This week on CounterSpin: A special back to school episode, with two interviews from this year that get at some of the thorniest issues around public education: The politics of teacher tenure and the de facto segregation of American schools. Our guests are writer and activist Brian Jones and Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica.
This week on CounterSpin: The New York Times' David Carr says 'nothing much good was happening in Ferguson until it became a hashtag'. It's naïve to think that media attention to the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown is enough to address the crisis it represents, but Carr's not wrong that it was the internet and not corporate media that put the story on the front burner. We'll talk about Ferguson and media with Malkia Cyril of the Center for Media Justice.
Also on the show: Will New York Times reporter James Risen go to jail for refusing to testify against a source? Risen's case is seen by many as a clear-cut example of how the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers is also a war on journalists and journalism. We'll talk to FAIR founder Jeff Cohen, director of the Park Center for Independent Media about the state of the case and the activist pushback.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.