence against real people. Many people have noted that the misogynistic, Arab-bashing gorefest True Lies, cited […]

Jul 01 1995

Far-Right Militias and Anti-Abortion Violence

When Will Media See the Connection?

When the Oklahoma City bombing captured the attention of the mainstream media, some women’s rights activists expected that the attack would end mainstream media’s reluctance to report on violence against abortion-providers and other domestic terror threats. That reasonable hope was dashed. With its first reporting of the Oklahoma story, the New York Times (4/20/95) ran a list headlined “Other Bombings in America”, which spanned four decades and included some attacks that claimed no injuries or lives. But none of the 40 officially documented bombings that have targeted women’s clinics in that period was mentioned. Media investigations of where right-wing militants […]