Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The campaign season and actions by the White House and the Senate have made Iran in some ways a bigger political story than Iraq. How well are the media examining the arguments being put forth about Iranian meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan? We'll talk to journalist and historian Gareth Porter. Also on the show: Remember the wake of the 2004 election, when "values voters" were all the rage? A supposedly clearly defined and enormously powerful voting bloc, so-called Christian conservatives were said to be key to winning the White House. Almost 4 years later, [...]
Marginalizing vote fraud 'conspiracy theories'
As the 2006 mid-term elections near, it is worth looking at the way the press handled the important claims of vote fraud in the last election. Extra! examined the 2004 post-election coverage of major news outlets, focusing on the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today, along with network TV news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC. Extra! looked at this coverage in light of allegations detailed in Rep. John Conyers' report, "Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio." On January 5, 2005, the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee, led by Conyers of Michigan, issued a report [...]
Politics aside, how would Constitution be affected by gay marriage ban?
In a move that most political observers describe as a tactic to increase voter turnout among his party's conservative base, George W. Bush announced on June 5 that he supported a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. While much of the media discussion of the issue focuses on the GOP's political maneuvering, few reports examined what the actual effects of the proposed amendment would be. Some reporters downplayed the seriousness of changing the U.S. Constitution by suggesting that the Republicans' proposed amendment was a routine political ploy of the sort both parties engage in. As National Public Radio political editor Ken [...]
Swift Boat, NARAL ads show media double standard
Advocacy organizations typically receive little time or space to express their opinions in mainstream media discussions, so it’s not surprising that they turn to political advertisements as an alternative means of getting their message out to the public. A paid publicity campaign may legitimize the activists’ efforts as a coverage-worthy “controversy” in the eyes of corporate media, so advocacy groups can sometimes parlay small ad buys into big news stories—particularly if their commercials make hard-hitting and dramatic charges. This process is ripe for exploitation, of course. Front groups launched to do dirty work for a candidate or political party can [...]
Spiking of story an “internal matter,” Pasadena paper says
Pasadena residents didn’t get to read about the exploits of local celebrity Dr. Robert Nelson, who, besides being a Jet Propulsion Lab photo analyst who helped present those dramatic photos of Saturn’s rings and moons, also gave the lie to White House claims that the bulge seen on Bush’s back during the presidential debates was “just a wrinkle.” They didn’t get to read Nelson’s account of how his photo analysis of Bush’s jacket—a story that would have increased speculation that the president was wearing a hearing device during the debates—almost made it into the New York Times before being killed [...]
Get over it, says mainstream press
Throughout 2004, the “swing state” of Ohio was in the media spotlight. Prior to the election, it was a site of alleged voter fraud and suppression; as Extra! reported (12/04), the news media tended to portray the charges as partisan ploys rather than significant threats to the electoral process. Then, on November 2, Ohio became this election’s Florida: Once again a tight race hinged on the electoral votes of a state too close to call. At the end of the night, with only about 130,000 votes separating Democrat John Kerry and Republican George W. Bush, Kerry refused to concede. The [...]
Throughout 2004, the "swing state" of Ohio was in the media spotlight. Prior to the election, it was a site of alleged voter fraud and suppression; as Extra! reported (12/04), the news media tended to portray the charges as partisan ploys rather than significant threats to the electoral process. Then, on November 2, Ohio became this election's Florida: Once again a tight race hinged on the electoral votes of a state too close to call. At the end of the night, with only about 130,000 votes separating Democrat John Kerry and Republican George W. Bush, Kerry refused to concede. The [...]
Daniel Okrent, public editor of the New York Times, today sent a letter to Extra! editor Jim Naureckas in response to Extra!'s story, "The Emperor's New Hump: The New York Times Killed a Story That Could Have Changed the Election-- Because It Could Have Changed the Election," by Dave Lindorff. The story, about the Times' spiking a story about Bush wearing a device under his suit during the presidential debates, appeared in Extra!'s January/February 2005 issue, and can be read online at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2012. The article includes a sidebar presenting Okrent's take on the controversy. Okrent's letter follows, along with a [...]