Jun 1 2013

Working Poor Shorted in Minimum Wage Coverage

Those most affected by debate weren't part of it

It’s hard to imagine news coverage of military regulations that excludes Pentagon officials, or a discussion of derivatives trading that leaves out Wall Street executives—those directly affected by policy outcomes. But that’s how corporate media cover the minimum wage story, according to a new study by Extra! that finds low-wage workers are largely excluded from the debate. The study surveyed nearly three months of coverage (1/1/13–3/24/13) in eight major U.S. media outlets, during a period when Democratic President Barack Obama was proposing an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Obama made his most prominent […]

Apr 1 2013

It’s Only the Future of the Planet

Keystone coverage treats climate change as at best a side issue

Tar Sands--Photo Credit: Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

Issues like oil spills, land use rights, groundwater pollution etc. are all complaints made by critics of the Keystone XL pipeline. And looming over all of them is the way that tapping the tar sands will exacerbate climate change. But the media doesn’t seem to care.

Feb 1 2013

Whitewashing in the Name of ‘Inclusion’

Chicago public radio cancels Smiley & West

Tavis Smiley--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In the view of the head of Chicago public radio, Smiley & West—a show with two African-American hosts focusing largely on the powerless—was an obstacle to inclusivity because its opposition to poverty and inequality alienates those with other views.

Dec 1 2012

The Moderators’ Agenda

Debate questions reveal limited scope

CBS Presidential Debate 10/22/12

The establishment media figures who moderated the 2012 major-party candidate debates confined the discussion to a remarkably narrow range of topics, a FAIR analysis of debate questions finds. A wide variety of topics were never brought up in questions during the six total hours of debate. Among economic subjects, no questions were asked about poverty, income inequality, the housing crisis, labor unions, agriculture or the Federal Reserve. Social issues were similarly truncated, with no questions raised about race or racism, gay rights (including marriage equality), civil liberties, criminal justice or drug legalization. Despite the fact that four Supreme Court justices […]

Sep 14 2012

Brought to You by…Big Oil?

Washington Post hides industry sponsorship of energy debate


The Washington Post had a two-page spread in its September 11 edition devoted to a “debate” on energy policy. But industry critics were missing from the picture. Why? Perhaps because the oil industry, undisclosed to Post readers, was sponsoring the discussion.

Sep 1 2012

Missing Latino Voices

Excluded from the newsroom, absent from the conversation

Since 1990, the Latino population in the United States has more than doubled to 16 percent, but English-language U.S. news media outlets are simply not keeping up. While people of color and women have always been underrepresented in U.S. media, Latinos consistently stand out—in the coverage as well as inside the newsroom—for their exceptionally paltry numbers relative to their population size. In coverage In Extra!’s recent study of the opinion pages of the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal (4/12), Latinos were granted less than half a percent of the op-ed bylines over the two-month study period—writing […]

Sep 1 2012

Latinos in New Media

On the verge of a breakthrough--or breakdown

Blabbeando's Andres Duque--Photo Credit: Blabbeando

For many Latinos, the growth of new media offered hope for both expanded representation and democratization in the truest sense of the word. It was not enough for this growing demographic in the United States to be written about and reported on. Latinos, who defy simplistic labels and check boxes, wanted to represent themselves and their experiences, something they were not getting to do prior to the boom of blogs. This is no small matter among one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States, 52 million and rising (U.S. Census, 5/12). For Latinos, both the formally trained journalists […]

Aug 1 2012

Congress’s Missing Coverage

Local papers little help in casting an informed vote

Rep. John Murtha--Photo Credit: legis.wisconsin.gov

Citizens need thorough coverage from local media outlets of their potential representatives to make an informed decision about who will best serve their interests. It’s unfortunate that quality news on congressional elections is so hard to come by.