Apr
01
2009

Hate Speech, Media Activism and the First Amendment

Putting a spotlight on dehumanizing language

In just over a month last winter, two Latino men were beaten to death in New York state while their attackers shouted racial slurs and epithets (Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/25/09). Such hate crimes, motivated by anti-immigrant prejudice and other bigotries, have spurred a media justice campaign to reveal the potential human costs of hate speech. When the FBI reported that hate crimes against Hispanics had increased by an astonishing 40 percent between 2003 and 2007 (FBI: Hate Crime Statistics, 2003 and 2007), UCLA professor Chon Noriega began to ask “whether the media plays a role in the persistence of hate speech […]

Mar
20
2009

Robert Johnson on AIG bonuses, Laura Carlsen on Mexican drug wars

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The AIG executive bonuses account for less than one percent of the money taxpayers are turning over to the insurance giant in the largest of the corporate bailouts. But it's the bonus story that has riveted the public attention and outrage. We'll talk to Robert Johnson, formerly the managing director at Soros Funds Management and chief economist of the Senate Banking Committee, about AIG and the power of the bonuses story. Also on the show: CNN has been telling viewers that "regardless of where you are in the country," that's this country, the war […]

Sep
01
2008

The Illusion of Immigrant Criminality

Getting the numbers wrong

Photo Credit: Democracy Now!

Immigrants aren't a crime problem. "The foreign-born commit considerably fewer crimes than the native-born," as President Herbert Hoover's National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement concluded in 1931 (National Lawyers Guild Quarterly, 10/39; Immigration Policy Center, Spring/07). While noncitizens now make up more than 8 percent of the U.S. population, the available evidence indicates that they account for no more than 6 or 7 percent of the people incarcerated for crimes in the United States, less than 170,000 of the 2.3 million inmates currently in our federal, state and local penal systems--not including some 30,000 immigrants in administrative detention on […]

Jul
01
2008

Fareed Zakaria, Spokesperson for the Global Elite

Newsweek pundit presents pro-corporate views as the poor’s perspective

Fareed Zakaria (cc photo: James Willamor)

Fareed Zakaria, now the highly influential editor of Newsweek International, author of The Post-American World, and host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, constructed a landmark of unintended irony when he regally pronounced that “the downtrodden beg to differ” with protesters of corporate globalization (Foreign Affairs, 12/13/99). Those who demonstrated against the World Trade Organization at the famous “battle of Seattle” in 1999, he asserted, were displaying the hubris of the “rich and privileged,” who were delivering “a familiar plea for the downtrodden of the world” by challenging the WTO’s promotion of sweatshops and environmental degradation in the impoverished Third World. In […]

Feb
01
2008

The Lou Dobbs Primary?

Media, not voters, push immigration issue

Media coverage of the 2008 presidential election identifies immigration as a key issue for the U.S. electorate--even though, according to most polling, it does not rank as a top priority for voters. CNN's Republican debate on November 28 opened with a full 35 minutes devoted to the issue of immigration. Washington Post columnist David Broder (11/15/07) referred to "illegal immigration" as one of two major "icebergs ahead for the Democrats" in the upcoming presidential race (ex-President Bill Clinton being the other purported shipwrecker). Columnist and CBS correspondent Gloria Borger (U.S. News & World Report, 11/10/07) declared immigration a "killer issue," […]

Dec
07
2007

The Lou Dobbs Primary?

Immigration more an issue for media than voters

Media coverage of the 2008 presidential election identifies immigration as a key issue for the U.S. electorate--even though, according to most polling, it does not rank as a top priority for voters. CNN's Republican debate on November 28 opened with a full 35 minutes of the debate devoted to the issue of immigration. Washington Post columnist David Broder (11/15/07) recently referred to "illegal immigration" as one of two major "icebergs ahead for the Democrats" in the upcoming presidential race (ex-President Bill Clinton being the other one). Columnist and CBS correspondent Gloria Borger (U.S. News & World Report, 11/10/07) declared immigration […]

Sep
07
2007

Neil deMause on FAIR's poverty study, Alex Koppelman on Lou Dobbs and U.S. Border Patrol criminals

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: a new FAIR survey of coverage of poverty on the network newscasts finds scant media interest in the topic. Weren't the media committed to changing their ways in the wake of Hurricane Katrina? We'll talk to the co-author of the report Neil deMause. Also on CounterSpin today, How hid U.S. Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting an unarmed suspect and covering up their involvement in the case, became heroes on cable news shows and a cause célèbre of the anti-immigrant right? Writer Alex Koppelman traced the saga for Salon.com, he'll join us to talk […]

Sep
01
2007

Fencing Off the Immigration Debate

Why workers cross the border is off the agenda

Upon the proposed omnibus immigration bill’s final defeat in the Senate, the Washington Post (6/29/07) published an editorial titled “An Immigrant’s Lament,” which told the sad story of Ernesto, “a 31-year old Salvadoran handyman” who “watched ruefully as the senators dealt their lethal blow to his prospects for a normal life on the right side of the law”: He does better here as a painter, carpenter, landscaper and electrician than he ever could in Cabañas, his hardscrabble native region of northern El Salvador, which is rich in beans and sugar cane but bereft of jobs. The Post scolded politicians for […]