Jul
01
2014

The Assault on Organics

Ignoring science to make the case for chemical farming

organic food

A massive PR effort tries to convince people not to care about pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or GMOs in food.

Jun
27
2014

Murtaza Hussain on Iraq, Laura Carlsen on Immigration Crisis

cbs-sunni-shia

This week on CounterSpin: The crisis in Iraq has pundits talking about Al Qaeda and ISIS and regional powers like Iran -- but there's also the suggestion that this is merely the latest round in a 1400 year old war between Muslim sects. That lets the US off the hook, but does it fit with actual history? Writer Murtaza Hussain joins us to explain how it doesn't.

Also this week: Are the increasing numbers of children migrants from Central America "refugees who need asylum or illegal gold-diggers who need to go home?" Not clear whom the Christian Science Monitor thought it was helping with such inhumane framing of what the White House is now calling an 'urgent humanitarian situation'. We'll talk about the more complicated pushes and pulls behind this child migration with Laura Carlsen of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy.

Jun
20
2014

Ross Caputi on Iraq, Brian Jones on Teacher Tenure

ISIS-CSpin

This week on CounterSpin: According to US media, a brutal jihadi group known as ISIS has taken over large regions of Iraq in recent days. This has resulted in a parade of pundits discussing just how massive the US military response should be. We'll talk with Ross Caputi, a former marine who served in Iraq and is a now a leader in the reparations movement, about what is really going on there.

Also this week: A judge in California takes aim at tenure for public school teachers, to the delight of education 'reformers' and editorial pages. But are they right about what tenure means? And does any of this help students? We'll talk to writer and activist Brian Jones.

Jun
13
2014

Jennifer Fiore on Gun Violence, Keane Bhatt on Human Rights Watch

cbs-oregon

This week on CounterSpin: Another fatal school shooting, another round of media stories about what we as a society need to talk more or more honestly about. One effort now gaining ground says there are some things we can do besides talk. Jennifer Fiore is executive director of the Campaign to Unload. She'll join us to talk about divesting from gun violence.

Also on the show: Two Nobel prize laureates have joined scores of academics in publishing letters to Human Rights Watch, challenging the prominent human rights group to scuttle a revolving door policy that has seen top staff land jobs in the US state department and vice versa, and noting times when the group seems to put aside neutrality to side with the US. Keane Bhatt, the activist and writer behind the effort, will join us to talk about that.

Jun
06
2014

Janet Redman on EPA Rules, Trevor Timm on James Risen

cbs-carbon

The EPA has proposed new rules limiting carbon emissions, and the outcry from industry -- lost jobs! higher energy costs! -- were completely predictable. But people concerned about climate change aren't exactly dancing in the aisles either. So are the new rules a bold step toward fighting climate change, or something much less? We'll hear from Janet Redman of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies.

Also this week: New York Times reporter James Risen faces incarceration for citing the reporter's privilege to protect a source and refusing to testify in a criminal case against an ex-CIA employee. The Supreme Court refused to take his case on June 2nd and effectively let stand a lower court ruling finding there is no such thing as a reporter's privilege. We'll talk to Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation about the ruling.

May
30
2014

Priyamvada Gopal on Indian Elections, Soraya Chemaly on Trigger Warnings

CNN-india

India's new prime minister Narendra Modi is being well-received in the US press, with his neoliberal economic ideas in the foreground and his ties to Hindu extremism pushed further back, or glossed. We'll speak to University of Cambridge professor Priyamvada Gopal about Modi.

Also this week: 'Trigger warnings' are, according to various media think pieces and op-eds, a new attack on free speech on college campuses, an attempt to protect the delicate sensibilities of young people who refuse to be challenged or have their beliefs questioned. But many argue that alerting people that they may encounter traumatic content isn't about punishing free speech, but actually about expanding conversations about things like racism and violence. We'll talk it over with feminist writer Soraya Chemaly.

May
23
2014

Nikole Hannah-Jones on School Segregation, Lizbeth Gronlund on US Nukes

screen_shot_2014_04_18_at_3_med

This week on CounterSpin: Much of the media coverage of the 60th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision outlawing segregated schools noted an ominous development: American schools are still segregated, some even more so than before Brown. We'll talk to Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica, who has been tracking this for a series called "Segregation Now."

Also this week: Congress is currently debating the military budget, including White House proposals to increase spending on nuclear weapons to 300 billion dollars over the next decade. But besides the rare wire story, you wouldn't know about it, despite news angles which might question how it conflicts with US international obligations and previous White House pronouncements. We'll speak with Lizbeth Gronlund of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program about nuclear weapons spending.

May
16
2014

Bronwyn Bruton on Nigeria, Ben Lilliston on Trade Policy & Climate

ABC_Nigeria

This week on the show: The Bring Back Our Girls social media activism is an understandable response to the horrific kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls by the Boko Harum militant group. The story, ignored at first by the US press, is receiving wall to wall attention. We'll talk to Bronwyn Bruton of the Atlantic Council about some of the complexity often missing from that coverage.

Also this week: Some folks thought it odd that Barack Obama chose a Walmart as the place to declare his commitment to clean energy – the behemoth company is known, by many, for its record of climate pollution on a scale a few solar panels won't fix. But our guest says White House policies promoting energy efficiency and renewables face another formidable obstacle: namely, other White House policies. Ben Lilliston from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy will join us to explain.