Apr
01
2007

From Self-Censorship to Official Censorship

Ban on images of wounded GIs raises no media objections

This photo of mortally wounded Sgt. Hector Leija, taken by Robert Nickelsberg, was pulled from the New York Times website after being called “offensive” and contrary to new censorship regulations by a U.S. military official. A letter in February to the New York Times (2/3/07) from the commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq revealed new censorship regulations prohibiting portrayals of U.S. casualties in the media. The tightened rules have been in effect since May 2006, but no media outlet with embedded photographers reported on or objected to the censorship of images. In his letter, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno […]

Apr
01
2007

Can You Hear Us NOW?

Anti-war march gets more coverage—but the message is still muted

The stage had been set up in front of the reflecting pool below Capitol Hill, facing the length of the Mall and the Washington Monument. Just behind the stage, in a space set aside for media interviews, huddles of reporters moved scrum-like from the Rev. Jesse Jackson to actress Susan Sarandon to Rep. John Conyers before each took their turn addressing the January 27 antiwar rally and march in Washington D.C. Out in front of the stage, two multi-step risers held a phalanx of TV cameras and their operators. Still photographers and reporters edged in for a few inches of […]

Apr
01
2007

Sidebar: Hannity Finds the Hate

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to Can You Hear Us NOW?] The most mean-spirited portrayal of the protest as a Vietnam echo came from Fox’s Sean Hannity. “I see you brought Jane Fonda back for this one,” Hannity said to protester Anne Roesler, asking if she were proud of Fonda, whose picture was taken in Vietnam sitting on “the very equipment used to kill our troops.” When Roesler started to answer that she was a member of Military Families Speak Out with a son serving in the war, Hannity cut her off, saying, “I’m not interested in that.” He […]

Mar
01
2007

Wall Street's Panic, Democracy's Trouble

I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying—it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off. Let's use this as a handy exercise in journalism. What is the unexamined assumption here? That the newspaper business is dying. Is it? In 2005, publicly traded U.S. newspaper publishers reported operating profit margins of 19.2 percent, down from 21 percent in 2004, according to the Wall Street Journal. That ain't chopped liver, friends—it's more than double the average operating profit margin of the Fortune 500. So who thinks newspapers are dying? Newspaper analysts on Wall Street. In fact, the fine folks on […]

Mar
01
2007

Editor's Note

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

America lost one of its most incisive political writers—and FAIR one of the supporters we were most proud to have—when Molly Ivins died from breast cancer on January 31 at the age of 62. Molly got her start in journalism at the complaints department of the Houston Chronicle—which must have been an education—and was editor of the estimable Texas Observer in the 1970s, before being hired away by the New York Times as part of an ill-fated effort to spice up its stodgy writing. (She was famously called on the carpet in 1980 for calling a chicken-killing contest a “gang […]

Mar
01
2007

Net Neutrality and the Supermedia Monopolies

Deregulation’s history of empty promises

Internet's Univere, by CLUC

The leaders of the nation’s largest cable and telephone companies are telling lawmakers something familiar: New national policies are required to connect everyone to what they call a “superbroadband” Internet highway. If Washington supports their political agenda, the companies vow that the nation will benefit from advances in healthcare, improvements in the quality of life for senior citizens, and major boosts for jobs and the economy. But, say corporate executives, we are stymied by rules, regulations and local and state policies. Congress, the FCC and the White House must get government out of the way. They claim that the emergence […]

Mar
01
2007

Letters to the Editor

PBS: A Guide to the Perplexed I write to provide a personal testimony to that portion of your study (Extra!, 9-10/06) on the lack of black experts invited to appear on PBS. I appeared on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour once about 12-14 years ago. For several years now, I have been frequently contacted by bookers at the NewsHour and interviewed preliminary to appearing on the show. However, for some reason, they always cancelled. This has happened so frequently that I concluded either my views were too progressive for the stories being presented, or that they had some sort of racial quota […]

Mar
01
2007

The Real 'Masters of Space'

Warfare in orbit is only news when China does it

As a graphic proclaiming “Red Storm” flashed on the screen, CNN anchor Lou Dobbs intoned: “Communist 5China tonight refusing to explain its motives for conducting its first-ever anti-satellite missile test. That test, the latest in a series of dangerous new challenges by the Chinese military to this country’s interest.” He threw it to correspondent Christine Romans, who declared, “Defense experts see a pattern of behavior that highlights China’s strategy to exploit American weakness.” Romans went to John Tkacik of the Heritage Foundation, who, she reported, “says that American policymakers refuse to recognize China’s hostile intentions toward this country.” The segment […]