Sep 2 2011

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


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


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 1 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 1 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 […]

Jul 1 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 […]

May 27 2011

Bill McKibben on climate and extreme weather, Allison Kilkenny on protest movements


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The deadliest tornado in decabes swept through Missouri, the latest example of what seem to be unusually volatile weather patterns around the world. But when it comes to discussing extreme weather, one thing media don’t want to dwell on is climate change. Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben wrote in the Washington Post about the detached way in which our strange new weather is discussed. He’ll join us to talk about it. Also on CounterSpin today, there are more protests against austerity politics around the country—and more media silence. It’s hard not to conclude […]

May 1 2011

The Unrenewed Debate Over Renewable Energy

Little interest in safer, cleaner, even cheaper alternatives to nuclear power

When the March 11 earthquake and tsunami shut down cooling systems at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, U.S. government and nuclear industry spin control kicked in, asserting that a similar disaster couldn’t happen here, and that atomic power is here to stay. Corporate news outlets typically got caught up in this spin, relaying distorted and/or incomplete information about our energy options from a recycled cohort of pro-nuclear sources. An option hardly mentioned: renewable energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal power.* The topic of energy efficiency and conservation—sure-fire ways to reduce demand for energy in the first place—didn’t even surface. […]

Mar 18 2011

Arjun Makhijani on Japan’s nuclear crisis, Cindy Folkers on radiation & health


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Ever notice how corporate media coverage of nuclear accidents largely avoids industry critics, in favor of industry defenders generally low-balling the health and safety dangers of the technology? That’s never been truer than in coverage of the Japanese nuclear disaster, which, as with earlier accidents, the initial, rosy predictions by media-favored experts have clearly been overtaken by dire facts. We’ll talk to Dr. Arjun Makhijani, an industry critic, nuclear engineer, and the president of Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Also on CounterSpin today, the disaster in Japan is generating substantial coverage of the […]