Jun
01
2010

Letters to the Editor

Iraq War’s DU Tonnage Overstated I’m grateful to Extra! and Dahr Jamail for reviewing the health impact of depleted uranium (DU) weapons used in Iraq (“The New ‘Forgotten’ War,” 3/10). But while it may seem many times worse to say that they “used more than 1,700 tons of depleted uranium in Iraq in the 2003 invasion” when compared to about 320 tons used in 1991, there are problems with both the source and huge number cited for 2003. More accurate—and ironically much more compelling, from the point of view of DU opponents—would be to state that the Pentagon reports only […]

May
01
2010

Dissent an Olympic Non-Event

Vancouver protests give way to games as 'unifying force'

Alissa Westergard-Thorpe--Photo Credit: Straight.com

For many people, the Olympics rank high on the Happy Meter, right up there with cuddly kittens and free beer. But those who take a closer look at the Olympics’ political-economic underbelly often end up seeing less feline and more freight train, a corporate juggernaut whizzing through town at taxpayer expense and leaving public debt and social dislocation in its wake. Early on, activists in Vancouver, Canada, identified the perils of the Olympic industrial complex, beginning their organizing even before the city was granted the bid by the International Olympic Committee in 2003. Anti-Olympic activists put forth spirited, wide-ranging criticism: […]

May
01
2010

Fear & Favor 10th Annual Report

Hidden interference in the newsroom

By now, the structural deficiencies in a corporate media system heavily dependent on commercial advertising and controlled by sprawling conglomerates should be obvious. Dramatic reductions in advertising and subscription revenue in recent years mean news outlets are even less likely to push back against commercial intrusions in the functioning of the newsroom. Journalists trying to hold on to their jobs in a shrinking newsroom are less likely to speak up about interference from owners or other powerful interests. The examples of non-journalistic interference in the newsroom—which FAIR has been compiling for the past decade—are emblematic of a media system trying […]

May
01
2010

SoundBites

CNN Scrapes the Bottom of the Barrel John King promised that his new CNN show, replacing the failed Lou Dobbs program, would focus on news, not opinion; he told Politico (11/12/09) that he was averse to guests “on news shows who start the conversation with a bias.” So who does CNN hire to do regular political commentary on King’s show? Right-wing blogger Erick Erickson, who described Supreme Justice David Souter upon his retirement as a “goat-fucking child molester” (FAIR Action Alert, 3/16/10). Erickson has also asserted that “the full gay rights agenda” involves child molestation, that Barack Obama won the […]

May
01
2010

Don't Ask Gays About Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Debate on military policy excludes those most affected

After months of pressure from activists to make good on his campaign promise, Barack Obama called for a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in his January 27 State of the Union address. Less than a week later, Adm. Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee hearing on February 2 that repealing the policy that prevents gay men and lesbians from serving openly was “the right thing to do.” As the story made the rounds on television, the most striking thing about the conversation was who wasn’t in it: the people at the center […]

May
01
2010

Big Media and State Lawmakers, Unite!

ALEC fights to keep broadband in private hands

Photo Credit: American Legislative Exchange Council

As the functions of media, commerce and communication rapidly shift into the digital world, more and more cities are viewing broadband Internet access as a necessary resource to stay economically viable in the 21st century. While these communities have been working to expand access, another group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), has been working to ensure that control of the information superhighway remains in the hands of a few very powerful corporations. ALEC is a group that unites state lawmakers—it claims 2,000, or a full third of the nation’s state legislators, as members—with an impressive roster of the nation’s […]

May
01
2010

Journalists ♥ Tea Party

At last a citizen movement corporate media can love

A Tea Party activist--Photo Credit: In These Times

In the first year of the Obama administration, the corporate media suddenly overcame their general aversion to citizen movements that criticize government policies, granting the staunchly conservative Tea Party activists enormous coverage—a decision that seems likely to impact politics for the foreseeable future. Citizen movements are hardly ever front-page news, even when they have clearly identifiable political agendas and broad public support. But the Tea Party movement—an amorphous, politically incoherent umbrella designation for various strands of opposition to Obama, much of it beset with racism and backed by less-than-grassroots deep-pocket Beltway lobbying groups—has managed to buck that trend, getting the […]