Mar
01
2001

Those Aren't Stones, They're Rocks

The pro-Israel critique of Mideast coverage

American journalists probably feel more pressure about their coverage of Israel and Palestine than any other subject. That is true even of Extra!; despite having a readership that is overwhelmingly sympathetic to our progressive critique of the media, our Middle East coverage invariably elicits angry letters and complaints, sometimes resulting in canceled subscriptions. According to Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the liberal Jewish magazine Tikkun, his publication has felt "tremendous pressure" to alter its editorial position that Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is the "fundamental source of the problem." Hundreds of subscribers have canceled their subscriptions, and […]

Mar
01
2001

Test-Score 'Facts' Need Media Scrutiny

In voucher study, an average is not just an average

With competing political agendas ready to balkanize public education, reporting on test scores is no less important than reporting on campaign contributions, corporate balance sheets or federal budget numbers. More so, in fact, because the "facts" of test numbers are often used to adorn arguments that cannot otherwise justify attention. A case in point is the spate of stories that reported higher test scores for African-American students at voucher-funded schools. Filling their back-to-school pages in August and September 2000, the media jumped to reported the findings of Paul Peterson, a Harvard professor and fellow at the conservative Hoover Institute The […]

Mar
01
2001

Rare, Not Well-Done

U.S. coverage of climate change talks

In November 2000, delegates from over 160 countries met at the Hague to decide how best to achieve the pollution reductions mandated by the Kyoto climate treaty, the 1997 protocol to combat global climate change. The talks failed spectacularly, in large part because of the U.S.'s obstructionist stance. Within the U.S., news coverage of the talks was extremely sparse, and at times misleading. Despite the high stakes involved in global warming, and the U.S.'s central role in it--both as the most powerful country at the negotiating table and as the world's biggest polluter--there's a good chance that Americans relying on […]

Mar
01
2001

Protesters Rain on ABC's Parade

Unlike the New York Times, broadcast outlets did not have the luxury of banishing the protesters at George W. Bush's inauguration to the back pages. As Bush's limousine was booed in real time, some of the protests couldn't help but make it onto TV--to the obvious discomfort of the on-air personnel. Take ABC News, whose January 20 coverage was presided over by Peter Jennings, a self-proclaimed fan of inauguration parades: "In a short while now...the inaugural parade will begin which, I have to tell you, I always think is one of the great moments of any political year, of any […]