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PlayStop pop out X Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The New York Times finger prints are all over the Iraq war, says Alexander Cockburn. In his latest dispatch on the subject the CounterPunch proprietor and Nation magazine columnist shows how the nation’s leading newspaper is pushed for an escalation of the conflict—even as the American public is rejecting a “surge” and calling for withdrawal. We’ll talk to Alexander Cockburn about the War and the New York Times. Also...
[Note: This piece is a sidebar to “The Repeatedly Re-Elected Autocrat.”] Following Hugo Chávez’s September 20 speech at the U.N., which included a mocking reference to George W. Bush as “the devil,” U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton told reporters “the real issue” was that Chávez was not “giving the same freedom of speech” to Venezuelans (Daily News, 9/21/06). Editorials condemning Chávez and approvingly citing Bolton’s accusation appeared in several newspapers (e.g., Augusta Chronicle, 9/22/06; Omaha World-Herald, 9/22/06),...
PlayStop pop out X 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...
PlayStop pop out X Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When a study in the British Medical journal The Lancet found that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died as a consequence of the war, the Lancet was dismissed by George W. Bush, who called its methodology flawed. American media outlets also cast doubt, calling the peer-reviewed findings “disputed” and pointing to lower, less scientific numbers as more reliable. Daniel Davies, a writer for the Comment Is Free blog...
During his August 21 press conference, George W. Bush responded to a question about the Iraq War by saying that “sometimes I’m happy” about the conflict. But many readers and TV viewers never heard the remark, since journalists edited the statement to save Bush any possible embarrassment. Bush’s unedited comment was as follows: Q: But are you frustrated, sir? BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I’m frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I’m happy. This is — but war is not a time of...
As the 2006 mid-term elections near, it is worth looking at the way the press handled the important claims of vote fraud in the last election. Extra! examined the 2004 post-election coverage of major news outlets, focusing on the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today, along with network TV news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC. Extra! looked at this coverage in light of allegations detailed in Rep. John Conyers’ report, “Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in...
[Note: This piece is a sidebar to “Subverting, Not Preserving, Democracy.”]   One of the many issues raised in Rep. John Conyers’ report on the 2004 Ohio election but not tackled in the press was the accusation that the electronic voting company Triad had provided a “cheat sheet” for election officials participating in the Ohio recount, with the intent of artificially jibing results to avoid further scrutiny. In a sworn affidavit, Sherole Eaton, who in 2004 was the deputy...

