Nov 1 2009

Putting the Public Back in Public Media

Access channels offer an alternative

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/st bernard

For most Americans, “public broadcasting” means the local PBS affiliate. But there’s another kind of non-commercial media that’s established by the government: public access channels. PEG (Public, Educational and Governmental) channels, as they’re officially known, are created by agreements between municipalities and cable companies: In exchange for getting access to lay their cable through public rights of way, the cable company pays in the form of setting aside channels for the community to run themselves, plus a small fee of up to 5 percent of the cable company’s gross revenue (New York Times, 11/8/2005). In many communities, that money helps […]

Nov 1 2009

Right-Wing Witch Hunt Reaches FCC

Glenn Beck and friends attack diversity officer Mark Lloyd

Mark Lloyd--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Center for American Progress

When the Obama administration’s Federal Communications Commission underwent its first hearing by the House oversight committee on September 17, the agenda largely centered on FCC chair Julius Genachowski’s upcoming broadband plan and net neutrality—yet before it was over, a Republican representative from Oregon felt compelled to examine the Commission’s new associate general counsel and chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd. Noting that he was motivated by a letter “from a number of interest groups,” Rep. Greg Walden said he did “some research [on Lloyd] in the last 24 hours,” and was troubled by his findings. Walden declared that “there’s a lot […]

May 8 2009

Bart Laws on swine flu, Kristin Thomson on radio diversity study


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: If you didn’t panic over the swine flu, then maybe you weren’t watching much TV, where scary charts and maps documented the spread of a worldwide pandemic. At least that’s what we were hearing last week. With the media hysteria subsiding, the question isn’t so much did the press overreact, but how much. But how do we assess the role of public health officials, who perhaps by nature are supposed to worry about these kinds of things? And is there a different conversation about global public health that we should be having? We’ll speak […]

Feb 20 2009

Robert Parry on conservative bias, Brandon Lacy Campos on digital TV conversion


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A new study from Think Progress shows that cable news stories about the stimulus debate were dominated by Republicans, with GOP guests outnumbering Democrats by 2 to 1. This isn’t an aberration says our guest, but a return to the status quo after a brief decrease in conservative media bias caused by Bush era failures. Robert Parry, the publisher of, and the veteran journalist who broke many Iran-Contra stories, will join us to talk about current political coverage. Also on CounterSpin today: Congress decided to delay the mandatory switch to digital TV signals […]

Nov 28 2008

Mark Brenner on Big 3 bailout, Steve Rendall on the Fairness Doctrine


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Bailing out the Big Three. GM, Ford and Chrysler are on the brink of total failure, we’re told. In a season of corporate bailouts of all sorts, this one is meeting more resistance—in part because union autoworkers, we’re told, are making too much money. Mark Brenner of Labor Notes will join us to talk about it. Also on CounterSpin today, with Democrats poised to take more power in Washington, is there really a plan in the works to muzzle right-wing talk radio? Steve Rendall of FAIR and CounterSpin will join us to dispel some […]

Oct 31 2008

Bob Dreyfuss on Syria airstrike, Wally Bowen on ‘white spaces’


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The election is not over as we record this show, but no matter who wins, the Iraq War was largely a second-tier issue for the media, more of a discussion of the past than the present. Not even the war spilling over into Syria seemed enough to push the war back into the campaign spotlight. We’ll ask national security reporter Bob Dreyfuss for his take on the U.S. attack inside Syria, and what he makes of the current political situation in Iraq itself. Also on CounterSpin today, the presidential election is not the only […]

Jun 20 2008

Tyson Slocum on offshore drilling, Matthew Lasar on the Red Lion decision


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: John McCain says the ban on oil drilling of the U.S. coast should be lifted, to increase oil production and lower prices. Drilling opponents say the drilling won’t lower prices and will endanger environments. Who’s right? Mainstream reporting is little help, rarely offering more than to say that the story is about a “trade-off” between energy and environmental costs. We’ll talk to Tyson Slocum, the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, about the price of oil. Also on the show: The case Fox vs. FCC that the Supreme Court will hear next fall has […]

Feb 29 2008

Lori Wallach on NAFTA, J.H. Snider on spectrum policy


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Criticisms of NAFTA from Democratic presidential candidates Obama and Clinton made the New York Times feel a need to explain to readers that, despite appearances, the two politicans are not, actually, “hostile to free trade”. But that says less about the toughness of their criticisms than it does about the rareness in the corporate media world of ANY criticism whatsoever of what they insist on calling ‘free trade’. More on that from Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch. Also on the show: When we talk about media policy fights over ownership rules or network […]