Nov 18 2015

Coverage of Russian Plane Bombing Shows What a Difference an Enemy Makes

Vladimir Putin (photo: Alexei Nikolsky via AP/US News)

Because Russia’s government is considered an enemy of Washington, US media express skepticism about its interest in increasing its powers, suspecting it might have its own self-interest rather than the safety of its citizens foremost in mind.

Nov 17 2015

It’s True, Media Did Cover Beirut Bombings–About 1/40th as Much as They Covered Paris Attacks

Funeral attendee, Beirut (photo: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty)

The much-retweeted Twitter complaint that “no media has covered” the Beirut bombing is wrong. But Max Fisher’s argument—that it’s wrong to blame media for the fact that “the world truly does care more about France”—is equally absurd.

Nov 16 2015

Context-Free Coverage of Terror Helps Perpetuate Its Causes

NYT video: Mourning in Paris

Just as the question of Al-Qaeda’s motives in 2001 provoked more self-congratulation than serious inquiry, coverage of Paris in 2015 tended to skirt over political realities.

Oct 9 2015

Media Reports ISIS Nuclear Plot That Never Actually Involved ISIS

CBS on Moldavian radiation sting

The AP published a thrilling account of how the FBI, in concert with Moldovan authorities, “disrupted” a smuggling ring that was supposedly trying to sell “nuclear material” to ISIS. The problem: At no point does AP’s reporting show that anyone connected to the scheme had any connection to ISIS.

Jul 21 2015

Mental Illness Doesn’t Explain Mass Violence–but Neither Does ‘Islamic Extremism’

Anderson Cooper asks Gary Tuchman about Chattanooga violence

It’s true, as CNN’s Anderson Cooper says, that most depressed people, and people with mental illness in general, will never hurt anyone. But it’s just as true that religious beliefs–“extremist” or otherwise–don’t “lead most people to kill other people.”

Jul 9 2015

Got to Be Thwarting Something: FBI Claims It Stopped Unspecified Mayhem, Possibly on July 4

NYPD at Coney Island (photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

The holiday weekend came and went, with the FBI “terror warning” hyped by the media foreshadowing nothing more than for two false alarms and a handful of canceled Fourth of July plans. So it was curious, to say the least, when on Thursday the FBI asserted that “a number” of “ISIS-inspired” terror plots had been “thwarted.”

Jul 1 2015

Zero for 40 at Predicting Attacks: Why Do Media Still Take FBI Terror Warnings Seriously?

CNN: US on Terror Alert

A casual search reveals the FBI and DHS are a pitiful 0 for 40 warning of terror attacks—some of which were specifically about 4th of July threats, none of which materialized in any way.

Jun 25 2015

That Most Terrorists Aren’t Muslim May ‘Come as a Surprise’–if You Get Your News From Corporate Media

Police at a Las Vegas terror attack (photo: Steve Marcus/Reuters)

in a piece all about the “mismatch between public perceptions and actual cases,” the entity most charged with matching sure these match–the news media–doesn’t get much scrutiny