Non-profit

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

Logo for the group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (link)
Website:

fair.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-3392362

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $525,336
Expenses: $403,242
Assets: $492,438

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is a left-of-center media criticism organization based in New York City and founded in 1986 by Jeff Cohen and Martin A. Lee. It routinely attacks conservative media outlets, but also accuses mainstream media outlets (including those generally considered to be on the political left, such as the New York Times[1]) of having an “anti-progressive bias.” [2] The Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Family Fund, Samuel Rubin Foundation, Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, Barbra Streisand Foundation, and the Tides Foundation have all funded FAIR. [3]

FAIR describes itself as a “progressive media watchdog group, challenging corporate media bias.” [4] It publishes the Extra! newsletter and produces the CounterSpin radio program. [5]

Agenda and Advocacy

The group’s guiding premise runs counter to the prevailing view of a left-progressive bias in the metropolitan mainstream media. One-time FAIR senior analyst Steve Rendall said in 1996 that any liberal bias in the media is “paltry next to the torrent of violent and racist rhetoric being broadcast” on talk radio. [6]

FAIR says it works with journalists and activists and maintains regular dialogue with reporters at news outlets across the country. The organization sends action alerts and media advisories to a network of activists it claims exceeds 40,000 people. [7]

The organization says it supports “structural reform” to break up media conglomerates. [8] FAIR argues that if media companies are owned by corporations and supported through corporate advertisers that independent journalism is compromised. The organization further contends that concentration of media ownership dilutes diversity in media voices. It calls for the Justice Department to take “aggressive antitrust action” to “break up monopolistic media conglomerates.” [9] The organization further complains that advertisers target affluent, young, white, and male consumers and ignore other populations, which in turn skews news coverage. [10]

Coverage Criticisms

In 2019, FAIR program director Janine Jackson said 83 percent of the media is white and therefore fails to cover the diversity of organized labor and African Americans because few reporters come from racially diverse, working-class backgrounds. “For media elites, the image of ‘America’s working class’ is a white image; black people go in a separate category. It’s divisive and ahistorical and wrong.” [11]

In 2020, the organization chided the mainstream media for acknowledging the pandemic SARS-COV-2 coronavirus originated in China and condemned news outlets that questioned the communist government’s statements about the spread of the disease. [12]

FAIR also criticized the mainstream media in the United States for reporting positively about the movement in Venezuela to oust the socialist regime of de facto dictator Nicolas Maduro. [13]

FAIR co-founder Jeff Cohen complained in early 2020 about the media’s “anti-progressive bias,” largely against left-wing Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and said the media asked too many questions about how much left-progressive programs such as a Green New Deal and Medicare for All would cost. [14]

History

FAIR co-founder Jeff Cohen said in an interview that he was inspired to start FAIR in the 1980s when he determined that dissidents advocating for nuclear disarmament were not getting as much airtime as hawkish conservatives during the Cold War. [15]

In 1994, the organization began issuing the “The P.U.-litzer Prizes” for news coverage it considered to have a right-of-center or pro-business bias. [16]

FAIR’s advisory board has included left-wing celebrities Ed Asner, John Cusack, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, and Gloria Steinem. [17]

When the organization reached its 10th year, the New York Times reported that FAIR identified radio show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Bob Grant as “racist, sexist, reactionary and homophobic.” [18]

In 1996, Pearl Jam, REM, and Bonnie Raitt recorded a combined album putting the words of MIT linguistics professor and radical-left activist Noam Chomsky to music. Much of the proceeds from the album went to FAIR, according to The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower, a 2009 book by Robert F. Barsky. [19]Chomsky was the keynote speaker for the organization’s 15th anniversary party in January 2002 broadcast on the radical-left outlet Free Speech TV. [20]

During the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, FAIR co-sponsored with several other groups a “March on the Media,” claiming: “the mainstream media have marched in lockstep with the Bush administration. Now it’s time to march on the media.” On September 1, the marchers converged at 7 a.m. outside of the CBS headquarters in the city. At 8 a.m. they protested outside CNN about overly what it considered overly pro-George W. Bush coverage. At 9 a.m. that day they protested outside of Fox News making the same claim. [21]

