Feb 10 2006

Ali Abunimah on Muhammad cartoons, David Swanson on White House memo

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Unflattering and offensive cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that appeared in a Danish newspaper have set off protests around the world. Pundits seem eager to portray the story as the familiar “clash of civilizations,” but what else is going on here? We’ll ask Ali Abunimah of the website Electronic Intifada. Also this week: According to the February 3rd London Guardian, a memo has emerged revealing that George Bush intended to invade Iraq regardless of UN support or if UN inspectors found banned weapons there. It also shows Tony Blair supported these Bush plans. You […]

Dec 2 2005

Michelle Goldberg on the War on Christmas, Gadi Dechter on Michael Steele

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: It’s the holiday season again, so many conservatives are concocting stories about how Christmas and Christians are under attack. To listen to the likes of commentators such as Bill O’Reilly and Pat Buchanan, simply using the words “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” amounts to anti-Christian hostility. We’ll speak with Salon.com senior writer Michelle Goldberg about the war against Christmas and her article “How the Secular Humanist Grinch Didn’t Steal Christmas.” Also this week: We’ll talk about how a curious story became a talking point for conservative pundits. As the story goes, an African-American […]

Jun 1 2005

Lessons from Newsweek’s Retraction

In the rush to condemn Newsweek‘s May 9 report about abuse of the Quran at Guantánamo, little attention has been paid to a technique the magazine used in reporting its original story: submitting articles to government officials prior to publication. According to Newsweek‘s accounts of the reporting behind the brief “Periscope” item that caused so much controversy, a draft of the item was actually given to a military official for review. Wrote assistant managing editor Evan Thomas in a post-controversy reexamination (5/23/05): “Newsweek national security correspondent John Barry, realizing the sensitivity of the story, provided a draft of the Newsweek […]

Jun 1 2005

Defeated by Democracy

Reported as triumph, Iraq elections were really Bush team’s nightmare

In the months before the January 30, 2005 elections in Iraq, gloom and dissension began creeping into the media’s usual cheerleading for the war. Casualties were mounting, Iraqi resentment was growing, and the Army was facing an alarming shortage of manpower. In a December column (12/27/04), Washington Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt—a staunch supporter of the invasion—lamented “the deteriorating conditions in Iraq” and warned that “the insurgents . . . are succeeding.” But with the impressive outpouring of Iraqi enthusiasm over the January 30 elections, the “purple revolution,” captured on film and broadcast around the world, caused a sea change […]

Jun 1 2005

The Mainstreaming of Antisemitism

Few raise alarms when media bigs attack Jews

The commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, held at the former Nazi death camp in Poland on January 27, featured speakers warning about a new rise in antisemitism. “From broken windows to death camps was the blink of an eye,” said Moshe Kantor of the European Jewish Congress (New York Times, 1/27/05), referring to the brief time between the 1938 “Kristallnacht” attacks on Jewish neighborhoods and the hatching of the “final solution” in 1942. The warnings from Auschwitz come at a time when police records and public opinion surveys show increasing antisemitism and anti-Jewish sentiment in […]

Dec 3 2004

Networks Bar Ad Promoting Tolerance

A church's acceptance of gays is deemed "too controversial"

Three broadcast networks have rejected an advertisement from the United Church of Christ, deeming the ad’s message of tolerance to be too controversial. Citing the Bush administration’s proposal of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, CBS and UPN have refused to run a UCC commercial that advertises the church’s acceptance of all people, including gays and lesbians. NBC also deemed the ad “too controversial” to air (UCC.org, 11/30/04). The ad depicts two bouncers in front of a church letting in two white girls and a white heterosexual couple but turning away others, including people of color, a man in […]

Nov 12 2004

Rick Perlstein on ‘moral values,’ Richard Garfield on Iraq’s civilian casualties

Download MP3 By now you know the conventional media wisdom on how Bush won the election: voters put ‘moral values’ above all else, and that swung the vote in Bush’s favor. But is that analysis correct? And what does this quick conclusion about the American electorate mean for the media? We’ll ask Rick Perlstein of the Village Voice about that. Also on the program: Listeners may recall the pronouncement by General Tommy Franks that “we don’t do body counts.” That attitude explains why the Pentagon isn’t releasing figures on Iraqi civilian casualties; but what’s the media’s excuse? We’ll talk about […]

Apr 9 2004

Wenonah Hauter on gasoline prices, Richard Bulliet on Shia uprising

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Iraq’s Shia majority is misunderstood in the U.S., where reporting on that community is often tainted by historical antagonisms toward Iranian Shias. Professor Richard Bulliet of Columbia University, who is a specialist in Islamic history, will join the show to talk about recent news from Iraq and tell us what’s wrong with reporting on Iraq’s Shia community. Also this week: Rising gas prices are in the news. When the press looks to assign blame, we hear about OPEC, restrictive environmental regulations, and turmoil in Venezuela. But are there some other causes that aren’t being […]