A LOT happened on the Hill before the holidays that impacts your use and access to our beloved media resources we all know and adore. If you've got no desire to sift through political jargon and policy-speak, fear not! @deannecuellar did some of the dirty work for you.
Just for you, this week's Current features a quick-and-easy breakdown of some winners and losers in media. To hold you over until Wednesday, check out FAIR's 2010 P.U.-litzer Prizes recognizing some of last year's worst U.S. journalism.
Immigration Misinformation Award: Bill O'Reilly (Fox News Channel)
During the debate over Arizona's harsh immigration law SB 1070, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly made a case in support of Arizona's crackdown: More immigration equals more crime. According to O'Reilly, Phoenix's crime problem is "out of control" (5/3/10); in the state overall, the crime problem is "through the roof" (5/4/10, 5/13/10, 5/14/10), it is "overwhelming" (5/6/10). One problem: There was no crime wave in Arizona or Phoenix, where authorities were reporting that crime was actually down--which research suggests is typical in areas with higher immigrant populations (FAIR Action Alert, 5/17/10). After FAIR noted O'Reilly's errors, he actually stopped making them. But he soon found new ways to justify his anti-immigrant stance, like arguing that crime is indeed down along the border--because immigrants have stopped coming into the country (FAIR Blog, 6/21/10).
Adventures in Overstatement Award: Juan Williams (Fox News Channel)
It's unsurprising that Juan Williams would have hard feelings about NPR's decision to fire him after comments he made on Fox News Channel about being nervous seeing people in airports wearing "Muslim garb." But it still took plenty of nerve for Williams to write this (FoxNews.com, 10/21/10):
Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk about the initial shock of finding himself on President Nixon's enemies list. I can only imagine Dan's revulsion to realize that today NPR treats a journalist who has worked for them for 10 years with less regard, less respect for the value of independence of thought and embrace of real debate across political lines than Nixon ever displayed.
Had he been alive to respond, Schorr may have pointed out that in the most infamous case, Nixon had CIA agents trailing reporter Jack Anderson, plotting ways they might kill him.
Balancing Tolerance with Hate Award: Washington Post's On Faith Blog
On National Coming Out Day (10/11/10), the Washington Post's On Faith blog decided it would be a good time to hear from raging homophobe Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Perkins penned a column attacking "homosexual activist groups" under the headline "Christian Compassion Requires the Truth About Harms of Homosexuality." Why on Earth does anyone need to hear Perkins' claptrap? The Post explained on Twitter(10/12/10) that it was a matter of journalistic balance: "We're working to cover both sides. Earlier, we hosted Dan Savage of It Gets Better in a live chat." For the record, "It Gets Better" is Savage's campaign to combat suicides among queer youth. Who knew that was a point of view that needed balancing?
San Antonio residents and media justice activists DeAnne Cuellar and Rebecca Ohnemus blog throughout the week at blogs.sacurrent.com. They welcome your questions and feedback and can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tech Tease on Twitter at @thetechtease.