Reversing Course

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had a policy prohibiting journalists from having unsupervised interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims who have been relocated to FEMA trailer parks—a policy that was reversed after complaints from the Baton Rouge Advocate and FAIR activists. “If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” the Advocate (7/15/06) quoted FEMA spokesperson Rachel Rodi. “That’s just a policy.” In the same...
After sustained pressure from FAIR activists (7/21/06, 7/25/06) and continued scrutiny from the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it had reversed its policy that severely limited media access to Hurricane Katrina survivors living in FEMA trailer parks. “We’re responding to your criticism,” FEMA representative James Stark told the Advocate (7/26/06). “You pointed out some very good points that we shouldn’t be trying to muzzle the press…. In no way will FEMA security nor FEMA...
(NOTE: Please see the related further Activism Update.) In a July 22 letter to the Baton Rouge Advocate, a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency responded to an Advocate report (7/15/06) that the government agency was severely limiting access to Hurricane Katrina survivors living in FEMA trailer parks. But the letter from James Stark, director of FEMA’s Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office, avoided dealing with the specific limits on access described by Advocate reporter Sandy Davis. Instead, Stark simply...
(NOTE: Please see the Activism Update regarding this alert.) The Federal Emergency Management Agency prohibits journalists from having unsupervised interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims who have been relocated to FEMA trailer parks, according to a report in the Baton Rouge Advocate (7/15/06). “If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” FEMA spokesperson Rachel Rodi is quoted in the article. “That’s just a policy.”...
I love the “Star Spangled Banner.” It strikes me as the perfect anthem for the United States of America. Not the full version, of course. If you try to get through the whole thing, you find too many lines like “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,” and “Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.” But nobody sings those verses anyway. As it’s actually sung in its one-verse form, the lyrics are quite remarkable....
PlayStop pop out X Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Since the suicides of three detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention center the US military command has banned all journalists and lawyers, turning what was a remote prison revealing little news into an informational black hole. We’ll talk to Barbara Olshansky, lead counsel of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Also on CounterSpin: Now that the deadline for enrollment in the White House’s new...
Tom Forsythe is an artist with a mission. In 1997, he created “Food Chain Barbie,” photographs depicting the iconic doll interacting with various kitchen appliances. The results—“Malted Barbie” and “Barbie Enchiladas,” among others—were intended, Forsythe said, “to critique the objectification of women associated with Barbie.” Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, sued Forsythe for copyright and trademark infringement. Eventually, a federal court ruled for the artist, finding that “Food Chain Barbie” was protected as a “fair use” under both copyright and trademark...
There was a story the night of the State of the Union address (1/31/06) that may have said more about the actual state of the union than anything in George W. Bush’s speech. Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was in the public gallery, a guest of Rep. Lynn Woolsey. When Sheehan sat down and unzipped her jacket, a Capitol Hill police officer noticed that her T-shirt read, “2,245 Dead. How Many More?”—a reference to the number of U.S. fighters killed...
In 1896, New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs laid out standards by which journalism is still judged today, declaring that his paper would “give the news, all the news . . . impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect or interest involved.” Unfortunately, mainstream media often fail to live up to that goal; demands from advertisers, government, media owners and other powerful people frequently manage to blur or breach the wall between the editorial and business ends...
BOOK REVIEW Feet to the Fire: The Media After 9/11 By Kristina Borjesson Prometheus Books, 2005 Kristina Borjesson lost her producing job at CBS News as a consequence of her unsuccessful struggle to air a report about the 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800. Many people, including scores of eyewitnesses, still believe that a missile—possibly fired by mistake by our own military—brought the plane down. Borjesson might have been able to confirm their belief, but the FBI seized a...
Two recent reports on ABC raised the possibility that 10-year-old tapes of Saddam Hussein might show that he “did hide weapons of mass destruction”–giving the White House’s rationale for the March 2003 invasion a boost. But as a February 17 FAIR action alert pointed out, ABC‘s reporting omitted evidence that undermined this argument. The tapes seem to show Hussein Kamel, Iraq’s weapons chief at the time, talking about information about weapons programs that Iraq had concealed from U.N. inspectors....
PlayStop pop out X Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: An Australian television program aired new images of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison—images the Pentagon had fought in court to keep covered up. The various administration lines on why no one should see the pictures are depressing if not surprising, but what about the fact that a number of US media outlets have evidently been sitting on the images for some time? We’ll hear from Emily Whitfield of the...
