Mar
11
2011

Phyllis Bennis on Libya, Graham Rayman on Newburgh Four

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Soldiers loyal to Libya's Muammar Qaddafi continue their assault on rebels, nearly a month into the democratic uprising there. Media are debating how and when and even whether the US should intervene, but how much of their reasoning has anything to do with what Libyans want? We'll talk with Phyllis Bennis from the Institute for Policy Studies about Libya. Also on CounterSpin today, Congressman Peter King's hearings on Islamic extremism are generating headlines and controversy. The backdrop for this conversation, we often hear, is terrorism; several plots emanating from U.S. Muslim communities show that […]

Feb
11
2011

Mark Weisbrot on Haiti elections, Vijay Prashad on Egypt and the U.S.

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Why did Hillary Clinton jump on a plane to Haiti on January 30th in the middle of a major diplomatic crisis caused by the Egyptian uprising? She was going to Haiti because Washington is worried that U.S. efforts to deliver a Haitian president to its liking are threatened by democracy. It has not been easy to follow this story in the corporate media, but Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research will bring up to date on Haiti. Also on the show: How do you present decades of support for a […]

Feb
04
2011

Adil Shamoo on Egypt, Fawaz Gerges on Muslim Brotherhood

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The massive uprising in Egypt has been covered as a story of violent clashes and an awakening on the so-called 'Arab Street.' As we record this program, some pro-Mubarak forces are attacking journalists. Plenty of U.S. coverage focuses on the U.S. foreign policy position—with plenty of euphemisms about a 'tightrope' and 'delicate balance' for a U.S. government that has propped up the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak for three decades. We'll talk about that with Adil Shamoo Also on CounterSpin today: It's an obsession for Fox News Channel, and an area of concern for other […]

Jan
21
2011

Helena Cobban on Tunisia, Wayne Au on teacher testing

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Tunisia is hardly ever in the US news, but when demonstrations by a largely secular movement led to the ouster of the country's long-ruling, American-backed dictator, US elite media took notice. We'll talk with Helena Cobban of JustWorldNews about what is happening in Tunisia. Also on the show: There's been some pushback to so-called educational reform efforts with their emphasis on standardized tests as the preeminent measure of educational value, for students and teachers. The resistance isn't just about the limited nature of tests, there’s also evidence that they just aren't that useful. Wayne […]

Aug
04
2010

Does the NY Times Factcheck Op-Eds?

Bogus evidence showing Arab apathy towards Palestinians

On August 2, the New York Times published an op-ed arguing that Arabs do not care much about Palestinians--and that this is a good thing, especially for Palestinians. But the argument relied on a "poll" of the Arab world that does not exist. The piece, by historian Efraim Karsh, intended to show that the "conventional wisdom" about the Israel-Palestine conflict--that Arabs "are so passionate about the Palestine problem"--is wrong. His main evidence is this: "What, then, are we to make of a recent survey for the Al Arabiya television network finding that a staggering 71 percent of the Arabic respondents […]

Jan
08
2010

Sam Husseini on Gaza Freedom March, Dean Baker on WaPo & Fiscal Times

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: It had the elements of a nightly news story: Protestors, including some Americans, being abused by officials in an Arab country. But this story was a non-starter with U.S. media. We'll talk to Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy, who just left Egypt where a delegation of human rights activists were abused by Egyptian police when they protested that country’s refusal to let them cross the Egyptian border into Gaza for a Freedom March. Also on the show: The Washington Post has been on the deficit hawk beat for some time, so […]

Mar
01
2008

Perilous Journalism in the Persian Gulf

Strait of Hormuz incident's uncritical coverage

HMS Middleton in the Straight of Hormuz--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Defence Images

Given that one of the stated goals of George W. Bush's January 8-16 Mideast trip was to "remind" allies in the Persian Gulf that "Iran is a threat'' (New York Times, 1/9/08), it should have at least struck journalists as a strange coincidence when a January 6 encounter between the U.S. Navy and five small Iranian speedboats in the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf, was characterized by the Pentagon as "evidence that Iran is unpredictable and remains a threat" (CNN, 1/7/08). Yet several news media outlets swallowed the White House's alarmist account of the incident hook, […]

Dec
01
2007

Coverage of Syria Airstrike Strikingly Familiar

When an apparent airstrike by Israel against Syria on September 6 was eventually linked to accusations of a secret Syrian nuclear program, the striking thing about the often muddled reporting was how much the credulous reaction to unsubstantiated claims resembled the similarly uncritical reporting about Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. When the airstrike was first disclosed, the New York Times (9/12/07) quoted an unnamed U.S. military official saying “it was still unclear exactly what the jets hit.” The best guess from other unnamed officials was that the building housed “weapons caches” of arms from Iran, ultimately destined for Hezbollah […]