Mar 25 2011

Asli Bali on Libya, Alia Malek on US Muslim prisons


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The U.S.’s sudden military involvement in Libya raises many questions that have not been answered by officials who’ve plunged the country into a war they say is to protect civilians, or even asked by many journalists who have been too busy cheering to ask them. Questions like how certain are we that going war will be better for Libyan civilians than the threat they faced from Libyan dictator Muammar el-Gadhafi? And what solutions short of war were sought? We’ll be joined by UCLA law professor Asli Bali. Also on the show: the seemingly unending […]

Feb 1 2011

When Journalism Becomes ‘Terrorism’

The dangerous sport of calling WikiLeaks names

“Let me be very clear,” declared Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.), “WikiLeaks is not a whistleblower website and [Julian] Assange is not a journalist.” Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin concurred: “Assange is not a ‘journalist,’ any more than the ‘editor’ of Al-Qaeda’s new English-language magazine Inspire is a ‘journalist,’” she wrote on her Facebook page, adding that the WikiLeaks founder was “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” who should be “pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Meet the Press, 12/5/10) likewise dubbed Assange a “high-tech terrorist”—a designation endorsed by […]

May 14 2010

Glenn Greenwald and Marjorie Cohn on the Elena Kagan nomination


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama has announced his pick for Supreme Court justice—former Harvard Law School dean and Solicitor General Elena Kagan. And the media debates have begun: about her record, her credentials and her likely impact on the court. We’ll sort through some of what you’re hearing and perhaps what you aren’t hearing in a conversation with court watchers Glenn Greenwald, of and author and law professor Marjorie Cohn. That’s coming up but first, as usual, we’ll take a look back at the week’s press. —With a story like the ongoing environmental disaster in the […]

May 1 2010

Dissent an Olympic Non-Event

Vancouver protests give way to games as 'unifying force'

Alissa Westergard-Thorpe--Photo Credit:

For many people, the Olympics rank high on the Happy Meter, right up there with cuddly kittens and free beer. But those who take a closer look at the Olympics’ political-economic underbelly often end up seeing less feline and more freight train, a corporate juggernaut whizzing through town at taxpayer expense and leaving public debt and social dislocation in its wake. Early on, activists in Vancouver, Canada, identified the perils of the Olympic industrial complex, beginning their organizing even before the city was granted the bid by the International Olympic Committee in 2003. Anti-Olympic activists put forth spirited, wide-ranging criticism: […]

Jan 1 2010

Freedom Forum CEO Tied to For-Profit Prisons

An advocate for--and against--freedom of information

Al Neuharth (cc photo: Scott Henrichsen/Knight Foundation)

Charles Overby has a foot planted firmly in two very different worlds. In one, he is a champion of the free press. In the other, he is part of a group at the helm of a corporation that has worked hard to limit freedom of information and the ability of the press to inform the public. In one world, Overby is chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, a foundation created by former USA Today publisher Al Neuharth, and its Newseum—located on Pennsylvania Avenue, blocks from the Smithsonian and the Capitol, and which literally has the First Amendment etched onto […]

May 1 2009

When the White House Says Hush

Treating the ‘state secrets privilege’ as classified information

Redacted State Department Documents (National Security Archives)

If the media were doing their proper job, they would see a government’s assertion that a case is too secret to talk about as a mandate to dig deeper, not a reason to back away.

Apr 24 2009

Glenn Greenwald on torture, Rose Aguilar on tent cities


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: While it’s pretty clear that Bush-era torture occurred, and that U.S. and international treaties oblige the U.S. to investigate, the hot media discussion centers not on when investigations will begin, but on whether President Barack Obama—not the Justice Department—thinks they should go forward. We’ll talk to Glenn Greenwald of about the torture story. Also on CounterSpin today: Media are flocking to so-called tent cities to try and put a human face on the recession and housing crisis. That sounds laudable, but are the media getting the story wrong? We’ll talk to journalist Rose […]

Apr 1 2009

Dangerous Revisionism Over Guantánamo

Citing dirty evidence to defend dubious detentions

On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, the New York Times (11/3/08) published a front-page article headlined “Next President Will Face Test on Detainees,” which attempted to highlight the problems that Barack Obama will face in pursuing his pledge to close the Guantánamo prison camp. “The next president will have to contend with sobering intelligence claims against many of the remaining detainees,” reporters William Glaberson and Margot Williams warned, picking out examples from the cases of some of the 255 prisoners who are still held at the prison. Unfortunately, the quality of the supposed evidence against the Guantánamo prisoners […]