May
30
2008

Pepe Escobar on UN Iran report, Sarah Posner on McCain's Pastor problem

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The latest UN report on Iran's nuclear program has been leaked, but what it says depends on which U.S. news outlet you depend on. Does it describe an ominous march toward Iran's nuclear weaponization as is suggested by many stories, or something less serious? We'll be joined by Pepe Escobar, "Roving Eye" columnist for Asia Times Online and correspondent for the Real News Network, to talk about what the UN report actually says. Also on the show: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has publicly rejected the endorsements of televangelists John Hagee and Rod […]

May
13
2008

Catholic League's Inaccurate Critique of FAIR

Group mischaracterized document in defending Pope Benedict

UPDATE--The Catholic League, a conservative Catholic advocacy organization, has challenged the accuracy of FAIR's April 29 media advisory, "Pope Gets Pass on Church Abuse History." In a May 2 release, "Media Watchdog, FAIR, Smears Pope," League president Bill Donohue challenged FAIR's report that before he was elected pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger “sent a letter to church bishops invoking a 1962 doctrine threatening automatic excommunication for any Catholic official who discussed abuse cases outside the church’s legal system.” According to Donohue, “The document did not apply to sexual misconduct--it applied only to sexual solicitation that might take place in the confessional." […]

May
02
2008

Justin Levitt on Supreme Court and voter ID, Sara Robinson on Texas Mormons case

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Indiana's voter ID law; while the decision was difficult to parse, the debate around the law centers on the baseless fears of voter fraud often stoked by right-wing pundits. We'll talk about the issue with Justin Levitt of NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. Also on the show: The state of Texas' raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, resulting in the removal of more than 500 women and children, has made for weeks of sensational news coverage. But beyond the "curiosity" factor of the Mormon sect lie […]

Apr
01
2008

Endorsing a Different Standard

When campaign discussion focused on videotaped comments made by Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, it was not the first time that the press raised questions about Obama’s connections— something corporate media seem far less interested in doing with Sen. John McCain. For example, look at two endorsements made by religious figures with a history of intolerant statements—one of Obama by Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan, who called Judaism a “gutter religion,” another of McCain by evangelical leader John Hagee, who has called Roman Catholicism a “false cult system” and a […]

Nov
02
2007

Gareth Porter on Iran, Tarso Ramos on Values Voters

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The campaign season and actions by the White House and the Senate have made Iran in some ways a bigger political story than Iraq. How well are the media examining the arguments being put forth about Iranian meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan? We'll talk to journalist and historian Gareth Porter. Also on the show: Remember the wake of the 2004 election, when "values voters" were all the rage? A supposedly clearly defined and enormously powerful voting bloc, so-called Christian conservatives were said to be key to winning the White House. Almost 4 years later, […]

Dec
05
2006

Flirting With Fascism on CNN Headline News

Host Glenn Beck threatens Muslims with concentration camps

The New York Times (12/4/06), profiling new CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck, called him "brash" and "opinionated," with an "unfiltered approach." The conservative talk-radio host-turned-cable news announcer, the paper reported, "take[s] credit for saying what others are feeling but are afraid to say." The Times mentioned one of the things Beck has said recently, to newly elected U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim: "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." But as press critic Eric Alterman pointed out (Altercation, 12/4/06), as offensive as that question is, it doesn't begin to suggest the poisonousness […]

Nov
03
2006

Bill O'Reilly Needs Help

Fox host demands Letterman apologize for pointing out Fox host's inaccuracy

Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and CBS talk show host David Letterman had a well-publicized showdown on Letterman's program in early January, so it came as no surprise that their next face-to-face on October 27 would be similarly heated. After the interview aired, O'Reilly accused Letterman of dishonesty for accurately saying O'Reilly had lied on his show, and challenged Letterman to produce the evidence. O'Reilly took exception to Letterman's crack about him (Late Night, 10/26/06): "The last time he was on the show, I caught him lying." As O'Reilly retorted on his October 30 broadcast: Letterman caught me lying? What […]

Jun
09
2006

Michael Klare on Iran, Fawaz Gerges on Journey of the Jihadist

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A new proposal to Iran from the US and five other nations seems to suggest the possibility of direct negotiations and has resulted in a more upbeat tone to a story that looked to be heading for crisis just a few weeks ago. What does the new proposal mean and how has it changed the tone of media coverage? We'll talk to Professor Michael Klare or Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Also on CounterSpin today: Media largely accept the White House's framing of the war on terror and the battle against militant Islam. That often […]