Apr
08
2008

New York Times Explains Winter Soldier Blackout

Public editor responds to concerns raised by FAIR

New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt has offered a response to media activists who wrote to the paper about its non-coverage of last month's Winter Soldier hearings. Hoyt's explanation is that reporters at the Times had "not been aware of the group or its meeting," but likely wouldn't have covered it if they had been aware of the event. The idea that the Times was unaware of Winter Soldier is remarkable; the paper's D.C. reporters were repeatedly sent press releases about the events, the same ones that other media outlets received that did manage to cover the event, ranging […]

Apr
04
2008

Raed Jarrar on Iraq, Julie Hollar on Somalia

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The war in Iraq re-appeared on American TV screens last week, when the Iraqi government decided to confront Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's militias mostly in the southern city of Basra and parts of Baghdad. Those paying attention to the corporate media's coverage of the fighting could have been easily confused by the dominant storyline. We'll try to sort it all out with Raed Jarrar, Iraqi political analyst and blogger. Also on CounterSpin today, the U.S. press had been ignoring Somalia for years until 2006 when the U.S. government began alleging the Islamist governing forces […]

Mar
21
2008

Jeff Cohen on Winter Soldier, Carl Bogus on 2nd Amendment debate

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Veterans and some active duty soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan gathered in Maryland this month for Winter Soldier, offering harrowing and often heartbreaking testimony about their experiences in war. The remarkable event elicited next to no corporate media coverage. FAIR founder Jeff Cohen will join us to share his thoughts. Also on CounterSpin today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case challenging Washington D.C.'s handgun ban. Conservative and liberal legal experts appearing in the media seem increasingly to agree that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right to own guns. […]

May
22
2007

Illegal, Yes--But Not Newsworthy

Wiretapping testimony hardly covered

The revelations coming from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week were startling. On May 15, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified about the Bush administration's extraordinary efforts in March 2004 to gain legal approval for the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program by visiting Attorney General John Ashcroft's hospital room as he recovered from gall bladder surgery. The story is surprising, at the very least—but has so far attracted little media curiosity. The incident was first reported in January 2006 by the New York Times (1/1/06) and Newsweek (1/9/06), to little notice. Comey's testimony fleshed out the details—that […]

May
04
2007

David Enders on Iraq, Harut Sassounian on LAT and Armenian genocide

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: the domestic debate over Iraq is dominating the headlines, usually characterized as a "showdown" between Congress and the White House over Democratic calls to withdraw U.S. troops. The stalemate leaves many reporters asking the question, "What's next?" But in the midst of the partisan scrum on Capitol Hill, what's actually happening in Iraq? Freelance journalist David Enders will join us to share his thoughts. Also this week: the genocide by Turks against Armenians in 1915 is still making news. A dispute erupted recently at the Los Angeles Times when managing editor Douglas Frantz spiked […]

Apr
01
2007

From Self-Censorship to Official Censorship

Ban on images of wounded GIs raises no media objections

This photo of mortally wounded Sgt. Hector Leija, taken by Robert Nickelsberg, was pulled from the New York Times website after being called “offensive” and contrary to new censorship regulations by a U.S. military official. A letter in February to the New York Times (2/3/07) from the commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq revealed new censorship regulations prohibiting portrayals of U.S. casualties in the media. The tightened rules have been in effect since May 2006, but no media outlet with embedded photographers reported on or objected to the censorship of images. In his letter, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno […]

Mar
16
2007

Mahmood Mamdani on Darfur, Karen Greenberg on Guantánamo

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: a new essay in the London Review of Books by Columbia professor Mahmood Mamdani argues that by simplifying the story of Darfur, the U.S. press misleads readers and viewers about what is really happening there. He'll join us to explain what is wrong with what we know about Darfur. Also this week: since the outset of the so-called "war on terror" there has been no shortage of incidents demonstrating the contempt many U.S. officials have for the free press. Karen Greenberg, the executive director of the Center on Law and Security at the NYU […]

Mar
01
2007

Perilous Reporting

The risks of writing about child porn laws

When journalist Debbie Nathan accidentally viewed child porn last May, it set off a chain of events that ensnarled her, New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald, and Salon.com into a messy tangle of child porn law and accusations of libel and censorship. Nathan, a freelancer, did some of the first reporting on people falsely convicted of child molestation in the 1980s (Village Voice, 9/29/87). Last May, while doing online research for a young adult book on pornography as a social issue, Nathan stumbled across “child porn-y looking stuff”; she immediately left the site. Nathan then documented the experience with her […]