Nov
01
2008

Letters to the Editor

Where Is Nader? I’ve been reading Extra! for about 10 years now; picking it up at newsstands, browsing it in area stores, recommending it to family and friends, and subscribing as well. One thing in particular has been bothering me lately about your publication. If you’re so committed to unbiased and fair coverage of the issues, then why has there been no more than the faintest peep from your publication regarding Ralph Nader’s campaign for president? How serious can you possibly be about your focus issues—“corporate ownership [!!], advertiser influence, official agendas, telecommunications policy, the PR industry, pressure groups, the […]

Nov
01
2008

The Food Crisis and the Fear of Scarcity

Media binders blind us to real food solutions

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Mike_tn

The rising cost of food was all over the news in the spring of 2008, from Fox News (“Food Prices Soaring World-wide,” 3/24/08) to CNN (“Rising Food Prices and Rising Concerns,” 4/21/08) to CBS (“Price of Rice Skyrockets,” 4/23/08). Everyone was covering the story. Many will never forget news clips of desperate Haitians rioting in anger and even forced to eat dirt to stave off hunger. Then in September came the grim U.N. assessment: The number of hungry people worldwide had shot up in one year by 75 million people—reaching 925 million at the beginning of 2008, declared Jacques Diouf […]

Nov
01
2008

As Usual, NYT Ignores Iraqi Opinion

Anecdotes trump polls on withdrawal

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

The New York Times failed spectacularly in its coverage of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, helping lead the country into war and only much later (5/26/04) publishing a half-hearted mea culpa. As the near-apology acknowledged, the paper's failure resulted in large part from its lack of skepticism regarding its sources, most notably exiled Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi. Despite the mea culpa, though, the Times continues to mislead on Iraq, particularly on the issue of whether or not Iraqis want the U.S. military to exit their country. Once again, that journalistic failure seems to be rooted in the same fundamental […]

Nov
01
2008

Outsourcing Journalism

Localism threatened by offshore reporters and editors

Brayden Simms had only five months to warm his seat as a copy editor at the Miami Herald before he joined the long list of journalists across the country losing their jobs faster and more suddenly than a breaking story. But while media companies are slashing their staff rosters, consolidating newsrooms and forcing those journalists left standing to take on the job responsibilities of their laid-off co-workers, there was something unique about Simms’ firing: He would be replaced. But the new copy editor doesn’t live in Miami, or Florida, or even the U.S. The McClatchy Co., parent of the Miami […]

Nov
01
2008

'Voter Fraud' Claims Unchecked by Media

Restrictive laws spread based on scant evidence

Among Republicans, it has been an “article of religious faith that voter fraud is causing us to lose elections,” declared Royal Masset, the former political director of the Republican Party of Texas (Houston Chronicle, 5/17/07). This religious faith in widespread voter fraud—or illegal voting—even in the absence of any persuasive evidence, has translated into successful campaigns in 25 states to pass restrictive voter identification laws (e.g., requiring photo ID at the polling place), with other states looking to follow suit. (Masset, a rare dissenter from this Republican creed, is an outspoken foe of what he calls “racist” and “barbaric laws”—Burnt […]

Nov
01
2008

Busted Bubble

The press fell down on the job on housing prices

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/cindy47452

Over the summer, the country's two mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, collapsed, marking the definitive bursting of the housing bubble that began in the mid-1990s. Although it was the second major economic bubble in less than a decade, most in corporate media ignored the warning signs. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) and author of the American Prospect blog Beat the Press, told Extra!: "It continues to be this sort of bad-event story," with corporate media and the select group of economists on whom they rely acting as though "a hurricane came […]

Nov
01
2008

'Secret Muslims,' Open Bigotry

Islamophobia in the 2008 presidential campaign

This article is the overview of FAIR's study, "Smearcasting, How Islamophobes Spread Bigotry, Fear and Misinformation." Visit the report's special micro-site at www.smearcasting.com or click here to download the full report. In the 1990 Polish elections a whispering campaign suggesting that Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a Roman Catholic, was a “secret Jew” attracted widespread attention in the U.S. press, as did a nearly identical rumor about the leading challenger in Poland’s 1995 election. In no uncertain terms, U.S. news reports called the rumors “ugly examples” (Washington Post, 12/31/90) of the “increasingly visible expressions of anti-Semitism” (New York Times, 1/21/91), […]

Nov
01
2008

SoundBites

A Test of Faith? “Next time you meet an atheist, tell him or her that you know a bold, fresh guy, a barbarian who was raised in a working-class home and retains the lessons he learned there. Then mention to that atheist that this guy is now watched and listened to, on a daily basis, by millions of people all over the world and, to boot, sells millions of books. Then, while the non-believer is digesting all that, ask him or her if they still don’t believe there’s a God!” — Talkshow host Bill O’Reilly, offering his career as proof […]