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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: 46 min 54 sec ago

David Alexander Bullock on Detroit Water, Ralph Nader on Export-Import Bank

Fri, 2014-07-18 08:10
The UN says water is a human right, and if people are unable to pay, shutting off their water is a human rights violation. That puts the city of Detroit on the wrong side of international law, as well as human decency, with shut-offs affecting thousands of city residents. But the water shut-offs are only the latest attack on the poor and public resources in Detroit. We'll hear from area activist, Pastor David Alexander Bullock. Also this week: Something called the Export-Import Bank started getting some press once Tea Party activists and Republican lawmakers started criticizing it as corporate welfare. Pundits say the critics don't know what they're talking about and could threaten American jobs. But our guest, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, thinks the bank deserves some scrutiny—and that it's an issue that resonates beyond the Tea Party right.

Yousef Munayyer on Gaza Attacks, Lee Fang on Marijuana Legalization

Fri, 2014-07-11 08:26
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have claimed dozens of Palestinian lives, including those of more than a dozen children. There are no Israeli casualties so far. The fact that US corporate media fail to note the unequal power and disproportionate suffering of Palestinians is just one of the ways middle east coverage is distorted. We'll talk with Yousef Munayyer of the Jerusalem Fund, about that. Also on the show: For the first time, Gallup reports a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Of course many things can stand between popular opinion and legislation, and in this case one of those things is a powerful industry, though you don't hear much about it in debates around pot. Lee Fang of the Nation institute will join us to talk about his piece, The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal.

Dave Zirin on World Cup, Sarah Jaffe on Supreme Court

Fri, 2014-07-04 07:10
Much of the world is tuned into the World Cup. And while the drama on the field is on our TV screens, what about the wrenching political and economic upheaval in host country Brazil that has inspired millions to protest? That's the World Cup story Dave Zirin has been reporting, he'll join us to talk about it. Also this week: The Supreme Court rulings in Hobby Lobby and Harris, though reportedly narrow, may have far-reaching impacts. Particularly as both almost exclusively affect working women. We'll talk with Sarah Jaffe of In These Times.

Murtaza Hussain on Iraq, Laura Carlsen on Immigration Crisis

Fri, 2014-06-27 08:30
This week on CounterSpin: The crisis in Iraq has pundits talking about Al Qaeda and ISIS and regional powers like Iran -- but there's also the suggestion that this is merely the latest round in a 1400 year old war between Muslim sects. That lets the US off the hook, but does it fit with actual history? Writer Murtaza Hussain joins us to explain how it doesn't. Also this week: Are the increasing numbers of children migrants from Central America "refugees who need asylum or illegal gold-diggers who need to go home?" Not clear whom the Christian Science Monitor thought it was helping with such inhumane framing of what the White House is now calling an 'urgent humanitarian situation'. We'll talk about the more complicated pushes and pulls behind this child migration with Laura Carlsen of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy.

Ross Caputi on Iraq, Brian Jones on Teacher Tenure

Fri, 2014-06-20 08:15
This week on CounterSpin: According to US media, a brutal jihadi group known as ISIS has taken over large regions of Iraq in recent days. This has resulted in a parade of pundits discussing just how massive the US military response should be. We'll talk with Ross Caputi, a former marine who served in Iraq and is a now a leader in the reparations movement, about what is really going on there. Also this week: A judge in California takes aim at tenure for public school teachers, to the delight of education 'reformers' and editorial pages. But are they right about what tenure means? And does any of this help students? We'll talk to writer and activist Brian Jones.

Jennifer Fiore on Gun Violence, Keane Bhatt on Human Rights Watch

Fri, 2014-06-13 08:54
This week on CounterSpin: Another fatal school shooting, another round of media stories about what we as a society need to talk more or more honestly about. One effort now gaining ground says there are some things we can do besides talk. Jennifer Fiore is executive director of the Campaign to Unload. She'll join us to talk about divesting from gun violence. Also on the show: Two Nobel prize laureates have joined scores of academics in publishing letters to Human Rights Watch, challenging the prominent human rights group to scuttle a revolving door policy that has seen top staff land jobs in the US state department and vice versa, and noting times when the group seems to put aside neutrality to side with the US. Keane Bhatt, the activist and writer behind the effort, will join us to talk about that.

Janet Redman on EPA Rules, Trevor Timm on James Risen

Fri, 2014-06-06 08:35
The EPA has proposed new rules limiting carbon emissions, and the outcry from industry -- lost jobs! higher energy costs! -- were completely predictable. But people concerned about climate change aren't exactly dancing in the aisles either. So are the new rules a bold step toward fighting climate change, or something much less? We'll hear from Janet Redman of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. Also this week: New York Times reporter James Risen faces incarceration for citing the reporter's privilege to protect a source and refusing to testify in a criminal case against an ex-CIA employee. The Supreme Court refused to take his case on June 2nd and effectively let stand a lower court ruling finding there is no such thing as a reporter's privilege. We'll talk to Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation about the ruling.

