Feb
10
2011

Duvalier = Aristide?

Equation of dictator with popular ex-president distorts Haitian history, reality

It was certainly surprising to see former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier return to the country on January 16. To say he has blood on his hands is an understatement: The Duvalier regimes were responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and widespread torture (Human Rights Watch, 1/17/11), and stole half a billion dollars from the country (Miami Herald, 1/17/11). Soon thereafter, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide announced his intention to return to his country from exile. Aristide, twice elected and twice overthrown by coups, remains a popular figure in Haitian politics. His first stint in office was remarkably peaceful (Extra!, 11-12/94); […]

Feb
01
2011

The Delicate Tightrope of Supporting a Dictator

U.S. media gloss over Washington's role in Egyptian repression

The political context of the current Egyptian uprising is clear: The United States has steadfastly supported dictator Hosni Mubarak, whose rule has been marked by sham elections and the jailing and torture of dissidents, propping up his regime since 1981 with some $60 billion in aid, most of it military. But since U.S. corporate media are accustomed to viewing international affairs through the lens of U.S. elite interests, much of the current coverage elides Washington's role, or presents it as a "tightrope" balancing act for the Obama administration. As one New York Times story (1/26/11) put it, "The administration has […]

Dec
16
2010

What We Learn From WikiLeaks

Media paint flattering picture of U.S. diplomacy

In U.S. elite media, the main revelation of the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables is that the U.S. government conducts its foreign policy in a largely admirable fashion. Fareed Zakaria, Time (12/2/10): The WikiLeaks documents, by contrast [to the Pentagon Papers], show Washington pursuing privately pretty much the policies it has articulated publicly. Whether on Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or North Korea, the cables confirm what we know to be U.S. foreign policy. And often this foreign policy is concerned with broader regional security, not narrow American interests. Ambassadors are not caught pushing other countries in order to make deals secretly to strengthen […]

Dec
10
2010

Glenn Greenwald on WikiLeaks

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The journalism organization WikiLeaks is under massive attack by U.S. government officials, corporations, and journalists. Many are calling for the group and its spokesperson Julian Assange to be prosecuted; some have even called for Assange's execution or assassination. Transnational companies like Visa, MasterCard and Paypal have cut off services, and even liberal US pundits are attacking the group with inaccurate smears. WikiLeaks crime? Making leaked U.S. diplomatic cables available to the world both directly and through its mainstream media partners. In this special extended CounterSpin interview, we'll talk to Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald about the […]

Oct
08
2010

Jodi Jacobson on Tea Party & social issues, T. Christian Miller on military contractor deaths

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The New York Times says democrats are "wielding" issues like abortion rights in hopes of frightening voters about Republican victories in upcoming elections, whereas Republicans really just want to talk about the economy. Same goes for the Tea Party: we're told not to focus on the movement leader who calls rape "part of God's plan," because actual Tea Partiers really only care about fiscal issues. What's going on, or not going on, here? We'll hear from Jodi Jacobson, editor in chief of RHReality Check, whose recent piece is titled, "Social Issues and the Tea […]

Aug
27
2010

Pratap Chatterjee on Task Force 373, Timothy Karr on net neutrality

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The WikiLeaks Afghan War Diaries prompted waves of media coverage, though much of that amounted to "move on, there's nothing to see here." But digging into the documents might reveal more about the Afghan War than we knew—like the existence of something called Task Force 373, set up to capture or kill specific al Qaeda or Taliban figures. What does it really do, though, and where does it fit in with what we know about U.S. war policy? Journalist Pratap Chatterjee will join us to talk about that. Also on CounterSpin today: A few […]

Apr
09
2010

Jeremy Scahill on Iraq killings, Jeff Biggers on coal mining

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A dramatic videotape of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack was published by the website Wikileaks on April 5—prompting waves of coverage across the world, though only sporadic attention from the US corporate press. The attacks killed 12 Iraqis, including 2 journalists working for Reuters. Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill will join us to talk about the media reaction to the chilling video. Also on CounterSpin today: As we record this show, efforts continue to rescue 4 miners believed still trapped by the April 5 explosion that killed 25 in West Virginia, and media are tracking […]

Feb
25
2010

Fox News--Wing of the GOP?

More like a Republican slugging arm

fox news logo

White House interim communications director Anita Dunn’s characterization of Fox News Channel as “a wing of the Republican Party,” and her announcement that the administration would henceforth treat Fox News as part of the “opposition,” created a media stir. Washington Post columnist (and Fox contributor) Charles Krauthammer announced, “The White House has declared war on Fox News.” Krauthammer’s more centrist colleague, Ruth Marcus (WashingtonPost .com, 10/19/09), wrote that “picking a fight” with Fox News “makes the White House look childish and petty at best, and it has a distinct Nixonian—Agnewesque?—aroma at worst.” As Joe Conason pointed out (Salon, 10/22/09), comparisons […]