Mar
01
2002

The Journalist From Mars

How the 'war on terror' should be reported

The proper topic for an occasion like this, I suppose, is pretty obvious: It would be the question of how the media have handled the major story of the past months, the issue of the "war on terrorism," so-called, specifically in the Islamic world. Incidentally, by media here I intend the term to be understood pretty broadly, including journals of commentary, analysis and opinion; in fact, the intellectual culture generally. It's a really important topic. It's been reviewed regularly by FAIR, among others. However, it isn't really an appropriate topic for a talk, and the reason is that it requires […]

Aug
01
1997

Ritually Denouncing Chomsky

It’s a rare day when Noam Chomsky’s name surfaces in mainstream media. But Anthony Lewis’ June 23 New York Times column on the reported arrest of Pol Pot took a passing swipe at the MIT linguist and social critic. “A few Western intellectuals, notably Prof. Noam Chomsky, refused to believe what was going on in Cambodia,” Lewis wrote. “At first, at least, they put the reports of killing down to a conspiratorial effort by American politicians and press to destroy the Cambodian revolution.” In fact, Chomsky did acknowledge that massive atrocities had taken place in Cambodia, but questioned whether they […]

Jul
01
1989

Double Standard on Press Freedom

Few topics are of greater concern to the US media than freedom of the press. Their treatment of this topic thus provides a useful test of factors that shape the media product. Specifically, by comparing the reaction to abuses by US friends and US enemies, we can determine the relative weight of journalists' professed values of independence versus their subservience to US foreign policy interests. I will keep largely to the two "papers of record," but the conclusions are far more general. Discussion of freedom of the press in the past decade has been dominated by one issue: the treatment […]