Sep
01
2005

Letters to the Editor

Missing the Point of Torture Jacqueline Bacon’s article “Torturing Language” (Extra!, 7-8/05) is a very good review of how language can be used to confuse and mislead people, but it misses the main point. The torture of prisoners is not some closely guarded secret; the people of Iraq and Afghanistan know perfectly well what’s going on. And the fact that the U.S. military allows all kinds of pictures to be taken in maximum security military prisons in war zones shows that they want the information on torture to get out. It’s not an effective way to get information, so what’s […]

Sep
01
2005

Buying the Bush Line on Iran Nukes

Despite uncertainty, U.S. journalists take sides

How should U.S. journalists treat charges that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program? On the one hand, the track record of White House allegations about the weapons programs of the “axis of evil” is decidedly poor. On the other hand, Iranian officials who claim their country has only a peaceful nuclear energy program have their own history of deceptions and evasions. With a story marked by uncertainty, the journalist’s job is to puncture official misinformation all around while digging for more solid information. Unfortunately, U.S. news media outlets have instead largely decided to echo White House charges despite the […]

Sep
01
2005

SoundBites

False Believers “True believers on the left and the right, hoping to rouse their armies for a showdown over [Supreme Court nominee] John Roberts, immediately trumpeted two ‘facts’” that “aren’t true,” Newsweek reported in its August 1 cover story. First, there were the “conspiracy theories” about Roberts’ “behind-the-scenes role” in the 2000 Florida recount, which Newsweek said was “minimal”; the Miami Herald’s more substantive reporting (7/27/05), however, showed that Roberts spent “a week to 10 days” with the legal effort, serving as a “legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach.” In its second attempt at debunking, Newsweek asserted that Roberts […]