Nov
01
2012

SoundBites

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 […]

Nov
01
2012

Not for Teacher

Journalists take sides in Chicago strike

Chicago Teachers Strike Sept. 2012--Photo Credit: Firedoglake/Wikimedia Commons

Among 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 attempt to hold them accountable […]

Oct
12
2012

Josh Eidelson on Wal-Mart strike; Keane Bhatt on Venezuela vote

Photo: OUR Walmart

Workers at Wal-Mart walked off the job this week and that is business far from usual at the retail giant. Reporter Josh Eidelson explains why it’s a game-changer. And U.S. media were rooting against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Journalist and activist Keane Bhatt will tell us about the worst of the coverage.

Sep
14
2012

Kevin Kumashiro on Chicago teachers' strike, Rose Aguilar on poverty reporting

Photo: firedoglakedotcom / Flickr

This week on CounterSpin: The biggest fight the striking Chicago Teachers Union face is with the school district and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the story has exposed, once again, that corporate media have little good to say about organized teachers. We'll talk to Kevin Kumashiro of the University of Illinois-Chicago about what the fight in Chicago is really about. Also on CounterSpin: In a campaign in which economic issues play prominently, the issue of poverty, affecting huge numbers of Americans is almost totally ignored: A new FAIR study finds poverty has been discussed in just 0.2 percent of campaign […]

Aug
01
2012

Prioritizing Politics Over Paycheck Fairness

Journalists focus on bill’s impact on parties—not women

Signing of Lilly Ledbetter Act--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/House Committee on Education and the Workforce Dem

When the Paycheck Fairness Act failed in the Senate on June 5, journalists reported the story. But instead of focusing on the consequences of the act’s defeat, and how this could impact women’s lives, most major news outlets treated that as secondary to the political question of why it failed—even if those reasons had nothing to do with the bill itself. The act would build on the Lilly Ledbetter Act passed in 2009, which extended women’s time limits for filing lawsuits over paycheck discrimination; the new act would include measures to make filing those lawsuits more feasible for women, by […]

Mar
16
2012

Emira Woods on KONY 2012, Mike Elk on labor journalism

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The viral video Kony 2012, made by the US based group Invisible Children, calls for military action against African warlord Joseph Kony. It's been seen by more than 80 million people, AND it's been criticized for distorting the central African conflict and a paternalistic view toward Africans. But what are the larger military ramifications of Kony 2012? We'll talk to Emira Woods, an expert on US African policy and the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus. Also on CounterSpin today, corporate newspapers mostly don't have labor reporters. And that means compelling stories about working […]

Mar
01
2012

Letting Apple Off the Hook for Labor Abuses

Blaming consumers for not knowing what media have barely covered

“The iEconomy,” a New York Times series “examining challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries,” provides Exhibit A on how even the best attempts by corporate media to dig into international labor rights fall short. With three bylined reporters and nine months of work (Economix, 1/25/12), the first two pieces of the series provided perhaps the most in-depth look at the production of Apple products that a corporate outlet has ever published. Despite all the resources it had expended and the abuses it had documented, the Times refused to pin the responsibility on Apple. The first article (1/22/12), “How the […]

Feb
17
2012

Ruth Flower on budget, John Nichols on 'Uprising'

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Much reporting on the White House's new budget proposal focuses on tax increases, military cuts, and how it will affect the national debt. But what's the whole story on the White House budget? We'll hear from Ruth Flower from the Friends Committee on National Legislation about the 'Five Things Your Newspaper Might Not Tell You About the Budget.' Also on CounterSpin: One year ago saw a massive uprising against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's attack on public sector workers. That citizen movement posed a direct challenge to media narratives about issues like labor unions and […]