Media Criticism

Daniel R. Blume / Janet Lindenmuth (background)

The “Fourth Estate" has always played a major role in influencing U.S. policy and opinion, but like other major institutions, it is not beyond reproach. Widely criticized for its complacency in the run up to the Iraq War, the media has also been criticized more recently for being too ready to publish sensitive information.  Modern media is anything but monolithic, and competitive pressures and a rapid news cycle have forced many news agencies to exercise even less restraint.

 

Latest in Media Criticism

Politics & National Security

Nonconsensual Pornography, Political Scandals and a Warning for 2020

Amid the hubbub of L’Affaire Ukrainienne, you could be forgiven for overlooking another story that has emerged out of Congress over the past week. It’s a grubby, unpleasant story—so much so that it feels ugly to draw attention to it. But the times are ugly, after all, and the story is a concerning harbinger of what might be to come in the lead-up to 2020.

Media Criticism

Responses to the Demagogue: ‘Unsung Heroes’ and the Impeachment Process

On Sept. 5, the New York Times published an anonymous op-ed by a “senior official in the Trump administration,” calling into question the president’s fitness for office. The author, call him or her Anonymous, does not mention impeachment, but does speak about another constitutional process: the 25th Amendment, which provides for the removal of an incapacitated president, and which Anonymous dismisses as an overly “complex” process that might precipitate "constitutional crisis."

Donald Trump

‘Okay, Let’s Go’: Watching the New York Times on Trump

Liz Garbus’s new documentary series, “The Fourth Estate,” opens with Donald Trump taking the oath of office on January 20, 2017, but it doesn’t linger long on the new president. After a few seconds of him repeating the words of Chief Justice John Roberts, it cuts to a cityscape of New York, then to the New York Times building, then to the newsroom, where a group of Times reporters and editors are watching the inauguration on television. The paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, is leaning back in a chair, his hands pressed together.

Asia Pacific

Ignore the Hype: The Taiwan Travel Act is Legally Binding

Last Friday, President Trump signed into law the Taiwan Travel Act, which makes it a U.S. policy to allow high-level meetings between Taiwan and U.S. government officials. News reports about the law have often described it as “non-binding.” This “not legally binding” view is widely shared, including by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But this reading is not quite right.

Media Criticism

Hezbollah, Drugs, and the Obama Administration: A Closer Look at a Damning Politico Piece

An expose in Politico by Josh Meyer entitled “The secret backstory of how the Obama administration let Hezbollah off the hook” makes a damning charge: “In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.” Beyond securing a nuclear deal, the article argues, some Obama administration officials—including John Brennan, the CIA director wh

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