As new models for funding journalism are explored, some people are raising concerns about how foundations, for example, might unduly influence the content of the news they underwrite (CJR.org, 5/22/12). Such questions are valid, but they shouldn’t be taken as suggestions that such arrangements threaten novel encroachments on a now-pristine field. It shows how inured we’ve become to news brought to us by private corporations, who in fact care very much about the content of the news they sponsor or, as outlet owners, produce—that it not be too downbeat, or provide a platform for anyone asking hard questions about corporate […]
Owners and advertisers vs. journalism
In L.A. Times, suspects with a badge get a pass
In January 2013, the Los Angeles Times (1/4/13) published an explosive story about alleged criminality in the L.A. Police Department. Two veteran officers, Luis Valenzuela and James Nichols, were under investigation for using the threat of jail to force at least four different women they had previously arrested to have sex with them. Such crimes are legally known as “rape.” But the Times avoided using that term, inexplicably employing every other word and phrase imaginable—including “sex crimes,” “sexual favors” and “forced sex”—to describe what the officers were accused of. Worse still, the Times unquestioningly regurgitated police excuses for why it […]
The president's State of the Union address was met with praise from liberal pundits and derision from conservatives, with precious little analysis of the content. Was it a turn real toward populism? We'll take a look at some of Obama's economic talking points with John Schmitt, a senior economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Also on CounterSpin today, a new study of media coverage of race finds very little of it is what the researchers call 'systemically aware.' We'll ask Dominique Apollon from the group Race Forward to explain what that means, and what better coverage would look like.
This week on CounterSpin: An independent review board has concluded that the National Security Agency's surveillance program poses threats to citizens' civil liberties, isn't really working to catch terrorists and should be ended. But while much debate centers on the data collected being mis-used, what about what happens if it's used as intended? We'll talk with Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison about the history of spying by the US government-- and the actual reasons they do it.
Ariel Sharon died on January 11th, and media send-offs included a lot about the former Israeli prime minister's historic role and his dedication to Israel's defense and security. But they often glossed lightly over the darker aspects of Sharon's record. We'll talk with Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University's Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, about what was often missing in coverage of Sharon's death.
Also on the show: Many public radio listeners have been dismayed to hear puff pieces about hydraulic fracking on NPR, and then to hear ads from the fracking industry. One group recently took their concerns right to the source. We'll hear from Drew Hudson of Environmental Action about what happened at that meeting with NPR.
This week on CounterSpin: The 50th anniversary of the launch of LBJ's War on Poverty is generating a lot of press coverage of an issue corporate media tend to mostly ignore. But what's missing from these conservations? We'll ask author and professor Stephen Pimpare.
Also on CounterSpin today, In the wake of successful marijuana decriminalization efforts in Colorado and Washington state, pundit opponents of pot are forcefully objecting. New York Times columnist David Brooks says he smoked when he was young, and it wasn't so bad, but let's continue to criminalize it; and Fox's Bill O'Reilly says marijuana, texting, and video games are sending our youth down an escapist road to ruin. We'll be joined by Columbia University neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart, for a very different view.
Every year around this time, we put together a mix of some of what we felt were the most important and compelling looks behind the headlines of the mainstream news. From NSA surveillance to Iran to the ongoing economic crisis, CounterSpin heard from an array of activists, commentators and journalists, all of whom had something to say about how corporate media covered these issues.
When will PBS air exposé on deadly Pacific bomb tests?
The documentary Nuclear Savage details the United States' use of Marshall Islanders as guinea pigs in a Cold War-era study of the effects of radiation on human subjects. The film portrays the Pacific Islands as a "paradise lost," brought about by the nearly 70 U.S. nuclear weapons testing detonations that began there in 1946. Much of the information contained in the film is already a matter of public knowledge (albeit on the fringes of our collective consciousness). What makes Nuclear Savage noteworthy is its in-depth analysis of formerly confidential government documents—documents providing evidence that the US actually intended to use […]