Mar 8 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 7 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 4 2010

James Zogby on Gaza, Scott Horton on Guantànamo


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 […]

Aug 28 2009

Spencer Ackerman on CIA torture documents, Ed Herman on Lockerbie


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A few months ago it seemed like Dick Cheney wouldn’t get off your television screen, insisting that secret CIA documents would prove that Bush torture policies saved the United States from further terrorist attacks. Well those documents have surfaced, along with a 2004 CIA inspector general’s report. So what’s in these documents? And has Cheney been vindicated? We’ll speak with reporter Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent about that. Also on CounterSpin today, “Outrageous and disgusting” is how White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs described scenes in Tripoli where Abdel al-Megrahi was greeted on his […]

Apr 29 2009

Congo Ignored, Not Forgotten

When 5 million dead aren’t worth two stories a year

United Nations entering the civil war--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/United Nations

The wars that have wracked the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1996, killing well over 5 million people (International Rescue Committee, 1/08) in what may be the deadliest conflict since World War II, are officially over. A peace agreement was signed in 2002, and general elections were held in 2006. But conflict and the humanitarian crisis continue. The most recent survey (IRC, 1/08) estimated that 45,000 people are dying each month from conflict-related causes (primarily hunger and disease), nearly the same shocking rate as during the war itself. And with the recent flare-up of violence in Congo’s volatile east, […]

Apr 1 2009

International Law Seldom Newsworthy in Gaza War

Israeli justifications often cited uncritically

U.S. corporate media coverage of the Israeli military attacks launched December 27 that, as of January 13, had reportedly killed over 900 and injured thousands more—many of them civilians—has overwhelmingly failed to mention that indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets are illegal under international humanitarian law. Israel’s aerial attacks on Gazan infrastructure, including a TV station, police stations, a mosque, a university and even a U.N. school have been widely reported. Yet despite the fact that attacks on civilian infrastructure, including police stations, are illegal (Human Rights Watch, 12/31/08), questions of legality are almost entirely off the table in the U.S. […]

Mar 13 2009

Melissa Harris-Lacewell on earmarks, Alex de Waal on Bashir indictment


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The evils of earmarks. Barack Obama signed a spending bill “stuffed with earmarks,” the media tell us–despite the fact that he campaigned pledging to reform that practice. The assumption is that Congressional earmarks are bad; but are they? We’ll ask Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University. Also this week: The International Criminal Court’s indictment on March 4th of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was cheered by the media and by some progressive Darfur groups. But not everyone thought the indictment was wise or well-timed. We’ll talk to Harvard […]

Feb 1 2009

FAIR Study: Human Rights Coverage Serving Washington’s Needs

FAIR finds editors downplaying Colombia’s abuses, amplifying Venezuela’s


Click here to download pdf. Any evenhanded comparison of the Colombian and Venezuelan governments’ human rights records would have to note that, though Venezuela’s record is far from perfect, that country is by every measure a safer place than Colombia to live, vote, organize unions and political groups, speak out against the government or practice journalism. But a new survey by FAIR shows that, over the past 10 years, editors at four leading U.S. newspapers have focused more on purported human rights abuses in Venezuela than in Colombia, and their commentary would suggest that Venezuela’s government has a worse human […]