May 20 2009

Does the CIA Ever Lie?

Parsing the Pelosi torture controversy

The debate over Bush-era torture tactics like waterboarding has morphed into a full-blown Washington scandal. But the target isn’t the Bush administration officials who ordered the torture; instead, the corporate media’s focus is on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who claims that she was not fully briefed by the CIA on the use of waterboarding in late 2002. The prevailing assumption in much of the coverage is that the CIA couldn’t possibly have misled members of Congress–despite the fact that this has happened repeatedly. The media reaction has been intense. Right-wing pundits and the Fox News Channel are treating the issue […]

Feb 6 2009

Ken Silverstein on Daschle, Miranda Spencer on breast cancer


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: “If it weren’t for those darn tax problems, Tom Daschle was the perfect choice as Obama’s Secretary of Health & Human Services,” seems to be the establishment refrain over the rise and fall of the Daschle nomination. “No one knows the healthcare issues, or could do a better job pushing through the promised Obama healthcare plan than the former senator,” say many pundits. Ken Silverstein begs to differ. The Washington editor of Harpers and the magazine’s Washington Babylon blogger will join us to talk about that. Also on the show: Breast cancer affects huge […]

Jan 23 2009

Norman Solomon on Obama’s inauguration, Ann Jones on Afghanistan


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The inauguration of President Barack Obama was undoubtedly historic, and was covered as such by the corporate media. But what are we to make of the idea that the media have gone gaga for Obama? And what are the pundits and editorial writers pushing for from Obama in the first place? Author and columnist Norman Solomon will join us to talk it over. Also on CounterSpin today: “Major Push is Needed to Save Afghanistan, General Says” was the headline on a recent major daily story. Our guest says reporters need to be asking questions […]

Jan 1 2009

Dalliance & Double Standards

Under Hannity’s rules, conservatives’ affairs don’t count

You’re a politician who’s just been exposed for cheating on your spouse. Your political career is over, right? These days, that might depend on your politics—and your relationship with a certain right-wing cable news show. After revelations of an affair with an aide during the 2008 primaries, John Edwards’ career fell off the face of the Earth. The former Democratic presidential hopeful—who’d been talked about as a possible VP pick or as attorney general in an Obama administration—was not only shunned and condemned by Republicans and fellow Democrats alike, he also came in for harsh treatment from media figures. As […]

Dec 19 2008

Michael Ratner on detainee abuse report, Alfie Kohn on education nominee


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a report finding former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials responsible for abusive treatment of detainees in Guantánamo, Iraq and Afghanistan–with few exceptions, the media played the story down, preferring, for instance, righteous anger over embroiled Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. We’ll discuss the Senate report with the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Michael Ratner, whose book, The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld, was published in September. Also on CounterSpin today, Obama’s pick for education secretary drew more attention than you might have expected–in large part because the […]

Nov 4 2008

Pro-Obama Media?

What talk about media favoritism really means

Whether or not Barack Obama wins the election, there will be a substantial argument from conservatives–and even many centrist pundits and commentators–that the press was overwhelmingly biased in favor of the Democratic candidate and against John McCain (Extra!, 9-10/08). But the main evidence for this charge does not actually support the case. Throughout the campaign, the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) has released reports on the quantity of media coverage of the election–which candidates received more airtime, and so on. Several PEJ studies have also discussed the tone of the coverage, in an attempt to reveal which candidates are […]

Oct 10 2008

Ayers = Keating?

Media falsely balance Obama, McCain attacks

After the New York Times (10/4/08) devoted over 2,000 words to a front-page story assessing the “connection” between Barack Obama and former Weather Underground member William Ayers, it was no surprise that the John McCain/Sarah Palin campaign would seize the opportunity to try to re-inject the Ayers/Obama “link”–a popular topic among right-wing pundits like Sean Hannity–into the campaign. In general, centrist pundits looked askance (e.g., NBC News Today show, 10/7/08) at the McCain camp’s undisguised attempt to change the subject from the economy to Ayers (Washington Post, 10/4/08). But many in the media bent over backwards to suggest an equivalence […]

Jul 31 2008

CNN Scoffs at White House Critics

Anchor with Bush ties dismisses abuse-of-power hearings as 'stagecraft'

CNN‘s Election Center program devoted a July 25 report to mocking a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee investigating White House abuses of power. “Believe it or not, there was a congressional hearing today about impeaching the president,” scoffed host Campbell Brown, who added: “It was all stagecraft, though.” Brown went on to introduce the report by CNN correspondent Erica Hill by saying, “Tell us about this piece of Kabuki theater, Erica.” Hill explained: “From the beginning it was pretty clear this was all just stagecraft, for what one Republican lawmaker deemed impeachment light.” Hill underscored this notion by claiming: […]