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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: 1 hour 49 min ago

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,

Jodi Jacobson on Hobby Lobby, Kate Sheppard on Oil Spills

Fri, 2014-03-28 08:24
The Supreme Court hears the Hobby Lobby case, which is about women's health, reproductive rights and claims of religious freedom--and one more front in the right's battle against the Affordable Care Act. And 25 years after the Exxon Valdez disaster, the Sound is still not fully recovered, and spills are still in the news.

Sarah Jaffe on NY Charter Schools, Carla Murphy on FCC Diversity Study

Fri, 2014-03-21 08:12
Coverage of the "tug of war" between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo over charter schools tells us more about political alliances than it does about education. And what's the real story behind the right's claim that the White House was planning to send government monitors into newsrooms?

Miguel Tinker Salas on Venezuela, Ali Abunimah on Palestine

Fri, 2014-03-14 08:25
This week on CounterSpin: Venezuela's violent demonstrations, which began a month ago, have begun to wind down. Has anything been resolved between the largely middle and upper class opposition, and the democratically elected government they want to leave? We'll talk with Pomona College professor and the author of The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture and Society in Venezuela, Miguel Tinker Salas. Also this week: The news from Israel-Palestine is usually quite bleak, and this week is no different. But are the Palestinians winning? That's what Ali Abunimah argues in his new book The Battle for Justice in Palestine. He'll join us to explain.

Robert Parry on Ukraine, Luke Charles Harris on My Brother's Keeper

Fri, 2014-03-07 09:50
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.

Shannon Young on 'Mexican Moment,' Ashley Gorski on NYPD Muslim Spying

Fri, 2014-02-28 09:44
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.

Lori Wallach on TPP, Gareth Porter on Iran

Fri, 2014-02-21 09:23
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.

Sue Sturgis on Moral March, Toni Gilpin on Skills Gap Myth

Fri, 2014-02-14 09:26
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."

Joel Berg on Food Stamps, Jules Boykoff on Olympics

Fri, 2014-02-07 09:21
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.

John Schmitt on State of the Union, Dominique Apollon on Race & the Media

Fri, 2014-01-31 09:16
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.

Alfred McCoy on the NSA and History of Political Surveillance

Fri, 2014-01-24 09:35
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.

Rashid Khalidi on Ariel Sharon, Drew Hudson on NPR and Fracking

Fri, 2014-01-17 09:22
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.

Stephen Pimpare on War on Poverty, Carl Hart on Marijuana

Fri, 2014-01-10 09:20
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.

Best of CounterSpin 2013

Fri, 2014-01-03 07:38
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.