Oct
10
2007

Obama's 'Missing' Flag Pin

Trivia again distracts media from issues voters care about

Now that the unusually lengthy presidential campaign is starting to close in on the first primary contests, one would hope the national press corps would focus on the candidates' policies pertaining to the issues that Americans are most concerned about--such as the war in Iraq, the economy and healthcare. Or they can choose to direct their attention elsewhere--namely, to Barack Obama's lapel. On October 4, internet gossip Matt Drudge posted the headline, "Obama Won't Wear American Flag Pin Any More." That headline linked to an Associated Press report (10/4/07), "Obama Stops Wearing Flag Pin." Anyone who actually read the story […]

Aug
01
2007

Times Reporter Responds on Firefighters

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt has sent out an email response (which appears in full below) to FAIR activists who responded to a FAIR action alert (7/13/07) about a report calling a firefighters' union video critical of Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani "factually questionable." But the reply, which mainly provides the self-justification of Times reporter Marc Santora, has factual problems of its own. Santora singled out two examples to back up the "factually questionable" line—more or less restating what he originally wrote: The most glaringly "factually questionable" material in the video was the highlighting of the hand-held radios […]

Jul
13
2007

NY Times Parrots Giuliani's 9/11 Defense

Firefighters' criticism deemed 'factually questionable'

(NOTE: Please see the Activism Update regarding this alert.) When the International Association of Fire Fighters, the nation's largest firefighters union, released a video on July 12 challenging the portrayal of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a hero of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, New York Times reporter Marc Santora rushed to put out the anti-Giuliani fire. His July 12 story's lead cast doubt on the accuracy of the group's claims, calling the video "at times factually questionable." But besides quoting Giuliani partisans--who predictably differed with the firefighters--Santora offered little evidence that the video was "factually […]

Jul
01
2007

Al Gore, Smartypants

New book full of big words, pundits complain

Reading the coverage of Al Gore’s new book, The Assault on Reason, the line elite media have developed was impossible to miss: Gore’s a smartypants! His ideas may be good or bad, but the point is, he’s a laughingstock. Even those inclined to dislike Gore might be put off by the kind of condescension expressed by, for example, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, whose May 30 article was headlined, "Is It Wise to Be So Smart?" Milbank offered the sort of hypothetical that’s meant to be damning: Imagine the Iowa hog farmer cracking open Assault on Reason, and meeting Abraham […]

Apr
01
2007

Reagan Revisionism

Backing off Bush, media recall a crush-worthy conservative

Jellybean Ronald Reagan (cc photo: Ryan Dickey)

Like many prominent pundits, Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria has of late expressed his frustration with the foreign policy of George W. Bush. In the magazine’s March 19 issue, Zakaria lamented that the Bush administration “began intervening directly in the domestic affairs” of Latin American countries, a move he presented as a break from the recent past: “American foreign policy toward Latin America had been on the right track for two decades. Ronald Reagan orchestrated an extraordinary turnaround, supporting human rights, democracy and free trade in several countries.” Zakaria can be given partial credit on one point: Reagan did push on […]

Jan
01
2007

From Official Claims to Media Reality

Editor's Note

The Washington Post website early on December 9 featured three headlines that committed the same journalistic error: They treated as fact things that were revealed in the articles that they linked to as disputed claims. In each case, the effect was to treat assertions made by U.S. government officials as undisputed reality. One headline was “Officials Not Liable for Detainee Torture.” When you clicked on it, you found the more accurate headline “U.S. Denies Liability in Torture Case: Attorney Urges Dismissal of Detainee Suit Against Officials.” In other words, officials said they don’t want to be liable for detainee torture. […]

Nov
24
2006

Robert Parry on Robert Gates, Barbara Kopple on 'Shut Up and Sing'

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: George Bush's choice of Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary is being portrayed in the media as a sensible choice; part of a White House turn to more pragmatic policies and advisors in the wake of GOP congressional defeats. But in his report, "The Secret World of Robert Gates," investigative reporter Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews.com sees Gates differently. Robert Parry will joins us to talk about the Gates nomination. Also on CounterSpin today: In 2003, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines declared on stage in London that she was ashamed that George […]

Nov
17
2006

Trent Lott's Redemption Song

Coverage of minority whip election ignores racist ties

Sen. Trent Lott's return to the ranks of the Senate Republican leadership has been broadly covered as a story of political redemption. In this scenario, the once-fallen Senate majority leader, having apologized and atoned for his sins—in this case, praising the racist 1948 presidential candidacy of the late Strom Thurmond—is restored to the body's top ranks with his election to the No. 2 Republican post of minority whip. But these redemption story reports have downplayed Lott's association with and praise for racists, while greatly exaggerating his atonement. In his 2002 remarks, Lott said he was proud that his state, Mississippi, […]