US Media Issues

Following exposure of military massacre in Iraq

The New York Times fingers whistleblower WikiLeaks

By David Walsh, 8 April 2010

The release of video footage Monday showing cold-blooded murder committed by US military forces on the streets of eastern Baghdad in July 2007 has evoked widespread outrage.

New York Times fashions “egalitarian” defense of Obama health plan

By Alex Lantier, 25 March 2010

As the press moves to dispel popular anxiety over Obama's health care plan, the New York Times' David Leonhardt has received the assignment of presenting Obama's health care plan as part of a struggle for social equality.

The New York Times and the Obama health care plan

By Kate Randall, 23 March 2010

The New York Times weighed in predictably on Monday with praise for passage of the Obama health care plan, capping a yearlong campaign by the newspaper to promote the legislation.

The Hurt Locker and the rehabilitation of the Iraq war: New York Times journalists weigh in

By David Walsh, 16 March 2010

On Sunday and Monday, the New York Times carried no fewer than three columns in which the supposed merits of The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s award-winning film about the Iraq war, were extolled.

New York Times history lesson on civilian control of the military: Why now?

By Tom Eley, 17 February 2010

The New York Times’ decision to run a column stressing military subordination to civilian authorities comes amid growing assertiveness and impunity of the military and intelligence establishments.

The “Tea Party” movement in the US: A right-wing media creation

By David Walsh, 9 February 2010

The “Tea Party” movement, which held a convention last weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, is largely a media concoction, aimed at shifting American politics even further to the right.

Liberalism and Wall Street

By Barry Grey, 16 January 2010

In an op-ed piece published January 10, New York Times columnist Frank Rich paints an accurate picture of the American political system, “where the banking lobby rules in both parties and the revolving door between finance and government never stops spinning.”

Diane Sawyer and ABC News pay tribute to remote control drone killings

By David Walsh, 14 January 2010

On Tuesday night’s ABC evening news, Diane Sawyer and two colleagues, David Muir and Bill Weir, devoted an extended segment to extolling the merits of the US Air Force’s Predator drones and their deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

The Tiger Woods episode: Money, the media, and the “path to redemption”

By David Walsh, 16 December 2009

The American media is generally full of rubbish, but more rubbish has been written and broadcast about Tiger Woods and his affairs than any other subject in some time.

The “Balloon Boy” hoax, celebrity culture, and the American media

By Hiram Lee, 22 October 2009

The “Balloon Boy” hoax has been the subject of wall-to-wall coverage by the major US news networks. Yet another episode in which an unhealthy celebrity culture and media sensationalism have revealed themselves.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman glorifies American militarism

By Patrick Martin, 13 October 2009

In the Sunday edition of the New York Times, the newspaper’s chief commentator on foreign affairs, Thomas L. Friedman, devotes his entire column to celebrating the role of the American military, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq, as a humanitarian and liberating force.

New York Times: “everyone to blame” in Russia-Georgia war

By Niall Green, 6 October 2009

A New York Times editorial attempts to portray the recent report by EU investigators, which found the Georgian government legally responsible for initiating the conflict, as a vindication of the newspaper’s own biased coverage in August 2008.

The New York Times throws Roman Polanski to the wolves

By David Walsh and David North, 1 October 2009

The arrest of film director Roman Polanski in Switzerland and his threatened extradition to the US have stirred the baying hounds of ‘law and order’ into action. To these reactionary voices, we can now add the editorial board of the New York Times.

Demands to curtail war reporting after raid to free New York Times journalist

By Julie Hyland, 14 September 2009

Controversy over the SAS-led operation to free a New York Times journalist held captive in Afghanistan is being used to make demands that will curtail any objective and honest reporting from the war zones created by British and US imperialism.

Washington’s double standard: The elections in Iran and Afghanistan

By Patrick Martin, 28 August 2009

The Obama administration and the American media, after denouncing the presidential election in Iran as “rigged” and undemocratic (without any evidence), now uphold the legitimacy of the presidential election in Afghanistan, despite growing evidence of vote fraud.

