Sep 01 2011

In Norway, Footnotes to Mass Murder

Terror Suspect cited Islamophobic blog as inspiration

Anders Breivik--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/ghostofgoldwater

Terror Suspect cited Islamophobic blog as inspirationAfter self-described “conservative Christian” Anders Behring Breivik was charged with killing 76 in a July 22 bombing and shooting spree in Norway, writers who shared the accused’s virulently Islamophobic ideology heatedly denied that anything in their body of work could possibly lead anyone to violence. But Breivik seems to be one of the most articulate ideologues in the history of mass murder, writing a 1,500-page manifesto with hyperlinked footnotes that point precisely to those writings that allegedly inspired him to violence. Breivik’s “total lack of respect for human life is not…something he can have […]

Sep 01 2011

Obama’s DOJ Targets Whistleblowers

If they 'hate our freedoms,' maybe we need less of it

If they ‘hate our freedoms,’ maybe we need less of itIf you really believed, as many Americans claimed to after the September 11 attacks, that “they hate us for our freedom” (Extra! Update, 10/01), then it makes a certain kind of sense to protect against future attacks–by reducing our freedom. That would seem to be the only kind of logic that could justify the erosion of freedom of the press manifested by the Obama Justice Department’s concerted efforts to prosecute whistleblowers. The first steps toward the criminalization of being a source for investigative journalism were taken by George W. Bush’s […]

Sep 01 2011

Deficit-Obsessed Media Misinform on Causes

Nightly network news fumbles reasons for debt

Nightly network news fumbles reasons for debtAt a time when the federal budget deficit is so prominently featured in the news, with pundits and “experts” (falsely) touting it as a leading concern of the U.S. public (FAIR Blog, 1/21/11), you might think corporate journalists would be well-practiced in explaining the chief causes of the deficit. Unfortunately, if you rely on network nightly news programs for your information about the economy, you are likely to be misinformed about the main causes of the current deficit—in order of importance, the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and […]

Sep 01 2011

Gullible Reporters, Sick Responders

Relaying offical assurances about unsafe air at Ground Zero

Ground Zero

Relaying offical assurances about unsafe air at Ground Zero“Not Enough Evidence to Link 9/11 and Cancer, a Federal Report Says.” The New York Times headline (7/27/11) delivered a devastating blow to many Ground Zero first responders, as well as to New Yorkers who lived and worked near the long-smoldering wreckage. After years of fighting for federal compensation to cover illnesses resulting from exposure to the toxic dust and fumes released by the destruction of the towers, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was finally passed in 2010 and took effect in 2011 (thanks in no small part to […]

Sep 01 2011


September 2011

September 2011More Bombs, Less Debate NBC correspondent Richard Engel (Meet the Press, 6/19/11), calling for more bombing in Libya and less democracy in the U.S.: I just came from Libya before I came here, and the fact of the matter is the war in Libya right now is not very serious, that NATO is not doing a terribly good job. The rebels need a lot more help. The bombing campaign in Tripoli barely exists. Every once in a while there’s a few bombs on mostly empty compounds, and people go about their lives more or less unaffected. It’s not the […]

Sep 01 2011

Debt Ceiling Crisis ‘Not Even Close to Being an Important National Priority’

James K. Galbraith--Photo Credit: University of Texas

James Galbraith is a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin, author most recently of The Predator State and chair of Economists for Peace and Security. Speaking to FAIR’s radio show CounterSpin (7/15/11), Galbraith pointed out that there could be real effects from defaulting on our debt, which is why it’s unconstitutional. JG: The Constitution states very clearly that once the government makes an obligation that is a firm commitment, that cannot be challenged and should not be challenged in the political process. So the people that have been raising these issues, who are elected officials that […]

Sep 01 2011

Whistling Past the Wreckage of Civil Liberties

Watchdogs slept through a decade of rollback

Surveillance. cc photo: Ben (Falcifer)

Watchdogs slept through a decade of rollbackWhen the USA Patriot Act* was rushed into law after the September 11 attacks, the erosion of civil liberties the Act represented—the broad powers it gave law enforcement to spy on people, and the creation of the dangerously ill-defined crime of “domestic terrorism”—met with little detailed scrutiny or principled challenge from major media. Typical at the time was a Today show segment (NBC, 10/27/01) in which anchor Soledad O’Brien grilled a concerned legal advocate, “But, certainly, isn’t there a sense in wartime that you have to give up some of your privacies, especially when […]

Sep 01 2011

Economic Ideas, On and Off the Table

Fringe theories get a hearing as textbook solutions are shunned

Money--lots of it.

Fringe theories get a hearing as textbook solutions are shunnedEconomics has traditionally been the media’s favorite academic discipline. In normal times, the “consensus” of the economics profession (or at least what passes for consensus) tends to weigh heavily in the way reporters and editors cover political subjects–assuming that less-regulated trade is always beneficial, for example. But since the onset of the economic crisis, journalists have increasingly abandoned their habit of deferring to the views of mainstream economics. As economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman often argues (e.g., 5/7/11), the answers to our economic problems that come from ordinary […]