Dec
15
2006

Sarah Anderson on Augusto Pinochet, Rafael Olmeda on NBC-Telemundo

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The death of a dictator. Chile's Augusto Pinochet died this week at the age of 91, eluding the human rights lawyers and activists who demanded Pinochet be held responsible for his brutal rule. How did the U.S. press remember Pinochet's legacy? We'll ask Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. Also on CounterSpin today, the U.S. Latino population is growing but the number of local Spanish language television newscasts will soon be shrinking. NBC Universal has announced that Telemundo, the Spanish-language network it bought in 2001, will […]

Dec
08
2006

NYT Correction Dodges the Question

Missing the point of the missing Amnesty report on war crimes

After a FAIR action alert (12/6/06) pointed out an error in a New York Times article ("Offering Video, Israel Answers War Critics," 12/5/06), the Times published a correction on December 7. FAIR had pointed out that, in a piece describing an Israeli report that attempted to defend Israel against charges of war crimes, the Times had failed to include the relevant international law or analysis from independent human rights groups, and in fact had even incorrectly stated that Amnesty International "did not address the [Israeli] accusation that Hezbollah hid its militants among Lebanese civilians." The correction read: Because of an […]

Dec
06
2006

New York Times on Israeli War Crimes

No independent analysis of pro-government spin

(NOTE: Please see the Activism Update regarding this alert.) A front-page New York Times article by Greg Myre (12/5/06) covered a new report from an Israeli research group defending Israel against accusations of war crimes in its recent war with Lebanon. But instead of critically examining the report's claims in the light of international law and the findings of independent human rights groups, the Times for the most part chose to pass on the research group's spin unquestioningly. As Myre explained the crux of the debate, the war crimes accusations are that "Israel fired into populated areas and that civilians […]

Oct
01
2006

Lives in the Balance

Media 'vexed' by civilian deaths in Lebanon

On August 14, the New York Times addressed one of the significant worries for U.S. media outlets covering the Israeli bombing and invasion of Lebanon: Civilians in Lebanon were the primary victims, dying in far greater numbers than Israeli military personnel and civilians combined. (Amnesty International estimated that the fighting killed about 1,000 civilians in Lebanon and about 40 in Israel—8/23/06.) The problem for U.S. media was how to obscure that fact. As the Times put it, “Particularly vexing for many American news organizations is the struggle to determine how and in what proportion images of civilian dead and injured […]

Oct
01
2006

Newsworthy and Unnewsworthy Deaths

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to "Lives in the Balance."] On August 8, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote, “Arabs have often argued that Americans have a double standard in the Middle East: We are more solicitous of casualties in Israel than in Gaza or Lebanon. I think they’re right, for a variety of reasons.” Indeed, in the New York Times, some of the deadliest attacks in Lebanon were mentioned in passing, or filed under headlines that would seem to diminish their importance. On August 2, Human Rights Watch released a report that documented Israeli attacks on civilians. […]

Sep
29
2006

Michael Ratner on detainee legislation, Hannah Sassaman on suppressed FCC reports

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Congress has passed legislation on military commissions and detainee treatment that will allow forms of detainee abuse recognized internationally as torture, and make secret evidence and coerced evidence admissible in court. It will also degrade habeus corpus, the traditional right of prisoners to challenge their detention. Why is the media largely ignoring the substance and historic significance of the legislation in favor the stories about the political battles over it? We'll talk about all that with Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Also on the show: FCC Chair Kevin Martin has called […]

Sep
01
2006

Sue Sturgis on Katrina anniversary, Heather Boushey on welfare 'reform'

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina was marked by media outlets remembering, among other things, those few days when some reporters decided they wouldn't tolerate lying and deception from government officials. But what's happened on the Gulf Coast since then, away from the cameras and TV anchors? We'll speak with Sue Sturgis of the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch. Also on CounterSpin today, another media anniversary: It's been ten years since the passage of so-called welfare reform, and most of the media are celebrating its success as measured by the plummeting numbers on the […]

Aug
02
2006

Mideast Weapons Deserve Scrutiny

Israel’s cluster bombs and alleged phosphorus use have escaped attention

On July 24, Human Rights Watch reported that Israel was using cluster bombs "in populated areas of Lebanon," which it said "may violate the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks contained in international humanitarian law." But despite the extensive media coverage of the current conflict in the Middle East, almost no U.S. outlets are reporting on these findings. The Los Angeles Times buried the news at the end of a July 25 report, which concluded that the "Israeli army said it was checking into the group's allegations, but added that the weapons were legal under international standards." On July 27, the New […]