Mar
01
2012

SoundBites

Extra! January 2012

Why the Supercommitee Failed So the Supercommittee brought together legislators who disagree completely both about how the world works and about the proper role of government. Why did anyone think this would work? Well, maybe the idea was that the parties would compromise out of fear that there would be a political price for seeming intransigent. But this could only happen if the news media were willing to point out who is really refusing to compromise. And they aren’t. If and when the Supercommittee fails, virtually all news reports will be he-said, she-saids, quoting Democrats who blame Republicans and vice […]

Mar
01
2012

Guest Perspective: Journalists Rock! Journalism Sucks!

Why media activists should love the players and hate the game

Robert Jensen--Photo Credit: CommonDreams

At an antiwar conference with predominantly left/progressive activists, I began a talk on the failures of contemporary news media by asking how the group felt about teachers. There was a resounding cheer and calls to support teachers. Then I asked how they felt about journalists— and the reaction was mixed. Some people booed, others laughed, and one person shouted out, “I like real journalists!” Those responses weren’t surprising, given the role of an uncritical corporate news media in building support for the United States’ imperial wars of the past decade. Journalism routinely has failed to hold power accountable, especially in […]

Mar
01
2012

Upping the Ante in Iran Propaganda

A nuclear threat—and terrorism too!

Claims that Iran has a nuclear weapons program are allegations, not facts (Extra!, 1/12)—but are treated as established background material in the corporate media: “The president, as you know, has been trying to force Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program,” explains CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley (2/6/12). The Washington Post editorializes (1/11/12) that Iran’s “drive for nuclear weapons continues.” At the end of January, another provocative claim emerged: Iran was ready to unleash terrorism against the United States. ABC World News (1/31/12) featured a blatantly propagandistic report on the Iranian threat. “America’s top spy warns that Iran […]

Mar
01
2012

Letting Apple Off the Hook for Labor Abuses

Blaming consumers for not knowing what media have barely covered

“The iEconomy,” a New York Times series “examining challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries,” provides Exhibit A on how even the best attempts by corporate media to dig into international labor rights fall short. With three bylined reporters and nine months of work (Economix, 1/25/12), the first two pieces of the series provided perhaps the most in-depth look at the production of Apple products that a corporate outlet has ever published. Despite all the resources it had expended and the abuses it had documented, the Times refused to pin the responsibility on Apple. The first article (1/22/12), “How the […]

Mar
01
2012

Letters to the Editor

Extra! March 2012

In Defense of Exposing Lies The complaint (printed in the February 2012 issue) against FAIR for using “the demonizing technique to whip up support for its cause” sounds like yet another disguised way of saying—if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. A worthless policy for exposing lies. That one fundamental difference between using truth versus using lies “to whip up support” has to be deliberately ignored in order for a glib statement like “sorry, demonizing is demonizing” to seem valid. So then is exposing lies the same as telling lies? No, it can’t […]

Mar
01
2012

With Fox News Liberals, Who Needs Conservatives?

They play the left on Rupert Murdoch’s TV

Bob Beckel--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Fox News co-host and contributor Bob Beckel has called for the assassination of WikiLeaks spokesperson Julian Assange (“A dead man can’t leak stuff”—Follow the Money, 12/6/10), for furnishing guns to school children (“If you give your kid a gun, no bullying”—Five, 1/5/12) and for militant opposition to the “War on Christmas,” which is “completely out of hand” (Five, 12/9/11). These views are anything but out of place on Fox News, where hosts and commentators are known for fantasizing about murdering progressives (FAIR Blog, 11/10/10), deifying gun ownership (Beck, 6/29/11) and courageously confronting those who would wish them happy holidays (O’Reilly […]

Mar
01
2012

Stopping Short on Stop and Frisk

NYT reports racist policy but won’t call for its end

The New York Times (12/1/99) reported in 1999 the finding of an investigation by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer that the New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” program unfairly targeted black and Hispanic people. “Police officials have long contended that the disparity was based on the fact that most people are stopped in poor, high-crime neighborhoods, many of which have a majority of black and Hispanic residents,” the story explained. “But the attorney general’s analysis found that, even when the statistics were adjusted to take higher crime rates among minorities into account, the number of blacks and Hispanics stopped […]