Priyamvada Gopal on Indian Elections, Soraya Chemaly on Trigger Warnings

Fri, 2014-05-30 08:33
India's new prime minister Narendra Modi is being well-received in the US press, with his neoliberal economic ideas in the foreground and his ties to Hindu extremism pushed further back, or glossed. We'll speak to University of Cambridge professor Priyamvada Gopal about Modi. Also this week: 'Trigger warnings' are, according to various media think pieces and op-eds, a new attack on free speech on college campuses, an attempt to protect the delicate sensibilities of young people who refuse to be challenged or have their beliefs questioned. But many argue that alerting people that they may encounter traumatic content isn't about punishing free speech, but actually about expanding conversations about things like racism and violence. We'll talk it over with feminist writer Soraya Chemaly.

Nikole Hannah-Jones on School Segregation, Lizbeth Gronlund on US Nukes

Fri, 2014-05-23 08:36
This week on CounterSpin: Much of the media coverage of the 60th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision outlawing segregated schools noted an ominous development: American schools are still segregated, some even more so than before Brown. We'll talk to Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica, who has been tracking this for a series called "Segregation Now." Also this week: Congress is currently debating the military budget, including White House proposals to increase spending on nuclear weapons to 300 billion dollars over the next decade. But besides the rare wire story, you wouldn't know about it, despite news angles which might question how it conflicts with US international obligations and previous White House pronouncements. We'll speak with Lizbeth Gronlund of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program about nuclear weapons spending.

Bronwyn Bruton on Nigeria, Ben Lilliston on Trade Policy & Climate

Fri, 2014-05-16 08:06
This week on the show: The Bring Back Our Girls social media activism is an understandable response to the horrific kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls by the Boko Harum militant group. The story, ignored at first by the US press, is receiving wall to wall attention. We'll talk to Bronwyn Bruton of the Atlantic Council about some of the complexity often missing from that coverage. Also this week: Some folks thought it odd that Barack Obama chose a Walmart as the place to declare his commitment to clean energy – the behemoth company is known, by many, for its record of climate pollution on a scale a few solar panels won't fix. But our guest says White House policies promoting energy efficiency and renewables face another formidable obstacle: namely, other White House policies. Ben Lilliston from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy will join us to explain.

Dahlia Lithwick on Clayton Lockett, David Sirota on Journalists' Survey

Fri, 2014-05-09 08:23
Dahlia Lithwick discusses the Oklahoma execution case that has been making international headlines, and David Sirota talks about what a new survey tells us about the state of journalism.

Craig Aaron on Net Neutrality, Anand Gopal on Afghan War

Fri, 2014-05-02 08:19
Is the future of the open internet in danger? We'll talk to Craig Aaron of Free Press about what the FCC might be doing on net neutrality—and what the public can do to stop it. Also this week: The Afghanistan War has a hidden history, well known to Afghans, but obscure to US media consumers. Without it, it's hard to understand why, when US foes vanished from the battle-field in 2002, the war continued, becoming America's longest. In his new book, No Good Men Among the Living; America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes, journalist Anand Gopal looks at that hidden history-- he'll join us to talk about it.

Rafael Correa on Communications Law, Laila Al-Arian on Bangladesh

Fri, 2014-04-25 08:32
A new communications law in Ecuador seeks to break up powerful media conglomerates, create new community and public media and promote diversity on the airwaves. To US critics, though, it's really a way for left-leaning president Rafael Correa to silence his detractors. He'll join us to talk about the law and the press in his country. Also on CounterSpin today, top: At the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, a new film challenges US corporations' accountability for workplace conditions at suppliers they always seem to claim not to know. 'Made in Bangladesh,” from Al Jazeera America's Fault Lines series, recently won a Peabody Award. We'll speak with its producer, author and journalist Laila Al-Arian of Al Jazeera English.

Adam Gaffney on Obamacare Costs; Astra Taylor on 'The People's Platform'

Fri, 2014-04-18 08:45
This week on CounterSpin: It's an understatement to say that media characterizations of the Affordable Care Act vary wildly. But so much analysis is devoted to political football, when health insurance is an issue calling out for news people can use. We'll talk about coverage with Adam Gaffney, a physician and writer at Also on the show: It wasn't that long ago that many people believed the Internet would be a kind of utopia; today many still hold that if only everyone had a way to get on line, it could be a truly democratic town square. A new book interrogates that idea, and shows how in many ways the net is anything but revolutionary. It's called The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. We'll speak with author Astra Taylor.

Phyllis Bennis on Afghan Elections, Alfie Kohn on The Myth of the Spoiled Child

Fri, 2014-04-11 08:55
CBS told viewers the recent presidential election in Afghanistan was a major victory for the US military. The idea that 12 years of war and occupation have gifted that country with peace and stability is shaping up as the line of the day in US media. Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies has a different take. And author Alfie Kohn talks about his new provocative new book, "The Myth of the Spoiled Child," which argues that much of the conventional wisdom about children and parenting is just wrong.

Ralph Nader on GM, Liz Kennedy on McCutcheon

Fri, 2014-04-04 08:29
As GM executive Mary Barra takes a grilling in a congressional hearing over dangerous defects in the company's Chevy Cobalt, we talk General Motors with Ralph Nader. And if you thought the problem of money in politics couldn't get worse after the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling--meet McCutcheon,