May
01
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

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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
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 […]

Oct
17
2008

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

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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

David Cay Johnston on meltdown/bailout, Isabel MacDonald & Steve Rendall on 'Smearcasting,' FAIR's Islamophobia report

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The bailout story turns again as Congress passes the White House's bailout bill. Will reporters give up questioning the plan entirely now that it has that holy grail of "bipartisan support"? We'll hear from one journalist who's been calling for skepticism from the beginning--author and reporter David Cay Johnston, recently retired from the New York Times. Also on the show: "Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry and Misinformation," is the name of a just-released report by FAIR that looks at how America's leading Islamophobes--who the report dubs "The Dirty Dozen"--are able to spread their […]

Oct
03
2008

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

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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 […]

Sep
12
2008

Jim Naureckas on McCain/Palin campaign claims, George Farah on open debates

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: John McCain may have fired-up the GOP base with his pick of Sarah Palin as a running mate, and his campaign's increasingly rancorous rhetoric, but along the way his campaign has made a number of claims that beg for media scrutiny. We'll be joined by Jim Naureckas, the editor of FAIR's publications, to discuss McCain campaign claims and how the media is doing covering them. Also on CounterSpin today: As the 2008 presidential campaign intensifies, some attention is shifting to the four scheduled debates between the major party candidates. The events will be covered […]

Sep
05
2008

Heidi Boghosian on convention protests, David Moore on polling

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Most of the coverage of the political conventions focused on what was going on inside the arenas; so what about what was happening outside? Crackdowns on protests, arrests of journalists, and pre-emptive house raids could provide a very different measure of the state of American democracy. Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild will join us to tell us what she saw. Also on the show: A new book attests to what some have long suspected: that opinion polls can distort understanding of public opinion more than illuminate it-- ginning up controversy where none […]