May 19 2015

White House Reveals ‘Boots on Ground’ in Syria, but Media Too Giddy Over Special Ops Porn to Notice

CNN depiction of Syria raid

The White House just admitted it has American ground troops engaged in combat missions in Syria—and no one seemed to notice, much less care.

Sep 19 2014

Raed Jarrar on Iraq & ISIS, Robert Weissman on Democracy for All

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This week on CounterSpin: “We have no choice,” CBS’s Bob Schieffer told viewers, calling for US military attacks on the extremist group ISIS, because “this evil must be eradicated.” Though the shouts of warmongers may make them hard to hear, we do have choices – choices more likely to lead to longterm peace in Iraq and Syria than dropping bombs. We’ll hear from Raed Jarrar, policy impact coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee.

Also on the show: In response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, there’s a grassroots movement to amend the Constitution to try to curtail the influence of big money in politics. But it’s not getting much sympathy from the press– the AP says it’s an election year stunt, and pundits like George Will call it an attack on free speech. Robert Weissman of Public Citizen will join us to talk about the Democracy for All amendment.

Aug 15 2014

Vijay Prashad on IS and Iraq, Emira Woods on Africa Summit

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This week on CounterSpin: With the Islamic State, or IS, occupying large swathes of Iraq and Syria, a common refrain from politicians and pundits is to suggest that the group would not be a menace had the US intervened earlier and more deeply in the Syrian civil war. Author and professor Vijay Prashad will join us to address that canard and other misconceptions about Iraq, the US and the Islamic State.

Also on the show: The recent summit of African leaders in Washington DC was criticized by some for soft-pedaling human rights issues, but that only meant in African nations; media seemed to have no question at all about the beneficent goals of the policy of increased ‘investment’ on the continent by US corporations. We have some questions; we’ll ask them of Emira Woods of ThoughtWorks and the Institute for Policy Studies.

May 10 2013

Peter Hart on Syria and Sarin, Dilip Hiro on Afghan Corruption

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Peter Hart talks about Syria and chemical weapons claims, and author Dilip Hiro joins the show to talk about how stories about Afghan corruption fail to explain the U.S. role in creating that corruption.

May 06 2013

Syria Skepticism

Chemical claims should be investigated, not used as pretext for war

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U.S. suggestions that the Syrian government could have used chemical weapons have been treated as fact by some media outlets, and are helping to fuel the case for greater U.S. military involvement.

Feb 01 2013

A Familiar Script on Syrian WMDs

Official claims once more treated as facts

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Anonymous government sources speaking to the New York Times, along with intelligence based on satellite imagery, tell a frightening story: The brutal leader of an unfriendly Arab country is preparing to unleash chemical weapons. Sound familiar? There are significant differences between the allegations about Syria’s WMDs today and Iraq’s nonexistent weapons in 2003. But the similarities are notable for what they reveal—not about U.S. foreign policy plans, but about the corporate media’s ability to churn out a stream of alarmist coverage based on the thinnest of evidence. Now, as then, the New York Times drove the initial storyline. On December […]

Oct 01 2012

Skepticism Essential in Syria Reporting

Real atrocities, dubious sources

Syria's Flag--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Freedom House

As I.F. Stone taught us, all governments are liars, and the Syrian government is a particularly good example, refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of a homegrown opposition and denying the overwhelming evidence (CBS News, 2/4/12) that it has shelled civilian neighborhoods (Human Rights Watch, 2/9/12).By nearly all accounts, the Syrian government is responsible for a lion’s share of the killing in that nation’s civil war. It has also been accused of purposely killing journalists (Reporters Without Borders, 5/7/12). Because the Syrian government allows journalists almost no independent access, and perhaps in part because of the pro-opposition sympathies of much of […]

Mar 09 2012

Conn Hallinan on Syria, Tom Tresser on the Olympics

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Journalistic access to the unfolding crisis in Syria is dangerous and sparse. But that hasn’t kept Western officials from insisting that the situation is black and white, with the Syrian regime of Bashir al Assad the bad actor, and rebel Syrian militias the good guys. How accurate is that? We’ll be joined by Conn Hallinan, former head of the journalism school at UC Santa Cruz and a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus. Also on the show: Gearing up to host the Olympic Games means ribbon-cuttings at newly built venues and international media attention. […]