The Massachusetts model

The New York Times and Obama’s health care counterrevolution

By Kate Randall, 14 August 2009

The New York Times has again come to the defense of Obama’s health care proposals with an editorial praising the Massachusetts health care system.

New York Times on Northern Alliance war crime

A cover-up of US massacre at Mazar-i-Sharif

By Barry Grey, 13 July 2009

The New York Times on July 11 published a lengthy front-page article recalling the murder of hundreds of captured Taliban fighters by the US-allied Northern Alliance at the end of November, 2001, during the final days of the American-led invasion that toppled the Taliban regime.

Tehran and Tegucigalpa: A tale of two capitals

By Barry Grey, 9 July 2009

The contrasting coverage of events in Iran and Honduras says a great deal about the character and role of the American media.

Washington Post offers its reporters to corporate sponsors

By David Walsh, 6 July 2009

The Washington Post, it was revealed last week, recently offered corporate sponsors—for a hefty fee—the opportunity to meet privately with key reporters, along with Congressional leaders and Obama administration officials.

Letters on the death of Michael Jackson

30 June 2009

A selection or recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site on “Michael Jackson’s death.”

Michael Jackson’s death

By David Walsh, 27 June 2009

One greets the death of singer Michael Jackson at the age of 50 with genuine sadness, but without extraordinary surprise. Given the entire set of circumstances, it was not clear how his saga might end happily. Individuals who enjoy immense celebrity and success in America so often pay a terrible price.

The propaganda war against Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 24 June 2009

The US media, including its supposedly “left” representatives, is continuing a concerted propaganda campaign against Iran over allegations that the June 12 presidential election was rigged.

The New York Times and the Iranian election

By Barry Grey, 15 June 2009

The response of the US media to the Iranian election says more about the state of democracy and the so-called “free press” in America than it does about the state of democratic rights in Iran.

New York Times on Guantánamo: A willing conduit for the military-intelligence apparatus

By Bill Van Auken, 9 June 2009

The New York Times’ latest admission of a “lapse” in journalistic standards—this time in regurgitating Pentagon propaganda about released Guantanamo detainees’ alleged “recidivism”—underscores the newspaper’s role as a willing conduit for the US military-intelligence apparatus.

Boston Globe shutdown averted for now

Unions signal readiness to accept massive concessions

By Kate Randall, 6 May 2009

With tentative deals reached with six of the Boston Globe’s unions, the New York Times Co. announced Monday that it was tentatively withdrawing its threat to shut down the newspaper.

Media promotes right-wing “tea parties”

By Tom Eley, 17 April 2009

Hundreds of anti-tax “tea parties” were held across the US on Wednesday, tax day. The events were heavily promoted by the media as a means of diverting public anger into reactionary channels.

The media defends executive bonuses

By Tom Eley, 21 March 2009

On Friday, a number of columns appeared in a US media defending the bonuses paid out to AIG executives.

New York Times columnist who demanded concessions from auto workers, “makes case” for AIG bonuses

By David Walsh, 18 March 2009

New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin argued Tuesday for paying American International Group (AIG) executives some $165 million in bonuses.

Television satirist Jon Stewart takes on Wall Street’s media mouthpieces

By David Walsh, 17 March 2009

Comic Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” has to be given credit for his recent exposure of CNBC as little more than a mouthpiece for Wall Street and its various corrupt and criminal or semi-criminal dealings.

The American media and the Lincoln bicentenary

By Tom Eley and David Walsh, 17 February 2009

The US media’s attempts to portray Obama as the heir of Lincoln’s legacy involve a grotesque historical and political falsification. While Lincoln will forever be associated with one of the great progressive causes of history—the ending of slavery through the Civil War—Obama bears an entirely reactionary relationship to today’s great political questions.

The New York Times and Gaza: Justifying genocide

31 December 2008

There is little to distinguish the “newspaper of record’s” version of events from the mendacious account being peddled by the American media in general: the Palestinians are the aggressors and Israel the victim. Never mind the grim and unequal equation of the conflict: roughly 100 Palestinians killed for every Israeli.

