May
05
2008

TV News Blackout on Pentagon Pundits

Two weeks after a New York Times story (4/20/08) revealed a Pentagon propaganda campaign that had been feeding talking points to TV military analysts, many of whom also had ties to military contractors, the cable and broadcast networks that employed these analysts have almost entirely failed to report this crucial news story. Fox has even continued to feature commentary by two Pentagon-affiliated ex-generals without disclosing their conflicts of interest. In the wake of the New York Times story and resulting calls for a congressional inquiry into the Pentagon pundits scandal, the Pentagon has announced that it has temporarily halted the […]

Apr
25
2008

Norman Solomon on Pentagon pundits, Sheldon Rampton on Earth Day greenwashing

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: An April 20th New York Times investigation reveals a secret Pentagon propaganda program providing military pundits with talking points to repeat in media-- in some cases even when "they suspected the information was false or inflated." But could the Pentagon pull off such a program without a willing media? We'll talk to "War Made Easy" author and FAIR associate Norman Solomon. Also on CounterSpin today: Much of the media's celebration of Earth Day involves giving space to corporations to tout their environmentally friendly practices in puff pieces and paid advertisements. Sheldon Rampton of the […]

Apr
22
2008

Pentagon Pundits

Media facilitate Iraq propaganda effort

A lengthy April 20 New York Times investigation of the Pentagon's program of feeding talking points to military pundits featured on TV newscasts raised disturbing questions about the media's role as a conduit for Pentagon propaganda. According to the Times, the Pentagon recruited over 75 retired generals to act as "message force multipliers" in support of the Iraq War, receiving special Pentagon briefings and talking points that the analysts would often parrot on national television "even when they suspected the information was false or inflated." The Times even noted that at one 2003 briefing the military pundits were told that […]

Mar
01
2008

Fear & Favor 2007

How power still shapes the news

U.S. journalists seeking to fulfill the profession’s traditional goal of telling the truth and “letting the chips fall where they may” have powerful forces to contend with, starting with the corporate owners who employ them, and the corporate advertisers who fuel the enterprise, both of whom have an investment in maintaining a political conversation and climate favorable to their profitability. There are also legislators who maintain the pro-corporate policy media owners rely on to thrive, local political players with axes to grind, and well-funded PR campaigns from all corners. Each year these renew and refine their efforts to shape news […]

Mar
01
2008

Is Undercover Over?

Disguise seen as deceit by timid journalists

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/daysofthundr46

This past February, the famed lobbying firm APCO was approached by a man named Kenneth Case. Case said he represented the Maldon Group, an obscure firm that wished to improve the public image of Turkmenistan, where it had some investments. It was nothing out of the ordinary -- private firms often lobby on behalf of foreign countries, either because they think it will increase the value of their investments or because they are acting as a front for the foreign government. APCO happily met with them, despite the fact that the Stalinist regime of Turkmenistan is one of the most […]

Feb
01
2008

Dahr Jamail on the Iraq surge, Karl Grossman on nuclear power resurgence

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Reports that the surge in Iraq "is working" are commonplace, but they rarely confront the question, "Working for whom?" In his latest piece, "Reality Is Totally Different: Iraqis on 'Success' and 'Progress' in Their Country," available at TomDispatch.com, independent journalist Dahr Jamail goes beyond the official Washington view and asks Iraqis how the surge is working for them. We'll talk to Dahr Jamail. Also on the show: It was not just the fiascos of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl but years of citizen activism that scuttled the U.S. love affair with nuclear power in […]

Aug
31
2007

Heather Boushey on Census poverty report, Scott Horton on 'Coups 'R Us'

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: the Census Bureau report on income and poverty came out last week, generating a fair amount of big media attention. This year, it seems, the news was good—or not so good. Depending on which outlet you saw and sometimes, how far into the story you read. We'll help sort through what the numbers mean with Heather Boushey, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Also on the show: with the White House pushing for extending the troop surge in Iraq, is there another development to pay attention to—namely, the collapse of […]

Aug
22
2007

NPR Touts Pro-Nuke 'Environmentalists'

Network's own nuclear links undisclosed

An August 15 NPR Morning Edition segment touted the benefits of nuclear power, suggesting it was gaining popularity with many environmentalists who once opposed it. The segment was an interview with Fortune magazine editor David Whitford, who has written a series of articles about the debate over nuclear power. The piece was introduced by NPR anchor John Ydstie, who asserted that "with fossil fuel carbon emissions in the environmental bull's-eye, nuclear power is starting to shake off its bad reputation." Whitford elaborated on the claim that nuclear power's image is improving: "There are many environmentalists now who began their careers […]