The release of a United Nations report on Iran’s nuclear program in early November was, according to much of the corporate media, the long-awaited confirmation of something many outlets had already treated as established fact: Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. You would have a hard time figuring out that the report from the International Atomic Energy Agency did not actually arrive at that conclusion. As has happened with past IAEA reports on Iran, some coverage presented a sneak preview of the supposed conclusions, based on leaks from sources intent on portraying Iran in a more negative light. On [...]
Nuclear report doesn’t say what media want it to
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. [...]
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: President Obama's signing of a defense bill including authorization for the indefinite detention of terror suspects--including U.S. citizens-- has been condemned by leading civil liberties voices. But the outrage has been somewhat obscured by a general confusion about what the bill means and the president’s intentions. Salon columnist and former constitutional litigator Glenn Greenwald will sort that out for us. Also on CounterSpin today, Big Media companies have lined up to support the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, a bill that its supporters say will finally do something about the problem of online [...]
U.S. media fail to notice retraction of accusations
When armed militants crossed the Egyptian border last August and launched a multi-pronged attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers in Eilat that killed eight people, U.S. media repeated the Israeli government line, blaming the attack on Palestinians from Gaza. Three months later, Israel itself has concluded that the attackers were Egyptian—but U.S. media have failed to correct the record. As Israelis reeled from the August 18 assault, Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, declared that the “source of the terrorist attacks is Gaza.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to a group based in Gaza called the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), [...]
New tally still lower than other estimates
After a FAIR Action Alert (12/2/11), the CBS Evening News has changed its count of civilian deaths--citing a new figure that is roughly twice their original count. On December 1 the CBS Evening News reported: It is estimated that more than 50,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the war. As FAIR pointed out, this was totally inadequate--even the source for the network's claim (iCasualties.org) warned that this was not a comprehensive count. On December 12, CBS anchor Scott Pelley closed a segment about "how life has changed inside Iraq" with this: We looked into the human toll of the Iraq [...]
Rewriting Iraq War history
A December 1 CBS Evening News report about the Iraq War managed to mislead viewers about the start of the war and severely diminish the loss of civilian lives. Reporting on the handover of the U.S. military headquarters to Iraqi forces, anchor Scott Pelley announced: What began in 2003 as an effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein became a vicious religious war, pitting Iraqi against Iraqi--with the U.S. caught in the middle. Of course, the United States invaded Iraq with the stated aim of disarming Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist. ("The opening stages of the disarmament of [...]
Pentagon seeks to spin, squelch stories on female fatalities
More than 140 U.S. military women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military has officially placed nearly 50 of these deaths in the ambiguous “non-combat” category (Democracy Now!, 7/23/08). Some women’s veterans and advocacy groups, such as VETWOW (Veteran Women Organizing Women), say at least 20 of these non-combat deaths are suspicious, and their families are speaking out to some degree, questioning the military’s official explanations. In at least two of the 20 deaths under scrutiny, the military has tried to strongarm media that were questioning the official ruling —in one case threatening to pull military advertising if [...]
Iraq all over again?
Much of the corporate media coverage of a new UN report on Iran strongly asserts that Iran is close to building nuclear weapons. But the International Atomic Energy Agency report does not actually arrive at that conclusion, and many critics contend that the speculations that are in the report are misguided. A USA Today piece (11/9/11) was headlined "UN Agency Issues Red Alert Over Iran's Secret Nuke Program"--with the "red alert" hype coming from a source in the piece, Rep. Ed Royce (R.-Calif.). On CBS Evening News, Scott Pelley reported (11/7/11), "The U.N.'s nuclear agency is expected to report later [...]