Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

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Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting logo.jpg
Web address www.fair.org
Launched 1986

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is a media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986.[1] FAIR describes itself on its website as "the national media watch group" and defines its mission as "advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints."[2] FAIR has been described as both progressive and left-wing.[3][4][5][6][7]

Media outlets[edit]

First published in 1987, Extra!, FAIR's bi-monthly magazine, features analysis of current media bias, censorship, and effects of media consolidation. Covering a variety of issues, FAIR addresses news coverage that it finds biased with rebuttals. FAIR also produces CounterSpin, a half-hour radio program hosted by Janine Jackson, Steve Rendall, and Peter Hart, recorded at MercerMedia in NYC. It broadcasts nationally on more than 130 radio stations and is available in MP3 and RealAudio format on the web.


FAIR describes itself on its website as "the national media watch group" and defines its mission as working to "invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints." FAIR refers to itself as a "progressive group that believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong nonprofit sources of information."[8]

FAIR has said that in the range of opinion discussed in the mass media, the right side of a discussion usually is represented by a committed supporter of right-wing causes, while the left side often is represented by a centrist.[9]


In 1990, Walter Goodman wrote an article in The New York Times comparing FAIR and Accuracy in Media and stated that the two groups' "criticism of television and the press is often provocative. But it is always tendentious", and that FAIR focuses on criticizing right-wing bias in the media.[4]

While NPR was speaking of "groups that claim to be media watchdogs" and "are guilty of using AstroTurf-type names that disguise their real missions", NPR pointed to FAIR, stating that "FAIR leans to the left and often criticizes the news media for giving too much time to conservative viewpoints".[5] In 1990, Reed Irvine, then chairman of the conservative Accuracy in Media media watchdog organization stated "FAIR reflects the views of that numerically insignificant group who used to regard Pol Pot as a hero and who wept at the defeat of Daniel Ortega ... Their Marxist class interpretation of media behavior is simply kooky, and their insistence that the media are dominated by conservatives makes sense only to people who think that anyone to the right of Noam Chomsky is conservative."[4] Walter Goodman of The New York Times also said that FAIR's "tone and language, notably the appropriation of words like progressive and public interest leaders and popular movements to adorn individuals and groups that suit Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting are shrill signals of its affinities."[4]

Notable events[edit]

In May 2002, Jeff Cohen, a FAIR founder, left the organization to work as a producer on Phil Donahue's short-lived talk show on MSNBC.

In October 2002, FAIR's Action Alert citing the underestimate of the size of a massive anti-Iraq War rally led NPR to apologize to its listeners and a follow-up article in The New York Times that Editor & Publisher suggested was written "in response to many organized protest letters sent to the Times since the paper's weak, and inaccurate, initial article about the march on Sunday."

In February 2004, a FAIR Action Alert led ABC World News Tonight and The New York Times to expand their coverage of the Federal Marriage Amendment to explain the legal ramifications of the issue.[citation needed]

In 2006, FAIR criticized U.S. media coverage of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, taking issue with the assertion that "... Hugo Chávez is an autocrat who has consolidated one-party rule".[10] FAIR has frequently criticized media coverage of the Chávez government.[11][12][13][14][15]

In 2008, FAIR criticized American media for coverage that was too positive during Pope Benedict's visit to the United States, claiming that he received a "pass on Church abuse history."[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What's FAIR?". FAIR. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  2. ^ What's FAIR?, FAIR Website
  3. ^ Despite Signs of Revival, Critics Call 'Fairness Doctrine' Outdated Swipe at Modern Market; Fox News; February 19, 2009
  4. ^ a b c d Goodman, Walter (June 17, 1990). "TV VIEW; Let's Be Frank About Fairness And Accuracy –". New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Shepard, Alicia C. (12 April 2011). "What to Think about Think Tanks?". NPR. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Callahan, David (2010). Fortunes of change : the rise of the liberal rich and the remaking of America. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 978-0470177112. 
  7. ^ Sheppard, Si (2008). The partisan press : a history of media bias in the United States. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0786432820. 
  8. ^ What's FAIR?, FAIR Website
  9. ^ "FAIR website". Fair.org. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ Rendall, Steve. "The Repeatedly Re-Elected Autocrat". Fair.org. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Region: Venezuela". FAIR. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Coup Co-Conspirators as Free-Speech Martyrs". Fair.org. April 11, 2002. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  13. ^ Naureckas, Jim (September 24, 2006). "Inexplicable Tongue-Lashing". Fair.org. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  14. ^ Rendall, Steve. "The Myth of the Muzzled Media". Fair.org. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  15. ^ "NYT Hypes Venezuelan Threat". Fair.org. February 25, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  16. ^ FAIR.org

External links[edit]