Nov
07
2014

Roberto Lovato on Mexico, Ann Jones on Afghanistan

mexico-protests

This week on CounterSpin: The disappearance of 48 student activists in Mexico has brought hundreds of thousands of activists to the streets, demanding accountability from the US-allied president who just months ago was being cheered by Time magazine as the man who would save Mexico. We'll talk to journalist Roberto Lovato about the crisis in Mexico and the reasons the story isn't getting enough coverage in the US press.

Also this week: US media presented the election of Ashraf Ghani as Afghanistan's president as good news, largely because he would sign an agreement allowing US forces to remain in the country. Afghan women had different reasons to be tentatively hopeful; but then, who remembers Afghan women? We'll talk with journalist Ann Jones about her new article, The Missing Women of Afghanistan.

Jul
04
2014

Dave Zirin on World Cup, Sarah Jaffe on Supreme Court

worldcup

Much of the world is tuned into the World Cup. And while the drama on the field is on our TV screens, what about the wrenching political and economic upheaval in host country Brazil that has inspired millions to protest? That's the World Cup story Dave Zirin has been reporting, he'll join us to talk about it.

Also this week: The Supreme Court rulings in Hobby Lobby and Harris, though reportedly narrow, may have far-reaching impacts. Particularly as both almost exclusively affect working women. We'll talk with Sarah Jaffe of In These Times.

Feb
01
2014

Muzzling Critics—or Building Media Democracy?

Ecuador media law riles US journalists

Jullian Assange interviews President Rafael Correa on World Tomorrow, May 22, 2012.

Ecuador’s media law represents something more complex than an attempt to bully critics. The Organic Communications Law attempts to treat the news media like a public good or service, with regulations intended to benefit citizens. It calls on each outlet to develop a code of ethics, calls for swift correction of errors, and requires national outlets to have ombudsmen to deal with public complaints.

Dec
06
2013

Azadeh Shahshahani on Honduras, Esther Armah on Marissa Alexander

Castro, presidential candidate of the Liberty and Refoundation party (LIBRE)

fter a 2009 coup removed left wing president Manuel Zelaya, many were watching the elections in Honduras to get a sense of where the country—and US policy—might be heading. The early results said the elections were relatively clean, and the leading conservative candidate won the vote. But is that the whole story? Azadeh Shahshahani from the National Lawyers Guild will fill us in.

Also on CounterSpin today, Marissa Alexander is free on bond. But the Florida woman sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot in an altercation with her abusive husband still faces a retrial next year. How far has our legal system, and our society, really advanced in understanding domestic violence cases and are media helping? We'll talk with journalist Esther Armah about that.

Apr
01
2013

In Death as in Life, Chavez Target of Media Scorn

His independence, help for Venezuela's poor will not be forgiven

Venezuela’s left-wing populist President Hugo Chávez died on Tuesday, March 5, after a two-year battle with cancer. If world leaders were judged by the sheer volume of corporate media vitriol and misinformation about their policies, Chávez would be in a class of his own. Shortly after Chávez won his first election in 1998, the U.S. government deemed him a threat to U.S. interests—an image U.S. media eagerly played up. When a coup engineered by Venezuelan business and media elites removed Chávez from power, many leading U.S outlets praised the move (Extra!, 6/02). The New York Times (4/13/02), calling it a […]

Dec
01
2012

Fear of a Venezuelan Example

Don’t try this at home, voters

Hugo Chavez casting a vote.2007

Over the past 30 years, the top 1 percent of the United States has experienced a 240 percent increase in its real annual income, while the median household income has barely budged (Economic Policy Institute, 6/18/12, 9/13/11). Imagine if this explosive, decades-long growth of inequality were somehow reversed—at an even faster rate than its original expansion. This has actually happened in Venezuela, and it goes a long way toward explaining why President Hugo Chávez was re-elected in October, despite many U.S. media pundits’ predictions of a victory by opposition leader Henrique Capriles (CounterSpin, 10/12/12). The likelihood of coming across an […]

Sep
01
2012

Radicals, Terrorists and Traffickers--Oh My

Creating a potpourri of enemies south of the border

Rafael Correa--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

In May, a New York Times story (5/6/12) discussed plans to militarize the U.S. presence in Latin America. For some, this might sound redundant, given U.S. history in the region. Others might be struck by the notion that a nation embroiled in two major wars--and threatening to start another--could find the resources to escalate efforts south of its border. The article, which focused on U.S. efforts to strengthen its anti-drug campaign in Honduras, provided a glimpse of the evolution of the U.S. military's role in the world as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down. That role, the Times […]

Jun
26
2012

Their Man on Havana (and Everywhere Else)

Michael Shifter, media’s conflicted Latin America expert

Michael Shifter--Photo Credit: Inter-American Dialouge

If you’re covering Latin America for U.S. corporate media, Michael Shifter is the person to turn to when you need a quote. Currently the president of the Inter-American Dialogue research group, Shifter offers soothing centrism about political developments across the region—giving reporters soundbites on everything from a papal visit to Cuba to elections in Argentina to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Readers might wonder how one expert could be so valuable to elite media. What these papers don’t reveal is that Shifter is also valuable to an array of international corporations who fund his think tank—along with several governments of […]