Aug
27
2014

If Social Media ‘Silence Debate,’ What Do Corporate Media Do?

Protesters in Ferguson

A new study has some outlets saying that social media inhibit debate. You want to compare Twitter’s record to the corporate media on that score?

May
09
2014

The White House and the Awesome Power of Several Bloggers

NationalJournal-Obama

National Journal reporter James Oliphant has discovered that the Obama White House has a very powerful weapon it can deploy against its critics: bloggers.

Mar
27
2014

PhRMA’s Money Affects Human Lives–and Journalism Too

Pharmaceuticals (cc photo: Erich Ferdinand)

Josh Marshall announces that Idea Lab: Impact will be “sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.” Yes, PhRMA, the lobbying group that has helped make the marketing of medicine one of the most profitable industries in America.

Nov
01
2013

NSA Stenography at CBS

cbs-nsa-

CBS covers latest NSA revelations by telling viewers that the NSA is getting better at rebutting its critics.

Sep
18
2013

The Price of Twitter Is Based on the Cost of You

Twitter birds (cc image: Darren Barefoot)

On the verge of an IPO, Twitter is estimated to have a market value of $15-16 billion. What does that mean for our society?

Sep
10
2013

Barrett Brown Can’t Talk About Why the Government Wants to Jail Him for a Century

Barrett Brown

In the US government’s campaign against journalists, Barret Brown is one of the lesser-known victims. And now even less will be forthcoming about his story, as the Texas-based writer, satirist and Internet activist is under a federal court gag order, forbidden to talk about his case.

Sep
01
2013

Which Syrian Chemical Attack Account Is More Credible?

Secretary of State John Kerry making the case that Damascus has used chemical weapons (US State Department)

Which account of the mass deaths in Syria should be given more credence: the U.S. government version introduced by Secretary of State John Kerry, or the article published by the Minnesota-based news site Mint Press? The government account expresses “high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack.” The Mint report bore the headline “Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack.”

Jun
12
2013

Edward Snowden and the State-Identified Journalist

Josh Marshall (Bill Moyers Journal)

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo (6/11/13) wrote about Edward Snowden yesterday in a way that helped make it clear why so many in the press seem upset that the former NSA consultant revealed the extent of U.S. spying programs aimed at the American public. “I’m a journalist,” Marshall wrote. And back when I did national security reporting I tried to get leaks. So I don’t think leaks are always wrong…. In fact, leaks are an absolutely critical safety valve against government wrongdoing and/or excessive secrecy. But officials who leak classified information are “breaking an oath and committing a crime,” […]

Jun
07
2013

Bob McChesney on Internet Giants and the National Security State

Last week on CounterSpin, we spoke with scholar and media historian Bob McChesney about his new book Digital Disconnect. His closing thoughts seems especially relevant in light of the blockbuster reporting this week from the Guardian and Washington Post.

May
15
2013

The Problem With Journalism? Scott Pelley Blames the Internet

pelleymap_480x360

CBS anchor Scott Pelley declared, “We are getting big stories wrong, over and over again.'” Well, that sounds like pretty dramatic self-criticism. But, as usual with corporate media self-critiques, Pelley’s criticism mostly misses the mark.

Feb
08
2013

At Beliefnet, ‘Everyone’ Doesn’t Include Feminists

BN Media directors

The religious-themed website Beliefnet bills itself as offering “something for everyone” with a “broad editorial point of view.” Unfortunately, as playwright and pastor Kristine Holmgren found when she was offered a chance to blog there, in Beliefnet’s eyes, “everyone” does not include feminists.

Jan
14
2013

Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

Aaron Swartz (photo: NIck Gray)

It’s always difficult to report on someone’s death. If they’ve had a lifetime of accomplishments, how do you sum that up in a few brief paragraphs? When a life has been cut cruelly short, it’s even worse–trying hopelessly to convey the sense of lost possibilities. With Aaron Swartz, who died this past weekend, reportedly by his own hand, you have the worst of both worlds

Nov
05
2012

I Predict Dana Milbank Will Continue to Personify False Balance

After establishing that Republican operative Karl Rove is a terrible political prognosticator, Dana Milbank (Washington Post, 11/2/12) does the false-balance thing and attacks polling blogger Nate Silver: Rove is an easy target because his motive–conveying a false sense of momentum for Republicans–is so transparent. But he has plenty of company among prognosticators who confidently predict that which they cannot possibly know. There’s Nate Silver, a statistician-blogger at the New York Times, who predicts with scientific precision that President Obama will win 303 electoral votes and beat Romney by 2 percentage points in the popular vote. He gives Obama an 81 […]