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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NYT: Unlike Russian Wars, US Wars ‘Promote Freedom and Democracy’

10 February 2017 — FAIR

NYT: Blaming America FirstThe New York Times defends its country’s innocence.

The New York Times, in its recent rebuff of comments President Donald Trump made about Russia, seems not to have evolved its understanding of US geopolitics past an 8th grade level. Trump had been asked by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly (2/5/17) why he wouldn’t condemn Vladimir Putin, whom O’Reilly called a “killer.”

“You got a lot of killers,” Trump told O’Reilly. “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

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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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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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NYT’s Kristof Blames Poverty on Too Many TVs, Not Too Little Money

31 October 2016 — FAIR

New York Times: Three TVs and No FoodThe New York Times‘ Nicholas Kristof (10/28/16) blames the United States’ 21 percent child poverty rate on people who buy too many television sets.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for giving “voice to the voiceless” on international social justice issues, wrote an op-ed in yesterday’s Times (10/30/16) arguing for increased government action on poverty. His calls for heightened attention to economic deprivation, though, were buried in a larger message that was familiar to longtime Kristof-watchers: that the poor aren’t actually poor because they lack enough money, but because of their own moral failings.

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NYT Declares Snowden a Thief–and Journalism a Crime

6 October 2016 — FAIR

NYT: NSA Contractor Arrested in Possible New Theft of SecretsThe old “theft” the New York Times headline (10/5/16) refers to is Edward Snowden’s exposure of government crimes.

On the home page today of the New York Times, the lead story (10/5/16) bears the headline: “Contractor for NSA Charged in Possible New Theft of Secrets.” Describing the arrest of Harold T. Martin III, a contractor for the National Security Agency accused of taking classified documents, the home page teaser reports, “The arrest raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, a contractor managed to steal secrets.”

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NYT: Corbyn Has Marginalized Labour With His Popular Positions

6 September 2016 — FAIR

Jeremy Corbyn depicted in the New York Times (photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images )
A New York Times photo caption says Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn “is popular with left-wing party members but has alienated many others.” (photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Much of the power of the New York Times derives from its ability to declare what the serious center is and who is relegated to the dismissible margins. You can see that power being exercised in a recent Times report (9/4/16) on British politics by Steven Erlanger.

The story focused on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn—or “its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn,” in the Times‘ formulation. The point of the piece is to blame Corbyn for the fact that “the Labour Party is in shambles: Its leader and its members of Parliament are in a virtual civil war, and it is deeply unpopular with the broader electorate.”

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NYT Touts Honduras as Ad for ‘American Power’–Leaving Out Support for Murderous Coup Regime

17 August 2016 — FAIR

New York Times: How the Most Dangerous Place on Earth Got Safer
The web version of the New York Times piece (8/11/16) offering Honduras as an example that should bolster “faith in American power.”

“How the Most Dangerous Place on Earth Got Safer” was the headline over the lead article in the New York Times‘ “Week in Review” (8/11/16), with the teaser reading, “Programs funded by the United States are helping transform Honduras. Who says American power is dead?”

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How Media Distorted Syrian Ceasefire’s Breakdown

11 August 2016 — FAIR

Coverage of the breakdown of the partial ceasefire in Syria illustrated the main way corporate news media distort public understanding of a major foreign policy story. The problem is not that the key events in the story are entirely unreported, but that they were downplayed and quickly forgotten in the media’s embrace of themes with which they were more comfortable.

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NYT Reveals Think Tank It’s Cited for Years to Be Corrupt Arms Booster

12 August 2016 — FAIR

NYT: How Think Tanks Amplify Corporate America's InfluenceThe New York Times (8/7/16) reveals the corporate influence behind some of its most-used sources.

A recent New York Times article (8/7/16) detailed, in often scathing terms, what many media critics already knew: that think tanks are frequently not objective, neutral arbiters of information, but corporate- and government-funded agenda-promoters with an academic veneer to give the appearance of impartiality.

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NYT Leads With Russia Hack Conspiracy–Despite ‘No Evidence’ (in Next-to-Last Paragraph)

1 August 2016 — FAIR

The New York Times (7/29/16) has published another article peddling the conspiracy that the Russian government is manipulating the US election in order to hurt Hillary Clinton.

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NYT Lets $27 Million Man Brag About What He’s Doing for Income Inequality

13 July 2016 — FAIR

New York Times: Jamie Dimon op-edThey must have been high-fiving themselves at JPMorgan Chase’s PR offices this morning.

Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, was given prime space on the New York Times‘ op-ed page today (7/12/16) to declare that his bank was doing something about “wage stagnation” and “income inequality” by “giving thousands of employees a raise”:

Our minimum salary for American employees today is $10.15 an hour…almost $3 above the current national minimum wage. Over the next three years, we will raise the minimum pay for 18,000 employees to between $12 and $16.50 an hour for full-time, part-time and new employees, depending on geographic and market factors.

“A pay increase is the right thing to do,” declares Dimon.

How nice of the Times to give one of our corporate overlords a chance to let us know he’s doing the right thing!

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Some Pundits Think the Solution to Right-Wing Populism Is Less Democracy

8 July 2016 — FAIR

ForeignPolicyEliteThe core orthodoxies of neoliberalism are under attack by populist forces, and commentators are scrambling for a response. Some are suggesting more left-wing red meat. Others, a moment of self-reflection. But a number of pundits are doing that most noxious of political commentary pastimes—equating right and left responses to the failures of globalization and advocating that “elites” should fight back against the forces of inconvenient democracy.

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For NYT, Fair Use Depends on Who’s Doing the Using

10 June 2016 — FAIR

Making Health PublicPolitico (6/9/16) reports that the New York Times is under fire for demanding that two media critics—Daniel Hallin and Charles Briggs—pay the newspaper a total of $1,884 for using three brief quotes from Times articles in their new book Making Health Public.

Critics do not generally need to seek permission nor pay royalties for quotations from the works they criticize—the “fair use” provision in copyright law authorizes such quotes for the purposes of commentary and criticism. But the Times, it seems, has a very restrictive view of fair use when it comes to its own material. As the authors write in a Kickstarter trying to cover the costs incurred by the Times‘ demands:

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