Mar
01
2009

Decoding the Media's Ideological Spin

‘Bipartisan’ warnings and ‘pragmatic’ praise

Even before Barack Obama won the November elections, Newsweek (10/27/08) was warning, “America remains a center-right nation—a fact that a President Obama would forget at his peril.” (See FAIR Blog, 10/19/08.) If Obama reads corporate media, that’s a warning he won’t likely forget. The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib—one of Forbes.com’s “25 Most Influential Liberals in Media” (1/22/09; FAIR Blog, 1/24/09)—lectured Obama right after the election: Some Democrats, seeing the margins of victory they have rolled up, doubtless now will start pushing for new economic policies, new financial regulatory structures, new government plans for healthcare and a new strategy for […]

Feb
01
2009

Let's Talk About Race--or Maybe Not

Coverage of Obama and ethnicity says more about media

There were early indications that corporate media coverage of Barack Obama’s candidacy would be squirm-inducing, putting on display the elite (mainly white) press corps’ murky ideas about race much more than any straightforward reckoning of black Americans’ situation or what an Obama presidency might mean for their concerns. Journalists were sometimes embarrassingly frank about how they interpreted Obama’s blackness and what they hoped his success might mean. “No history of Jim Crow, no history of anger, no history of slavery,” declared NBC’s Chris Matthews (1/21/07). “All the bad stuff in our history ain’t there with this guy.” “For many white […]

Jan
02
2009

Best of CounterSpin 2008

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Download MP3 With a longer-than-usual election season and a meltdown in the financial markets, ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there was certainly no shortage of news to explain and media messages to unspin. We can't cover it all in one half-hour program, of course, but we can bring together some of the notable critics, activists and journalists that joined CounterSpin in 2008 to talk about the way the corporate media covered—or in some cases ignored—the big stories of the year.

Jan
01
2009

Beyond Clinton & Palin

Coverage of women in election misses real women’s issues

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/sskennel

With Sen. Hillary Clinton’s historic bid for the presidency and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s subsequent VP nomination on the GOP ticket, women were in the national spotlight in the 2008 election as never before. But while Clinton and Palin generated a good deal of media discussion around the problems facing female candidates, coverage of women voters remained narrow and mired in stereotype, shedding remarkably little light on the issues important to them. During the Democratic primaries, the Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton matchup led corporate media to discover the existence of black women voters and race and gender as election issues—superficially, anyway. […]

Dec
19
2008

Michael Ratner on detainee abuse report, Alfie Kohn on education nominee

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a report finding former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials responsible for abusive treatment of detainees in Guantánamo, Iraq and Afghanistan--with few exceptions, the media played the story down, preferring, for instance, righteous anger over embroiled Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. We'll discuss the Senate report with the Center for Constitutional Rights' Michael Ratner, whose book, The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld, was published in September. Also on CounterSpin today, Obama's pick for education secretary drew more attention than you might have expected--in large part because the […]

Dec
12
2008

Bob McChesney on Tribune bankruptcy, Steve Early on card check

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Tribune Company that owns the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times along with much else declared bankruptcy this week, just a year after new owner Sam Zell took over, with his notable lack of background or interest in newspapers. It sounds like workers will wind up with the short end of the stick but what does it mean in the bigger picture? Are capitalists losing interest in media and if so, what do we think about that? We'll talk with media scholar and author Bob McChesney about that story. Also on the show: […]

Dec
05
2008

Paul Sullivan on Gulf War Syndrome, Peter Hart on Obama's nominees

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: For years veterans claiming to suffer from Gulf War Syndrome were derided as cranky and hysterical by the department of defense and even by some journalists. Will that change now that a definitive report says the Gulf War illnesses are real, incurable, and caused by toxic materials used by the U.S. military during the 1991 Gulf War? We'll talk to Paul Sullivan, a veteran and the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. Also on the show: As the Obama White House takes shape, Americans are asking what the president-elect's cabinet choices suggest about […]

Dec
01
2008

CNN, Fox Hype ACORN Threat

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Truthout

On October 7, less than a month from Election Day, Nevada law enforcement officials and the FBI raided the Las Vegas offices of the community activist group ACORN, alleging that it was running an illegal voter registration campaign to steal the election for its officially endorsed presidential candidate, Barack Obama. ACORN's "fraud" dominated CNN and Fox News reporting for weeks. But instead of pointing out the basic flaws of this charge, corporate media coverage neglected the facts and hammered home a specious story. Viewers were bombarded by reports that across the country, ACORN had turned in thousands of fake registration […]