May
01
2011

Narrow Afghan Debate on Cable's 'Liberal' Channel

Maddow's military boosterism takes center stage at MSNBC

Of the cable news channels, MSNBC has the most progressive image, based largely on the persona of now-fired anchor Keith Olbermann, but also reflecting the presence of hosts like Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Olbermann’s replacement Lawrence O’Donnell. To test how much this left-leaning reputation actually reflects the content of MSNBC’s news, Extra! looked at the network’s coverage of the Afghan War on four primetime shows—Schultz’s Ed Show, Olbermann’s Countdown, the Rachel Maddow Show and O’Donnell’s Last Word—from July 2010 through December 2010. Extra! counted all sources interviewed by MSNBC about Afghanistan, excluding taped soundbites pulled from other sources. Commentary […]

Mar
08
2011

How Many Afghan Kids Need to Die to Make the News?

The number of Afghan boys gathering firewood killed by a March 1 U.S./NATO helicopter attack in Kunar Province: Nine. The number of stories about the killing of the nine children on ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening news shows (as of March 6): Two. One was an 80-word report on NBC Nightly News (3/2/11), the other a brief ABC World News Sunday story (3/6/11) about Afghan president Hamid Karzai's "harsh words for the U.S." after the "mistaken killing of nine Afghan boys in an airstrike." On the PBS NewsHour? Two brief mentions (3/2/11, 3/7/11), both during the "other news […]

Aug
27
2010

Pratap Chatterjee on Task Force 373, Timothy Karr on net neutrality

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The WikiLeaks Afghan War Diaries prompted waves of media coverage, though much of that amounted to "move on, there's nothing to see here." But digging into the documents might reveal more about the Afghan War than we knew—like the existence of something called Task Force 373, set up to capture or kill specific al Qaeda or Taliban figures. What does it really do, though, and where does it fit in with what we know about U.S. war policy? Journalist Pratap Chatterjee will join us to talk about that. Also on CounterSpin today: A few […]

Aug
24
2010

Tell NBC: Debate the Afghanistan War

Meet the Press missing antiwar voices

Thousands have signed on to FAIR's petition--add your voice today and keep the pressure on NBC to have a real war debate! July saw more U.S. troop fatalities in Afghanistan than any month since the war began nine years ago. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was removed from his commanding post amid controversy, and WikiLeaks released a trove of classified documents that paint a picture of a failing war and unreported civilian casualties. How has NBC's Meet the Press responded to these developments? By inviting on guests to defend the war and Obama's Afghanistan policy. Sundays on NBC have been a steady […]

Aug
20
2010

Hannah Gurman on Iraq, Norman Solomon on Petraeus and Afghanistan

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: One war is ending, while the other is the subject of a major PR blitz. Right on schedule, we're told, Operation Iraqi Freedom is winding down, with live TV coverage relaying the images of the final U.S. combat brigades leaving the country. The caveats to the story of the "end" of the war are abundant—tens of thousands of troops and private contractors remain, and some are already suggesting they'll be there longer than we've been told. So how does a war that isn't really ending actually end? Hannah Gurman wrote about the Orwellian state […]

Aug
18
2010

Tell NBC: Sunday Morning Needs a Real War Debate

Meet the Press features a parade of Afghanistan hawks

The war in Afghanistan has re-emerged as a major news story, thanks to the controversies surrounding the removal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the WikiLeaks release of classified documents. But on NBC's Meet the Press, the opportunity to engage in a robust debate about the war has taken a back seat to promoting the views of the military and supporters of Obama's Afghanistan policies. The most recent example came on August 15, when Meet the Press devoted the entire episode to a profile of Gen. David Petraeus. Host David Gregory's opening indicated it wasn't going to be a feet-to-the-fire interview: […]

Aug
06
2010

Sonali Kolhatkar on Afghan War & women, Laura Carlsen on Venezuela & Colombia

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The release of the Afghanistan WikiLeaks documents brought the Afghan war back onto the front pages, but much of the attention went to Time magazine's cover, featuring a disfigured Afghan woman and the headline "What Happens if we leave Afghanistan." Suddenly the Afghan War debate reverted back to its 2001 template, with the rescue of Afghan women as the noble rationale for U.S. military action. We'll get a reaction from radio host Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women's Mission. Also on CounterSpin today: If you've been following the rising tensions between Colombia and Venezuela, […]

Apr
02
2010

Alfred McCoy on Afghanistan, Richard Kim on The Mad Tea Party

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The DEA made a high profile announcement of massive seizures of opium in Afghanistan, reminding us of the centrality of opium production to the country’s economy. But most stories on the occupation and on Afghan ‘hearts and minds’ include marginal mention of the narcotic. How would really understanding the role of opium shift our understanding of US policy in Afghanistan? We’ll hear from historian Alfred McCoy, author of the classic The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, now updated as The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Also on CounterSpin […]