Sep
04
2009

Jordan Flaherty on Katrina anniversary, Sarah Anderson on executive pay

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Corporate media promised to pay more attention to poverty and race after the Gulf Coast's Katrina disasters in 2005, and for a short time they did a little more reporting. But where was the followup on this year’s August anniversary, when papers like the Washington Post and L.A. Times, and networks like ABC and Fox offered essentially no coverage at all. We'll talk to journalist Jordan Flaherty, reporting the story since 2005, about the stories from the continuing Katrina crisis that the corporate media don't seem to care much about. Also on the show--a […]

Jul
10
2009

Sasha Abramsky on 'Breadline USA', Jim Naureckas on the future of journalism

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Some 25 million Americans, nearly 9 percent of the population--rely on food pantries. But with rare exceptions, and despite its devastating impact, big media just don't seem to find a reportable story in chronic hunger. A new book hopes to make the issue more visible, by actually talking to people. It's called Breadline USA: The Hidden Scandal of American Hunger and How to Fix It; we'll speak with author Sasha Abramsky. Also on the show: Hard times and decreasing ad revenues have prompted a spate of seminars and discussion about the future of journalism […]

Apr
24
2009

Glenn Greenwald on torture, Rose Aguilar on tent cities

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: While it’s pretty clear that Bush-era torture occurred, and that U.S. and international treaties oblige the U.S. to investigate, the hot media discussion centers not on when investigations will begin, but on whether President Barack Obama—not the Justice Department—thinks they should go forward. We’ll talk to Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com about the torture story. Also on CounterSpin today: Media are flocking to so-called tent cities to try and put a human face on the recession and housing crisis. That sounds laudable, but are the media getting the story wrong? We'll talk to journalist Rose […]

Feb
01
2009

The Recession and the "Deserving Poor"

Poverty finally on media radar—but only when it hits the middle class

As the economy crumbles, issues of poverty and economic need have begun to make more frequent appearances in the news media. From October through December 2008, for example, the three nightly TV news shows ran 20 stories—about one every four or five days—addressing poverty or related issues such as homelessness or food stamps. A previous FAIR study of nightly news coverage (Extra!, 9-10/07), by comparison, found an average of one poverty story on the evening news every three weeks. More coverage, though, does not necessarily mean better coverage. And while swelling food-stamp rolls and unemployment lines may become media staples […]

Oct
23
2007

USA Today's SCHIP Favor

Paper's misleading poll boosts White House veto

The White House veto of a Congressional plan to expand the SCHIP children's health care program seemed to run against public opinion, which squarely supports the measure. But USA Today conducted a misleading poll that assisted the Bush administration's efforts to portray the veto as an effort to help poor children. On October 16, the paper ran a story headlined "Poll: Mixed Feelings on Kids' Healthcare Program," which declared that "slim majorities" support White House arguments that are "at the core of the president's opposition to the expansion." Most importantly, majorities apparently "agree with Bush that most benefits should go […]

Sep
01
2007

The Poor Will Always Be With Us--Just Not on the TV News

FAIR Study

The PDF version of the study is available here. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, 37 million Americans—one in eight—lived below the federal poverty line in 2005, defined as an annual income of $19,971 for a family of four. Yet poverty touches a far greater share of the population over the course of their lives: A 1997 study by University of Michigan economist Rebecca Blank found that one-third of all U.S. residents will experience government-defined poverty within a 13-year period. The poorest age group is children, with more than one in six living in official poverty at […]

Aug
27
2007

FAIR SURVEY

Poverty or Pop Star: What's More Newsworthy?

When Hurricane Katrina devastated poor communities in New Orleans two years ago today, the media pledged to pay attention to the plight of the poor. Can you guess how newsworthy the major TV networks thought poverty was the year Katrina hit, compared to, say, the legal ordeals of millionaire pop star Michael Jackson? Or which of the major three networks aired the most stories on poverty, and which ran the least? Click here to record your guess

Jan
05
2007

Best of CounterSpin 2006

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Download MP3 On this special Best of CounterSpin, program we look back over some of what was news for the mainstream media in 2006—and some of what wasn't news, but should've been. Our guests this year included a range of activists, researchers and journalists—all of whom had an angle on events that we thought worth hearing and, more often than not, one you weren't hearing many other places. Whether the issue was medicare or immigration, Wal-Mart or welfare policy, each in his or her way reminded us of the need to see beyond the narrow, often distorted dialog provided by […]