The disastrous end to the Vietnam War served as a historical reference point for many pundits urging Democrats to forget pulling out of Iraq. But the history lesson was shaky. Presenting the congressional fight over war funding as indicative of “what will likely become post-Iraq politics in America,” ABC World News (4/26/07) reported that Republicans were standing tough with an unpopular White House, while Democrats were more or less following majority opinion against the war. This, the report noted, was a problem—for Democrats. “Democrats know they must be careful,” explained reporter Terry Moran. “The shadow of the Vietnam War looms […]
Scandals are non-stories for 'America's Mayor'
Does Republican presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani have some dirt on the press corps? How else to explain the free pass journalists have repeatedly granted him on stories that would threaten to sink less-favored candidates, particularly of the Democratic variety? (See sidebar.) If Ronald Reagan was the “Teflon president” to whom no bad news would stick, then Giuliani would seem to be the Teflon candidate. Consider Giuliani’s campaign in South Carolina, perhaps the most important primary in the GOP schedule, and the state on which Giuliani has pinned his hopes for the nomination. In June, Giuliani state campaign chair and South […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Backing off Bush, media recall a crush-worthy conservative
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 […]
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. […]