Dec
01
2006

The Myth of the Muzzled Media

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to "The Repeatedly Re-Elected Autocrat."] Following Hugo Chávez’s September 20 speech at the U.N., which included a mocking reference to George W. Bush as “the devil,” U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton told reporters “the real issue” was that Chávez was not “giving the same freedom of speech” to Venezuelans (Daily News, 9/21/06). Editorials condemning Chávez and approvingly citing Bolton’s accusation appeared in several newspapers (e.g., Augusta Chronicle, 9/22/06; Omaha World-Herald, 9/22/06), but one pundit, John McLaughlin of television’s McLaughlin Group (9/22/06), challenged Bolton’s claim, responding on air, “Well, Ambassador Bolton, maybe they […]

Nov
24
2006

Robert Parry on Robert Gates, Barbara Kopple on 'Shut Up and Sing'

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: George Bush's choice of Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary is being portrayed in the media as a sensible choice; part of a White House turn to more pragmatic policies and advisors in the wake of GOP congressional defeats. But in his report, "The Secret World of Robert Gates," investigative reporter Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews.com sees Gates differently. Robert Parry will joins us to talk about the Gates nomination. Also on CounterSpin today: In 2003, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines declared on stage in London that she was ashamed that George […]

Oct
20
2006

Daniel Davies on the Lancet study, Peggy Charren on the FCC and indecency

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When a study in the British Medical journal the Lancet found that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died as a consequence of the war, the Lancet was dismissed by George W. Bush, who called its methodology flawed. American media outlets also cast doubt, calling the peer-reviewed findings "disputed" and pointing to lower, less scientific numbers as more reliable. Daniel Davies, a writer for the Comment is Free blog on the website of London's Guardian, will join us to explain why the critics are wrong. Also on the show: The FCC’s war on what […]

Aug
24
2006

CBS, NBC Clean Up Bush's 'Happy' Talk

During his August 21 press conference, George W. Bush responded to a question about the Iraq War by saying that "sometimes I'm happy" about the conflict. But many readers and TV viewers never heard the remark, since journalists edited the statement to save Bush any possible embarrassment. Bush's unedited comment was as follows: Q: But are you frustrated, sir? BUSH: Frustrated? Sometimes I'm frustrated. Rarely surprised. Sometimes I'm happy. This is -- but war is not a time of joy. These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times, and they're difficult times, and they're straining the psyche of our country. […]

Aug
01
2006

The 'Cheat Sheets'

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to "Subverting, Not Preserving, Democracy."]   One of the many issues raised in Rep. John Conyers’ report on the 2004 Ohio election but not tackled in the press was the accusation that the electronic voting company Triad had provided a “cheat sheet” for election officials participating in the Ohio recount, with the intent of artificially jibing results to avoid further scrutiny. In a sworn affidavit, Sherole Eaton, who in 2004 was the deputy director of the Board of Elections in Hocking County, Ohio, claimed that a representative from Triad had come to assist her […]

Aug
01
2006

Subverting, Not Preserving, Democracy

Marginalizing vote fraud 'conspiracy theories'

As the 2006 mid-term elections near, it is worth looking at the way the press handled the important claims of vote fraud in the last election. Extra! examined the 2004 post-election coverage of major news outlets, focusing on the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today, along with network TV news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC. Extra! looked at this coverage in light of allegations detailed in Rep. John Conyers' report, "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio." On January 5, 2005, the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee, led by Conyers of Michigan, issued a report […]

Aug
01
2006

Reversing Course

FEMA Allows Katrina Victims To Speak to News Media

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had a policy prohibiting journalists from having unsupervised interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims who have been relocated to FEMA trailer parks—a policy that was reversed after complaints from the Baton Rouge Advocate and FAIR activists. “If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” the Advocate (7/15/06) quoted FEMA spokesperson Rachel Rodi. “That’s just a policy.” In the same article, Advocate reporter Sandy Davis described two separate interventions by FEMA security to halt interviews with people displaced by Katrina. In […]

Jul
28
2006

FEMA Reverses Media Access Policy

Will allow press access to Katrina survivors in trailer parks

After sustained pressure from FAIR activists (7/21/06, 7/25/06) and continued scrutiny from the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it had reversed its policy that severely limited media access to Hurricane Katrina survivors living in FEMA trailer parks. "We're responding to your criticism," FEMA representative James Stark told the Advocate (7/26/06). "You pointed out some very good points that we shouldn't be trying to muzzle the press.... In no way will FEMA security nor FEMA public affairs stand in the way of media entering the trailer parks with valid credentials and interviewing whomever they like." Four […]