Jun
01
2012

Network TV's Attention Deficit After Gadhafi

Libyan violence ongoing, but media have moved on

Moammar Gadhafi--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/BRQ Network/AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Broadcast TV networks ABC, NBC and CBS combined to mention Libya a whopping 1,681 times between February 2011—when uprisings against the government began—and October, when Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed by a combination of NATO and Libyan rebel forces. Before that, coverage of Libya was barely a blip. And by 2012, coverage was back to almost nothing. There were four mentions of Libya in January 2011—one of which was ABC anchor Diane Sawyer (ABC World News, 1/17/11) prophetically speculating about the “dominoes” falling and “toppling” Mubarak in Egypt, Gadhafi in Libya and Assad in Syria. The next month, coverage […]

Aug
18
2011

Libyan Deaths, Media Silence

Were Dozens Killed in Majer NATO Airstrikes?

Allegations of Libyan civilian deaths as a result of NATO bombing have often been covered in the corporate media as an opportunity to scoff at the Gadhafi regime's unconvincing propaganda (FAIR Blog, 6/9/11). But dramatic new allegations that dozens of civilians were killed in Majer after NATO airstrikes on August 8 have been met with near-total media silence. According to Libyan officials, 85 civilians were killed in Majer--a town south of Zliten, a site of frequent clashes and NATO airstrikes. There is no reason journalists should take this claim at face value. But reports from the scene suggest that something […]

Aug
01
2011

'Humanitarian War' in Libya-or the Regular Kind?

Factchecking the case for bombing

Most wars--initiated by the United States or otherwise--require an official rationale. The stated reason for going to war needn't be the real reason, and it can change over the course of the conflict, as the Iraq War ably demonstrated. As the Iraq War also proved, the media rarely apply much skepticism to the rationale given, or look for additional or alternative motivating factors. NATO's war in Libya is no exception. The Libya War is an "allied air war to protect civilians," as USA Today put it (5/23/11), in language pervasive in corporate media coverage. The notion that civilians were being […]

May
23
2011

Libya and the Law

Media Show Slight Interest in War Powers, Geneva

Media debates over the U.S./NATO war in Libya have often amounted to proponents arguing for "humanitarian" intervention while conservative critics worry about Barack Obama's management of the war. But the question of the war's legality should be a front and center concern. Obama's decided to wage war on Libya without seeking congressional approval. Under some interpretations of the War Powers Act, a president can do this for 60 days, a deadline that passed on Friday, May 20. After this, according to the law, military action without Congress's authorization is illegal. The approaching deadline attracted little media coverage. The most prominent […]

Apr
01
2011

Opening Up NewsHour's Libya Discussion

FAIR's March 29 Action Alert documented the PBS NewsHour's remarkably narrow range of debate on the Libya War, which featured an array of current and former military and government officials. On March 30, the NewsHour's debate on arming the Libyan rebels included Emira Woods from the progressive Institute for Policy Studies. Roughly a million Americans got to hear a perspective they might not otherwise have encountered. This is why media activism is important. You can check out the segment on the NewsHour's website. FAIR thanks all of the activists who wrote to the NewsHour to suggest they expand the discussion […]

Mar
29
2011

Public TV's Libya Limits

Narrow war debate on PBS NewsHour

If public television's mission is to bring diverse viewpoints to the airwaves, the discussions about the war in Libya on the PBS NewsHour haven't lived up to that standard. Over the past two weeks, the NewsHour has featured an array of current and former military and government officials in its discussion segments--leaving little room for antiwar voices, U.S. foreign policy critics and legal experts. -On March 18, the NewsHour interviewed the Obama administration's UN Ambassador Susan Rice. -On March 21, anchor Jim Lehrer decided to get "perspective on the Mideast turmoil from two former U.S. national security advisers"--Carter's Zbigniew Brzezinski […]