Apr
01
2007

Hyping the Venezuela Threat

To NYT, ‘arms spending’ doesn't mean spending on arms

A report in the New York Times on Venezuela’s international arms purchases (“Venezuela Spending on Arms Soars to World’s Top Ranks,” 2/25/07) used selective information and an alarmist tone to suggest that Venezuela’s military spending was a potential threat to regional stability. Reporter Simon Romero’s story began: Venezuela’s arms spending has climbed to more than $4 billion in the past two years, transforming the nation into Latin America’s largest weapons buyer and placing it ahead of other major purchasers in international arms markets like Pakistan and Iran. By putting Venezuela in the company of Pakistan and Iran—whose military programs have […]

Apr
01
2007

Reagan Revisionism

Backing off Bush, media recall a crush-worthy conservative

Jellybean Ronald Reagan (cc photo: Ryan Dickey)

Like many prominent pundits, Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria has of late expressed his frustration with the foreign policy of George W. Bush. In the magazine’s March 19 issue, Zakaria lamented that the Bush administration “began intervening directly in the domestic affairs” of Latin American countries, a move he presented as a break from the recent past: “American foreign policy toward Latin America had been on the right track for two decades. Ronald Reagan orchestrated an extraordinary turnaround, supporting human rights, democracy and free trade in several countries.” Zakaria can be given partial credit on one point: Reagan did push on […]

Apr
01
2007

SoundBites

Back to School Newsweek’s Howard Fineman (3/19/07) sees the roots of George W. Bush’s current problems in his lackadaisical academic attitude: “At Harvard Business School, George W. Bush was what they called a ‘skydecker’—a guy who sat in the top back row of the lecture hall to minimize the risk of being called on.” Fineman, an expert at holding his finger to the wind, once had a very different take on Bush’s classroom habits: In Newsweek’s December 25, 2000 edition, he and a co-author cited the same label in an effort to answer the question, “Is Bush smart enough to […]

Apr
01
2007

Evolution Confusion

Newsweek’s muddled version of human origins

Given the many pressing public issues these days that hinge on questions of science, it’s critical that news outlets have the ability to interpret and explain scientific topics. Unfortunately, some of the journalists hired by major media to cover these issues instead garble them, with damaging consequences for the public debate. Take a recent Newsweek cover story, “The Evolution Revolution: The New Science of the Brain and DNA Is Rewriting the Story of Human Origins” (3/19/07). Towards the end of the article, Newsweek’s Sharon Begley—a senior editor who specializes in science stories—describes researcher Peter Underhill’s technique of looking at the […]