Apr 20 2012

Antonia Juhasz on BP anniversary, Lee Fang on Hilary Rosen

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: This week marks the two-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Media will be checking in on the Gulf to mark the anniversary—but what will their reporting on this ongoing environmental catastrophe look like? We’ll talk to journalist Antonia Juhasz about her new report in the Nation, “Two Years Later: BP’s Toxic Legacy.” Also on the show: Comments CNN contributor Hilary Rosen about Mitt Romney’s wife induced the punditocracy to take up questions of women’s work – and that’s never pretty. But besides the silly things that were said, what about some […]

Feb 01 2012

Natural Gas and the News

Most messages on fracking ‘brought to you by our sponsors’

When it comes to natural gas extraction via “fracking,” TV journalism has some serious competition: energy industry commercials. Like ads for political candidates that run concurrently with broadcast news coverage of the presidential race, ads promoting natural gas (and other fossil fuels) have long been running in concert with news segments about the topic, most recently touting the prospect of a “boom” made possible by the controversial extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing of the shale sprawling beneath more than 30 U.S. states. During the past three years, Extra! found, there has been exponentially more propaganda for the wonders of […]

Dec 09 2011

Michael Dorsey on COP-17, Karl Grossman on Fukushima

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The annual United Nations meeting on climate change is underway. That might be news to you if you rely on television for your information. These international conferences tend to produce stories that dwell on the lack of progress, or the unwillingness of countries like China to do more. Dartmouth environmental studies professor Michael Dorsey is on the scene in Durban, South Africa and he’ll join us to talk about what’s happening—and what’s at stake. Also on CounterSpin today: There’s no shortage of stories coming out of Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis. Radiation has turned up […]

Sep 02 2011

Lorne Stockman on Keystone pipeline, Faiz Shakir on ‘Fear Inc.’

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Why have more than 700 people been arrested at the White House in recent days? Don’t ask nightly news– they’ve so far yet to find anything newsworthy in the largest environmental action in years: a massive protest against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. We’ll get the story TV’s missing from Lorne Stockman, Research Director at the group Oil Change International. Also on CounterSpin today, the Center for American Progress has published a new report on Islamophobia that looks at a prominent network of organizations and individuals who promote hatred of Islam and Muslims in […]

Aug 12 2011

Karl Grossman & Steve Wing on Fukushima

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Japan’s Foreign Minister has told officials to stop claiming Japanese food is safe. This after beef contaminated by radiation from Fukushima’s No. 1 nuclear power plant was sold and consumed around the country. Meanwhile a devastating report from Associated Press reveals that a system to forecast radiation threats did function but was ignored by top officials who didn’t understand its significance. One result: the Karino Elementary School, which the system predicted would be directly in the plume coming from Fukushima’s nuclear plant, was not evacuated, but instead used as temporary shelter for people fleeing […]

Aug 01 2011

The Fires This Time

In coverage of extreme weather, media downplay climate change

On April 14, a massive storm swept down out of the Rocky Mountains into the Midwest and South, spawning more than 150 tornadoes that killed 43 people across 16 states (Capital Weather Gang, 4/18/11). It was one of the largest weather catastrophes in United States history—but was soon upstaged by an even larger storm, the 2011 Super Outbreak that spread more than 300 tornadoes across 14 states from April 25 to 28 (including an all-time one-day record of 188 twisters on April 27), killing 339 people, including 41 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN, 5/1/11). Ensuing weeks saw Texas wildfires that had […]

Jul 01 2011

Coverage of Radiation Risks ‘Astonishingly Irresponsible’

Health expert Steve Wing critiques corporate media

“There will be cancers caused by the radiation that comes to this country from Japan,” University of North Carolina epidemiologist Steve Wing told Extra! in a May interview. Wing faulted news media for misinforming citizens about radiation risks: “What I’ve seen coming out for weeks were statements that there are no health concerns. That’s astonishingly irresponsible.” Wing is known for coauthoring a study on the health effects of the Three Mile Island (TMI) accident. In 1997, he and his colleagues (Environmental Health Perspectives, 1/1/97) analyzed data from a 1990 Columbia University study (American Journal of Epidemiology, 2/28/90) that found increased […]

Jul 01 2011

Industry Views Prevail on Radiation Risks

Health experts unheard on health effects of Fukushima

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

U.S. media coverage of the nuclear disaster in Japan contains vanishingly little serious discussion of the human health risks posed by the radiation escaping from the Fukushima nuclear facility. In place of a discussion informed by experts on these risks, journalism largely conveys vague, industry-friendly reassurances, frequently including no sources with expertise on the health effects of radiation on humans. New York Times reporter William Broad reported (3/22/11) that “health experts” deemed a radiation plume that had reached the U.S. from Japan to be harmless: Health experts said that the plume’s radiation had been diluted enormously in its journey of […]