Aug
01
2006

Mid-East Blame Game

Leading papers ignore Israeli contribution to conflict

In the wake of the most serious outbreak of Israeli/Arab violence in years, three leading U.S. papers—the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times—have strongly editorialized that Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon were solely responsible for sparking violence, and that the Israeli military response was predictable and unavoidable. These editorials ignored recent events that indicate a more complicated situation. Beginning with the Israeli attack on Gaza, a New York Times editorial (6/29/06), “Hamas Provokes a Fight,” declared that “the responsibility for this latest escalation rests squarely with Hamas,” and that “an Israeli military response was inevitable.” […]

Aug
01
2006

If You Don't Like Voters' Views, Just Use Republican Spin Points

When congressional Democrats in June proposed a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, this was portrayed by the New York Times as a real problem—for Democrats. The underlying assumption in the reporting was that this position was a risky one, playing right into the hands of Karl Rove and the GOP. A June 14 Times story said that such a position would let the White House “again . . . cast [the Democrats] as weak on national security.” The Times noted that a vote on setting a deadline for troop withdrawal “could create a hard choice for Democrats […]

Aug
01
2006

SoundBites

Treacherous Voters Given that the conservative party line is that the primary defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D.-Conn.) was good news for the Republican Party, pundits on the right still managed to seem awfully upset. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (8/9/06) declared: “Joe Lieberman . . . did not sell out his country to pander to the anti-war vote. For that, Lieberman was defeated.” The lament of the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Hellinger (8/11/06) ran under the headline “Democrats Knifed Lieberman on Eve of Airliner Plot.” The L.A. Times’ Rosa Brooks responded to such melodrama: “No, fellas. What happened was just […]

Aug
01
2006

Reversing Course

FEMA Allows Katrina Victims To Speak to News Media

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had a policy prohibiting journalists from having unsupervised interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims who have been relocated to FEMA trailer parks—a policy that was reversed after complaints from the Baton Rouge Advocate and FAIR activists. “If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” the Advocate (7/15/06) quoted FEMA spokesperson Rachel Rodi. “That’s just a policy.” In the same article, Advocate reporter Sandy Davis described two separate interventions by FEMA security to halt interviews with people displaced by Katrina. In […]