Dec 01 2008

Sarah Palin: Maverick Feminist?

In the final weeks of the campaign, there was good news for feminists: The women’s movement had a new leader, ready to finish smashing that glass ceiling Hillary Clinton cracked. Yes, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the fresh new face of feminism, even if feminists were too stubborn or elitist to admit it—or so some in the media would have audiences believe. In what would surely be considered a nontraditional marriage, right-wing pundits attempted to wed Palin and feminism. Her incompatible stances on core feminist issues like safe and legal abortions, access to healthcare for working women and their families, […]

Nov 21 2008

Kai Wright on the Proposition 8 vote, Andy Worthington on Guantánamo


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The victory of Proposition 8 in California has, at least for the moment, put the brakes on gay marriage in that state. The post-election recriminations are flying, but the main story we’re hearing is that black voters turned out in droves—to support Barack Obama, and to defeat gay marriage rights. Is that narrative correct? We’ll ask journalist Kai Wright. Also on CounterSpin today: According to the New York Times, Newsweek and NPR, for Barack Obama to keep his promise to close the Guantánamo detention camp, will be next to impossible, extremely complicated and easier […]

Nov 13 2008

Fox Responds to FAIR

Fox News Channel senior vice president John Moody took issue with FAIR’s action alert, “Fox News Nailbiter! Conservative Channel Pushed Notion of a Tightening Election.” But Moody’s claims–and his suggestion that FAIR “retract your article and provide an appropriate apology”–are based on a peculiar argument. As FAIR’s alert documented, Fox personalities spent an unusual amount of time in the days preceding the election suggesting that the race between Barack Obama and John McCain was “tightening.” Moody seems to dismiss the argument by suggesting the quotes are “from political pundits, whose opinions we do not attempt to control.” In fact, the […]

Nov 07 2008

Media Tell Obama–Don’t Be a Lefty Like Clinton

Rewriting the '94 election to find a centrist moral

Immediately after Barack Obama was pronounced the victor in the 2008 presidential election, corporate media began to tell him how he ought to govern–in most cases, urging him to hew toward the center. To support their argument, many journalists pointed to President Bill Clinton’s first term to find lessons in centrism for Obama. But are media getting the history wrong? In that “unhappy first year in office,” wrote the Los Angeles Times‘ Doyle McManus (11/5/08), “Democratic congressional leaders pushed a new president to the left–leading to the party’s loss of both houses in the midterm elections of 1994.” “Though Democrats […]

Nov 07 2008

Bernie Horn on election mandate, Billy Bragg on art and activism


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Media are naturally enough busy trying to draw meaning from the results of the 2008 election that brought Barack Obama to the presidency. One emerging line is notable: That the victory of the African American Democrat either doesn’t change or actually confirms that the United States is a “center-right” nation politically. Same goes for Congress, where we’re told Democrats won by acting like Republicans. It’s unclear if this narrative is going to take hold; meanwhile we’ll get a different view from Bernie Horn, from the Campaign for America’s Future. Also on CounterSpin today, what […]

Nov 05 2008

Fox News Nailbiter!

Conservative channel pushed notion of a tightening election

One of the most glaring peculiarities about the Fox News Channel‘s campaign coverage in the run-up to the November 4 election was the channel’s frequent insistence, in the waning days of the campaign, that the election was remarkably close, with Republican John McCain surging. In reality, few polls suggested this was happening (see;, but Fox chose to give a handful of outlying, unrepresentative surveys considerable attention. It was as if the channel were less interested in accurately reporting the state of the campaign than in presenting an alternate reality that would be pleasing to partisan viewers. Here’s a […]

Nov 04 2008

Pro-Obama Media?

What talk about media favoritism really means

Whether or not Barack Obama wins the election, there will be a substantial argument from conservatives–and even many centrist pundits and commentators–that the press was overwhelmingly biased in favor of the Democratic candidate and against John McCain (Extra!, 9-10/08). But the main evidence for this charge does not actually support the case. Throughout the campaign, the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) has released reports on the quantity of media coverage of the election–which candidates received more airtime, and so on. Several PEJ studies have also discussed the tone of the coverage, in an attempt to reveal which candidates are […]

Nov 01 2008

‘Voter Fraud’ Claims Unchecked by Media

Restrictive laws spread based on scant evidence

Among Republicans, it has been an “article of religious faith that voter fraud is causing us to lose elections,” declared Royal Masset, the former political director of the Republican Party of Texas (Houston Chronicle, 5/17/07). This religious faith in widespread voter fraud—or illegal voting—even in the absence of any persuasive evidence, has translated into successful campaigns in 25 states to pass restrictive voter identification laws (e.g., requiring photo ID at the polling place), with other states looking to follow suit. (Masset, a rare dissenter from this Republican creed, is an outspoken foe of what he calls “racist” and “barbaric laws”—Burnt […]