These misreports of biotechnology are endlessly useful to the industry. Articles about supposed breakthroughs constitute the excuse for stern editorials in prestigious magazines (e.g., Science, 9/20/13) decrying “irrational objections” to GMOs. Supposed breakthroughs, like golden rice, are also an opportunity to prize open specific foreign markets.
But the main benefit is less obvious but more fundamental. Agribusiness is an industry whose financial success springs ultimately from building a technological treadmill and establishing monopoly control of agriculture. However, its products are invariably dispensable to agriculture, and it struggles to develop new ones. Therefore, the great value of “fakethroughs” is to confirm, in the eyes of the world, the industry’s claim to be ethical, innovative and essential to a sustainable future. (via Imaginary Organisms — FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)
Don’t believe the hype that concern over Newtown has gone cool.
Of course, it’s entirely likely that Congress will not reflect the public’s view on gun laws and will fail to do much of anything. But reporters shouldn’t blame that on the public–and leave it to liberal-leaning roundtable guests to point out the facts they’re leaving out of the discussion. (via Did the Public Really Give Up on Gun Control?)
I was grateful for FAIR then, and I am now.
Weeks after the invasion of Iraq began, Fox News Channel host Brit Hume delivered a scathing speech critiquing the media’s supposedly pessimistic assessment of the Iraq War. “The majority of the American media who were in a position to comment upon the progress of the war in the early going, and even after that, got it wrong,” Hume complained in the April 2003 speech (Richmond Times Dispatch, 4/25/04). “They didn’t get it just a little wrong. They got it completely wrong.” Hume was perhaps correct—but almost entirely in the opposite sense. Days or weeks into the war, commentators and reporters made premature declarations of victory, offered predictions about lasting political effects and called on the critics of the war to apologize. Three years later, the Iraq War grinds on at the cost of at least tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars. Around the same time as Hume’s speech, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas declared (4/16/03): “All of the printed and voiced prophecies should be saved in an archive. When these false prophets again appear, they can be reminded of the error of their previous ways and at least be offered an opportunity to recant and repent. Otherwise, they will return to us in another situation where their expertise will be acknowledged, or taken for granted, but their credibility will be lacking.” Gathered here are some of the most notable media comments from the early days of the Iraq War. (via ‘The Final Word Is Hooray!’ — FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)
There were almost no limits to overheated media rhetoric about Chávez. In a single news article, Newsweek (11/2/09) managed to compare him to Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. (Chávez had built a movie studio, which is the sort of thing dictators apparently do.) ABC (World News, 10/7/12) called him a “fierce enemy of the United States,” the Washington Post (10/16/06) an “autocratic demagogue.” Fox News (12/5/05) said that his government was “really Communism”—despite the fact he was repeatedly returned to office in internationally certified elections (Extra!, 11-12/06) that Jimmy Carter deemed “the best in the world” (Guardian, 10/3/12).
The silence of the mainstream media compounds the environmental disaster with a human one.
You’d think a massive hurricane that wreaked havoc along the East Coast might force the high-profile Sunday morning TV shows to talk about climate change.
You’d be wrong.
It’s time for us to tell the Sunday talkshows: Talk about climate change.Sign FAIR’s petition today.
(via Global Warming Silence on Sunday TV)
Podcasts for this weekend’s listening pleasure.
ABC Misses Real Difference Between Romney, Obama Tapes
OBAMA: Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's no evidence of that in their daily lives.
ROMNEY: My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
What’s this? Wisdom emanates from the mainstream media? Maybe they’ve been reading them some FAIR, which at least names the source of the revision (ahem, Jonathan Karl).
…[F]or all that is wrong about Fannie and Freddie, they were not the main reason for the financial crisis. Instead, they are a convenient red herring for politicians trying to shift blame and for Wall Street interests trying to fight off new regulations.
The news media should not have such a large blind spot, and have had plenty of time to heal it.
Right-wing terror suspect Anders Behring reportedly killed 76 people in Norway on Friday, by all accounts driven by far-right anti-immigrant politics and fervent Islamophobia. But many early media accounts assumed that the perpetrator of the attacks was Muslim.
It is not new for media to jump to the conclusion that Muslims are responsible for any given terrorist attack; the same thing was widespread after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings (Extra!, 7-8/95). “It has every single earmark of the Islamic car-bombers of the Middle East,” syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (Chicago Tribune, 4/21/95) asserted. “Whatever we are doing to destroy Mideast terrorism, the chief terrorist threat against Americans, has not been working,” wrote New York Times columnist A.M. Rosenthal (4/21/95). “Knowing that the car bomb indicates Middle Eastern terrorists at work, it’s safe to assume that their goal is to promote free-floating fear,” editorialized the New York Post (4/20/95). It is unfortunate that so many outlets have failed to learn any practical lessons from such mistakes—or question the beliefs that drive them.