Jul 1 2004

Covering the ‘Caged Hamster’

Media's picture of Kerry based on RNC distortions

“Like a caged hamster, Senator John Kerry is restless on the road,” wrote the New York Times ‘ Jodi Wilgoren (6/13/04), beginning a piece that promised “authentic insights” into the Democratic presidential candidate. Aside from the banalities (Kerry dislikes wearing suits on hot, humid days, and uses a cellphone more than John Glenn did when he ran for president in 1984), what’s most striking about the piece is how closely it mirrors the Republican caricature of Kerry, portraying him as an elitist with “a prep-school cultivated competitive sensibility,” whose speeches “are filled with multisyllabic upper-crust phrasing,” and as a “contradictory” […]

Jul 1 2004

A Timely Scandal

Oil-for-food charges conveniently tarnish U.N.

With its policy in Iraq flailing, the Bush administration has lately made a great show of delegating authority over the country’s political future to the United Nations. For some dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, this is heresy. And for some reviled Iraqi exile politicians, notably Ahmed Chalabi, it is a threat. So perhaps it is not surprising that just as plans for the transfer of sovereignty were being finalized, a U.N. “scandal” involving the world body’s now-defunct humanitarian program in Iraq splashed onto the front pages and op-ed sections of the nation’s newspapers. “Disturbing evidence to date suggests that U.N. officials may have […]

Jul 1 2004

Still Failing the ‘Fair & Balanced’ Test

Special Report leans right, white, Republican & male

FAIR’s latest study of Fox ’s Special Report With Brit Hume finds the network’s flagship news show still listing right—heavily favoring conservative and Republican guests in its one-on-one interviews. And, according to the study, Special Report rarely features women or non-white guests in these prominent newsmaker inter-view spots. In previous studies FAIR has found that looking at a show’s guest list is one of the most reliable methods for gauging its perspective. In the case of Special Report, the single one-on-one interview with anchor Brit Hume is a central part of the newscast, and the anchor often uses his high-profile […]

Jul 1 2004

Muting the Women’s March

Media lose focus when women protest in Washington

Public demonstrations play a vital role in a democracy, providing a forum where ordinary citizens can potentially make their voices heard and put their concerns on a policy agenda that is otherwise largely set by the government and other elites. But when an extraordinary number of people flooded Washington, D.C. to demonstrate for women’s reproductive rights on April 25, media muted those voices by downplaying the size and significance of the event, and largely ignoring the issues that marchers attempted to bring back into the public discourse. Crowd estimates ranged from 500,000 to 1.15 million, but it was clear that […]