Feb
14
2014

Sue Sturgis on Moral March, Toni Gilpin on Skills Gap Myth

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This week on CounterSpin: Tens of thousands of moral marchers descend on Raleigh North Carolina, the latest and most dramatic example of a social justice movement sweeping the state. The national press is mostly skipping the story; Sue Sturgis from the Institute for Southern Studies fills us in on what's happening.

Also on the show: You may have heard that the reason we have so many unemployed people isn't because there are no jobs, but because people don't have the right skills for the jobs that are open, in part because of our failing schools. If it doesn't sound right to you, that's because it's wrong. So why say it? We'll talk with labor historian and educator Toni Gilpin about the popular myth of the "skills gap."

Jun
01
2013

'Such Is Life' Coverage of Another Blast's Dead

When corporations kill, media turn fatalistic

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 […]

Jun
01
2013

Working Poor Shorted in Minimum Wage Coverage

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 […]

Apr
26
2013

Beau Grosscup on Defining Terrorism, Hugh Kaufmann on Texas Explosion

The West Fertilizer Co. explosion was the result of poor regulation and safety procedures.  (Photo credit: Reuters / Mike Stone)

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.

Mar
01
2013

Industry as Victim in Workers' Deaths

Deflecting blame for Bangladesh factory fires

Child workers, Bangladesh (Photo: Global Labour Rights)

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 […]

Feb
01
2013

A Passion for Job Insecurity

Targeting Europe's 'burdensome' worker protections

Ségolène Royal--Photo Credit: © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

If there’s one thing the media seem to be convinced of—or at least seem to want to convince the public of—it’s that rules that protect workers kill jobs and are therefore to blame for high European unemployment rates.

Dec
14
2012

Jane McAlevey on Michigan "Right to Work," Mijin Cha on Jobs Crisis

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A "Right to Work" law passes in Michigan-- what is missing from the press coverage? Labor writer and activist Jane McAlevey has some thoughts. And is Washington's focus on the "debt crisis" misguided? Mijin Cha thinks we'd be better off focusing on the jobs crisis.

Nov
30
2012

Scott Nova on Bangladesh factory fire, Maurice Carney on Congo

CS2

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.