May 1 2010

Journalists ♥ Tea Party

At last a citizen movement corporate media can love

A Tea Party activist--Photo Credit: In These Times

In the first year of the Obama administration, the corporate media suddenly overcame their general aversion to citizen movements that criticize government policies, granting the staunchly conservative Tea Party activists enormous coverage—a decision that seems likely to impact politics for the foreseeable future. Citizen movements are hardly ever front-page news, even when they have clearly identifiable political agendas and broad public support. But the Tea Party movement—an amorphous, politically incoherent umbrella designation for various strands of opposition to Obama, much of it beset with racism and backed by less-than-grassroots deep-pocket Beltway lobbying groups—has managed to buck that trend, getting the […]

Jan 22 2010

Norman Solomon on Mass. election, Glenn Greenwald on anonymous sources


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Corporate media chatter about the Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts reflects participants’ priorities: which means you’re unlikely to hear advice offered to Democrats other than that they should act more like Republicans. Is that the takeaway? We’ll get another angle from journalist and activist Norman Solomon. Also on the show: Anonymous news sources are a journalistic scourge, abetting some of the worst policies of our times, and allowing the powerful to escape accountability. But are they simply an occasional problem in reporting, or central to the way corporate journalism operates? We’ll talk to Salon‘s […]

Aug 1 2009

Iran vs. Honduras

The Times’ selective promotion of democracy

When the results of the June 13 Iranian elections were decried as fraudulent (charges that were later backed up by a detailed study by Chatham House—6/21/09), U.S. media instantly became the champions of the oppressed Iranians who took to the streets in protest. Cries of righteous solidarity echoed from virtually all mainstream outlets, and the large demonstrations were front-page news on every newspaper in the country each day. The Islamic regime’s harsh suppression of demonstrations was rightfully the focus of prolific news coverage and vigorous editorial discussion. As the pages of the New York Times informed Americans, a “genuine democratic […]

Jun 26 2009

David Barsamian on Iran upheaval, Chandra Bhatnagar on UN racism report


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Events in Iran continue to unfold with protests still underway in what seemed to begin as a rejection of the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Has it become something more now? And how are the press corps–not famously nuanced on Iran–handling events? We’ll hear from David Barsamian, founder and director of Alternative Radio and co-author of the book Targeting Iran. Also on the show: The UN Human Rights Council’s report on racism in the U.S., released this month, fell on deaf ears in the U.S. media, despite the fact that it was done at […]

May 1 2009

Salvador Votes, Media Yawn

No return to the scene of 1980s cheerleading

Mauricio Funes--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador

El Salvador just had a historic election —but it was hardly noted by the same U.S. newspapers and TV organizations that gave Salvadoran elections saturation coverage back in the 1980s. On March 15, Salvadoran journalist Mauricio Funes won the presidency for the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which had already won a plurality in the legislature in a January vote. The FMLN was once a guerrilla movement that fought a 12-year war until 1992 against a right-wing Salvadoran military government backed by the United States with nearly $4 billion in military and other aid (New York Times, 10/21/88). […]

Feb 27 2009

Ryan Chittum on Santelli’s rant, Maria Elizabeth Grabe on network news bias


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The on-air rant by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli is making the media rounds, promoted by the network itself in good part. But did Santelli’s outburst, about the Obama White House bailing out “losers” with its mortgage proposal make sense? We’ll hear from Ryan Chittum, from Columbia Journalism Review‘s the Audit. Also on the show this week: Despite mounting evidence against it, the myth of the liberal media just won’t die. But scholars haven’t stopped trying. A new study of nightly news coverage of U.S. elections by Indiana University scholars takes another whack at the […]

Nov 7 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 […]

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 […]