Apr 02 2010

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


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


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

The U.S. media and the Mexican drug conflictFrom 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 […]

Mar 20 2009

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


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

Painting Paraguay’s ‘casbah’ as terror centralWhen 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 […]

Mar 01 2007

Media on Medicare

Don’t mess with success—or corporate profits

Don’t mess with success—or corporate profitsWith 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 […]

Oct 01 2006

Star Power Trumps History in AIDS Coverage

A love letter to the 'two Bills'

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 […]

Jun 23 2006

Eric Boehlert on ‘Lapdogs,’ Ryan King on meth craze

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The title of the book really says it all: Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled over for Bush. Author Eric Boehlert will join us to talk about how—and why—the Beltway press corps has done its part to prop up the Bush presidency. And with Bush down in the polls, has the media mood changed at all? Also on the show: “There’s no drug worse than meth,” claimed US drug czar John Walters in a recent Associated Press story; though the story itself was about how seizures of methamphetamine laboratories are way down. If you’re confused […]