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

By

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’

By

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 […]

Feb 03 2012

Vijay Prashad on Iran, Jeff Ballinger on Apple

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: U.S. media are abuzz with stories about the growing threat Iran poses to the U.S. The stories seem to embellish recent remarks by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who says Iran is a larger threat than al Qaeda and is prepared to carry out attacks in the Western Hemisphere, including in the US. We’ll be joined by Vijay Prashad, Director of International Studies at Trinity College to talk about Iran. Also on the show: The New York Times series on working conditions at Apple suppliers in China–conditions that have reportedly driven […]

Dec 01 2011

Steve Jobs and the Cult of the CEO

Like Da Vinci or the Dalai Lama—only better

Several labor unions came together on October 5 in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests, leading to a march of thousands in downtown Manhattan. Populist MSNBC host Ed Schultz was live on the scene—but devoted the top of his broadcast to the breaking news that Apple Computers founder Steve Jobs had just died. It made for an incongruous TV moment: a labor-friendly host in front of a boisterous anti-corporate crowd, joining with Bloomberg pundit Jonathan Alter to pay tribute to a billionaire CEO. “He was one of the great figures of American history,” explained Alter. Schultz added: “This protest […]

Oct 01 2011

Trade, Jobs and Sales Jobs

Failing to do the math on export promises

Corporate media have spent the last few years portraying the federal budget deficit, not jobs, as the public’s consuming worry, despite poll after poll revealing people unsurprisingly more interested in getting or holding onto a paycheck (FAIR Media Advisory, 8/1/11). Only now that official Washington turns its sights to the issue have media “discovered” the unemployment crisis—George Stephanopoulos now refers matter-of-factly to “the country’s top issue, jobs” (Good Morning America, 8/16/11)—but the same skewed priorities are on display. Bad enough the glib nature of their attentions, reflected in New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s ingenuous “feeling” (8/27/11), based on visiting […]

Jun 03 2011

Jane Slaughter on NLRB-Boeing, Pamela Newkirk on black journalists

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: the National Labor Relations Board has told Boeing that they can’t move operations from Washington to South Carolina in order to avoid union organizing. It may seem straightforward that a company can’t retaliate against workers for exercising their legal rights but the ruling has anti-labor conservatives in uproar and so-called mainstream reporters aren’t doing much to set the record straight. We’ll hear from Jane Slaughter of Labor Notes about what the NLRB ruling means. Also on CounterSpin today: If you follow discussions about media diversity, you probably know that the efforts to make newsrooms […]