Dec 22 2009

The 2009 P.U.-Litzer Awards

For 17 years our colleagues Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon have worked with FAIR to present the P.U.-Litzers, a year-end review of some of the stinkiest examples of corporate media malfeasance, spin and just plain outrageousness. Starting this year, FAIR has the somewhat dubious honor of reviewing the nominees and selecting the winners. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. So, without further ado, we present the 2009 P.U.-Litzers. –The Remembering Reagan Award WINNER: Joe Klein, Time Time columnist Joe Klein (12/3/09), not altogether impressed by Obama’s announcement of a troop escalation in Afghanistan, wrote that a […]

Dec 11 2009

Curtis Brainard on ‘Climategate,’ Corie Wright on NBC/Comcast


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The so-called “Climategate” email scandal seems to have thrown media coverage of climate change back a decade, with news outlets giving warming deniers more or less equal time alongside actual climate scientists. Part of the problem has been the media’s general laziness in explaining what actually was in the hacked emails that are the source of the scandal; Curtis Brainard of Columbia Journalism Review will join us to provide some of that missing context. Also on the show: the Comcast NBC merger might sound like inside-industry news, but those looking at it carefully say […]

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 1 2009

Right Ebbs, Left Gains as Media ‘Experts’

Think tank balance still skews right

Special online-only study Progressive think tanks gained in media prominence over 2008, despite overall think tank citations declining for the fourth year in a row. The 25 most-cited think tanks in major U.S. media received 13,149 citations in 2008, a 6 percent decline from 2007 levels. The decline primarily hit conservative or right-leaning think tanks, whose share of citations in corporate media fell from 36 percent to 31 percent in 2008 , while progressive or left-leaning think tanks–the only group to actually see an increase in their total citations–went from 17 percent to 21 percent. Centrist think tanks saw little […]

Jul 1 2009

Local Heroes

A new media model may be right around the corner—literally

First came the waves of consolidation that swallowed up independent newspapers across the country. Now, as more newsrooms shrink and shutter in the Internet age, the local daily paper may be verging on extinction. But in many communities, a new tide of experimental Web-based ventures is moving to fill in the holes left by declining corporate media. These emerging “hyperlocal” models—ranging from slick news aggregators to more traditional pavement-pounding reporting—focus on a certain geographic area and draw from an array of local sources, like reader announcements, government records and Twitter. Though individual sites aim to capture the peculiarities of the […]

Jul 1 2009

Building a Better Journalism

Media activists and scholars share their ideas

Extra! asked progressive media activists and scholars to share their ideas on how to make journalism’s future better than its present; the following are some of the highlights. The one thing that we should do in the face of the erosion of commercial journalism is invest heavily in libraries. That means we should publicly support the human capital, technological tools, and collections of public, school and university libraries.The problem is not journalism per se. It’s the health of the public sphere, of which quality journalism is a major part. So if we accept that the landscape we have grown accustomed […]

Jul 1 2009

Open-Source Journalism

New technologies bring citizens into the newsroom

On December 6, 2008, a 15-year-old in Athens was shot and killed by a police officer. The event sparked nationwide riots and protests, with news spreading rapidly through word of mouth and new media platforms like cell phones and Internet sites. Meanwhile, reported Andrew Lam at New America Media (12/16/08), some 500 media professionals were gathered in Athens for the Global Forum for Media Development, discussing the future of media. They saw traditional media playing a marginal role in coverage of the breaking news, as unorganized citizen journalists reported continuously from on the ground. Greek columnist and TV commentator Pavlos […]

Jul 1 2009

Before We ‘Save’ Journalism

The future of news reporting shouldn't reproduce its past

Time: How to Save Your Newspaper

One thing to keep in mind while worrying about the future of journalism is that its past hasn’t been all that great either. Journalism ought to be judged not on the profits it makes for stockholders but on the service it provides to democracy. By that measure, the reporting profession has been falling down on the job: Leading us into an aggressive war with evidence based on lies (FAIR Media Advisory, 3/19/07), overlooking an asset bubble whose predictable deflation devastated our economy (Extra!, 11-12/08), failing to raise alarms about the erosion of key civil liberties (Extra!, 5-6/08). And it’s not […]