Anyone could have predicted the Boston Marathon bombing would receive the high-color, saturation-style coverage it’s gotten. The April 15 attack lends itself to all sorts of narratives U.S. corporate media love to explore: the ever-present “terrorist” threat, scary Muslims and their “networks,” the potential of new security technology. Still, it was hard not to be struck by the contrast between the attention devoted to the Boston bombing and that given to a disastrous explosion two days later in a Texas fertilizer plant. TV networks especially “seemed to decide covering two big stories was covering one too many,” as Mike Elk […]
When corporations kill, media turn fatalistic
Those most affected by debate weren't part of it
It’s hard to imagine news coverage of military regulations that excludes Pentagon officials, or a discussion of derivatives trading that leaves out Wall Street executives—those directly affected by policy outcomes. But that’s how corporate media cover the minimum wage story, according to a new study by Extra! that finds low-wage workers are largely excluded from the debate. The study surveyed nearly three months of coverage (1/1/13–3/24/13) in eight major U.S. media outlets, during a period when Democratic President Barack Obama was proposing an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Obama made his most prominent […]
This week on CounterSpin: The Boston bombings were labeled as terrorist attacks almost from the start. But what does that label mean, and how is it used? We'll talk to Cal State University of Chico professor Beau Grosscup about how the term is used—and perhaps misused.
Also on CounterSpin today, much of the town of West, Texas was destroyed in an explosion at the West Fertilizer plant on April 18.Famed EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman joins us to critique media portrayals of the disaster as merely a matter of regulatory oversights.
Deflecting blame for Bangladesh factory fires
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 […]
Targeting Europe's 'burdensome' worker protections
Scott Nova of the Workers Rights Consortium joins us to talk about the fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh that killed over 100 workers. “War torn, mineral rich” --that’s pretty much all Time magazine thinks you need to know about the region of eastern Congo. Maurice Carney of the group Friends of the Congo talks media.
Extra! November 2012
Don’t Look to NYT to ‘Litigate’ the Facts Margaret Sullivan, the new New York Times public editor (9/16/12), used the topic of “voter fraud” to illustrate the concept of “false balance”―when two sides are treated as equivalent even when one side has reality on its side. Despite Republican efforts to pass laws to prevent voting by the ineligible, research finds next to no examples of this problem―but coverage often treats the absence of fraudulent voting as a partisan assertion (Extra!, 10/12). While Sullivan rightly observed that “journalists need to make every effort to get beyond the spin and help readers […]