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 […]

Mar
08
2011

How Many Afghan Kids Need to Die to Make the News?

The number of Afghan boys gathering firewood killed by a March 1 U.S./NATO helicopter attack in Kunar Province: Nine. The number of stories about the killing of the nine children on ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening news shows (as of March 6): Two. One was an 80-word report on NBC Nightly News (3/2/11), the other a brief ABC World News Sunday story (3/6/11) about Afghan president Hamid Karzai's "harsh words for the U.S." after the "mistaken killing of nine Afghan boys in an airstrike." On the PBS NewsHour? Two brief mentions (3/2/11, 3/7/11), both during the "other news […]

Jun
07
2010

Pundits in Denial on Gaza Plight

'No humanitarian crisis,' some media figures claim

The May 31 Israeli attack on the Free Gaza humanitarian flotilla has returned some media attention to the humanitarian crisis faced by 1.5 million Palestinians living under Israeli blockade in the Gaza Strip. But some media figures have sought to deny the existence of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza at all. The Gaza Strip remains an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe on numerous levels. Israel has banned imports like cement that are necessary to rebuild Gazan infrastructure--including homes, hospitals and roads destroyed in Israel's 2008-09 invasion (U.N. Development Program, 5/23/10). Water and sewage systems in Gaza are in dire need of repair, […]

Jun
04
2010

James Zogby on Gaza, Scott Horton on Guantànamo

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Download MP3 On May 31st the Israeli military attacked a flotilla of boats full of civilians attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza strip, and to call attention to the impact of Israel's blockade. At least 9 and as many as 16 activists were killed—we don't know in part due to Israel's tight control over the flow of information. We'll talk with James Zogby of the Arab American Institute about Gaza. Also on CounterSpin today: A new U.S. report says that most of the detainees held on Guantánamo since Obama took office, should be released. That's after nearly three […]