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 […]

Jul 18 2008

Charles Knight on Iraq withdrawal, Diana Duarte on global food crisis


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The idea that we should get U.S. troops out of Iraq is, to hear the media tell it, becoming less attractive by the day. The corporate press also seems to buy the argument that withdrawing U.S. troops would lead to a bloodbath in Iraq. But what would, or could, a withdrawal actually look like? We’ll ask Charles Knight of the Project on Defense Alternatives; he’s helped organize the Task Force for a Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq, which has produced a report laying out one plan. Also on CounterSpin today: World leaders at the recent […]

Apr 18 2008

Eric Holt-Giménez on food crises, Mark Schapiro on environmental toxins


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Recent reporting on food shortages around the world points to rising fuel costs, droughts, a conversion from food crop planting to fuel crop planting, even meat eating, as the reasons for the problem. But is their more to the story? We’ll speak with Eric Holt-Giménez of Food First about coverage of the food shortages. Also on the show: Many people are no doubt shocked by a new government report saying that a chemical to which virtually every American is exposed may cause cancer and other disorders. Our guest says “there’s an assumption in the […]

Jul 29 2005

Scott Lipscomb on Iraq Body Count, Charlie Cray on ‘America’s Heartland’

Download MP3 Today on CounterSpin: Counting the dead in Iraq. A new report from the group Iraq Body Count is perhaps the most exhaustive attempt to document the impact of the Iraq War on that country’s civilian population. So how has the press responded to this research? And how has the media’s willingness to talk about civilian deaths changed? We’ll ask assistant research Scott Lipscomb. Also on the show: the producers are calling it a “Celebration of America’s Farmers,” but at least one critic calls a proposed new public TV series perhaps the latest attempt to sell Americans a pile […]

Mar 01 2004

Waiting Till the First Cow Dies

Herd reporting on mad cow disease

It’s the day after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced the first case of mad cow disease in the United States, the telephones at the Center for Media 8c Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin are ringing con­stantly with press inquiries. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 30 years of activism!” John Stauber, executive director of the center and co­author of the 1997 book Mad Cow U.S.A., says. Stauber has been warning for years about the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, com­ing to America. And after years of very limited press interest, this […]

Nov 01 2002

Let Them Eat Cake

TV blames Africans for famine

A famine is raging through southern Africa–a famine that Doctors Without Borders has called among the worst in Africa in the past decade. The international relief organization CARE reports that the famine “is largely the result of one of the worst droughts in a decade” and that “severe hunger–even starvation–threatens millions, particularly among the most vulnerable: children, the elderly, and pregnant and nursing women” in Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is occurring against the backdrop of an AIDS epidemic in Africa that has claimed 25 million lives and counting, leaving behind about 14 million orphans. It’s a […]

Jun 01 2002

Organics and Pesticides: Isn’t It Ironic

A study released by Consumers Union in May found that nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables had traces of pesticides, while less than a quarter (23 percent) of organic produce had such residues. When organic food did have detectable levels of pesticides, the amounts were generally lower than in conventional produce, and organics were less likely to be contaminated with multiple chemicals (Food Additives and Contaminants, Vol. 19 No. 5). Consumers Union released this information, appropriately enough, in a press release headlined “Organic Foods Really Do Have Less Pesticides” (5/8/02). But that’s not the story most […]

Sep 01 2000

Right-Wing Business in Farmer’s Overalls

The American Farm Bureau Federation

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) bills itself as the voice of American agriculture–and often succeeds in getting the media to identify it as such. In an article about an EPA study of insecticides, USA Today (10/28/99) turned to an EPA critic at the AFBF, describing it as a group that “promotes farmers’ interests.” Similarly, CNN (12/13/99) referred to “farmers’ groups” questioning the EPA’s concerns–and featured another spokesperson from the AFBF. The myth that AFBF represents the interests of farmers is longstanding, though it has long been debunked. In Samuel “Sandy” Berger’s 1971 book, Dollar Harvest: The Story of the […]