Feb
01
2011

When Journalism Becomes 'Terrorism'

The dangerous sport of calling WikiLeaks names

“Let me be very clear,” declared Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.), “WikiLeaks is not a whistleblower website and [Julian] Assange is not a journalist.” Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin concurred: “Assange is not a ‘journalist,’ any more than the ‘editor’ of Al-Qaeda’s new English-language magazine Inspire is a ‘journalist,’” she wrote on her Facebook page, adding that the WikiLeaks founder was “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” who should be “pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Meet the Press, 12/5/10) likewise dubbed Assange a “high-tech terrorist”—a designation endorsed by […]

Jan
14
2011

Chip Berlet on Tucson shootings, Ladd Everitt on gun control

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: What do we know about alleged Tucson killer Jared Lee Loughner's world view, which has been described as rambling, incoherent and non political in various news media reports? And what of the right-wing backlash attacking anyone who even suggests that vitriolic right-wing rhetoric has gotten out of hand? We'll talk with right watcher Chip Berlet of the Political Research Associates. Also on CounterSpin today: The national debate in the aftermath of the Tucscon shootings is touching on violent rhetoric and mental health services, but some media are sending the message that gun policy isn't […]

Mar
01
2010

'America Was Safer Under Bush'

Journalists accept GOP’s screwy terrorism scorecard

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Karsun Designs

That George W. Bush kept America safer from terrorism than Barack Obama is a conservative article of faith these days—and corporate media seem little inclined to challenge the blatant falsehoods used to advance this childish GOP talking point. The most prominent example came on Good Morning America (ABC, 1/8/10) during a discussion of the failed Christmas Day “underwear bomb” plot, when former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told anchor George Stephanopoulos: “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.” Get that? So-called terrorism expert Giuliani, who can barely finish a sentence without mentioning September 11 […]

Oct
01
2009

Lockerbie in the Propaganda System

Release of Al-Megrahi evokes selective history

Pan Am 103 memorial garden--Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When Abdelbasset Al-Megrahi, after serving 10 years of a life sentence for allegedly blowing up the Pan Am 103 airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, was granted compassionate release due to terminal illness, the ensuing controversy was loud and indignant. Al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, returned home to what was angrily described in U.S. media as a “hero’s welcome.” Recalling the bombing, which killed 270 people, many U.S. family members, political leaders and journalists felt that the decade in prison was not enough. But the media’s simplistic tale of villainy and impunity requires a very selective reading of history. […]

Aug
28
2009

Spencer Ackerman on CIA torture documents, Ed Herman on Lockerbie

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: A few months ago it seemed like Dick Cheney wouldn't get off your television screen, insisting that secret CIA documents would prove that Bush torture policies saved the United States from further terrorist attacks. Well those documents have surfaced, along with a 2004 CIA inspector general's report. So what's in these documents? And has Cheney been vindicated? We'll speak with reporter Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent about that. Also on CounterSpin today, "Outrageous and disgusting" is how White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs described scenes in Tripoli where Abdel al-Megrahi was greeted on his […]

Jun
05
2009

Fred Clarkson on Tiller murder; Adam Serwer on Sotomayor

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: There’s been a lot of coverage of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, allegedly killed by and anti-abortion activist. But there has been relatively little discussion of the culture that such violence arises from, where mainstream anti-abortion figures regularly demonize abortion providers—and we’re not just talking about Bill O’Reilly. We’ll talk to Fred Clarkson, who has been monitoring and writing about anti-abortion violence for years. Also on the show: As the vetting process of prospective Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor goes forward, Americans can be forgiven for not actually knowing very much specific about […]

Apr
10
2009

T.R. Reid on Sick Around America, Mark Danner on torture

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Sick Around America, the recently aired documentary on PBS's Frontline purported to ask why the US can't finance universal health care the way other developed countries do. But the picture was at best incomplete, since it seems some options were considered off the table. We'll hear from reporter and author T.R. Reid, who worked on Sick Around America as a follow up to his Sick Around the World from last year, but who disassociated himself from the domestic version when he saw what producers had done with it. What was wrong? We'll find out. […]

Nov
21
2008

Kai Wright on the Proposition 8 vote, Andy Worthington on Guantánamo

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The victory of Proposition 8 in California has, at least for the moment, put the brakes on gay marriage in that state. The post-election recriminations are flying, but the main story we're hearing is that black voters turned out in droves—to support Barack Obama, and to defeat gay marriage rights. Is that narrative correct? We'll ask journalist Kai Wright. Also on CounterSpin today: According to the New York Times, Newsweek and NPR, for Barack Obama to keep his promise to close the Guantánamo detention camp, will be next to impossible, extremely complicated and easier […]