Aug
01
2011

The Fires This Time

In coverage of extreme weather, media downplay climate change

On April 14, a massive storm swept down out of the Rocky Mountains into the Midwest and South, spawning more than 150 tornadoes that killed 43 people across 16 states (Capital Weather Gang, 4/18/11). It was one of the largest weather catastrophes in United States history—but was soon upstaged by an even larger storm, the 2011 Super Outbreak that spread more than 300 tornadoes across 14 states from April 25 to 28 (including an all-time one-day record of 188 twisters on April 27), killing 339 people, including 41 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN, 5/1/11). Ensuing weeks saw Texas wildfires that had […]

Jul
01
2011

Patrick Cockburn on Libya, Jordan Flaherty on New Orleans trial

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Congressional debate over the Libya War shows an apparently bipartisan sense of frustration and outrage over the NATO mission. This has triggered a serious debate over the legality of the war, among other things. But there is almost no discussion of whether the pretext for the war has actually held up. Patrick Cockburn of the Independent has been investigating the stories of mass rapes and mercenary fighters that paved the way to war, and he'll tell us what he's found. Also on the show: The story of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath continues to […]

Jul
01
2011

Fiction More Real Than What's 'Fit to Print'

HBO’s Treme covers New Orleans’ recovery

A timeline of the horrific events that unfolded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina hangs on the wall of the conference room in the Treme production offices in New Orleans. The skeletal framework is fleshed out by a team of writers, many of them locals, determined to bring to life the story of people who doggedly reinhabit New Orleans as a place, a state of mind and a culture that refuses to die. Though Treme is scripted entertainment by David Simon and Eric Overmyer, producers of HBO’s The Wire, the events and characters—especially the musicians—are drawn from the cultural traditions, […]

Jun
10
2011

Harvey Wasserman on Fukushima; Andrew Fieldhouse on Bush tax cuts

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: After a lull in reporting about the Japanese nuclear disaster comes news that officials there are admitting that radiation releases were much larger than previously claimed-- not a surprise to critics who saw those early claims as part of a government/corporate/media misinformation loop that kicks in whenever we talk about nuclear power. So what is the real story out of Fukushima, and where can you get independent information? We'll talk to journalist and activist Harvey Wasserman. Also on the show: Ten years ago mainstream media were running stories like the Dallas Morning News’ "FINDING […]

May
01
2011

After Fukushima, Media Still Buying Nuclear Spin

Downplaying deadly dangers in Japan and at home

Fukushima Wikimedia Commons

Ever since the start of nuclear technology, those behind it have made heavy use of deception, obfuscation and denial—with the complicity of most of the media. New York Times reporter William Laurence, working at the same time with the Manhattan Project, wrote a widely published press release covering up the first nuclear test in New Mexico in 1945, claiming it was nothing more than an ammunition dump explosion. The Times and Laurence went on to boost nuclear power for years to come (Beverly Deepe Keever, News Zero: The New York Times and The Bomb). A central concern of nuclear promoters, […]

Oct
01
2010

Brian Williams Rehashes Katrina Violence Myth

Remembering media fantasy as reality

For the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, NBC anchor Brian Williams (Dateline NBC, 8/22/10) recalled the experience as his own boy’s adventure tale: You know, I’ve been around a lot of guns and a lot of dead bodies, and a lot of people shooting at people to make dead bodies. But you put them all together and you put it in the United States of America, and boy, it gets your attention.... It was clear already there weren’t going to be enough cops.... Everywhere we went, every satellite shot, every camera shot, we were at the height of the violence […]

Apr
01
2010

'It's Tough to Be Haitian, Isn't It?'

In quake coverage, nation’s poverty is ‘bad luck’

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/waterdotorg

One of the most striking images from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was of poor New Orleans residents crowded together outside that city’s convention center, days after the storm had subsided, chanting, “We want help!” It was a scene that shocked viewers and reporters alike, who had not realized that a major U.S. city could be home to so many people who lacked the economic means even to flee in the face of oncoming danger—though the promised national conversation about poverty that was supposed to result never really arrived (Extra!, 7-8/06). Such images couldn’t help but come to mind in […]

Jan
29
2010

Charlie Cray on Supreme Court election ruling, Mark Weisbrot on Haiti

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 that corporations may not be limited in their spending to influence elections, because they have the same free speech rights as people. Among the many questions raised are not just what this means for elections, but what it means for "free" speech. We'll hear from Charlie Cray of the Center for Corporate Policy on that story. Also on the program: Amidst the misery, there are a many feel-good stories being reported in the U.S. press about the American role in attempting to bring relief to Haiti. But not all […]