(NOTE: Please see the Activism Update regarding this alert.) On February 15, ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross delivered an exclusive report on World News Tonight and Nightline that purported to be a bombshell. ABC had obtained tape-recorded conversations from mid-1995 that seemed to show that Iraq had been concealing its weapons of mass destruction program. The tapes, according to Ross, “will only serve to fuel the continuing debate about Saddam’s true intentions and whether he, in fact, did hide...
The Society of Professional Journalists’ decision to give its prestigious “First Amendment Award” to embattled New York Times reporter Judith Miller was a blow to freedom of expression. By rewarding a reporter who was apparently collaborating with a powerful government official in an effort to punish the free speech of a government critic, the SPJ was undermining, not advancing, the principles of the First Amendment. The award, coming two days after details of Miller’s involvement in the CIA leak...
[Note: this piece is a sidebar to Media Lick the Hand That Feeds Them] In media products no less than other retail items, Wal-Mart’s market share is considerable. By one estimate (Business Week, 10/6/03), its stores account for 15 to 20 percent of all CD, DVD and video sales, as well as 15 percent of all single-copy magazine sales. Those figures could be higher; one analyst put Wal-Mart’s share of total music sales in the U.S. at 35 percent...
[Note: this piece is a sidebar to The Op-Ed Assassination of Hugo Chávez] A common charge in U.S. op-ed pages is that Venezuela is muzzling journalists who are critical of the government. For instance, the San Diego Union-Tribune (4/5/05) claims that Chávez “has pushed press gag laws through a compliant National Assembly.” There are reasons for civil libertarians to be concerned about Venezuela’s new media law. The Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, passed in 2004, permits...
PlayStop pop out X Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The break up of the 13 million member AFL-CIO has been the biggest labor story in recent weeks, but have corporate media been doing justice to the story? We’ll talk to labor and economics writer Jonathan Tasini about that, as well as about coverage of CAFTA and what the New York Times has against his response in particular to the passing of that agreement. Also this week: Uncovering the...
The Military-Industrial-Media Complex
After eight years in the White House, Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address on January 17, 1961. The former general warned of “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.” He added that “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” One way or another, a military-industrial complex now extends to much of corporate media. In the process, firms with military ties routinely advertise in news outlets. Often, media magnates and people on the boards of large media-related corporations enjoy close links—financial and social—with the military industry and Washington’s...
Journalists typically condemn attempts to force their colleagues to disclose anonymous sources, saying that subpoenaing reporters will discourage efforts to expose government wrongdoing. But such warnings seem like self-puffery after one watches contemporary journalism in action: When clear evidence of wrongdoing emerges, with no anonymous sources required, major news outlets can still virtually ignore it. A leaked British government document that first appeared in a London newspaper (Sunday Times, 5/1/05) bluntly stated that U.S. intelligence on Iraq was shaped...
Pasadena residents didn’t get to read about the exploits of local celebrity Dr. Robert Nelson, who, besides being a Jet Propulsion Lab photo analyst who helped present those dramatic photos of Saturn’s rings and moons, also gave the lie to White House claims that the bulge seen on Bush’s back during the presidential debates was “just a wrinkle.” They didn’t get to read Nelson’s account of how his photo analysis of Bush’s jacket—a story that would have increased speculation...
In a week in June when 15 GIs were killed in Iraq (6/13-19/05), the war pictures in the New York Times (6/19/05, 6/20/05) featured dazed Iraqis after a suicide bombing, a Marine patrolling, the twisted remains of a vehicle, wounded children, a civilian casualty in a morgue. No photographs featured American casualties—a typical absence in U.S. coverage of the war. There are notable exceptions. One of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize photos for breaking news photographs awarded to the Associated...
Newsweek ran a sensational claim based on an anonymous source who turned out to be completely wrong. While one can’t blame the subsequent violence entirely on this report, it’s fair to say that credulous reporting like this contributed to a climate in which many innocent Muslims died. The inaccurate Newsweek report appeared in the magazine’s March 17, 2003 issue, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. It read in part: Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him....
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has urged the U.S. government to create blacklists of condemned political speech–not only by those who advocate violence, but also by those who believe that U.S. government actions may encourage violent reprisals. The latter group, which Friedman called “just one notch less despicable than the terrorists,” includes a majority of Americans, according to recent polls. Friedman’s July 22 column proposed that the State Department, in order to “shine a spotlight on hate speech...

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Our email list members are key participants in FAIR’s Action Alerts, which call out particular instances of media inaccuracy, bias or censorship, and encourage direct communication with media outlets. This activism gets results!

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Our email list members are key participants in FAIR’s Action Alerts, which call out particular instances of media inaccuracy, bias or censorship, and encourage direct communication with media outlets. This activism gets results!

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