Feb
01
2006

20 Stories That Made a Difference

For better or worse

FAIR was founded on the belief that journalism matters—that getting out the truth can improve the world, while news that distorts or denies reality can have terrible consequences. To illustrate this conviction, we've compiled a list of 20 news stories published since FAIR's 1986 debut that had a major impact on society—for good or for ill. The list is not meant to be a comprehensive collection of the most momentous stories of the past 20 years, but rather to be illustrative of the power of media. Stories that should have led to serious changes, but were underplayed by corporate media, […]

Apr
05
2005

Reviving Cold War Reporting on Nicaragua

As the Bush administration carries out what the New York Times (4/5/05) describes as a "concerted effort" to block the return of the left-wing Sandinista party to power in Nicaragua, U.S. media are returning to the kind of distorted reporting on Nicaragua that characterized coverage during Washington's war against that country in the 1980s. The New York Times' April 5 article on the administration's anti-Sandinista campaign provides a prime example of this one-sided and inaccurate media treatment. The article, by Ginger Thompson, characterized the U.S. attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government as part of "the global struggle against Communism"-- though […]

Apr
01
2005

Weasel Words on Negroponte

Not

George W. Bush's February 17 nomination of John Negroponte to the newly created job of director of intelligence was the subject of a flurry of media coverage. But little attention was paid to Negroponte's role in the brutal and illegal Contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in the mid-1980s. From 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was the U.S. ambassador to Honduras, a country that served as the main staging ground for the CIA-created and -backed Contra armies, who attacked civilians in a terrorist campaign against Nicaragua. Negroponte was a key player in organizing training for the Contras and procuring […]

Mar
01
2005

America's Debt to Gary Webb

Punished for reporting the truth while those who covered it up thrived

Gary Webb: His Unknown Gift to America

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb wrote a series of articles that forced a long-overdue investigation of a very dark chapter of recent U.S. foreign policy—the Reagan/Bush administration’s protection of cocaine traffickers who operated under the cover of the Nicaraguan Contra war in the 1980s. For his brave reporting at the San Jose Mercury News, Webb paid a high price. He was attacked by journalistic colleagues at the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, American Journalism Review (11/96, 1-2/ 97, 6/97) and even the Nation magazine (6/2/97). Under this media pressure, his editor, Jerry Ceppos, sold out the story […]

Mar
01
2005

Taking a Dive on Contra Crack

How the Mercury News caved in to the media establishment

At 2 a.m.—midnight in San Jose—on August 18, 1996, I was at a party at my best friend’s house in Indianapolis. I excused myself, went into a bedroom, plugged into my laptop, and dialed into the Mercury’s website. A picture of a man smoking crack, superimposed upon the seal of the CIA, drew itself on the screen. After more than a year of work, “Dark Alliance” was finally out. The Mercury News executive editor, Jerry Ceppos, called and congratulated me. The TV networks were calling the paper. We were getting phone calls from all over the world. “Let’s stay on […]

Feb
25
2005

Stephen Zunes on Syria, Terry Allen on John Negroponte

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The U.S. has been rattling the saber at Syria for the last few years, and the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in mid-February has caused an escalation of US belligerence toward Syria-despite an apparent lack of evidence that Syria was involved in the killing. We'll talk about coverage of Syria with Professor Stephen Zunes, the chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. Also this week: George W. Bush recently nominated John Negroponte to be his national director of intelligence, a new government post recommended […]

Feb
22
2005

Media Omissions on Negroponte's Record

George W. Bush's February 17 nomination of John Negroponte to the newly created job of director of intelligence was the subject of a flurry of media coverage. But one part of Negroponte's resume was given little attention: his role in the brutal and illegal Contra war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in the mid-1980s. From 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was the U.S. ambassador to Honduras, a country that was being used as a training and staging ground for the CIA-created and -backed Contra armies, who relied on a terrorist strategy of targeting civilians. Those years saw a massive increase […]

Dec
17
2004

Jeff Cohen on Gary Webb, Eileen Loh Harrist on Youngstown strike

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Award-winning investigative reporter Gary Webb died at the age of 49 on Friday, December 10, from an apparent suicide. In 1996 Webb's courageous work linked cocaine traffickers to the CIA's Contra army in Nicaragua and to the West Coast crack scourge. We'll be joined by FAIR founder Jeff Cohen to discuss Gary Webb's work and the backlash he suffered at the hands of an establishment media bent on protecting the powerful. Also on the show: Workers at the Youngstown Ohio daily the Vindicator are on strike. So what does that have to do with […]