Oct 1 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 […]

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 […]

Jul 15 2005

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 […]

Mar 1 2005

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 […]

Mar 1 2005

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 […]

Dec 17 2004

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 […]

Nov 1 2003

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 […]

May 1 2002

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 […]