Dec 1 2009

Iraq All Over Again

The press & Iranian nuke allegations

There have been recent discussions (e.g., New York Times, 9/29/09) about whether the press is doing a better job covering allegations about Iran’s nuclear program than they did during the run-up to the Iraq War. But in some crucial and very basic ways, many in the media are performing just as poorly as they did in 2002 and 2003. The core concern is whether Iran’s nuclear enrichment program is intended for weapons. Pundits and reporters seem to think they have the answer. “As if Afghanistan were not enough, now there’s Iran’s move to get nuclear weapons,” declared NBC‘s Chris Matthews […]

May 29 2009

John Feffer on North Korea, Han Shan on Shell & Ken Saro-Wiwa


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When the media talks foreign affairs, there’s generally an assumption that countries have identifiable interests and rationally pursue them as best they can. All that’s thrown out the window when it comes to North Korea. That country’s apparent decision to conduct an underground nuclear test and test-fire several missiles has re-engaged the media discussion about the nuclear-armed dictatorship. But what do we still not understand about that country’s behavior? And is all of this really a “test” for Barack Obama? John Feffer of the Institute for Policy Studies will join us to discuss that. […]

Mar 27 2009

Riki Ott on Exxon Valdez, Harvey Wasserman on Three Mile Island


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Disaster anniversaries are readymade news hooks for media always in search of one. March sees 20 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled at least 11 million gallons (and likely much more) of oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska. It’s also been 30 years this month since this country’s worst nuclear accident, the partial core meltdown at Pennsylvania nuclear plant Three Mile Island. Both incidents were seen as watershed revelations of institutional failures and engendered activism and calls for reform. But corporate media’s “looks back” and “lessons learned” don’t always identify the right lessons–and rarely […]

Aug 1 2008

Failing to Do the Math on Oil

Support for offshore drilling increases following media misinformation

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Bryan Burke

When Republican presidential contender John McCain called on June 17 for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling, corporate media framing of the debate that followed helped sell his position. Journalists focused more on the political calculations of the move and its supposed populist appeal—while downplaying the question of whether or not offshore drilling would do what supporters argued it would. Much of the coverage led voters to believe that such drilling would have an immediate effect on oil prices. “Sen. John McCain has come out with an idea for how to solve the nation’s current oil-related […]

Jun 20 2008

Tyson Slocum on offshore drilling, Matthew Lasar on the Red Lion decision


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: John McCain says the ban on oil drilling of the U.S. coast should be lifted, to increase oil production and lower prices. Drilling opponents say the drilling won’t lower prices and will endanger environments. Who’s right? Mainstream reporting is little help, rarely offering more than to say that the story is about a “trade-off” between energy and environmental costs. We’ll talk to Tyson Slocum, the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, about the price of oil. Also on the show: The case Fox vs. FCC that the Supreme Court will hear next fall has […]

Feb 1 2008

Money Is the Real Green Power:

The hoax of eco-friendly nuclear energy

Nuclear Power Plant (cc photo: mbeo

Nuclear advocates in government and the nuclear industry are engaged in a massive, heavily financed drive to revive atomic power in the United States—with most of the mainstream media either not questioning or actually assisting in the promotion. “With a very few notable exceptions, such as the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. media have turned the same sort of blind, uncritical eye on the nuclear industry’s claims that led an earlier generation of Americans to believe atomic energy would be too cheap to meter,” comments Michael Mariotte, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “The nuclear industry’s public […]

Feb 1 2008

Dahr Jamail on the Iraq surge, Karl Grossman on nuclear power resurgence


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Reports that the surge in Iraq “is working” are commonplace, but they rarely confront the question, “Working for whom?” In his latest piece, “Reality Is Totally Different: Iraqis on ‘Success’ and ‘Progress’ in Their Country,” available at, independent journalist Dahr Jamail goes beyond the official Washington view and asks Iraqis how the surge is working for them. We’ll talk to Dahr Jamail. Also on the show: It was not just the fiascos of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl but years of citizen activism that scuttled the U.S. love affair with nuclear power in […]

Feb 1 2008

The NYT’s Nuclear ‘Promised Land’

Note: This is a sidebar to “Money is the Real Green Power” (Extra!, 1-2/08). The New York Times is not alone in promoting a revival of nuclear power. But as the U.S. paper of record, it sets the media tone. Its pro-nuclear editorial culture began decades ago when the Manhattan Project and its corporate contractors (notably General Electric and Westinghouse, which became the major manufacturers of nuclear power plants) sought to perpetuate what was established during World War II, by making other things atomic. Because of the Times’ importance, Manhattan Project director Gen. Leslie Groves personally arranged for its reporter, […]