Apr
02
2010

Alfred McCoy on Afghanistan, Richard Kim on The Mad Tea Party

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The DEA made a high profile announcement of massive seizures of opium in Afghanistan, reminding us of the centrality of opium production to the country’s economy. But most stories on the occupation and on Afghan ‘hearts and minds’ include marginal mention of the narcotic. How would really understanding the role of opium shift our understanding of US policy in Afghanistan? We’ll hear from historian Alfred McCoy, author of the classic The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, now updated as The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Also on CounterSpin […]

Aug
14
2009

Trudy Lieberman on healthcare reform, Gary Schwitzer on health news study

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Healthcare reform is still the top political story of the moment. But the coverage seems to have gone from bad to worse, with noisy town hall meetings standing in the way of any coherent discussion of the dysfunctional healthcare system in this country, and what can be done about it. Trudy Lieberman has been watching healthcare coverage for Columbia Journalism Review; she'll join us to talk about what she's found. Also on CounterSpin today: An ongoing review of network morning news coverage of health issues finds a dangerous pattern of coverage providing faulty information, […]

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 […]

Mar
20
2009

Robert Johnson on AIG bonuses, Laura Carlsen on Mexican drug wars

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The AIG executive bonuses account for less than one percent of the money taxpayers are turning over to the insurance giant in the largest of the corporate bailouts. But it's the bonus story that has riveted the public attention and outrage. We'll talk to Robert Johnson, formerly the managing director at Soros Funds Management and chief economist of the Senate Banking Committee, about AIG and the power of the bonuses story. Also on the show: CNN has been telling viewers that "regardless of where you are in the country," that's this country, the war […]

Oct
01
2007

City of Terror

Painting Paraguay's 'casbah' as terror central

When we arrived in Ciudad del Este, we were petrified. After all, we were in the Paraguayan city known in the American press as a "Jungle Hub for World’s Outlaws" (L.A. Times, 8/24/98), and a "hotbed" "teeming with Islamic extremists and their sympathizers" (New York Times, 12/15/02). The U.S. media's portrayal of this city, the center of a zone on the frontiers of Argentina and Brazil known as the Tri-Border Area, left us expecting to see cars bombs exploding, terrorists training and American flags burning. We soon realized that picture painted by U.S. media was inaccurate. In the Cold War, […]

Mar
01
2007

Media on Medicare

Don’t mess with success—or corporate profits

With the new Democratic Congress promising to let the Medicare prescription drug program negotiate lower prices from drug companies, those companies have gotten their friends in the media to find some reason—any reason—why this would be a bad idea. The Washington Post, happy to defend corporate profits, declared in the lead paragraph of a front-page November 26 article that Democrats were in danger of “wrecking a program that has proven cheaper and more popular than anyone imagined.” “Anyone” clearly doesn’t include Congress, which barely passed the program in 2003 based on the White House’s 10-year cost projection of less than […]

Oct
01
2006

Star Power Trumps History in AIDS Coverage

A love letter to the 'two Bills'

A number of activists at the 16th International AIDS Conference complained that the Toronto gathering foregrounded the rich and famous—most prominently Microsoft chair Bill Gates and former President Bill Clinton—at the expense of front-line workers and people living with AIDS (e.g., “Activists Blast Focus on Celebrity,” Calgary Herald, 8/17/06). “They can’t have it both ways,” responded Conference co-chair Mark Wainberg (AP Worldstream, 8/17/06). Advocates who want the increased public attention that comes with media coverage, Wainberg suggested, should know the deal. “They should understand, as we all do, that we would not have 3,000 journalists at this conference if not […]

Sep
01
2006

Never Apologize

[Note: this piece is a sidebar to Star Power Trumps History in AIDS Coverage] A study published in August in the Journal of the American Medical Association (8/9/06) found that sub-Saharan Africans are better at following drug regimens than North Americans. The authors hoped the findings would lay to rest the myth that Africans are incapable of adhering to complicated antiretroviral drug treatment programs, which had been used as an excuse to restrict the region’s access to life-saving drugs. In a related story, the New York Times (8/14/06) reported, “Only a few years ago, there was widespread skepticism that AIDS […]