Each week CounterSpin brings you a look behind the headlines of the mainstream news. At year's end we take a look back and revisit some of the stories it's been our privilege and pleasure to bring you. We call it "best of," but the truth is we always work to shine a light on angles or perspectives on events we think you might not hear elsewhere ,and insights into why and how corporate media coverage comes to look the way it does.
This week on CounterSpin, what does the CIA torture report say about torture--and about us? We'll talk with Rebecca Gordon, author of the book Mainstreaming Torture, about the big questions we should be asking.
Also this week: When you read or hear about pensions in the corporate media, one thing comes through loud and clear: There's no money to pay for workers' retirement. We'll talk to journalist David Sirota, who's been reporting a different pension story altogether--one about how Wall Street investors and hedge fund managers see public pension plans as cash cows.
Progressive Democrats launched an unexpected attack on a Congressional spending bill, leaving some pundits complaining once more about nasty Beltway polarization. But legislators were trying to do something substantive: Stop an attempt to roll back an important part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Journalist David Dayen will join us to explain what was at stake.
Also this week: It was two years ago that 10 first graders and 6 adults were killed by a troubled young man with an assault rifle. Media were transfixed by the disaster at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but did it affect the way they report on gun control? We'll talk about guns and the press with Ladd Everitt, communications director at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
This week on CounterSpin: It's hard to think of a time when a free press is more necessary than when the public needs to know about crimes committed in our name. So the release of a Senate report on CIA torture is a test for US media. We'll talk about the report and the media response with Baher Azmy, legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Also this week: Ashton Carter will likely be the next Secretary of Defense. Press coverage tells us he's a Rhodes Scholar, a physicist, and an 'uber wonk.' But else should we know about him, and what does his selection mean for US military policy? Author and military analyst Mel Goodman will join us to discuss that.
This week on CounterSpin: Obama's executive action on immigration has rightwing Republicans calling for impeachment, or at least censure, or at least defunding of any agencies involved in implementing it. So does that mean it's good? We'll hear from media maker and organizer Maegan Ortiz on what media's overwhelmingly inside the beltway framing leaves out.
Also this week: Fracking is often portrayed in the corporate media as many steps in the right direction: Energy independence, job creation, not to mention homeowners striking it rich. But a new investigation in In These Times magazine shows that poverty and drilling go hand in hand. We'll talk to journalist Hannah Guzik about environmental racism and the fight to find out the public health risks associated with fracking.
This week on CounterSpin: The imminent ruling by a St. Louis County grand jury about whether to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, has media focused on the possibility of violent demonstrations. But the issues raised by Brown's killing won't disappear no matter what the jury decides. We'll talk with educator and organizer Mariame Kaba about the bigger story.
Also this week: The White House's climate emissions deal with China was praised throughout the media as a big step in the right direction. One liberal columnist told readers not to listen to the 'yes but' naysayers. But critics of the deal are worth listening to; we'll speak with one, Daphne Wysham of the Center for Sustainable Economy.
This week on CounterSpin: Bipartisanship and free trade are two of corporate media's favorite things, so when the Washington Post editorial expressed the post midterm media consensus--"Now that Republicans have gained control of Congress, no policy area is riper for bipartisan action than trade"--you can believe they were happy to do it. But should we be happy? And is it even true? We'll hear from Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.
Also this week: Republicans have been hard at work for the past few years restricting the right to vote. Did their work pay off in the midterms? We'll speak to reporter Ari Berman of The Nation, who recently wrote that "it's become easier to buy an election and harder to vote in one."