References

  1. Eichacker, Nina. “Learning All the Wrong Lessons From the 2008 Financial Crisis.” FAIR, May 12, 2020. https://fair.org/home/learning-all-the-wrong-lessons-from-the-2008-financial-crisis/. ^
  2. Cohen, Jeff. “7 Pointed Questions for Corporate Media About Their Anti-Progressive Biases.” January 20, 2020. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/20/7-pointed-questions-corporate-media-about-their-anti-progressive-biases ^
  3. “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.” Discover the Networks. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/fairness-and-accuracy-in-reporting-fair/ ^
  4. What’s FAIR. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://fair.org/about-fair/ ^
  5. What’s FAIR? FAIR. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://fair.org/about-fair/ ^
  6. Hays, Constance L. “Making it Work; FAIR or Not?” The New York Times. May 19, 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/19/nyregion/making-it-work-fair-or-not.html ^
  7. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Idealist. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit/5ef082b661b34599a20f5cd130392de3-fairness-and-accuracy-in-reporting-fair-new-york ^
  8. What’s FAIR. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://fair.org/about-fair/ ^
  9. What’s Wrong With the News. FAIR. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://fair.org/about-fair/whats-wrong-with-the-news/ ^
  10. What’s Wrong With the News. FAIR. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://fair.org/about-fair/whats-wrong-with-the-news/ ^
  11. Elk, Mike. “Labored Coverage.” Columbia Journalism Review. October 16, 2019. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.cjr.org/opinion/gm-strikes.php ^
  12. Naurekas, Jim. “You Don’t Need to Believe China About China’s Coronavirus Success.” FAIR. April 2, 2020.https://fair.org/home/you-dont-need-to-believe-china-about-chinas-coronavirus-success/ ^
  13. Koerner, Lucas. “How Western Left Media Helped Legitimate US Regime Change in Venezuela.” FAIR. January 22, 2020. May 22, 2020. https://fair.org/home/how-western-left-media-helped-legitimate-us-regime-change-in-venezuela/ ^
  14. Cohen, Jeff. “7 Pointed Questions for Corporate Media About Their Anti-Progressive Biases.” January 20, 2020. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/20/7-pointed-questions-corporate-media-about-their-anti-progressive-biases ^
  15. “Watching the Media: A Talk With Jeff Cohen.” Mirabai at Woodstock. Accessed May 22, 2020. http://www.mirabai.com/articles/cohen/ ^
  16. “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.” Discover the Networks. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/fairness-and-accuracy-in-reporting-fair/ ^
  17. “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.” Discover the Networks. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/fairness-and-accuracy-in-reporting-fair/ ^
  18. Hays, Constance L. “Making it Work; FAIR or Not?” The New York Times. May 19, 1996. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/19/nyregion/making-it-work-fair-or-not.html ^
  19. Barsky, Robert F. “The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower.” The MIT Press. 2009. Page 16. https://books.google.com/books?id=EiZNTrZ-i_YC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA16&dq=#v=onepage&q&f=false ^
  20. “Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.” Discover the Networks. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/fairness-and-accuracy-in-reporting-fair/ ^
  21. “March on the Media in New York.” Investig-Action. September 1, 2004. Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.investigaction.net/fr/March-on-the-Media-in-New-York/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1988

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Jun Form 990 $525,336 $403,242 $492,438 $57,376 N $465,597 $55,526 $124 $53,469 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $503,315 $408,170 $382,812 $67,194 N $448,068 $49,981 $1,042 $0 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $463,461 $391,844 $293,188 $74,806 N $407,622 $54,090 $315 $0 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $592,688 $432,498 $240,966 $87,192 N $509,332 $77,171 $329 $0 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $475,784 $563,599 $121,323 $105,390 N $375,191 $95,924 $334 $0 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $579,366 $580,607 $209,049 $110,560 N $458,142 $115,694 $351 $0 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $428,012 $573,332 $219,258 $126,502 N $300,997 $117,373 $369 $0 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $682,706 $595,378 $381,738 $140,560 N $531,445 $129,418 $502 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

    124 W 30TH ST RM 201
    NEW YORK, NY 10001-4009