Oct
01
1992

Death Camps and Desert Storm Frame Bosnia Coverage

Emaciated prisoners, cattle car deportations, genocide. This summer, starting with a Newsday expose (8/2/92) based on the testimonies of two Bosnian Muslims, an extraordinary flood of emotionally charged words and pictures led the evening news, made the covers of Time and Newsweek, and dominated political commentary. From Bill Clinton to Margaret Thatcher, Anthony Lewis to Jeanne Kirkpatrick, calls to action--and to arms--gained momentum and a sense of moral imperative. As a Washington Post editorial argued ("And Now, Death Camps," 8/5/92), the Serbs' "Nazi-like war crimes" were the "clincher" in asserting the need to try "some sort of military option." "The […]

Oct
01
1992

Democracy Vs. Punditocracy

The handful of insiders who shape campaign news

Two years ago, NBC News senior vice president Timothy Russert penned a widely read op-ed (New York Times, 3/4/90) criticizing broadcast coverage of the 1988 presidential campaign. According to Russert, “the public felt cheated by the emphasis on flag-waiving and furloughs rather than on deficits and defense.” Russert insisted that in the future, the networks needed to avoid photo ops, while providing coverage of the issues and candidates records. Despite Timothy Russert’s lofty suggestions, network television coverage of the 1992 presidential campaign has looked eerily like 1988, complete with liberal-bating, stories of marital infidelity, an overemphasis on strategy and “horserace” […]

Oct
01
1992

The Media Factor Behind the 'Hillary Factor'

Hillary Clinton has become one of the most hotly debated subjects in this year's presidential campaign. The media have eagerly focused on the battle of insults, images and "values" that she symbolizes, often characterizing her as a "lightning rod" of criticism. At the Democratic National Convention, a "new" Hillary Clinton was unveiled to much media fanfare. At the Republican National Convention, attacks on the would-be First Lady reached a fever pitch when she was derided as a "radical feminist," as "anti-family" and as unduly influential in her husband's career. She has become one of the most charged issues in the […]

Oct
01
1992

Can You Believe What CBS Says About Arabs?

Dan Rather, Fouad Ajami and Henry Kissinger in Arab-Bashing Israeli Fundraiser

The June 3 Jerusalem Foundation fundraiser featured an all-star media cast. Introductions were made by Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of the New Republic. Concluding remarks were given by Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report. One keynote speaker was Fouad Ajami, CBS News' main analyst on Middle Eastern politics. The other keynoter was former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who serves on the board of CBS, Inc. And the moderator of the event was Dan Rather, the anchor of the CBS Evening News. With all these media powerhouses present, it was remarkable that no one found it newsworthy enough […]

Oct
01
1992

Steve Emerson

A journalist who knows how to take a leak

There are thousands of ax-grinders in journalism, pushing tantalizing stories with few verifiable facts. Most collect rejection slips, but Steve Emerson finds one respectable media outlet after another for his work, which is sometimes nimble in its treatment of facts, often credulous of intelligence sources, and almost invariably supportive of the Israeli government. Although several major news outlets are in tune with Emerson's worldview--he got his start writing for the New Republic and U.S. News and World Report, two magazines with a strong pro-Israel bent--his draw for the media is access to sources unavailable to other writers. That formula stood […]