Aug
13
2013

Defining Drone Deaths in Yemen

Media present dubious official claims as fact

cbs-yemen

The United States has reportedly carried out nine drone attacks in the last few weeks in Yemen, generating headlines about the targeting and killing of suspected Al-Qaeda militants in the impoverished country. But how can media know for sure who is being killed? The uptick in attacks is apparently related to the alleged terrorist chatter that prompted the U.S. government to close down embassies and diplomatic offices. To hear the media tell it, the U.S. is striking at terrorist fighters. "An American drone delivers a deadly message to Al-Qaeda," announced the CBS Evening News (8/7/13). Correspondent Bob Orr reported, "For […]

Jun
01
2013

'Terror Returns'--Along With Media Fixations

Boston bombings revive fear of 'Islamic rage'

The Boston bombings came to be understood as a return of 9/11—not in the scope of the attacks or the cost in innocent lives, but as a reminder of a certain type of danger.

May
31
2013

Pardiss Kebriaei on Terror Speech, Bob McChesney on Digital Disconnect

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Did Barack Obama's National Defense University speech signal a sea change in White House terrorism policy? That depended on who was doing the listening. We'll talk with Pardiss Kebriaei of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

And Bob McChesney talks about his new book Digital Disconnect, and why understanding capitalism is essential to understanding the development of the internet.

May
01
2013

License to Kill

Little scrutiny of resolution that greenlighted 'War on Terror'

Photo Credit: Time

Early this spring—in a five-page spread headlined “So, Who Can We Kill?”—Time (4/1/13) reported on pressures putting “Obama and his drone war on the defensive.” Notably, much of the article focused on the Authorization for Use of Military Force that zipped through Congress three days after 9/11. During more than a decade of Washington’s wars, AUMF has rarely undergone scrutiny from major media outlets. Very few mainstream U.S. journalists offered anything but praise when Congress passed the resolution, which declared that the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines […]

Apr
26
2013

Beau Grosscup on Defining Terrorism, Hugh Kaufmann on Texas Explosion

The West Fertilizer Co. explosion was the result of poor regulation and safety procedures.  (Photo credit: Reuters / Mike Stone)

This week on CounterSpin: The Boston bombings were labeled as terrorist attacks almost from the start. But what does that label mean, and how is it used? We'll talk to Cal State University of Chico professor Beau Grosscup about how the term is used—and perhaps misused.

Also on CounterSpin today, much of the town of West, Texas was destroyed in an explosion at the West Fertilizer plant on April 18.Famed EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman joins us to critique media portrayals of the disaster as merely a matter of regulatory oversights.

Apr
01
2013

Celebrating French Intervention in Mali

Media overlooked role of 'War on Terror' in sparking crisis

Ali Ould Ahmed, Malian refugee, in Mentao camp, Burkina Faso: "The intervention of the French army has accelerated our departure, because we are convinced that the Islamists, after losing the battle against the French army, will retreat into the villages and they could kill people."

The French military commenced Operation Serval against separatist rebels in Northern Mali on January 11, 2013. The air and ground intervention was undertaken with the cooperation and support of the United States, as well as several European and African states. U.S. press reporting has provided a simplistic account of the intervention as a heroic effort to protect the civilized world against Islamic terrorist threats. What is missing from this image is how the past interventions of the “War on Terror” helped cause the Malian crisis in the first place. A Washington Post editorial (1/12/13) claimed the French were simply trying […]

May
11
2012

Gareth Porter on bin Laden raid, Pamela Brown on student debt

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The one year anniversary of the NAVY Seal raid that killed Osama bin Laden brought us a prime time behind the scenes at the White House account on NBC, leaks from bin Laden intelligence files about his new terror schemes and a tiresome debate over whether Barack Obama could claim credit for the killing-- and if so, how. But there are bigger questions--namely, do the stories that surround the killing of Osama bin Laden add up? Gareth Porter challenges some of the official mythmaking in a new piece for Truthout he'll join us to […]

Feb
24
2012

NYT Lets Unnamed Officials Smear Critics as 'Terrorists'

Anonymous attacks violate paper's policy

(UPDATE: The Times public editor has notified FAIR about his email response to readers critical of the February 6 story. You can read it at the FAIR Blog). In two stories this month, New York Times journalists allowed anonymous government officials to smear critics as terrorists and terrorist sympathizers--a shocking violation of the paper's explicit rules against allowing anonymity to be a cover for attacks. In a February 22 story about Khader Adnan--the Palestinian hunger striker challenging the Israeli practice of holding prisoners without trial--reporter Isabel Kershner wrote: An Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, called the deal […]