Sep
01
2014

A Shared Culture of Conflict of Interest

Elite media don’t see Human Rights Watch’s closeness to power as a problem

Kenneth Roth

Human Rights Watch's conflicts of interest contribute to a culture of normalizing and accommodating the extreme power that the United States arrogates to itself.

Aug
18
2014

NYT Would Call It Torture--If It Covered Torture

Ignoring Amnesty report on US torture program

Naimatullah, Afghan torture witness (CBS)

After more than a decade of criticism, the New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet announced (8/7/14) that when the paper reports on US torture, it will call it "torture" (FAIR Blog, 8/8/14). But what if the paper decides that well-documented evidence of US torture is not fit to print? On August 11, Amnesty International released a lengthy report about abuses in Afghanistan committed by US forces and others, including Afghan security. The report includes serious allegations about US Special Forces torturing Afghan civilians. The Amnesty report has received some attention in US outlets, including the LA Times (8/11/14), Washington […]

Aug
15
2014

Vijay Prashad on IS and Iraq, Emira Woods on Africa Summit

isis-nbc

This week on CounterSpin: With the Islamic State, or IS, occupying large swathes of Iraq and Syria, a common refrain from politicians and pundits is to suggest that the group would not be a menace had the US intervened earlier and more deeply in the Syrian civil war. Author and professor Vijay Prashad will join us to address that canard and other misconceptions about Iraq, the US and the Islamic State.

Also on the show: The recent summit of African leaders in Washington DC was criticized by some for soft-pedaling human rights issues, but that only meant in African nations; media seemed to have no question at all about the beneficent goals of the policy of increased 'investment' on the continent by US corporations. We have some questions; we'll ask them of Emira Woods of ThoughtWorks and the Institute for Policy Studies.

Mar
01
2013

Industry as Victim in Workers' Deaths

Deflecting blame for Bangladesh factory fires

Child workers, Bangladesh (Photo: Global Labour Rights)

What should be done to prevent incidents like the January 26 fire at the Smart Fashion Export factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which at least seven garment workers (three of them teenage girls) were killed, their escape impeded by a blocked exit and the absence of the most rudimentary fire safety equipment? The answer for many would be: whatever is necessary. But to hear elite media tell it, it’s complicated—so much so that it’s not even clear who the victims were: the women crushed to death escaping flames, or the system that exploits and endangers them. Or else why would […]

Jun
06
2012

Drone Kill List: Not News?

NYT piece raises questions, but not a media conversation

The New York Times' lengthy report (5/29/12) on Barack Obama's drone "kill list" should provoke serious questions: Is such a program legal? How does it square with Obama's criticism of the Bush administration's "war on terror" policies? Is the White House covering up the killing of civilians by labeling them "militants"? Why is the United States continuing an assassination policy described as Al-Qaeda's top "recruiting tool"? But those questions have been raised only in fits and starts around the rest of the media. One of the co-authors of the Times piece, Scott Shane, appeared on the PBS NewsHour and on […]

Dec
13
2011

CBS Revises Iraq Death Toll

New tally still lower than other estimates

After a FAIR Action Alert (12/2/11), the CBS Evening News has changed its count of civilian deaths--citing a new figure that is roughly twice their original count. On December 1 the CBS Evening News reported: It is estimated that more than 50,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the war. As FAIR pointed out, this was totally inadequate--even the source for the network's claim (iCasualties.org) warned that this was not a comprehensive count. On December 12, CBS anchor Scott Pelley closed a segment about "how life has changed inside Iraq" with this: We looked into the human toll of the Iraq […]

Dec
02
2011

CBS Undercounts Iraqi Deaths

Rewriting Iraq War history

A December 1 CBS Evening News report about the Iraq War managed to mislead viewers about the start of the war and severely diminish the loss of civilian lives. Reporting on the handover of the U.S. military headquarters to Iraqi forces, anchor Scott Pelley announced: What began in 2003 as an effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein became a vicious religious war, pitting Iraqi against Iraqi--with the U.S. caught in the middle. Of course, the United States invaded Iraq with the stated aim of disarming Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, which did not exist. ("The opening stages of the disarmament of […]

Jul
01
2011

Patrick Cockburn on Libya, Jordan Flaherty on New Orleans trial

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Congressional debate over the Libya War shows an apparently bipartisan sense of frustration and outrage over the NATO mission. This has triggered a serious debate over the legality of the war, among other things. But there is almost no discussion of whether the pretext for the war has actually held up. Patrick Cockburn of the Independent has been investigating the stories of mass rapes and mercenary fighters that paved the way to war, and he'll tell us what he's found. Also on the show: The story of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath continues to […]