David Ignatius’ 15 Years of Running Spin for Saudi Regime

28 April 2017 — FAIR

WaPo: A young prince is reimagining Saudi Arabia. Can he make his vision come true?David Ignatius on Saudi Arabia: “Reform plans appear to be moving ahead slowly but steadily”–as always.

Last week, in “A Young Prince Is Reimagining Saudi Arabia. Can He Make His Vision Come True?,” Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius (4/20/17) wrote what read like a press release for the Saudi regime. What’s more, he’s written the same article several times before. For almost 15 years, Ignatius has been breathlessly updating US readers on the token, meaningless public relations gestures that the Saudi regime—and, by extension, Ignatius—refer to as “reforms.”

Continue reading this...

Category: Media | LEAVE A COMMENT

At NYT, Climate Denial and Racism Don’t Make You Fringe–but Single-Payer Does

20 April 2017 — FAIR

Bret Stephens
New York Times hire Bret Stephens (cc photo: Christopher Michel)

The New York Times is the most influential newspaper in the English-language world, not just because of its reach and leadership status within the industry, but because it defines the boundaries of acceptable debate. Being in the New York Times is a legitimizing event, one that cements ideas as not fringe, “other,” or in the realm of the dreaded, career-ending “conspiracy theory.” So it understandably upset many liberals when the Times decided to bestow upon hard-right Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens the ultimate stamp of Acceptable Opinion approval by affording him a regular op-ed column in the Times.

Continue reading this...

Category: Media, USA | LEAVE A COMMENT

Media: Thomas Friedman’s Perverse Love Affair With ISIS

13 April 2017 — FAIR

NYT: Why Is Trump Fighting ISIS in Syria?Thomas Friedman urges Donald Trump to be “utterly cynical”–not unlike a Thomas Friedman column.

For the second time in as many years, Thomas Friedman has explicitly advocated that the United States use the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a proxy force against Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. The New York Times foreign affairs columnist made this suggestion in his Wednesday column, “Why Is Trump Fighting ISIS in Syria?” (4/12/17):

Why should our goal right now be to defeat the Islamic State in Syria? Of course, ISIS is detestable and needs to be eradicated. But is it really in our interest to be focusing solely on defeating ISIS in Syria right now?…

We could simply back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria and make it entirely a problem for Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad. After all, they’re the ones overextended in Syria, not us. Make them fight a two-front war—the moderate rebels on one side and ISIS on the other. If we defeat territorial ISIS in Syria now, we will only reduce the pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah and enable them to devote all their resources to crushing the last moderate rebels in Idlib, not sharing power with them.

Continue reading this...

Category: Media, USA | LEAVE A COMMENT

Media: NYT Says Congress Has ‘Duty’ to Make War–Rather Than the Right to Reject It

27 March 2017 — FAIR

NYT: Congress’s Duty in the War With ISISThe New York Times argues that Congress has a duty to authorize war–rather than a responsibility to determine whether war should be fought.

As reports come in detailing the degree to which Donald Trump has escalated the “War on ISIS”—and killed hundreds more civilians in the process—this would seem like a good time for the country to sit back and examine the United States’ approach to fighting “terrorism” and its recent iteration, the so-called Islamic State. Continue reading this...

Category: Media, USA, War | LEAVE A COMMENT

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)

Continue reading this...

Category: Media | LEAVE A COMMENT

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?”

Continue reading this...

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):

Continue reading this...

Category: Media | LEAVE A COMMENT

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.

Continue reading this...

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.

Continue reading this...

Category: Media | LEAVE A COMMENT

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.”

Continue reading this...

Category: Media | LEAVE A COMMENT

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.”

Continue reading this...

Category: Media, UK | LEAVE A COMMENT

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?”

Continue reading this...

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.

Continue reading this...

Category: Media, Syria | LEAVE A COMMENT

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.

Continue reading this...