The Occupy movement has garnered, if not the respect, at least the acknowledgement of a corporate press corps inclined for any number of reasons to ignore it. Still, coverage is centered on the protesters themselves, without necessarily engaging their ideas or allowing those ideas to shape reporting. It’s entirely possible for media to say these ideas matter and still not act as though they do. How, for example, does media’s interest in the 99 Percent affect their understanding of how poverty is defined? Or whose perspectives should be included in news on the economy? CounterSpin’s Janine Jackson explored these issues […]
COUNTERSPIN INTERVIEW :Frances Fox Piven on poverty and Occupy Wall Street
Lobbyists help media pay attention to employment
When debate heated up in November over the Keystone XL pipeline—a 1,700-mile-long structure that would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands deposits to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast—reporters soon found themselves chasing the answer to a question: How many jobs would be lost if the pipeline didn’t happen? Wall Street Journal senior editor Mary Anastasia O’Grady suggested on Fox News (10/28/11) that the pipeline would create “118,000 indirect jobs” from “feeding and housing all of these people who are going to work on the pipeline,” a number that her Journal editorial board colleague Collin Levy repeated in a Web […]
Military budget, not social spending, prompts media concern
The failure of the Congressional “supercommittee” to come up with a $1.2 trillion, 10-year deficit reduction plan means that automatic “trigger” cuts might take place in discretionary spending—roughly half of which is supposed to come from the military budget. Corporate media have given extensive time to panicked warnings about the dangerous impact of military cuts, but made little mention of the effects of cutting other spending. Under the “trigger” plan, the military budget is supposed to be reduced by almost $600 billion over the next decade—a move Republican politicians have vowed to block. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been quoted […]
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: This is how ABC anchor Diane Sawyer explained the Greek crisis: "The Dow down nearly 300 points, so, what changed? Well, blame it on the country of Greece, long criticized for being undisciplined and now threatening American retirements." With the EU bailout of Greek in danger and the government calling for a referendum, corporate media in this country are back to bashing pampered Greek workers and demanding austerity as the cure for the country's fiscal woes. NY City College of Technology professor Costas Panayotakis will join us to talk about that. Also on CounterSpin […]
'Who would disagree' with fake Lincoln quote?
After FAIR's recent action alert (10/27/11) concerning the PBS NewsHour's reports minimizing--and even celebrating--economic inequality, NewsHour correspondent Paul Solman posted a long response on the PBS website (10/31/11) that attempted to answer the criticism. Solman began by expressing his appreciation for the "avalanche" of feedback, "hostile though most of it has been." He admits that guest Richard Epstein (10/26/11)--who made the case in favor of inequality--was incorrect to attribute this quote to Abraham Lincoln: "You do not make the poor rich by making the rich poor." But then Solman writes that the sentiment behind it is beyond dispute: But when […]
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When Barack Obama ordered armed military advisors to central Africa to help regional officials fight the brutal Lord's Resistance Army and its leader Joseph Kony, few journalists asked why or why now. The fact that the LRA is bad seemed to be enough. But is the move against the LRA part of something bigger happening in US foreign policy with regard to Africa? Well talk to the Institute for Policy Studies' John Feffer about searching for terrorists in Africa. Also on the show: Possible cuts to defense spending could mean the loss of a […]
PBS newscast presents the upside of inequality
With protesters around the country speaking out against income inequality, public television's flagship newscast made time on October 26 for the pro-inequality side to be heard, featuring a guest who invoked a phony Abraham Lincoln quote to make his case.
Media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests started out exactly as one might expect. There was little coverage at first (FAIR Action Alert, 9/23/11), and as it expanded, much of it consisted of snide dismissals of demonstrators'' ignorance, hygiene and so on. But then something happened. Following incidents of police abuse, including the unprovoked pepper-spraying of several demonstrators on September 24, media coverage began to pick up (FAIR Activism Update, 9/29/11). NPR executive editor Dick Meyer explained that the protests were not covered early on because they "did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great […]