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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Media: (The Absence of) Power is Exhausting By Dan Hind

30 January 2017 — Return of the Public

The Guardian could use its membership scheme to create reader-owned co-ops across the UK. The Guardian still has enormous communicative power and this could be put to work promoting democratic, accountable media. A working model for this exists already, in the shape of the Bristol Cable.

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It’s Austerity, Not Globalization, That Pulls European Workers to the Right

23 January 2017 — FAIR

The Washington Post failed to mention that the Socialists’ declining fortunes are the result of anti-worker austerity programs.

Both the Washington Post (1/22/17) and New York Times (1/22/17) had pieces about declining support for the left in France and the rise of a nationalist right in both Italy and France. Both pieces attributed the rise in support for the right to people losing from globalization, implying that this is some impersonal process that is causing these people to be losers.

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NYT Ignored Reality at 2001 Bush Inauguration; Now Ignorance Is History

19 January 2017 — FAIR

NBC News coverage of the 2001 inaugurationIt was much harder for TV than for newspapers to downplay the reality that George W. Bush was greeted in 2001 by massive protests.

Discussing the security challenges posed by the inauguration of Donald Trump, the New York Times (1/18/17) reported:

Those numbers are quite likely to be larger than any seen at an inauguration since at least the Vietnam War era. Mr. Bush’s 2001 inauguration attracted modest protest action, the largest in more recent memory, but it was largely disorganized and caused no significant disruptions.

The link in that passage goes back to the Times‘ 2001 coverage of the inauguration—coverage that was critiqued by FAIR at the time under the headline “Ignoring Reality at the Inauguration” (Extra!, 3–4/01):

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WaPo’s Factcheck of WikiLeaks Highlights Paper’s Strange View of Facts

11 January 2017 — FAIR

Washington Post: Julian Assange’s claim that there was no Russian involvement in WikiLeaks emailsThe Washington Post (1/5/17) “factchecks” Julian Assange’s claims without either proving or disproving them.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Fox News, 1/3/17) again denied that the leaked e-mails he published during the election came from Russia—an assertion contradicted by many anonymous US intelligence officials. “We can say, we have said repeatedly over the last two months, that our source is not the Russian government, and it is not a state party,” Assange told Sean Hannity.

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US Government Tries and Fails to Play Media Critic on RT

9 January 2017 — FAIR

The US intelligence community looks at RT programming.

The much-anticipated Office of the Director of Intelligence (DNI) Report—the combined assessment of the CIA, FBI, DHS and others—on alleged attempts by Russia to influence the 2016 election was released on Friday to a combination of uncritical boosting and underwhelmed perplexity. To many, it was further proof of Russia’s involvement in the DNC and Podesta hacks; to others–even to typically bullish Daily Beast–it was remarkably thin on details and evidence.

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Signs Look Grim for Media Picking the Side of Liberty and Dissent

6 January 2017 — FAIR

This is a kind of “which side are you on?” moment for journalists. Will they defend the rights and liberties of the many communities under threat—Muslims, women, those reliant on government assistance? Will they keep alive a space for dissent and critical questioning in the face of a White House that declares itself indifferent to rules about conflicts of interest, among many other things, and that threatens revenge on those it calls “enemies”?

Let’s just say: Signs bode poorly. Continue reading this...

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Media: Hypocrisy of Russia-Did-It Stories Is Hard to Stomach

16 December 2016 — FAIR

Time: Yanks to the RescueMeddling in other countries’ elections is an exciting adventure–when it’s the United States doing the meddling.

It is, of course, worth knowing what involvement any other country might have had in the US election, but elite media’s consumption with the Russia-did-it storyline so far is discouraging to say the least.

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Rather Than Exposing Propaganda, WaPo Shows How It’s Done

9 December 2016 — FAIR

As the Hillary Clinton campaign slogged toward victory in the long primary campaign against Sen. Bernie Sanders, word came from WikiLeaks that it had scored a trove of hacked emails to and from the Democratic National Committee. Among other things, they proved that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, along with their organizations, had been working hand-in-glove to skew the primaries in Clinton’s favor.

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Media: ‘Castro Was a Living Reminder of the Limits of American Power’

7 December 2016 — FAIR

Janine Jackson interviewed Louis Pérez about the death of Fidel Castro for the December 2, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Louis PerezLouis Pérez: “If the Cuban Revolution is about anything, it’s about self-determination and national sovereignty.” Continue reading this...

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Media: Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited ‘Fake News’ Blacklist?

1 December 2016 — FAIR

Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts sayRussians spread “fake news,” says “experts”—you don’t need to know who they are (Washington Post, 11/24/16).

The Washington Post (11/24/16) last week published a front-page blockbuster that quickly went viral: Russia-promoted “fake news” had infiltrated the newsfeeds of 213 million Americans during the election, muddying the waters in a disinformation scheme to benefit Donald Trump. Craig Timberg’s story was based on a “report” from an anonymous group (or simply a person, it’s unclear) calling itself PropOrNot that blacklisted over 200 websites as agents or assets of the Russian state.

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Media: Corporate Welfare Will Bring Back Jobs vs. Jobs Will Never Come Back

30 November 2016 — FAIR

NYT: Trump to Announce Carrier Plant Will Keep Jobs in USThe New York Times (11/29/16) declares that Carrier’s job announcement “signals that Mr. Trump is a different kind of Republican.”

The Carrier company’s announcement that, after exhortations from Donald Trump, it was going to move a thousand jobs overseas—rather than the 2,000 that it had previously planned to move—led New York Times reporter Nelson Schwartz (11/29/16) to declare that “Mr. Trump is a different kind of Republican, willing to take on big business, at least in individual cases”:

Just as only a confirmed anti-Communist like Richard Nixon could go to China, so only a businessman like Mr. Trump could take on corporate America without being called a Bernie Sanders–style socialist. If Barack Obama had tried the same maneuver, he’d probably have drawn criticism for intervening in the free market.

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If We Care About the Constitution, Trump Has to Sell His Empire

30 December 2016 — FAIR

New York Times: Dear President-Elect Trump: Here’s How to Fix Your Conflict-of-Interest ProblemAndrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times, 11/28/16): “Some of your critics will deride the corporate monitor as mere window dressing.” And those critics would be right.

Donald Trump is about to become president and immediately begin violating the Constitution. The Constitution explicitly prohibits the president from taking payments and gifts from foreign governments. (Can we stop using the term “emolument“? No one has used it for a hundred years. We want to be clear on what the Constitution means.)

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