Jim Naureckas on Rove-Wilson, Trudy Lieberman on Drug Industry

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: As Karl Rove becomes the subject of intense media scrutiny the White House is being raked over the coals by an angry and suddenly reanimated press corp. Why are they so agitated? Is it because they were lied to by the White House? Or because their colleague, Judy Miller, is in jail for refusing to divulge her sources, perhaps including Rove? FAIR editor Jim Naureckas will join us in a discussion of the angry press, and the limits of journalistic confidentiality. Also this week: the power of the pharmaceutical industry. The nation’s leading drug […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Limbaugh on Drugs

People like Limbaugh should go to jail, says Limbaugh

There’s nothing good about drug use. We know it. It destroys individuals. It destroys families. Drug use destroys societies. Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods, which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up. What this says to me is that too many […]


The ‘Oh Really?’ Factor

Bill O'Reilly spins facts and statistics

Bill O'Reilly

If it’s “spin” to back up your arguments with bogus facts and statistics, and to dismiss numbers that don’t fit in with your preconceptions, then Bill O’Reilly‘s Fox News Channel show isn’t, as he repeatedly claims, a “no-spin zone”–it’s Spin City. During an interview with National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy (O’Reilly Factor, 2/5/02), O’Reilly claimed that “58 percent of single-mom homes are on welfare.” When Gandy questioned that figure, O’Reilly held firm: “You can’t say no, Miss Gandy. That’s the stat. You can’t just dismiss it…. It’s 58 percent. That’s what it is from the federal government.” But […]


The New Crack

Which will it be--pot or Ecstasy?

In two remarkably similar front-page pieces earlier this year, both USA Today and the New York Times went in search of the new crack. In a May 19 article headlined “Violent Crimes Undercut Marijuana’s Mellow Image,” the Times nominated marijuana to be the next drug to be associated in the public mind with scary street crime; USA Today’s May 16 lead story, on the other hand, was “Ecstasy Drug Trade Turns Violent: The Rave Culture’s ‘Peace and Love’ Pill Bloodies the Suburbs as Dealers Battle for Turf and Profits.” Both stories started by linking the crack trade to their new […]


ABC Gives Drug Industry View on AIDS Drugs Dispute

On its March 7 broadcast, ABC‘s World News Tonight tried to give its viewers some background on the legal battle over pharmaceutical patents and AIDS drugs in Africa. But viewers only heard from one side in the debate: the drug companies and their supporters. The report, by ABC‘s Deborah Amos, relied on three sources: a spokesperson from the South African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, the executive vice president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and an analyst from the Cato Institute, a conservative-libertarian think tank. All three promoted the same theme: Drug companies should not be blamed for […]