Pie in the Sky?

16 March 2017 — 38 Degrees

This is huge. You – along with thousands of other people – have helped throw a major spanner into Rupert Murdoch’s plans to take full control of Sky. Karen Bradley, the Culture Secretary, just announced an investigation into the takeover. [1]

This means that instead of getting waved through, Murdoch’s plan faces a fresh obstacle. Ofcom, the media watchdog, now has to look into Murdoch’s dodgy media empire. Spoiler alert: Rupert Murdoch probably won’t like what they say. [2]

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Media Fawn Over Trump’s Success at Saying Words in Semi-Coherent Fashion

1 March 2017 — FAIR

What came to be known as the “expectations game” during the George W. Bush years was wielded with notorious cynicism. The assumption behind this game in those days was that Bush was a bumbling doofus who could hardly string together a coherent sentence, so if he got to the level of a high school debate, media chalked it up as a “win.”

The game, successfully rebooted by Donald Trump over the past 18 months, was in full play during Trump’s speech to Congress last night: So long as Trump wasn’t his petulant, incoherent, race-baiting self, it would be considered a victory for the 45th president.

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Shotgun Pointed at Black Children Trivialized as ‘Confederate Flag Incident’

1 March 2017 — FAIR

Fox News: Man, Woman Sentenced for Terrorizing Partygoers With Confederate FlagWith a loaded shotgun, actually.

As FAIR has noted before (4/1/15, 3/8/16), how a story is framed is as important—if not more so—than the content of an article. Sixty percent of Americans don’t read past the headline and 60 percent of Americans share articles on social media without reading them. How a story is teed up to the reader is an essential element in how our media shape our understanding of the news.

One recent string of headlines on the conviction of two Georgia white supremacists over their racist menacing with a shotgun of an eight-year-old child’s party highlighted the extreme degree to which the media can fail in this capacity:

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Media: Downplaying US Contribution to Potential Yemen Famine

28 February 2017 — FAIR

For almost two years, the United States has backed—with weapons, logistics and political support—a Saudi-led war in Yemen that has left over 10,000 dead, 40,000 wounded, 2.5 million internally displaced, 2.2 million children suffering from malnutrition and over 90 percent of civilians in need of humanitarian aid.

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‘Ajit Pai Wants to Shut Down the Way We Communicate and Organize’

24 February 2017— FAIR

Janine Jackson interviewed Jessica Gonzalez about new FCC chair Ajit Pai for the February 17, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Jessica Gonzalez

Jessica Gonzalez: “Our voices are making a difference, and making it more difficult for them and the administration to undo all of the important consumer protections that we fought so hard for.”

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Media: Mizue Aizeki on Criminalizing Immigrants

24 February 2017 — FAIR

ICE officer making an arrest (Wikimedia)This week on CounterSpin: Early morning deportation raids are stoking fear in immigrant communities, pulling parents from children and shipping people who’ve lived in the US for decades to places they don’t remember. Donald Trump talks about rounding up “drug lords” and murderers, but not only is that not who is being targeted, recently released executive orders expand the category of “criminal alien” to any immigrant who has been accused of a crime, or who someone thinks may have committed one.

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Media: Jessica Gonzalez on FCC Chair Ajit Pai

18 February 2017 — FAIR

Ajit Pai being sworn in as an FCC commissioner (photo: FCC)
Ajit Pai (photo: FCC)

This week on CounterSpin: “T-Mobile Very Pleased with Direction of Change under Trump Administration, CEO Says.” That headline tells you pretty much what  you need to know about Ajit Pai, Trump’s choice of chair for the FCC—the entity charged with representing the public interest in the communications industry. The phone company exec is pleased, he says, because Pai’s appointment signals “an air of less regulation.”

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Media Lens: Paul Mason And The Grand Propaganda Narratives

17 February 2017 — Media Lens

As corporate media continue to haemorrhage ad revenue to websites like Facebook, and credibility to social media activism, dissent seems to be increasingly viewed as a luxury the ‘mainstream’ can ill afford.

