Who's to blame for the failure of healthcare reform? Robin Toner, who wrote a post mortem on the debate for the New York Times (9/25/94), likened the situation to Murder on the Orient Express, where every suspect had a hand on the knife: "a divided Democratic Party on Capitol Hill, an overreaching Clinton administration, a fiercely partisan class of Republicans, an insatiable collection of interest groups." While naming candidates who do deserve their share of blame, Toner overlooks one of the likeliest suspects: the opinion-shaping media, led by the New York Times. Before Bill Clinton was even elected, a New […]
Editor's Note: George Seldes is one of the premier journalists and press critics of the 20th Century. In his reporting on World War I, the Russian Revolution, the rise of Fascism and the Spanish Civil War, he always displayed a commitment to telling the whole truth -- which often got him into trouble. From 1940 to 1950, he published In fact, the first American magazine of media criticism, which inspired I.F. Stone's Weekly. A member of FAIR's advisory board, Seldes at 103 years of age is still raising hell. A collection of his writings, The George Seldes Reader, has just […]
Does GE's Ownership of NBC Violate the Law?
General Electric's ownership of the NBC TV network has been in the news in recent months. As Extra! went to press, companies like Time Warner, Disney, ITT and Turner Broadcasting have reportedly been negotiating to either buy NBC outright or enter into some kind of partnership with GE. But a little-noted aspect of communications law raises questions about GE's ownership of NBC's broadcast licenses -- and its ability to sell those licenses to another company. Shady Characters The Federal Communications Act of 1934 created the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the airwaves, which are considered public property. The act states […]
Q & A with Championship Basketball Coach Tara VanDerveer
"When I was growing up," says Tara VanDerveer, "the only female athlete I remember reading about was Billie Jean King, but I kind of always felt that there would be something more, eventually, for women." VanDerveer, 41, has been a basketball coach at Stanford for 10 years (winning two national championships), and before that she was at Ohio State. She coached the United States national team to a gold medal this summer at the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, and many expect her to be selected to coach at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In the Game, an […]
The Demonization of Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Usually when the U.S. military intervenes overseas, the U.S. press demonizes the enemy. But in the case of the Haiti occupation, many media reports have spent more time demonizing the U.S.'s ostensible ally, deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Newsweek (9/26/94) described Aristide as "an anti-American demagogue, an unsteady left-wing populist who threatened private enterprise and condoned violence against his political opponents." An editorial in the liberal New York Newsday (9/21/94) proclaimed: "Aristide seems bent on proving his critics' claims: that he's a fickle ideologue, a rabble-rouser with a messianic complex essentially uninterested in the pragmatic realities and possibly incompetent to be […]
From the Women's Desk
"The Cairo Conference will probably be remembered as the Great Abortion Showdown," exclaimed a Wall Street Journal report (9/13/94) as the International Conference on Population and Development drew to a close this September. But whose fault is that? For all the "isn't it a shame" tone of journalistic commentary, most of the mainstream media allowed that debate to dominate coverage of Cairo. United Nations conferences are bureaucratic affairs; the anti-contraception dogma of the Pope against a most-of-the-world, pro-choice chorus provided a dramatic angle on the "Clash of Wills in Cairo", headlined Time magazine (9/12/94); "Population Wars", U.S. News & World […]
Why Didn't the Press Bark When Yeltsin Forgot Vote?
On June 12, the Washington Times ran an editorial noting that presidential elections had been scheduled to take place in Russia that day, but were in fact not going to be held. "So, the Russians will not be going to the polls today," it began. "After the turmoil of the past year, it's unlikely that many of them will be sorry to see that opportunity slip." A search of the Nexis database found no other stories in U.S. newspapers noting this non-event. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post ignored the occasion. As Bernard Gwertzman, foreign editor at […]
U.S. Media on the Mexican Election
The August 21 Mexican elections, which the U.S. media have characterized as "generally fair and clean" (New York Times, 9/27/94) despite widespread protests to the contrary, have presented establishment media in the U.S. with a serious problem: how to make people believe that a ruling party, which could only win elections through massive fraud in good times, could suddenly win an honest election by a landslide -- after reducing workers' real wages by 30 percent in the six-year administration of incumbent President Carlos Salinas, as the New York Times itself has quietly acknowledged in articles in its Business section (9/27/94). […]