May
25
2007

Deepa Fernandes on immigration debate, Laura Carlsen on trade agreements

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: what was hailed as a "bipartisan" deal on immigration was announced in the Senate earlier this month. Media usually like that kind of political coming-together, never mind the details. With Capitol Hill negotiations certain to continue, journalist Deepa Fernandes joins us to talk about the immigration conversation, and what the press is missing. Also on the program: in a similar vein, Congressional dealings on trade agreements have made headlines recently, with much talk over whether such deals should have to include “labor and environmental side agreements.” Some say if workers and the planet are […]

May
11
2007

Dobbs' Dubious Disease Numbers

CNN host stands by faulty leprosy statistics

During a May 6 60 Minutes profile, CBS reporter Lesley Stahl asked CNN anchor Lou Dobbs about a statistic cited on his program regarding immigrants and leprosy. While Dobbs assured Stahl that his show had the facts right, he was wrong. Stahl cited an April 14, 2005 report that alleged that 7,000 new cases of leprosy, or Hansen's Disease, have been discovered in the past three years—presumably due to increased immigration. Dobbs' response was remarkable: STAHL: We checked that and found a report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, saying: "Seven thousand is the number of […]

Jan
05
2007

Best of CounterSpin 2006

By

Download MP3 On this special Best of CounterSpin, program we look back over some of what was news for the mainstream media in 2006—and some of what wasn't news, but should've been. Our guests this year included a range of activists, researchers and journalists—all of whom had an angle on events that we thought worth hearing and, more often than not, one you weren't hearing many other places. Whether the issue was medicare or immigration, Wal-Mart or welfare policy, each in his or her way reminded us of the need to see beyond the narrow, often distorted dialog provided by […]

Nov
01
2006

Ground Zero's Undocumented Victims

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to Gullibility Begins at Home.] On January 11, 2002, the New York Daily News reported that immigrants and labor rights groups charged that hundreds of undocumented workers were hired to clean toxic World Trade Center dust out of buildings near Ground Zero with no training in hazardous waste disposal and no warning of the potential health effects. “Most were not given respirators or other safety equipment,” reported the Daily News’ Albor Ruiz and Greg Gittrich, “and some who brought their own said bosses would snatch them away for themselves.” Some were never even paid […]

Aug
18
2006

Ian Williams on U.S. diplomacy, Daphne Eviatar on Lou Dobbs

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: American diplomacy and prestige abroad has seldom been in lower water, a situation underlined by the White House's destructive role in the Lebanon-Israel crisis. But do US media recognize the degree of the problem? We'll talk to Ian Williams, UN correspondent for the Nation, and author to the blog Deadline Pundit, about the state of US diplomacy. Also on the show: Lou Dobbs used to be known as the ‘money guy’ at CNN, with a long running financial news show. But if you’ve checked in recently, you know that Dobbs has morphed of late […]

Jun
01
2006

The False Debate Over 'Broken Borders'

When pro-business passes as pro-immigrant

Since 2005, much of the mainstream media has been rife with coverage of what has been called “immigration reform”—a policy debate over what kind of immigration legislation would be passed among a narrow range of options. One pole of the legislative debate was the McCain-Kennedy proposal, which would have created a temporary or “guest” worker program, followed by conditional and heavily delayed legalization of workers. The other was the Sensenbrenner Bill, passed by the House in December 2005, which would, among other harsh provisions, turn undocumented immigrants into felons and massively increase detentions and deportations. Either measure by itself would […]

May
26
2006

Aaron Glantz on Iraq, Doug Henwood on immigration

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: George Bush cheered the new government in Iraq as "a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror," but the White House’s optimistic view of Iraq is meeting with some media resistance, even in mainstream outlets. Independent journalist Aaron Glantz will join us to talk about the coverage and the situation in Iraq. Also on the program: With some of the people making anti-immigration arguments these days it’s pretty clear their position rests on fear or plain old prejudice. But what about people who say they only oppose immigration because of the negative […]

May
01
2006

Birth of a Factoid

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to "The False Debate Over 'Broken Borders'."] Coverage of a recent study by Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Hispanic Center on undocumented immigrants in the United States (3/7/06) illustrates how facts are constructed in the immigration debate. The organization’s website states that the report provides “an estimate of 11.5 to 12 million [unauthorized migrants] as of March 2006,” based on a comparison of Census and Department of Homeland Security data combined with statistical projections. The three-page executive summary of the report—available on the web—prominently states that “some migrants in this estimate have legal authorization […]