Nov 1 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 […]

Oct 21 2008

More Than a Two-Person Race

Corporate media largely ignore other presidential candidates

While the major-party race for the White House has been the subject of broad media attention for more than a year, the corporate media have mostly ignored at least four substantial third-party and independent candidates for the presidency. Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney and Libertarian candidate Bob Barr are both former congressmembers from the state of Georgia. Their presence in the White House race, along with independent candidate Ralph Nader and Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin, would seem to present an interesting counterpoint to the major-party race between Barack Obama and John McCain. While the corporate press has apparently decided […]

Oct 17 2008

Lori Minnite on ACORN & vote fraud, Bethany Albertson on the Bradley Effect


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: From the reaction of quite a bit of the mainstream media, the community organizing group ACORN is poised to steal the election for Barack Obama. Scattered allegations of voter registration fraud have been the subject of wall-to-wall TV coverage, but what facts are missing from the outraged reporting on CNN and Fox News? And is this a ploy to divert attention from more serious attempts to suppress votes? We’ll ask Lori Minnite, an assistant professor of political science at Barnard College. Also on the show: How will race affect voter attitudes in the coming […]

Oct 10 2008

Ayers = Keating?

Media falsely balance Obama, McCain attacks

After the New York Times (10/4/08) devoted over 2,000 words to a front-page story assessing the “connection” between Barack Obama and former Weather Underground member William Ayers, it was no surprise that the John McCain/Sarah Palin campaign would seize the opportunity to try to re-inject the Ayers/Obama “link”–a popular topic among right-wing pundits like Sean Hannity–into the campaign. In general, centrist pundits looked askance (e.g., NBC News Today show, 10/7/08) at the McCain camp’s undisguised attempt to change the subject from the economy to Ayers (Washington Post, 10/4/08). But many in the media bent over backwards to suggest an equivalence […]

Oct 8 2008

Report: Right-wing Pundits Use Mainstream Media to Smear Muslims

Report profiles 12 top Islamophobes in U.S. media, examines the rise of “smearcasting” phenomenon – how Islamophobes use the mainstream media to spread fear, bigotry and misinformation New York – Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), the national media watchdog group, released a first-of-its-kind report today profiling 12 of the leading Islamophobic pundits and media figures and examining the ways they’ve negatively influenced media coverage in the U.S. The report, “Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry and Misinformation,” describes a loose network of right-wing, anti-Muslim partisans who regularly use innuendo, questionable sources of information and even lies to smear, and […]

Oct 3 2008

Phyllis Bennis on the presidential debate, Wendy Weiser on voter suppression


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: There’s been a lot of discussion about who won or lost the September 26th presidential debate, but little discussion of how it served the voters. What was and wasn’t talked about in a debate that focused largely on war and military issues? We’ll talk to Phyllis Bennis who directs the Institute for Policy Studies’ New Internationalism Project, about the debate. Also on the show: Thousands of people may show up to the polls in November only to be told they are not allowed to vote. A new report on voter purges says that what […]

Oct 1 2008

Playing the Racism Card

Race-baiters are no strangers in the McCain camp

Corporate media were absurdly receptive to the McCain campaign’s charge that Barack Obama “played the race card” by predicting that his opponents in the presidential race would try to use his race against him. The fact is that racialized attacks are a standard part of the Republican playbook—and John McCain has brought on key advisers who have employed that strategy in the past. The “race card” controversy started when Obama, responding to a McCain ad equating Obama with celebrities Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, predicted that Republicans would say of him, “He’s got a funny name and he doesn’t look […]

Oct 1 2008

Top Troubling Tropes of Campaign ’08

The media-created narratives that derail election coverage

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Image Editor

I mean, there are a lot of narratives that the press bought into in this campaign. Don’t forget the inevitability of the Rudy Giuliani campaign and Fred Thompson’s great appeal…. I think the number of times we’ve been wrong in this campaign is far greater than the number of times we’ve been right.—Time‘s Karen Tumulty (CNN‘s Reliable Sources, 5/11/08) Corporate media coverage of election 2008 has fallen into the well-documented pattern (Extra!, 5-6/08) of reporting on the election as if it were a horse-race rather than a democratic process in which real issues were at stake. Not only do journalists […]