May
01
2009

Does Violence 'Spill Over' or Come Home to Roost?

The U.S. media and the Mexican drug conflict

Protest against violence caused by the drug war.--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Fronteras Desk

From the New York Times to Fox News, corporate media interest in Mexico’s drug-related violence has risen recently to an almost fever pitch. Initially this was a welcome sign: U.S. media were finally taking notice of a security and political crisis that had been festering for years, and seemingly worsening by the day, right at “our doorstep.” What has emerged, however, is a portrait of Mexico as an out-of-control orgy of violence at the hands of the narco-trafficking cartels, criminal organizations that annually feed billions of dollars worth of drugs to consumers in the United States. Realities on the ground—and […]

Sep
01
2008

The Illusion of Immigrant Criminality

Getting the numbers wrong

Photo Credit: Democracy Now!

Immigrants aren't a crime problem. "The foreign-born commit considerably fewer crimes than the native-born," as President Herbert Hoover's National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement concluded in 1931 (National Lawyers Guild Quarterly, 10/39; Immigration Policy Center, Spring/07). While noncitizens now make up more than 8 percent of the U.S. population, the available evidence indicates that they account for no more than 6 or 7 percent of the people incarcerated for crimes in the United States, less than 170,000 of the 2.3 million inmates currently in our federal, state and local penal systems--not including some 30,000 immigrants in administrative detention on […]

Mar
14
2008

Robert Dreyfuss on McCain's foreign policy, Michael Jacobson on incarceration rates

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: You probably heard about Republican presidential candidate John McCain's little "joke," singing "Bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann. But our guest suggests that that incident wasn't so much a gaffe, as a pretty clear illustration of McCain's foreign policy vision. Robert Dreyfuss is an independent journalist, one of few who have actually examined McCain's record and his plans on issues of international engagement. We'll hear what he has to say. Also on the show: The number is startling: 1 in 100 adult Americans is now in jail or […]

Nov
01
2007

Enabling False Convictions

Exoneration coverage overlooks media role

"The science of DNA on Monday cleared the 200th person wrongfully convicted of a crime in the United States, a record that demands that the criminal justice system fix its serious flaws," editorialized the Philadelphia Inquirer (4/25/07), after Jerry Miller of Illinois became an American exoneration milestone. As milestones often do, Miller's exoneration gave the press an easy “news peg” to report on DNA testing and the troubled U.S. criminal justice system. And report they did. Most major news organizations filed at least one piece on Miller's exoneration, with some editorializing for significant reform and others raising specific questions about […]

Jul
20
2007

Tammy Johnson on affirmative action and the Supreme Court, Rachel Morris on Sami al-Haj

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: coverage of the June 28 Supreme Court ruling striking down a key element of affirmative action that promoted racial diversity in American schools featured opponents and supporters of the decision, but did it succeed in accurately describing the real extent of continuing discrimination? Or probing the meaning behind loaded terms like colorblindness, embraced by affirmative action opponents? We'll talk to Tammy Johnson of the Race and Public Policy Program at the Applied Research Center in Oakland California . Also on CounterSpin today, the Bush administration has lost several key legal battles over the past […]

Jun
15
2007

David Bryden on Bush & AIDS funding, Lew Koch on Padilla trial

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: perhaps it was because both Democrats and Republicans supported it, perhaps it was just an eagerness to tell some good news, but mainstream media were all together in cheering the Bush White House's renewed commitment to fighting AIDS. The only trouble was, the key numbers at the center of the conversation turn out to be not as they appear. We'll talk with David Bryden of the Global AIDS Alliance about that "Bush doubles AIDS funding" storyline. Also this week: the trial of Jose Padilla is underway, but the not-quite-a-dirty-bomber's case is hardly getting any […]

Sep
29
2006

Michael Ratner on detainee legislation, Hannah Sassaman on suppressed FCC reports

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Congress has passed legislation on military commissions and detainee treatment that will allow forms of detainee abuse recognized internationally as torture, and make secret evidence and coerced evidence admissible in court. It will also degrade habeus corpus, the traditional right of prisoners to challenge their detention. Why is the media largely ignoring the substance and historic significance of the legislation in favor the stories about the political battles over it? We'll talk about all that with Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Also on the show: FCC Chair Kevin Martin has called […]

Jul
01
2006

Impeachment Not on Media Radar

Adultery was serious; this is just the Constitution

There is a growing grassroots campaign demanding the impeachment of George W. Bush. Across the nation, towns and cities have been passing pro-impeachment resolutions. Websites promoting impeachment keep springing up. In several states, bills have been introduced in state legislatures that, if passed, would become formal bills of impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives, requiring initiation of impeachment hearings under congressional rules dating back to the early 19th century. Starting last fall, several polls (Zogby, 10/29-11/2/05, 1/9-12/06; Ipsos, 10/6-9/05) reported that a majority of Americans thought Bush should be impeached if he lied the country into war in Iraq […]