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 […]

Sep
01
2005

Inclusion vs. Exclusion at PBS

Editor's Note

The issue’s cover story on public broadcasting and CPB points out a fundamental irony: While the right perennially attacks public television and the left traditionally defends it, PBS has over the years done a great deal to placate conservatives while generally giving progressives short shrift. One could observe that this is simply a case of the squeaky wheels getting the grease. But why do the wheels on the right-hand side squeak so much more? In large part, it’s a matter of how conservatives and progressives view media, and the concept of speech itself. In general—though exceptions have always abounded on […]