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

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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

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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 […]

Sep 01 2009

Rerun in Honduras

Coup pretext recycled from Brazil ’64

The pretext for the Honduran coup d’état is nothing new. In a remarkable replay, bogus charges that the corporate media in the U.S. and Europe have repeated endlessly without attempting to substantiate—that Honduran president Manuel Zelaya sought to amend the country’s constitution to run for another term—are virtually identical to the sham justification for the 1964 coup against Brazilian president João Goulart. The Brazilian coup, depicted at the time as a victory for constitutional democracy, kicked off a series of extreme right-wing military coups against democratically elected governments throughout the Southern Cone of Latin America and beyond. Brazil was turned […]

Mar 01 2009

Due Process Mugged

You’ve seen it everywhere. It made the cover of Newsweek, the front page of the New York Times‘ “Week in Review”, and the CBS, NBC and ABC news: Manual Noriega’s mug shot, looking just like the criminals at the end of each “Dragnet” episode after Sgt. Joe Friday had brought them to justice. But what you didn’t often see is an acknowledgment that the release of such mug shots is highly unusual, and may threaten Noriega’s already slim chances of getting a fair trial. The Miami U.S. Attorney’s office claims to have released it “under pressure from the press,” according […]

Mar 01 2009

I’m Not Rappaport…. I’m Valdez

Extra! usually complains about media outlets relying on the same sources again and again, but KTTV-TV in Los Angeles may have gone too far in the opposite direction. Seeking a source to comment on the failed October 1989 coup against Manuel Noriega, the station called what they thought was the Panamanian consulate. In fact, it was the home of Kurt Rappaport, a 22-year old prankster. Rappaport, pretending to be an anti-Noriega Panamanian diplomat, “Arturo Valdez,” was invited to be interviewed, and showed up at the studio sporting a false moustache. A sound bite from the 10-15 minute “Valdez” interview was […]

Nov 01 2007

Imperial Mythology

Venezuela, Hugo Chávez and U.S. media

When it comes to U.S. press coverage of Venezuela, anything goes if it puts President Hugo Chávez and the movement that brought him to power in a bad light. But among the tangle of misinformation that passes for Venezuela coverage, journalists often tip their hand, telling readers something true: Chávez and the political movement that has gained several electoral victories in Venezuela are a threat to U.S. interests in Latin America. This is the real reason why Venezuela must be treated harshly, even if it means twisting facts: “Chavismo represents a major threat to American interests in the region, which […]