Jun
26
2012

Their Man on Havana (and Everywhere Else)

Michael Shifter, media’s conflicted Latin America expert

Michael Shifter--Photo Credit: Inter-American Dialouge

If you’re covering Latin America for U.S. corporate media, Michael Shifter is the person to turn to when you need a quote. Currently the president of the Inter-American Dialogue research group, Shifter offers soothing centrism about political developments across the region—giving reporters soundbites on everything from a papal visit to Cuba to elections in Argentina to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Readers might wonder how one expert could be so valuable to elite media. What these papers don’t reveal is that Shifter is also valuable to an array of international corporations who fund his think tank—along with several governments of […]

Mar
12
2012

After Afghan Massacre, War Gets Victim Status

Media treat killings as PR problem for occupation

The news that a U.S. Army sergeant killed 16 civilians, most of them children, in southern Afghanistan early Sunday morning was treated by many media outlets primarily as a PR challenge for continued war and occupation of that country. "Afghanistan, once the must-fight war for America, is becoming a public relations headache for the nation's leaders, especially for President Barack Obama," explained an Associated Press analysis piece (3/12/12). Reuters (3/12/12) called it "the latest American public relations disaster in Afghanistan." On the NBC Today show (3/11/12) the question was posed this way: "Could this reignite a new anti-American backlash in […]

Feb
24
2012

NYT Lets Unnamed Officials Smear Critics as 'Terrorists'

Anonymous attacks violate paper's policy

(UPDATE: The Times public editor has notified FAIR about his email response to readers critical of the February 6 story. You can read it at the FAIR Blog). In two stories this month, New York Times journalists allowed anonymous government officials to smear critics as terrorists and terrorist sympathizers--a shocking violation of the paper's explicit rules against allowing anonymity to be a cover for attacks. In a February 22 story about Khader Adnan--the Palestinian hunger striker challenging the Israeli practice of holding prisoners without trial--reporter Isabel Kershner wrote: An Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, called the deal […]

Feb
02
2012

ABC's Iran Propaganda

Alarmist reporting on 'terrorist' threat

Jan
10
2012

NYT Responds on Iran Alarmism

Public Editor: 'I think the readers are correct on this'

New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane has responded to concerns raised in a FAIR action alert last week (1/6/12), agreeing that the paper wrongly suggested that the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. In a post at his Times blog (1/10/12), Brisbane agrees that the paper was incorrect in referring to "a recent assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran's nuclear program has a military objective." As FAIR pointed out, the IAEA report does not make such a firm conclusion, and many critics question the evidence that Agency has collected. […]

Nov
01
2011

Uygur Out at MSNBC

Another progressive show canceled for political reasons

Cenk Uygur--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Streamys

When talkshow host Cenk Uygur announced that his short tenure at MSNBC had come to an end due to his criticism of “those in power” (Young Turks, 7/20/11), it highlighted an unsettling pattern at the channel. Uygur’s ouster represented the third time in recent years that a show hosted by someone with progressive ideals and a willingness to challenge the status quo was canceled, despite good ratings. In January of this year Keith Olbermann, well known for his public disputes with right-wing figures, was terminated by MSNBC, just after control of the channel was sold by General Electric to Comcast […]

Nov
01
2011

But You Didn't Hear It From...Anyone

Anonymity abuse in the corporate press

It’s hardly necessary for a critic to argue that the country’s major daily newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post, routinely ignore their stated principles on anonymous sources (however vague such standards may be to begin with), the outlets make the case so vividly themselves. The New York Times rules state, for instance, that anonymity is “reserved for situations in which the newspaper could not otherwise print information it considers reliable and newsworthy,” and “should not be invoked for a trivial comment, or to make an unremarkable comment appear portentous” (“Confidential News Sources Policy,” NYTCo.com). Times readers, nonetheless, regularly […]

Oct
14
2011

Arun Gupta on Occupy Wall Street, Jasmin Ramsey on Iran plot

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Did the corporate media turn on the Occupy Wall Street protests? When the protests started, the media story was a familiar one—the press ignored them, then derided activists for being leaderless, bongo pounding know-nothings. But then something happened, and suddenly anti-Wall Street activism is leading the nightly newscasts and splashed on the front page. Independent journalist and co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal Arun Gupta will join us to talk about this shift--and what the media is still not getting quite right. Also on CounterSpin today: Two days after Attorney General Eric holder […]