U.S. network newscasts, which collectively commanded 84 percent of the viewing audience in 1981, now attract only 43 percent of the pie, observes the New York Times.
CBS news anchor Dan Rather said in an interview with British television that "patriotism run amok" was keeping American journalists from ask tough questions about the "war on terrorism." Rather even admitted that he himself had participated in self-censorship following September 11. "You know there was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck," he said.
When KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas aired a glowing story about a "miracle wrinkle cream," it failed to mention that the product's sole distributor in San Antonio is Jennifer McCabe, an employee of the TV station who also happens to be engaged to the station's executive producer.
The Free Expression Policy Project has produced a 56-page report "which surveys the history and current state of media literacy education and illustrates why it is far preferable to TV ratings, Internet filters, 'indecency' laws, and other efforts to censor the ideas and information available to the young."
Tobacco, booze, and restaurant industry front-group website ActivistCash.com received "hot site" status in USA Today. "In the Internet age, all secrets are open secrets. With gleeful abandon, ActivistCash.com reveals the diverse and oftentimes surprising sources currently funding nonprofit activist organizations. From Mothers Against Drunk Driving to Greenpeace," USA Today writes. What's missing is ActivistsCash's own funding sources.
"Every Arab is watching this closely," says an Egyptian attorney who, like his neighbors, has been glued to the television in horror watching the Israeli military offensive in the Palestinian territories. "It may be worse for us even than Sept. 11 was for you - because it goes on and on," he says. "Every time you turn on the television, it's as though you were watching someone beat you." According to the New York Times, the story's impact in the Muslim world is comparable "to the way television news reports from the Vietnam War shook Americans in the 1960s.
PBS has applied its "conflict of interest" guidelines to refuse programming that receives sponsorship from unions, lesbians or battered women, on grounds that these groups have a "vested interest in the subject matter of the program." When it comes to corporations, however, the network follows a different standard. Currently the network is premiering a six-hour series about the global economy which was sponsored by major corporations that have a clear interest in the show's content.
"Between them, the authors of the incendiary new book Into the Buzzsaw, out this month from Prometheus, have won nearly every award journalism has to give -- a Pulitzer, several Emmys, a Peabody, a prize from Investigative Reporters and Editor, an Edward R. Murrow and several accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists," writes book reviewer Michelle Goldberg. "One is veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration and a best-selling author, another is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.
Details of "the great biofraud," as the Washington Times dubbed the affair, emerged just before Christmas of last year. Wildlife scientists in Washington State were accused of "planting" clumps of wild lynx fur in national forests. Supposedly the fraud was planned so the Endangered Species Act could be invoked to close the forest to campers and loggers. In reality, as government employees have insisted ever since the beginning, the whole story is a fabrication.