Jun 01 2013

Working Poor Shorted in Minimum Wage Coverage

Those most affected by debate weren't part of it

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 […]

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 in Bangladesh

Deflecting blame for Bangladesh factory firesWhat 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 […]

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


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


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.

Nov 01 2012


Extra! November 2012

Extra! November 2012Don’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 […]

Nov 01 2012

Not for Teacher

Journalists take sides in Chicago strike

Supporter of 2012 Chicago teacher strike (cc photo: Alejandro Quinones)

Journalists take sides in Chicago strikeAmong corporate media pundits, hostility towards teachers’ unions spans the ideological spectrum (Extra!, 9/10). And in supposedly straight news reporting, the policy goals of corporate “reformers”―support for charter schools and teacher ratings based on standardized test statistical models―are treated as common sense instead of contested and controversial. So when the Chicago Teachers Union went out on strike this September, it was never in doubt which side the corporate media would take. The story of Chicago, as they framed it, was that well-paid teachers in an underperforming, cash-strapped school system wanted more money, and opposed any […]