A damning admission on the Georgian war

8 November 2008

The New York Times on Friday carried a front-page article citing a report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose monitors were in Georgia when the fighting broke out, which demolishes the official US account of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war, according to which the war was an act of Russian aggression.

The New York Times’ endorsement of Obama

25 October 2008

The lineup of major newspapers behind Obama culminated in Friday’s endorsement by the New York Times, the leading US newspaper and the principal voice of the liberal wing of the American political establishment.

The Washington Post endorses Obama

By Alex Lantier, 18 October 2008

The Washington Post endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama yesterday. Such an endorsement—by the second-most influential liberal paper, headquartered in the nation's capital, and which obtained widespread support for uncovering the Nixon administration's role in the Watergate affair—carries immense weight in the US political establishment.

New York Times demands escalation of Afghanistan war

By David Walsh, 16 October 2008

In an editorial October 15 entitled “Downward Spiral,” the New York Times calls for the next administration to carry out “a swift and serious buildup of troops” in Afghanistan.

Why is American liberalism bankrupt? A history lesson for New York Times columnist Bob Herbert

By Tom Eley, 19 September 2008

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert’s September 9 column “Hold Your Heads Up” is a lamentation of US liberalism’s cowardice.

New York Times’ Roger Cohen on Georgian crisis: A case of deliberate deception

By Alex Lantier, 4 September 2008

Since shortly after the August 7 attack by Georgian forces on South Ossetia triggered large-scale fighting between Georgia and Russia, major US media outlets have overwhelmingly presented the crisis as a simple case of Russian “aggression.”

Hillary Clinton on Today:  

What was left unsaid 

27 January 1998

Hillary Clinton's appearance on Tuesday morning's Today show was the most explicit reference so far by a Clinton defender to the political forces which are seeking to undermine or oust the administration. Mrs. Clinton described the scandal-mongering over her husband's relations with Monica Lewinsky as "an effort to undo the results of the last two elections."    She continued, "The great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it, is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband.... I'm very concerned about the tactics that are being used and the kind of intense political agenda at work here."    Referring to independent counsel Kenneth Starr, she added, "We get a politically motivated prosecutor who is allied with the right-wing opponents of my husband.... It is just a very unfortunate turn of events that we are using the criminal justice system to try to achieve political ends in this country."    Even more important than these statements, however, is what Mrs. Clinton left unsaid. Nowhere did she refer to the substance of the "intense political agenda" which underlies the attack on the Clinton administration from the extreme right wing. Nowhere did she spell out the "political ends"--other than the removal of Bill Clinton--which are at issue. Nowhere did she identify any of these "right-wing opponents."    On the face of it, this is an astonishing omission. The wife of the president of the United States decries a right-wing conspiracy of enormous proportions, one which surely poses a threat to the viability of democratic processes in America. Yet she refuses to discuss the matter any further. Instead, after raising the issue of political agendas, Mrs. Clinton was compelled to fall back on purely personal motives, concluding, "Now do I wish we didn't live in a time where people were so malicious and evil-minded? Of course."    It is not, however, a question merely of subjective hatred, but of powerful and objective social forces which are finding their reflection in this degrading political scandal. The forces seeking Clinton's ouster want to press ahead more systematically and ferociously with the destruction of social programs, the elimination of all taxation on wealth, and the unrestrained use of American military power around the world. Such policies inevitably take on the character of a conspiracy against democratic rights, because they are deeply anti-popular and opposed by the vast majority of the American people.    Mrs. Clinton had no choice but to flee this subject after raising it, because the Clinton administration has itself implemented much of the right-wing agenda, from elimination of welfare, to persecuting immigrants, to military confrontation with Iraq. Clinton's political posture from the time he entered the White House--and well before--has been to accommodate himself to the right-wing policies demanded by big business, while sugar-coating them with liberal rhetoric and tears of sympathy.    For all the viciousness of the infighting, the conflict between Clinton and his right-wing opponents is a struggle within the ruling class over the political direction of the state. Even if it costs them the White House, the Clintons dare not raise issues which would begin to lift the veil on the real social and political structure of America and could arouse the masses of working people to intervene in the crisis as an independent force fighting for its own interests.