Appearing on Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith to discuss Iran's nuclear capabilities, K.T. McFarland, former Republican senatorial candidate, Reagan administration spokesperson, and host of FoxNews.com's "Defcon 3" insisted that President Obama has "said nothing" on pro-democracy protesters in Iran. In fact President Obama specifically spoke about Iranian dissidents and condemned the violence on December 28, 2009.
From Obama's Dec. 28, 2009 comments:
Before I leave, let me also briefly address the events that have taken place over the last few days in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The United States joins with the international community in strongly condemning the violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries, and even death.
For months, the Iranian people have sought nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. Each time they have done so, they have been met with the iron fist of brutality, even on solemn occasions and holy days. And each time that has happened, the world has watched with deep admiration for the courage and the conviction of the Iranian people who are part of Iran's great and enduring civilization.
What's taking place within Iran is not about the United States or any other country. It's about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. And the decision of Iran's leaders to govern through fear and tyranny will not succeed in making those aspirations go away.
As I said in Oslo, it's telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.
Along with all free nations, the United States stands with those who seek their universal rights. We call upon the Iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people.
We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran. We will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there. And I'm confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice.
McFarland could have even found these comments on... FoxNews.com.
In the entire history of American journalism, there is probably not a single writer with a more horrible record of reporting on weapons of mass destruction than Judith Miller. So of course FoxNews.com's story about a report by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction which graded the government on its handling of WMD proliferation features the byline of... Judith Miller.
Why might a news outlet think twice about letting Miller write any kind of story, let alone one involving WMD? During her time at the NY Times Miller repeatedly "reported" misinformation about Saddam Hussein's WMD capabilities; those stories became evidence that could be cited by Bush administration officials to push their case for the invasion of Iraq. In other words, Miller's work was a vital part of the pro-war echo chamber. The NY Times later had to go to the unusual step of writing an editor's note about the shoddy quality of Miller's WMD work, as Slate's Eric Umansky noted (emphasis mine):
After taking its very sweet time, a NYT editor's note acknowledges that some of its WMD reporting was overly credulous and is no longer, em, operative. While archly noting that most of the coverage was an "accurate reflection of the state of our knowledge at the time," the Times acknowledges, "We have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged--or failed to emerge."
Not that anyone in particular is at fault: "Some critics of our coverage during that time have focused blame on individual reporters. Our examination, however, indicates that the problem was more complicated." Which is true; editors at the Times weren't skeptical enough and didn't give sufficient play to countervailing evidence. But just because many were at fault doesn't mean one wasn't particularly so. Of the 12 flawed stories the Times cites, Judith Miller wrote or co-wrote of 10 of them.
This is perhaps not the person you want to put on the WMD beat, to say the least. Or any beat, for that matter.
The New Republic's cover story on the problems facing the Washington Post covers significant ground, including the paper's problems in adjusting to the digital age, assorted internal squabbling, as well as questionable ethical lapses (including the recent joint collaboration with a conservative billionaire without appropriate disclosure) but the piece never touches on an issue that surely has contributed to the paper's loss of public trust: its reporting on the Iraq war.
Some examples: In the summer and fall of 2002, the paper failed to record promptly the doubts of then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey. When Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to George H.W. Bush, wrote a cautionary op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, it apparently didn't strike anyone at the Post as news. ...The testimony of three retired four-star generals warning against an attack before the Senate Armed Services Committee was not covered at all. Speeches by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Robert Byrd that seem prescient today were not covered.
The list goes on. Large anti-war rallies in London and Rome went unreported the day after. In October, when more than 100,000 gathered in Washington to protest the war, the story went in the Metro section because the Post underestimated its size.
Here at Media Matters we've also documented the Post falling down on the job with regard to reporting on the war. Surely, it is a difficult time for newspapers all around, but that's no excuse for the Post's failure on this issue when so many lives have been at stake.
For many years, Media Matters and others have documented the mainstream media regularly substituting false balance in news stories in lieu of doing actual reporting. In a story on the Obama administration's policy towards Osama Bin Laden, ABC News' Huma Khan elevates a wild conspiracy theory to just one side of a story.
Some conspiracy theorists have said the U.S. government created the most recent bin Laden tapes. Others have dismissed his tapes as fake, but no one has been able to say with certainty if the world's most-wanted terrorist is still alive.
The idea the the U.S. government faked tapes with Osama Bin Laden is a pretty serious charge that, if true, would have amazingly complex implications for every single American citizen, and the world. The problem is, it is a conspiracy theory in the same class as faked moon landings and alien abductions. There is no actual, factual evidence to back up such an assertion. ABC elevates these claims by making it just one competing narrative in a "fair and balanced" news story that leaves us all less informed.
The NY Post seems to be following in the factually challenged footsteps of corporate sibling Fox News. At 10:19am EST today the NY Times Media Decoder blog noted that in a disclosure in the middle of a news story, the NY Post identified itself as the corporate parent of News Corp. Of course, the opposite is true: News Corp is the parent of the NY Post.
Six hours later (as of 4:38pm EST), the error remains.
Even better, the error is in the Post's "Media Ink" column.
In defending cable news and talk radio from PBS host Jim Lehrer's statement that they offer relatively shallow approaches to health care coverage, Newsbusters' Tim Graham asks:
Does Lehrer think Rush Limbaugh doesn't get into the nitty-gritty of a health-care bill?
Here's some recent "nitty-gritty" from Limbaugh on health care:
Rush Limbaugh's coverage of health care reform, like most issues Rush Limbaugh covers, is error-riddled, misleading and offensive. In the eyes of conservative media critics like MRC's Newsbusters, this is getting into the "nitty-gritty". Heaven help us.
The conservative Examiner newspaper is hyping a new poll from pollster John Zogby that purportedly shows that 43% of respondents would support the re-election of President Obama. The poll was commissioned by Brad O'Leary (author of an anti-Obama book called "The Audacity of Deceit"), who has previously comissioned misleading polls to push an anti-Obama agenda.
Zogby was recently caught pushing a racially charged poll question asking if the FCC should ask "good white people" to step aside for African-Americans and gays.
In February, Zogby pushed out an anti-stimulus poll with some extremely loaded language.
With that kind of track record and pedigree, Zogby's work should probably be treated with healthy skepticism.
It seems like Mr. Murdoch is on a tear, last week he went after President Obama with an invented quote, and now he's made some tasteless remarks about NY governor David Paterson who became legally blind after an ear infection he suffered as an infant.
From the Huffington Post:
At Tuesday's Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, Murdoch was asked about the state of civil discourse, but he wanted to speak about the problems in American politics. In doing so, he trashed New York Governor David Paterson by describing him as "a very nice, honest man who's blind and can't read braille and doesn't really know what's going on."
They were more pessimistic about the direction of the country. They disapproved of Obama's handling of the economy a bit more than before. And, perhaps most striking for this novice commander in chief, more people have lost confidence in Obama on Iraq and Afghanistan over the last month. (emphasis added)
Perhaps the AP's Liz Sidoti can tell us about all those other Presidents who, in their first year in the presidency, were veterans at being commander in chief? As most people know, in the first year it's impossible to be a veteran commander in chief, because in order to be commander in chief you have to be elected to the presidency. They're all rookies in their first year.
Last April it was noted that Sidoti presented Republican presidential candidate John McCain a "treat" of donuts... with sprinkles.