Jun 26 2012

Their Man on Havana (and Everywhere Else)

Michael Shifter, media’s conflicted Latin America expert

Michael Shifter--Photo Credit: Inter-American Dialouge

If you’re covering Latin America for U.S. corporate media, Michael Shifter is the person to turn to when you need a quote. Currently the president of the Inter-American Dialogue research group, Shifter offers soothing centrism about political developments across the region—giving reporters soundbites on everything from a papal visit to Cuba to elections in Argentina to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Readers might wonder how one expert could be so valuable to elite media. What these papers don’t reveal is that Shifter is also valuable to an array of international corporations who fund his think tank—along with several governments of […]

Jun 01 2012

‘There’s Way Too Much of a History of Lying’

Dana Frank on Honduras

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was reportedly involved in the May 11 killing of four innocent civilians on Honduras’ Mosquito Coast. The operation caused condemnation in Honduras, and scrambling among U.S. officials, who mobilized to defend the DEA with on-the-record statements denying the agency did any actual shooting, and anonymous officials casting suspicion on the victims. With a few exceptions, U.S. media have not distinguished themselves. One of those exceptions is Dana Frank. Her piece, “Honduras: Which Side Is the U.S. On?,” appearing on the Nation website (5/22/12), discusses the killings and the U.S. role in the escalating drug war […]

Apr 27 2012

Mark Weisbrot on Argentina’s Oil, Justin Elliott on Campaign Ad Disclosure


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Argentina’s move to re-nationalize its oil company, taking it back from the Spanish company Repsol, is not getting good reviews in the corporate press overseas or here at home. The move will hurt and further isolate Argentina, say the critics. We’ll talk to economist Mark Weisbrot for another view. Also on the show: Campaign season means a flood of political ads intended to influence your vote. The FCC has proposed a measure aimed at making it easier to figure out who’s buying those ads, it’s public information after all, and you’ll never guess who’s […]

Aug 06 2010

Sonali Kolhatkar on Afghan War & women, Laura Carlsen on Venezuela & Colombia


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The release of the Afghanistan WikiLeaks documents brought the Afghan war back onto the front pages, but much of the attention went to Time magazine’s cover, featuring a disfigured Afghan woman and the headline “What Happens if we leave Afghanistan.” Suddenly the Afghan War debate reverted back to its 2001 template, with the rescue of Afghan women as the noble rationale for U.S. military action. We’ll get a reaction from radio host Sonali Kolhatkar of the Afghan Women’s Mission. Also on CounterSpin today: If you’ve been following the rising tensions between Colombia and Venezuela, […]

Aug 01 2010

Honduras Down the Memory Hole

U.S. media ignore the aftermath of dubious elections they praised

Manuel Zelaya--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/     Presidencia de la República del Ecuador

A year after a military coup removed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya from office, Hondurans are still living under a repressive government—but the U.S. is pushing Latin American countries to join it in normalizing relations with the regionally ostracized nation. Reporting from a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS), the New York Times (6/8/10) dutifully relayed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assertion that “we saw the free and fair election of President [Porfirio] Lobo,’’ noting on the other hand that “several foreign ministers inveighed against Mr. Lobo’s government, which they said had violated human rights.” The Times left […]

Jul 16 2010

Adam Serwer on DOJ/New Black Panthers, Mark Weisbrot on South of the Border


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Have you heard the one about how the Obama Justice department refused to prosecute voter intimidation of white people by black people? A few days ago you could’ve missed the story just by avoiding Rush Limbaugh but now even the Washington Post is giving ink to the “political bombshell.” We’ll ask the American Prospect‘s Adam Serwer how much, if anything, there is to this latest tale and what’s behind it. Also on CounterSpin today: Oliver Stone’s new film South of the Border takes a look at the leftward shift in Latin America over the […]

Oct 16 2009

Marie Trigona on Argentina media law, Peter Richardson on Ramparts


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Argentina just passed a media law that will severely curb the power of the country’s largest conglomerates by putting a majority of the country’s broadcast licenses in non-corporate hands. How did the law come about, and how is it expected to change Argentina’s media landscape. And what lessons might U.S. media activists take from Argentina’s example? We’ll talk with Marie Trigona, an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Argentina. Also on CounterSpin today: “A bomb in every issue” was how Time magazine described the 60’s muckraking magazine Ramparts. It’s also the title of a […]

Sep 24 2009

USA Today, AP Mislead on Honduran Coup

This week, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya returned to Tegucigalpa–though not to office. Unfortunately, press accounts are still misreporting the story behind his ouster, relying on those who supported the coup to supply the explanation for their actions. Some of the most misleading coverage has appeared in the Associated Press dispatches that have run in USA Today. The paper’s September 22 edition ran this from the AP: The legislature ousted Zelaya after he formed an alliance with leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and tried to alter the nation’s constitution. Zelaya was arrested on orders of the Supreme Court on charges […]