Apr
01
2003

MSNBC's Racism is Ok, Peace Activism is Not

Defending its decision to give a weekly TV program to Michael Savage, a radio host who special­izes in racism, misogyny and homopho­bia, the MSNBC cable network called the hire "a legitimate attempt to expand the marketplace of ideas" (Electronic Media, 2/25/03). This was a response to critics of Savage's slurs, which include dismissing child victims of gunfire as "ghetto slime," referring to non-white countries as "turd world nations," calling homosexuality "perver­sion" and asserting that Latinos "breed like rabbits." (See Extra!, 3-4/03.) The news channel—co-owned by Microsoft and General Electric/NBC­ declared in a formal statement: "By bringing our viewers a wide […]

Apr
01
2003

SoundBites

Extra! Update April 2003

The Disarmament Nightmare Subheads over a March 4 New York Times article: "More Missiles Destroyed; Washington Is Concerned Over Possible Complications for Effort to Disarm Iraq." Nothing like disarming to complicate disarmament. NBC Nightly News (2/27/03) was even more alarmed about the missile destruction, with Andrea Mitchell reporting: "For the U.S., it's a nightmare scenario. If Iraq destroys the missiles, it will be much harder to get support for military action." Spinning Jesus "Both sides of the debate are saying God is on their side. Those who favor peace point to the Pope calling the war immoral, and those who […]

Apr
01
2003

Propaganda: From Misdeeds to Mistakes

A March 13 story in the New York Times "Week in Review" section attempted to illustrate how propaganda works. And it did, though probably not in the way reporter David Rohde intended. The subject was how young Kurds in Iraq hate Saddam Hussein, but are also deeply suspicious of the United States' intentions toward the Kurds. Where do they get this "warped perception" of America? Rohde blames "websites run by Islamist organizations, satellite television stations and scores of pamphlets and books that spread false or exaggerated accounts of American faults and misdeeds." The Times complained: "Rather than removing war criminals […]

Apr
01
2003

In Prelude to War, TV Served as Official Megaphone

Megaphone

In the weeks before the invasion of Iraq, a FAIR study documents, network newscasts were dominated by current and former U.S. officials, and largely excluded Americans who were skeptical of or opposed to an invasion of Iraq. Looking at two weeks of coverage, FAIR examined all 393 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq on ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and PBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. Beginning one week before and ending one week after Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation at the UN, the study spanned a time of […]

Apr
01
2003

When 'Doves' Lie

The New York Times plays down anti-war opinion

In a breakdown of major U.S. newspapers' positions on the Iraq issue before the invasion began, the trade magazine Editor and Publisher (3/14/03) labeled the New York Times "strongly dovish," based on its stance in a March 9 editorial: "If it comes down to a question of yes or no to invasion without broad international support, our answer is no." But in its news coverage in the period before the invasion began on March 19, the New York Times played down opposition to war and exaggerated support for George W. Bush's Iraq policy--in ways that ranged from questionable to dishonest. […]