Where once a handful of dissidents was allowed to challenge the Grand Propaganda Narratives (GPN) of the day, modern leftists are tolerated only if they accept these narratives even as they talk radical change.

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Media: Trump Supporters Support Trump: To Maintain ‘Balance,’ Media Resort to Tautology

15 February 2017 — FAIR

Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East has been a major story during the new administration’s early days. As one of Trump’s main campaign promises, this immigration policy has generated untold hours of TV coverage and news headlines.

The policy’s sloppy language, bungled roll-out and punitive real-world impact on innocents have rightly been prominently reported by journalists. Much of the coverage has focused on the widespread backlash to the ban, which has manifested itself in numerous legal challenges and a nationwide series of rapid-response airport protests. Coupled with the new president’s record-low approval ratings, the refugee ban increasingly tells a tale of a White House struggling to impose an unpopular agenda. Continue reading this...

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Media: ‘It Is Not at All Typical to Stifle Basic Scientific Information’

13 February 2017 — FAIR

Janine Jackson interviewed Andrew Rosenberg about the Trump administration’s hostility toward science for the February 3, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Andrew Rosenberg, Union of Concerned Scientists

Andrew Rosenberg: “If you tell technical experts…you have to only give us information that we like, then you’re not getting technical advice. You’re telling them not to do their jobs.”

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Media: ‘This Is a Country That’s in a Tremendous Crisis’

13 February 2017 — FAIR

Janine Jackson interviewed Zaid Jilani about Trump’s Yemen raid for the February 3, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Zaid Jilani (image: Arn Menconi/YouTube)

Zaid Jilani: “It’s important for people, whenever they address news events, to understand that we don’t live in year zero. There’s always a history and a context.” (image: Arn Menconi/YouTube)

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Media: On Iran, SPLC’s ‘Extremist’ Is NPR’s ‘Expert’

8 February 2017 — FAIR

NPR: Did Iran's Ballistic Missile Test Violate A U.N. Resolution?NPR’s report on Iran turned for analysis to what the SPLC describes as “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”

Last week, the Trump administration began ratcheting up hostilities with Iran, nominally in response to a ballistic missile test in late January. NPR (2/2/17) dutifully reported Trump’s announcement of new sanctions on Iran, framing the issue as the Trump White House responding to an Iranian “provocation” in regards to Iran’s agreement with the UN, rather than simply executing long-held plans. A follow-up explainer by international correspondent Peter Kenyon (2/3/17) would muddy the waters further and use an incredibly dodgy source to do so.

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A Lesson Media Missed About the Dangers of Scapegoating

4 February 2017 — FAIR

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau,  Alexandre BissonnetteUS news outlets were roughly six times more interested in Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (left) than in Alexandre Bissonnette—even though Bissonnette is accused of killing six times as many people.

If you were unfamiliar with the way US corporate media works, you might assume that the murder of six people in a Quebec City mosque, allegedly by far-right white supremacist Alexandre Bissonnette, would be a big story.  After all, the January 29 massacre happened when the United States was had just begun a furious debate over Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, ostensibly as an anti-terrorism measure. Thousands of protesters descended upon airports across the country, denouncing the order as arbitrary scapegoating.

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Zaid Jilani on Trump’s Yemen Raid, Andrew Rosenberg on Science and Resistance

3 February 2017 — FAIR

Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, killed in a US raid in Yemen.Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, killed in a US raid in Yemen.

This week on CounterSpin: No one should be surprised that the Trump White House declared the recent commando raid in Yemen that killed at least 23 civilians, including children, “a successful operation.” Some media accounts are describing the first raid on Trump’s watch as “botched,” but that’s not the same as questioning it, much less putting it in a broader context of what’s happening in Yemen and what the US is doing there. We’ll get more information from Zaid Jilani, reporter for The Intercept.

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