May
01
2006

SoundBites

News From Nobody On ABC’s This Week (3/19/06), host George Stephanopoulos asked Washington Post reporter Jackie Spinner how long Iraqis would tolerate the American occupation. The aptly named Spinner’s response: “Well, you know . . . I find when I come back to the United States the discussion of troop withdrawal to be a curious one, because nobody is talking about that in Iraq.” Her definition of “nobody” must be pretty expansive: Eighty-seven percent of Iraqis, according to a poll recently published by the Brookings Institution (New York Times, 3/19/06), want to see a timetable for the withdrawal of American […]

May
01
2006

Globalization vs. Growth

NYT op-ed omits stats that debunk pro-corporate claims

New York Times chart

The April 10 New York Times devoted half its op-ed space to an elaborate attempt to demonstrate the benefits of globalization, with charts showing that “more globalized” nations do better than “less globalized” on measures ranging from average inflation to the rule of law. But one obvious measure of economic health, the economic growth rate, was conspicuously absent—perhaps because those statistics would have directly contradicted the op-ed’s point. “Globalizing Good Government,” written by Richard W. Fisher and W. Michael Cox of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, chided opponents of a (subsequently scuttled) French law making it easier to fire […]

May
01
2006

CNN's Immigration Problem

Is Dobbs the exception—or the rule?

CNN anchor Lou Dobbs has been a high-profile voice in the immigration debate, using his show to rail against the country’s “broken borders” virtually every evening on Lou Dobbs Tonight. His openly crusading advocacy journalism has raised eyebrows and put CNN president Jonathan Klein on the defensive; as Klein told the New York Times (3/29/06): “Lou’s show is not a harbinger of things to come at CNN. He is sui generis, one of a kind.” But a closer look at CNN programming indicates that Dobbs’ slanted journalism is not as unusual at the network as Klein suggests. As FAIR has […]

May
01
2006

Birth of a Factoid

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to "The False Debate Over 'Broken Borders'."] Coverage of a recent study by Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center on undocumented immigrants in the United States (3/7/06) illustrates how facts are constructed in the immigration debate. The organization’s website states that the report provides “an estimate of 11.5 to 12 million [unauthorized migrants] as of March 2006,” based on a comparison of Census and Department of Homeland Security data combined with statistical projections. The three-page executive summary of the report—available on the web—prominently states that “some migrants in this estimate have legal authorization […]

May
01
2006

U.S. media to French youth:

Fight for Your Right to Be Fired

Given the mainstream media’s general antipathy towards France and nearly unanimous endorsement of neoliberal corporate globalization, it’s no surprise that reporters covering the massive student protests in France would be unimpressed with pleas to protect workers’ rights. The policy under fierce debate would allow many French employers more “flexibility” to hire and fire young workers without cause—something that, unsurprisingly, students and workers oppose. But they get little sympathy from U.S. pundits and journalists, who endorse the changes as the proper medicine for an ailing French economy. In a March 21 editorial, the Los Angeles Times advised that the protesting students […]

May
01
2006

Intelligence Manipulation at the Washington Post

Editorial page ignores facts to back Bush

Newspaper editorial pages are entitled to their own opinions—but not to their own facts. That seems to be a distinction that the Washington Post has a hard time making these days. The paper’s April 9 editorial, “A Good Leak,” defended the White House’s actions amid new revelations in the investigation of the leaking of an undercover CIA employee’s name to reporters. CIA analyst Valerie Plame Wilson was outed by administration sources in July 2003 after her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, publicly challenged a key White House argument for war—that Iraq was attempting to procure uranium from Africa. Special prosecutor […]

May
01
2006

Letters to the Editor

In Defense of MEF I see that the March/April 2006 issue of Extra! has a letter to the editor from Mike Males in response to my piece on FAIR and media reform published in the January/February 2006 Extra!. Males’ letter has nothing to do with my article, and tees off on a passing reference I made to the Media Education Foundation in which I praised the quality of MEF’s work. As Males acknowledges, MEF does tremendous work. It is one of the truly great progressive institutions in our society, much like FAIR. But Males uses my passing reference to make […]