Sep
01
2011

Gullible Reporters, Sick Responders

Relaying offical assurances about unsafe air at Ground Zero

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons / 9/11 Photos

"Not Enough Evidence to Link 9/11 and Cancer, a Federal Report Says." The New York Times headline (7/27/11) delivered a devastating blow to many Ground Zero first responders, as well as to New Yorkers who lived and worked near the long-smoldering wreckage. After years of fighting for federal compensation to cover illnesses resulting from exposure to the toxic dust and fumes released by the destruction of the towers, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was finally passed in 2010 and took effect in 2011 (thanks in no small part to the Daily Show's Jon Stewart, who helped shame […]

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 […]

May
13
2011

Miranda Spencer on renewable energy, Mike Ervin on Medicaid protests

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: What are renewables and why are media telling us so little about them? With energy prices rising, and a nuclear disaster still unfolding in Japan, it would seem to be the perfect time to talk about renewable energy sources, like solar, wind and geothermal. But this hasn't been the case. Independent journalist Miranda Spencer will join us to talk about how the media dismiss alternative forms of energy that are safer, cleaner and cheaper, but apparently still less journalistically viable than petroleum, nuclear and coal. Also on the show: The arrests of more than […]

Apr
22
2011

Amanda Marcotte on Planned Parenthood, Dave Lindorff on Standard & Poor's 'negative outlook'

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The budget battle over Planned Parenthood's federal funding produced more than the average dose of media misinformation. And clues, mostly missed by the media about the GOP's actual agenda. We'll talk with journalist and blogger Amanda Marcotte about Planned Parenthood. Also on the show: Standard & Poor's issued a "negative outlook" report on the U.S. debt, warning that the country's credit could be in jeopardy in the next few years. If true this could seriously threaten the ecomony. But is it? And what about S&P's political timing? We'll talk to journalist Dave Lindorff about […]

Feb
01
2011

Pundits Fuel the Right's Latest Rage

‘Constitutional’ conservatives’ selective love for Bill of Rights

Right-leaning pundits play a key role in a growing fad of self-styled “constitutional conservatives” who say Barack Obama is subverting the U.S. Constitution—and brandish pocket-sized copies of the document to prove it. The pundits cite a potpourri of purportedly unconstitutional policies, including healthcare legislation, corporate bailouts and perhaps even a cover-up over where Obama was born. And they’re making an impact. A Nexis database search of U.S. newspapers and news wires using the terms “constitutional conservative/conservatism” gives some indication of the growing prominence of the trend. Rarely mentioned in the year 2000 (12 times) or even in 2009 (30), it […]

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 […]

Apr
23
2010

Frontline Edits Out Single-Payer

Documentary misrepresented advocates as supporters of a public option

Silencing supporters of single-payer, or Medicare for All, is a media staple, but PBS's Frontline found a new way to do that on the April 13 special Obama's Deal--by selectively editing an interview with a single-payer advocate and footage of single-payer protesters to make them appear to be activists for a public option instead. The public option proposal would have offered a government-run health insurance program to some individuals as an alternative to mandatory private health insurance. Not only is this not the same thing as Medicare for All, it's an idea many single-payer advocates actually opposed, arguing that it […]

Apr
01
2010

The Flawed Media Narrative of the Healthcare Debate

When ignoring constituents is ‘pragmatic’

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/tjmwatson

Through all the twists and turns of the healthcare reform debate, one thing has remained constant: Progressive ideas with majority popular support are falsely portrayed as radical, ideological fantasies, while those who oppose them are praised as pragmatic and reasonable. This trend began when Washington insiders excluded the idea of a single-payer public health insurance program at the beginning of the reform process (Extra!, 6/09). It culminated when the Senate finally passed a bill that, as a result of a few obstructionist senators and the acquiescence of Democratic leaders, was stripped of its most progressive remaining reforms—including the “public option,” […]