May
01
2013

North Korea Rattles Sabers While U.S. Drops Fake Nukes

For reporters, 'threats' seem to come from one side

Stealth bombers pretended to drop nuclear bombs along North Korea's borders.

Seemingly out of nowhere, North Korea became the top news story at the beginning of April. Tensions between the United States and North Korea were on the rise after new supreme leader Kim Jong Un conducted several missile and weapons tests, beginning at the end of 2012. The threats, bluster and provocations that followed led to some rather alarming—and alarmist—coverage in the U.S., particularly on television. For most reporters, the threats were going in one direction. As ABC World News reporter Martha Raddatz put it (3/31/13): “The threats have been coming almost every day, and each day become more menacing, […]

May
01
2013

License to Kill

Little scrutiny of resolution that greenlighted 'War on Terror'

Photo Credit: Time

Early this spring—in a five-page spread headlined “So, Who Can We Kill?”—Time (4/1/13) reported on pressures putting “Obama and his drone war on the defensive.” Notably, much of the article focused on the Authorization for Use of Military Force that zipped through Congress three days after 9/11. During more than a decade of Washington’s wars, AUMF has rarely undergone scrutiny from major media outlets. Very few mainstream U.S. journalists offered anything but praise when Congress passed the resolution, which declared that the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines […]

Apr
01
2013

Keeping the Government's Secrets

Official/press collusion to keep public uninformed

Secrets and censorship, a redacted CIA document--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Withholding important news over supposed national security concerns is nothing new. And in many cases, no official request is even needed—the decision-makers seem to have internalized the notion that keeping the government’s secrets is part of their job.

Apr
01
2013

Celebrating French Intervention in Mali

Media overlooked role of 'War on Terror' in sparking crisis

Ali Ould Ahmed, Malian refugee, in Mentao camp, Burkina Faso: "The intervention of the French army has accelerated our departure, because we are convinced that the Islamists, after losing the battle against the French army, will retreat into the villages and they could kill people."

The French military commenced Operation Serval against separatist rebels in Northern Mali on January 11, 2013. The air and ground intervention was undertaken with the cooperation and support of the United States, as well as several European and African states. U.S. press reporting has provided a simplistic account of the intervention as a heroic effort to protect the civilized world against Islamic terrorist threats. What is missing from this image is how the past interventions of the “War on Terror” helped cause the Malian crisis in the first place. A Washington Post editorial (1/12/13) claimed the French were simply trying […]

Mar
01
2013

SoundBites March 2013

Extra! March 2013

FireShot Screen Capture #042 - 'FAIR TV_ Obama's Liberal Inaugural_, Anonymous Iran Truth-Telling, PBS Drone Conflict' - www_fair_org_blog_2013_01_25_fair-tv-obamas-liberal-inaugural-anonymous-iran-truth-telling-

If It Weren’t for Those Meddling Iranians “This demonstrates the ever pernicious Iranian meddling in other countries in the region.” —unnamed U.S. official complaining to Reuters (1/28/13) about Iran allegedly sending arms to Yemen, where the U.S. is conducting a secret drone war   Extreme Weather, Unexplained NBC Nightly News (1/13/13) asked a serious question, then offered an unserious answer. Anchor Lester Holt remarked: “Strange winter: Why it is so cold where it should be warm, and so warm where it should be cold. What is going on with all this extreme weather?” Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren turned to the Weather […]

Jun
06
2012

Drone Kill List: Not News?

NYT piece raises questions, but not a media conversation

The New York Times' lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama's drone "kill list" should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama's criticism of the Bush administration's "war on terror" policies? Is the White House covering up the killing of civilians by labeling them "militants"? Why is the United States continuing an assassination policy described as Al-Qaeda's top "recruiting tool"? But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts around the rest of the media. One of the co-authors of the Times piece, Scott Shane, appeared on the PBS NewsHour and on […]

Jun
01
2012

U.S. Media Duck Legality of Attacking Iran

‘Supreme international crime’ not worth discussing

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Daniella Zalcman

SPECIAL SECTION: IRAN & WAR The drums of war beat ever louder as President Barack Obama talks of “all options” being “on the table” if Iran doesn’t halt its nuclear fuel processing program, and as Israel keeps threatening an air attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. But nowhere, perhaps, is this drumbeat louder than in the U.S. media, where it’s almost impossible to find any mention of the fact that such an attack, whether by U.S. or Israeli forces, would violate international law. An unprovoked attack against another nation is a war of aggression—“the supreme international crime,” as the Nuremberg Tribunal […]

Jun
01
2012

Network TV's Attention Deficit After Gadhafi

Libyan violence ongoing, but media have moved on

Moammar Gadhafi--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/BRQ Network/AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Broadcast TV networks ABC, NBC and CBS combined to mention Libya a whopping 1,681 times between February 2011—when uprisings against the government began—and October, when Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed by a combination of NATO and Libyan rebel forces. Before that, coverage of Libya was barely a blip. And by 2012, coverage was back to almost nothing. There were four mentions of Libya in January 2011—one of which was ABC anchor Diane Sawyer (ABC World News, 1/17/11) prophetically speculating about the “dominoes” falling and “toppling” Mubarak in Egypt, Gadhafi in Libya and Assad in Syria. The next month, coverage […]