Jun
01
2011

Selling the Anti-Immigration Story

Media blitz gains attention--but little scrutiny--for nativist Federation

Federation for American Immigration Reform [Not to be confused with FAIR Media Watch!]--Photo Credit: Federation for American Immigration Reform

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (not to be confused with the media watch group FAIR), recently held its fourth “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” event in Washington, D.C. The April 5-7 gathering saw the cozy confluence of freshman lawmakers, veteran creatures of the Hill such as journalist/speechwriter Patrick Buchanan and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R.-Maine), and nearly 50 radio personalities broadcasting from “Radio Row.” In past years Lou Dobbs, known for his anti-immigrant vitriol (FAIR Media Advisory, 11/12/09), had broadcast both his nationally syndicated radio show and his former CNN show from the event. Radio broadcasters present this year […]

Jun
01
2011

Letters

Good Question for Teenage Moms Thanks for the article on ABC’s “Made in America” (“ABC’s ‘Made in America’ a Shoddy Product,” 4/11). I stopped watching any so-called “news” on ABC years ago but no doubt I learned more from Extra! than if I had seen the program. I do take issue with one point Janine Jackson made regarding what she claimed was Diane Sawyer on her Prime-time show “harass[ing] a group of teenage mothers on behalf of ‘taxpayers’: Answer their question, why should they pay for your mistake?” Good question and it should be answered, because it relates to a […]

Jun
01
2011

'Waterboarding Worked'?

After bin Laden’s death, media push pro-torture message

A waterboarding demonstration in Coney Island.--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Salim Virji

To hear some tell it, the intelligence clues that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan were generated by the use of torture. But the evidence available so far does not bear this out. Torture advocates on the right are claiming vindication. On Fox News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor (5/2/11), Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.) announced that we obtained information several years ago,vital information about the courier for Obama [sic]. We obtained that information through waterboarding. And so for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, to say that it should be stopped and never used again—we got vital information […]

Jun
01
2011

Knight-Ridder's Name-Change Hasn't Stopped Dissenting Reporting

Knight-Ridder’s Washington bureau distinguished itself in the run-up to the Iraq War by challenging Bush administration claims with fact-driven reporting (Extra!, 3-4/06). Now known as McClatchy, the bureau is still challenging dominant storylines. The idea that tax cuts spur economic growth goes unquestioned in much budget reporting. But McClatchy’s Tony Pugh (3/28/11) documented how questionable tax reductions in state after state have made budget gaps larger—and spending cuts deeper—than they would have otherwise been. Had Louisiana, for example, not twice rolled back income taxes for high earners in recent years, the state wouldn’t have had a deficit in fiscal year […]

Jun
01
2011

Misrepresenting State Budget Crises

Pay no attention to the tax cuts behind the curtain

When protests against attempts to roll back state workers’ benefits swept across the nation in February and March, local and national media coverage largely portrayed it as the inevitable collision of generous worker benefits and tight economic times. The Columbus Dispatch (2/20/11), for example, reported that “the protests at the Ohio and Wisconsin capitols portend what lies ahead as governors in both parties move to cut worker benefits or jobs to balance their books.” The Dispatch called employee pension and healthcare benefits “a long-term threat to state budgets,” citing economists with both the right-wing Heritage Foundation and the right-wing American […]

Jun
01
2011

'Serious' Republicans vs.'Starry-Eyed' Progressives

Beltway media scorn People’s Budget, hail Ryan hoax

The budget proposal released on April 5 by Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wisc.) includes tax cuts for the wealthy, tax hikes for the middle class, drastic cuts in social spending and a radical restructuring of Medicare that would shift most of the cost of healthcare to seniors. Its dubious claims of deficit reduction rely on fatally flawed assumptions and inexplicable projections (CBPP, 4/7/11; CEPR, 4/11). Meanwhile, the 76-member Congressional Progressive Caucus unveiled its own “People’s Budget” proposal on April 13, which would eliminate the deficit in 10 years without eroding social services or raising taxes on the working class. Serious economists […]

Jun
01
2011

Letting Anti-Immigrant Movement Off the Hook By Focusing on Founding Figure's Racism

John Tanton--Photo Credit: Johntanton.org

The April 17 New York Times ran a long front-page piece on the racism of John Tanton, founder of the anti-immigration organizations Federation for American Immigration Reform and Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Reporter Jason DeParle included a good deal of damning information about Tanton (long documented here at FAIR—1/1/93—and by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center—Winter/08) and some of Tanton’s own racist words (e.g., his message to a large donor—“One of my prime concerns is about the decline of folks who look like you and me”—and his warning to a friend that “for European-American society and culture to […]

Jun
01
2011

The Goldstone Report's Non-Retraction Retraction

Should a newspaper op-ed cancel a UN investigation of Gaza crimes?

Richard Goldstone--Photo Credit: Fordham University

When it was released in September 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council investigative document known as the Goldstone Report offered a detailed, shocking accounting of Israel’s 2008-09 invasion of the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of civilians were killed, scores of buildings were leveled, and water and sanitation infrastructure was attacked. The meticulous cataloguing received modest coverage in the corporate media. Then on April 3, 2011, the report’s namesake—retired South African judge Richard Goldstone, who headed a four-person investigative commission—took to the pages of the Washington Post op-ed section to announce he’d had a change of heart. (The Post, perhaps sensing […]