CounterSpin, FAIR's weekly radio show, provides a critical examination of the major stories every week, and exposes what the mainstream media might have missed in their own coverage.
Updated: 31 min 37 sec ago
Journalists and pundits say Vladimir Putin is off his rocker, and the proof is his invasion of Crimea, and his crazy suggestion that the US has, on several occasions, acted lawlessly. We'll talk with Robert Parry of Consortium News, about the US, Russia and the power struggle over Ukraine.
Also on the show: Barack Obama announces a new initiative with the goal of improving opportunities for black and Latino boys and men, with a big emphasis on the role of fathers. For many media, the only question seems to be 'why'd he wait so long?' But there are deeper questions to consider about the effort called My Brother's Keeper. We'll hear from Luke Charles Harris of Vassar College about that.
Glowing US coverage of Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto has some folks buzzing about the "Mexican Moment." But is privatizing the oil industry really the reform it's made out to be? We'll talk it over with independent journalist Shannon Young.
Also on the show: The Associated Press won a Pulitzer for reporting that the New York Police Department was spying on Muslims, in mosques, bookstores, restaurants and elsewhere, simply because they're Muslim. Now a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit over that spying, saying any harm wasn't caused by the NYPD but by AP! We'll talk to Ashley Gorski of the ACLU about what the ruling means for civil liberties – and journalism.
This week on CounterSpin: Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch talks about the TPP, the sprawling commercial treaty the White House doesn't want you to know about. And Gareth Porter explains that most of what you read about Iran's nuclear program just isn't true.
This week on CounterSpin: Tens of thousands of moral marchers descend on Raleigh North Carolina, the latest and most dramatic example of a social justice movement sweeping the state. The national press is mostly skipping the story; Sue Sturgis from the Institute for Southern Studies fills us in on what's happening.
Also on the show: You may have heard that the reason we have so many unemployed people isn't because there are no jobs, but because people don't have the right skills for the jobs that are open, in part because of our failing schools. If it doesn't sound right to you, that's because it's wrong. So why say it? We'll talk with labor historian and educator Toni Gilpin about the popular myth of the "skills gap."
This week on CounterSpin: Congress passed the nearly trillion dollar farm bill on Feb. 2nd—with more than $8 billion in cuts to food stamps, or the SNAP program as it is now known. What does this mean for people dealing with food insecurity, and where did the rest of the money go? We’ll talk to Joel Berg, the director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
Also on the show: When the Olympics begin in Sochi, US viewers are likely to hear at least a little about Russia's crackdown on LGBT people and protests against it. If so it will be a rare instance of media acknowledging that politics are part of the Olympics story and not a detraction from it. We'll talk about Olympic activism with author and political science professor Jules Boykoff.
The president's State of the Union address was met with praise from liberal pundits and derision from conservatives, with precious little analysis of the content. Was it a turn real toward populism? We'll take a look at some of Obama's economic talking points with John Schmitt, a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Also on CounterSpin today, a new study of media coverage of race finds very little of it is what the researchers call 'systemically aware.' We'll ask Dominique Apollon from the group Race Forward to explain what that means, and what better coverage would look like.
This week on CounterSpin: An independent review board has concluded that the National Security Agency's surveillance program poses threats to citizens' civil liberties, isn't really working to catch terrorists and should be ended. But while much debate centers on the data collected being mis-used, what about what happens if it's used as intended? We'll talk with Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison about the history of spying by the US government-- and the actual reasons they do it.
Ariel Sharon died on January 11th, and media send-offs included a lot about the former Israeli prime minister's historic role and his dedication to Israel's defense and security. But they often glossed lightly over the darker aspects of Sharon's record. We'll talk with Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University's Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, about what was often missing in coverage of Sharon's death.
Also on the show: Many public radio listeners have been dismayed to hear puff pieces about hydraulic fracking on NPR, and then to hear ads from the fracking industry. One group recently took their concerns right to the source. We'll hear from Drew Hudson of Environmental Action about what happened at that meeting with NPR.
This week on CounterSpin: The 50th anniversary of the launch of LBJ's War on Poverty is generating a lot of press coverage of an issue corporate media tend to mostly ignore. But what's missing from these conservations? We'll ask author and professor Stephen Pimpare.
