Nov
01
2010

This Week in Beltway Think

Public TV’s font of conventional wisdom

If any PBS show perfectly captures the problem with public TV’s public affairs programming, it might be the oldest one: Washington Week. Billed as the “longest-running news and public affairs program on public television,” Washington Week is a half-hour chat show where familiar faces from commercial media outlets give viewers an inside-the-Beltway, who’s up-who’s-down take on Washington politics. Like some other PBS fare, the show is a public/commercial hybrid; since 2005, Washington Week has been a co-production with the for-profit Washington insider magazine National Journal. Press materials for the show declare that the panelists “are reporters—not pundits—shedding light, not heat.” […]

Oct
06
2010

One Nation Fails to Impress Corporate Media

Progressive D.C. rally doesn't get Tea Party treatment

Thanks to the efforts of independent media outlets like Free Speech TV (10/2/10), GritTV (10/4/10) and Democracy Now! (10/4/10), you may have been able to follow the happenings at last weekend's One Nation Working Together rally. Organized and endorsed by hundreds of progressive citizens' groups, labor unions and grassroots activists, the gathering drew tens of thousands to Washington, D.C., to make the case for jobs, peace and social justice. But the corporate media seemed mostly less than impressed, either ignoring the rally completely or framing it in the shadow of the Tea Party. The network evening newscasts were mostly uninterested, […]

Sep
01
2010

Right-Wing Tilt on Sunday Morning

The conservative records of talking-head lawmakers

Keith Poole--Photo Credit: UC San Diego

Lawmakers talking about U.S. policy issues are the bread and butter of the Sunday morning news shows—NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday. An Extra! study of the lawmakers who appear on these shows finds they have voting records that tilt to the right. Extra! studied the guests on these four programs from January 25, 2009—the first show after Obama’s inauguration—until April 25, 2010, more than a year into his administration. Guests who were current members of the Senate or House of Representatives, or former members since 2001, were tallied by voting […]

Aug
24
2010

Tell NBC: Debate the Afghanistan War

Meet the Press missing antiwar voices

Thousands have signed on to FAIR's petition--add your voice today and keep the pressure on NBC to have a real war debate! July saw more U.S. troop fatalities in Afghanistan than any month since the war began nine years ago. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was removed from his commanding post amid controversy, and WikiLeaks released a trove of classified documents that paint a picture of a failing war and unreported civilian casualties. How has NBC's Meet the Press responded to these developments? By inviting on guests to defend the war and Obama's Afghanistan policy. Sundays on NBC have been a steady […]

Aug
18
2010

Tell NBC: Sunday Morning Needs a Real War Debate

Meet the Press features a parade of Afghanistan hawks

The war in Afghanistan has re-emerged as a major news story, thanks to the controversies surrounding the removal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the WikiLeaks release of classified documents. But on NBC's Meet the Press, the opportunity to engage in a robust debate about the war has taken a back seat to promoting the views of the military and supporters of Obama's Afghanistan policies. The most recent example came on August 15, when Meet the Press devoted the entire episode to a profile of Gen. David Petraeus. Host David Gregory's opening indicated it wasn't going to be a feet-to-the-fire interview: […]

Jun
01
2010

Reporting Israeli Assault Through Israel's Eyes

Attack on humanitarian flotilla prompts little media skepticism

On May 31, the Israeli military attacked a flotilla of boats full of civilians attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip. Reports indicate that at least nine and as many as 16 of the activists on board were killed, though details remain sketchy due to Israel's censorious limitations on media coverage. Much of the U.S. media coverage has been remarkably unskeptical of Israel's account of events and their context, and has paid little regard to international law. The New York Times (6/1/10) glossed over the facts of the devastating Israeli siege of Gaza, where 1.5 million people live […]

Apr
23
2010

Frontline Edits Out Single-Payer

Documentary misrepresented advocates as supporters of a public option

Silencing supporters of single-payer, or Medicare for All, is a media staple, but PBS's Frontline found a new way to do that on the April 13 special Obama's Deal--by selectively editing an interview with a single-payer advocate and footage of single-payer protesters to make them appear to be activists for a public option instead. The public option proposal would have offered a government-run health insurance program to some individuals as an alternative to mandatory private health insurance. Not only is this not the same thing as Medicare for All, it's an idea many single-payer advocates actually opposed, arguing that it […]

Apr
07
2010

NYT Erases Progressive Senate Candidate

Tasini campaign not 'fit to print'?

Over the course of the past year, the New York Times has provided ample coverage to a series of potential U.S. Senate candidates from New York--none of whom are actually running for office. Meanwhile, a candidate who is in fact challenging incumbent Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand in the September 2010 primary has been all but erased from the picture. That progressive activist Jonathan Tasini is running against Gillibrand, who was appointed to the seat in 2009, is known to Times readers who happened to catch a single January 27, 2010, story by N.R. Kleinfeld, headlined "An Underdog Who Isn't Daunted by […]