Aug
01
2012

Putting Consumers Back in Their Place

After ‘pink slime’ victory, reminders that corporations do know best

Pink Slime--Photo Credit: Pinkslime.biz

Corporate news media paid what looked like sympathetic attention to consumer activism that, within weeks, saw the ingredient known as “pink slime” removed from ground beef sold in major supermarkets and fast food chains and provided to public schoolchildren in their lunch. Reporters seemed as compelled and repelled as many consumers by the realization that trimmings “made from cattle parts once considered too contaminated for human consumption” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 3/20/12) can now be found in some 70 percent of beef sold in the U.S.—that is, after “slow cooking, a trip through a centrifuge and an ammonia hydroxide spray to kill […]

Jun
08
2012

Fatima Goss Graves on wage gap, Alexis Baden-Mayer on GMO labeling

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Paycheck Fairness Act, aimed at making it easier to fight gender-based wage discrimination, failed to muster the votes to break Republicans' filibuster in the Senate. Sadly, the measure also failed to muster journalists to address the underlying problem, rather than dismiss it all as just more partisan politicking. It seems unfairness against women, even if it's devastating and daily, just isn’t that newsworthy. We'll hear from Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women's Law Center, about paycheck fairness. Also on CounterSpin today, many people feel like there's a right to know what's in […]

Oct
01
2011

Ignoring Non-Islamic Culprits in Somalia Famine

Hunger from harmful aid and agriculture policies

As Somalia sank deeper into famine in late summer, with 63 percent of southern Somalia’s population at risk of starvation, U.S. media coverage focused on stories of misery and resilience. Measuring children’s emaciated arms and describing the scraps of dignity people struggled to maintain in refugee camps substituted for investigation of causes, or discussion of remedies beyond appeals for donations. A typical report came from CBS Evening News (8/8/11): “The faces dusted with the desert and...the eyes that have seen too much,” with an interview with a woman “who had fought to save her children in an unforgiving land.” The […]

Dec
24
2010

Trudy Lieberman on health care law, Lee Stranahan on Pigford settlement

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Following a federal court ruling in Virginia finding the individual mandate provision of the 2010 healthcare act unconstitutional, there was some solid coverage of the Constitutional issues involved in a policy that will, if ultimately upheld, require every American to purchase private insurance. But what about coverage before the bill was passed? We'll talk with the Colombia Journalism Review's Trudy Lieberman about media coverage of the mandate, before and after its passage. Also on CounterSpin today, if you've caught any media coverage of the Pigford settlement, it probably sounds like good news: Black farmers […]

Nov
19
2010

Wenonah Hauter on GE salmon, Rose Aguilar on Native Americans

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The FDA is on the verge of approving genetically engineered salmon in spite of opposition by the public, scientists and consumer groups. On November 15 the group Food & Water Watch released internal documents from Fish & Wildlife Service scientists expressing misgivings about the safety of the altered salmon and the legality of the FDA's procedures. We'll talk to Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch. Also on the show: A one-minute commentary by a cable TV host brought a swell of public awareness, political attention and money to a snowstorm-devastated […]

Apr
16
2010

Ben Lilliston on genetically engineered foods, Barbara Miner on Teach for America

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A New York Times report gives the impression that the debate over genetically engineered foods is largely over; the paper's writeup of new research says that, despite some caveats and critics' warnings, GE crops are good for the environment and the economy. Others come away with more questions than answers though. We'll hear from Ben Lilliston of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Also on CounterSpin today: On the surface, Teach for America sounds like a great idea: sending bright young college grads into needy schools to teach. But there's much more to […]

Jul
10
2009

Sasha Abramsky on 'Breadline USA', Jim Naureckas on the future of journalism

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Some 25 million Americans, nearly 9 percent of the population--rely on food pantries. But with rare exceptions, and despite its devastating impact, big media just don't seem to find a reportable story in chronic hunger. A new book hopes to make the issue more visible, by actually talking to people. It's called Breadline USA: The Hidden Scandal of American Hunger and How to Fix It; we'll speak with author Sasha Abramsky. Also on the show: Hard times and decreasing ad revenues have prompted a spate of seminars and discussion about the future of journalism […]

Nov
01
2008

The Food Crisis and the Fear of Scarcity

Media binders blind us to real food solutions

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Mike_tn

The rising cost of food was all over the news in the spring of 2008, from Fox News (“Food Prices Soaring World-wide,” 3/24/08) to CNN (“Rising Food Prices and Rising Concerns,” 4/21/08) to CBS (“Price of Rice Skyrockets,” 4/23/08). Everyone was covering the story. Many will never forget news clips of desperate Haitians rioting in anger and even forced to eat dirt to stave off hunger. Then in September came the grim U.N. assessment: The number of hungry people worldwide had shot up in one year by 75 million people—reaching 925 million at the beginning of 2008, declared Jacques Diouf […]