Also on CounterSpin today, In the wake of successful marijuana decriminalization efforts in Colorado and Washington state, pundit opponents of pot are forcefully objecting. New York Times columnist David Brooks says he smoked when he was young, and it wasn't so bad, but let's continue to criminalize it; and Fox's Bill O'Reilly says marijuana, texting, and video games are sending our youth down an escapist road to ruin. We'll be joined by Columbia University neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart, for a very different view.
Every year around this time, we put together a mix of some of what we felt were the most important and compelling looks behind the headlines of the mainstream news. From NSA surveillance to Iran to the ongoing economic crisis, CounterSpin heard from an array of activists, commentators and journalists, all of whom had something to say about how corporate media covered these issues.
This week on CounterSpin: People watch how media cover an array of political issues, of course, but there is probably not a single issue that attracts as much scrutiny as coverage of Israel-Palestine. There are enormous sensitivities to how media cover Israel, and serious pressure campaigns have been directed at outlets that are deemed too negative about, or too critical of, Israel.
So it might not be a surprise that a book that is highly critical of the country is being more or less shunned by US media outlets. Today CounterSpin talks to Max Blumenthal, author of the new book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. He'll tell us about the larger story he is trying to tell in the book-- a story that he thinks goes mostly unreported in US media. And he'll explain what the reactions to the book tell us about our own political culture.
Ukraine signed a deal with Russia on Tuesday, defying the advice of the US press and Western elites. But would Ukraine have been better off making a deal with Europe? And is the US media portrayal of Russia as the regional troublemaker accurate? We'll talk with Russia expert Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus from NYU and Princeton.
Also on the show: the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs are taking a beating-- a court rules the collection of phone metadata unconstitutional, and major tech companies are pushing for some limits on the agency's reach. But what should we know about how those companies themselves are snooping on Americans? Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy will join us to explain.
This week on CounterSpin: Since his death, Nelson Mandela has been portrayed in the media largely as a beloved, almost saintly figure. But Mandela was once feared and despised by some US elites, and the press mirrored that. What changed? We’ll speak with UCLA professor Robin D.G. Kelley about Mandela.
Also on the show: Detroit asked for bankruptcy, because it's $18 billion in debt, due largely to bloated public sector pensions. That might be the basic shape of the story you've heard; listeners won't be surprised to hear that every part of it is wrong. We'll talk with economist Dean Baker about the causes of Detroit's problems and the problems with the solutions.
fter a 2009 coup removed left wing president Manuel Zelaya, many were watching the elections in Honduras to get a sense of where the country—and US policy—might be heading. The early results said the elections were relatively clean, and the leading conservative candidate won the vote. But is that the whole story? Azadeh Shahshahani from the National Lawyers Guild will fill us in.
Also on CounterSpin today, Marissa Alexander is free on bond. But the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot in an altercation with her abusive husband still faces a retrial next year. How far has our legal system, and our society, really advanced in understanding domestic violence cases and are media helping? We'll talk with journalist Esther Armah about that.
This week on CounterSpin: The COP 19 climate talks in Warsaw were filled with intrigue, secret memos and walkouts by green groups and delegations from developing nations. What was accomplished at the summit? We'll talk with Michael K. Dorsey, the director of the Joint Center’s Energy & Environment Program.
Also on CounterSpin: Is big business breaking up with the Tea Party? Some political observers and pundits seem to think so, seeing a growing divide between the Republican Party and its corporate backers. But historian and journalist Rick Perlstein suggests this storyline isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
Download MP3 (right click) This week on CounterSpin: Polls show Americans overwhelmingly opposed to the government's mass surveillance programs; they find the unconstitutional spying "alarming" and don't think it's making them safer. There's legislative movement to "reform" surveillance procedures--but is it real reform or windowdressing? We'll hear from Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Also on CounterSpin today: Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers resumed on November 20, after falling apart nearly two weeks earlier. But the US press seems a little confused about why those earlier talks failed. We’ll talk with Nima Shirazi of Wide Asleep […]