Nov 1 2002

Peter Jennings Cries Wolf

ABC special misled viewers on wildlife controversy

Grey wolves (cc photo: Jeremy Weber)

The special was called “In Search of America,” but when ABC News and Peter Jennings addressed the issue of the reintroduction of wolves to Idaho, they seemed to have already decided beforehand what they would find.

Nov 1 2002

A Scoop They’d Rather Forget

U.N. spying scandal goes from fact to allegation

Nothing makes a newspaper prouder than a juicy foreign policy scoop. Except, it seems, when the scoop ends up raising awkward questions about a U.S. admin­istration’s drive for war. Back in 1999, major papers ran front-page investigative stories reveal­ing that the CIA had covertly used U.N. weapons inspectors, known as UN­SCOM, to spy on Iraq for the U.S.’s own intelligence purposes. “United States officials said today that American spies had worked undercover on teams of United Nations arms inspectors,” the New York Times reported (1/7/99). According to the Washington Post (3/2/99), the U.S. “infiltrated agents and espionage equipment for three […]

Nov 1 2002

“Why Is Dissent Not Fit for Coverage?”

CounterSpin interview with talkshow host Laura Flanders

CounterSpin: Mainstream U.S. media love dissent. They love to report about it and editorialize in favor of it–when it happens in places like China or Cuba. The Washington Post and the New York Times have even endorsed armed dissent, editorializing in the 1980s in favor of aid to rebel armies. But when dissent comes home, there can be a gaping double standard. The attitude of journalists to dissent at home seems to be: We have freedom to dissent, so hey, you protestors, shut up! Speaking of dissent, Laura Flanders joins us now to talk about coverage (or non-coverage) of recent […]

Nov 1 2002

Another Day, Another Mass Arrest

Media unfazed by erosion of right to assemble

From September 25 to September 29, activists rallied in Washington, D.C. for the first large-scale U.S. protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. On Friday, September 27, several hundred people–including activists, bystanders and journalists–were arrested en masse in what appears to have been an illegal and politically motivated detention. For many mainstream media outlets, the arrests were barely worthy of comment. ‘We want to leave peacefully’ The arrests occurred during the first of the weekend’s two most prominent actions, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence’s “People’s Strike.” The ACC ( called on activists […]

Nov 1 2002

Ann Slanders

Is Coulter's book about "lies" a self-indictment?

On the first page of her best-selling book about “the left’s hegemonic control of the news media,” pundit Ann Coulter declares that there’s too much nastiness in American politics, and “it’s all liberals’ fault.” Then, throughout the aptly named Slander, Coulter spits out one personal attack after another, calling her political foes “half-wits,” “bird brains,” “termagants” and so on; she compares NBC anchor Katie Couric to Hitler’s wife, calling the Today show host “the affable Eva Braun of morning television.” Elsewhere Coulter has called Tipper Gore “gaudy white trash” (Washington Times, 8/7/00), and in an earlier book (High Crimes and […]

Nov 1 2002

Destroying the Forests to Save Them

Media myths fuel Bush wildfire plan

Forest fires last summer provided the media with dramatic images of walls of flames and smoke-choked skies, soundbites from terrified and frustrated citizens, and tales of fearless firefighters. The overarching message of such news reports: Forest fires are a terrible disaster, something to be fought at all costs. These stories, in turn, provided fuel for a campaign by timber industry lobbyists, Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration to persuade citizens that good forest policy requires cutting many more trees—and repealing environmental regulations that allow public input into the management of national forests. But before we give the timber industry our […]

Nov 1 2002

Let Them Eat Cake

TV blames Africans for famine

A famine is raging through southern Africa–a famine that Doctors Without Borders has called among the worst in Africa in the past decade. The international relief organization CARE reports that the famine “is largely the result of one of the worst droughts in a decade” and that “severe hunger–even starvation–threatens millions, particularly among the most vulnerable: children, the elderly, and pregnant and nursing women” in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is occurring against the backdrop of an AIDS epidemic in Africa that has claimed 25 million lives and counting, leaving behind about 14 million orphans. It’s a […]