Aug
18
2014

NYT Would Call It Torture--If It Covered Torture

Ignoring Amnesty report on US torture program

Naimatullah, Afghan torture witness (CBS)

After more than a decade of criticism, the New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet announced (8/7/14) that when the paper reports on US torture, it will call it "torture" (FAIR Blog, 8/8/14). But what if the paper decides that well-documented evidence of US torture is not fit to print? On August 11, Amnesty International released a lengthy report about abuses in Afghanistan committed by US forces and others, including Afghan security. The report includes serious allegations about US Special Forces torturing Afghan civilians. The Amnesty report has received some attention in US outlets, including the LA Times (8/11/14), Washington […]

Aug
15
2014

Vijay Prashad on IS and Iraq, Emira Woods on Africa Summit

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This week on CounterSpin: With the Islamic State, or IS, occupying large swathes of Iraq and Syria, a common refrain from politicians and pundits is to suggest that the group would not be a menace had the US intervened earlier and more deeply in the Syrian civil war. Author and professor Vijay Prashad will join us to address that canard and other misconceptions about Iraq, the US and the Islamic State.

Also on the show: The recent summit of African leaders in Washington DC was criticized by some for soft-pedaling human rights issues, but that only meant in African nations; media seemed to have no question at all about the beneficent goals of the policy of increased 'investment' on the continent by US corporations. We have some questions; we'll ask them of Emira Woods of ThoughtWorks and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Aug
08
2014

Stephen Pimpare on Paul Ryan, Alyssa Hadley Dunn on Campbell Brown

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Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is back with yet one more plan to fight poverty. And, as usual the national media are giving him plenty of attention. But is there anything new here? And what are the broad lessons—and problems—with the poverty discussions that Ryan inspires? We'll ask poverty researcher and author Stephen Pimpare.

Also this week: Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown is making the media rounds with a new corporate education reform group that targets teachers as the problem with public schools. But like other such reformers, Brown has no background in education, and often gets her facts wrong. Michigan State University education professor Alyssa Hadley Dunn with join us with a fact-check.

Aug
01
2014

Arjun Makhijani on Renewable Energy

Wind power in Germany (cc photo: Mathias Dalheimer)

The UN's panel of climate scientists have issued grave warnings about continued dependence on fossil fuels, but US policy seems to be looking more to the polluting energy source--with a fracking boom, the Keystone pipeline and, in the latest news, the White House's opening of the Atlantic coast to oil and gas drilling. We'll talk to Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research about why none of this has to be this way.

Jul
25
2014

Alex Kane on US Weapons in Gaza; Jamie Kalven on Police Abuse Records

Chicago arrest (cc photo: Matt Novak)

The US press doesn't talk much about where Israel gets its weapons--or other aspects of the US role in the Gaza conflict. And a recent legal victory in Chicago could help expose police brutality in poor communities of color.

Jul
18
2014

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

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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.

Jul
16
2014

Who Gets to Speak on Cable News?

The identity of the whitest, malest show we found may surprise you

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A survey of major cable news discussion programs shows a stunning lack of diversity among the guests.

Jul
11
2014

Yousef Munayyer on Gaza Attacks, Lee Fang on Marijuana Legalization

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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.