May 1 2007

Bono, I Presume?

Covering Africa Through Celebrities

“Africa is sexy and people need to know that,” declared U2 singer Bono (New York Times, 3/5/07), promoting his new (RED) line of products that propose to save Africa one iPod at a time. Celebrity interest in Africa is not particularly new, but today more stars than ever seem to be converging upon the continent, with television crews seldom far behind. But, as Bono clearly understands, what media tend to find sexy about Africa is not Africa itself, but the stars like himself who have taken up causes in the region. In television news in particular, with its typically cursory […]

Apr 28 2006

Jeff Chester on COPE Act, Ann-Louise Colgan on World Bank

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Articles and posts are flying around the web with headlines like ‘The End of the Internet’. How serious is the threat of the disturbingly named “Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act” and what can you do about it? And, how does it connect to the threat currently facing public access TV? We’ll talk about both issues with Jeff Chester, of the Center for Digital Democracy. Also on the show: when activists used to protest the World Bank and IMF, many in the mainstream media took the lazy way out, pointing and laughing at the […]

Nov 1 2002

Another Day, Another Mass Arrest

Media unfazed by erosion of right to assemble

From September 25 to September 29, activists rallied in Washington, D.C. for the first large-scale U.S. protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. On Friday, September 27, several hundred people–including activists, bystanders and journalists–were arrested en masse in what appears to have been an illegal and politically motivated detention. For many mainstream media outlets, the arrests were barely worthy of comment. ‘We want to leave peacefully’ The arrests occurred during the first of the weekend’s two most prominent actions, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence’s “People’s Strike.” The ACC ( called on activists […]

Nov 1 2000

Free Speech Since Seattle

Law enforcement's attacks on activists--and journalists--increasing

Over the last year, political street protests have made a resurgence in the U.S., with high-profile demonstrations in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, in Washington, D.C. against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, in Philadelphia at the Republican National Convention and in Los Angeles at the Democratic National Convention. With them has come another, more ominous resurgence—in law enforcement’s violations of civil lib­erties, in what appears to be an attempt to intimidate citizens from exercising their rights to free speech and assembly. Law enforcement’s strategy appears to be to squelch the rising tide of activism, employing unconstitutional tactics […]

Jul 12 2000

IMF Responds on Alternative Media Exclusion

In response to a letter from a FAIR activist protesting the exclusion ofcommunity journalists from the IMF and World Bank’s April meetings, IMFSenior Press Officer William Murray sent the following note:   “Thank you for your letter dated June 17, 2000 to Managing Director HorstKoehler regarding our press credential policy. Let me explain briefly whatthe IMF and World Bank policy is regarding press access at our regularSpring committee meetings. “The IMF and World Bank do not accredit as journalists the representativesof public access television, student newspapers, publications of privateconsulting firms, or academic journals. This policy exists because of thedifficulty in […]

Apr 20 2000

New York Times Op-Ed Page Shuts Out IMF/World Bank Critics

The recent protests against IMF and World Bank policies provoked a deepening and widening of debate on globalization in much of the media, yet the New York Times‘ op-ed page has taken a remarkably one-sided approach to the issue. The Times has run five op-eds critical of the Mobilization for Global Justice, and none that supported it, or even treated its concerns respectfully (“Saving the Lost World,” by Thomas L. Friedman, 3/31/00; “Parsing the Protests,” by Thomas L. Friedman, 4/14 /00; “Learning to Love the I.M.F.,” by E. M. Brown, 4/18/00; “A Real Nut Case,” by Paul Krugman, 4/19/00; and […]

Apr 14 2000

IMF Bars Community Journalists from D.C. Meetings

Press credentials to the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington, D.C. on April 16 and 17 have been denied to journalists working for community radio and television stations. The denial of credentials has come directly from the IMF Press Office, which has sent the following message to some of those reporters: “We do not provide press accreditation to public access TV, community radio, nor student or academic publications to attend our meetings.” No explanation of the policy has been provided by the IMF. Nor does it seem a coherent policy; when one applicant pointed out that the television station he works […]

Apr 11 2000

Media Distortion of World Bank/IMF Protests Starts Early

Mainstream media have begun to turn their attention to Washington, D.C., andthe Mobilization for Global Justice, a week-long series of protestscoinciding with the meetings of the World Bank and International MonetaryFund (IMF) scheduled for April 16 and 17. Many of the stories draw parallelsbetween the events in D.C. and the World Trade Organization (WTO) protestsin Seattle last year (“Seattle Protesters Are Back, With a New Target, “New York Times, 4/9/00). But recent TV news broadcasts have distorted or omitted basic facts aboutthe upcoming protests. On April 6, ABC World News Tonight aired a storyabout people arriving for an “unusual demonstration” […]