Jul 25 2011

Seeing ‘Islamic Terror’ in Norway

Learning no lessons from Oklahoma City mistakes

Right-wing terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik reportedly killed 76 people in Norway on Friday, by all accounts driven by far-right anti-immigrant politics and fervent Islamophobia. But many early media accounts assumed that the perpetrator of the attacks was Muslim. On news of the first round of attacks–the bombs in Oslo–CNN‘s Tom Lister (7/22/11) didn’t know who did it, but knew they were Muslims: “It could be a whole range of groups. But the point is that Al-Qaeda is not so much an organization now. It’s more a spirit for these people. It’s a mobilizing factor.” And he speculated confidently about […]

Jul 01 2011

Losing the Plot

The Afghan War after bin Laden


With Osama bin Laden dead, can the United States finally bring an end to the Afghan War, its longest-lasting foreign military conflict? It’s an obvious question, since the invasion of Afghanistan was largely portrayed as an effort to catch the leader of the group that carried out the September 11 attacks. Corporate media did sometimes address this issue. On ABC (5/4/11), Christiane Amanpour asked in regard to bin Laden’s killing, “And many people are saying, well, does this require the U.S. to leave Afghanistan right now?” She answered her question: “The job is not finished there. You’ll talk to the […]

Jun 17 2011

Shahid Buttar on civil liberties, Gareth Porter on Syed Saleem Shahzad


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: An activist in Texas gets his FBI files—and finds out that agents have been tailing him for years. Activists in the Midwest are the targets of a wide-ranging investigation, including a half-dozen house raids and an array of subpoenas. And—oh yeah—parts of the Patriot Act were renewed, there’s an effort to extend the term of FBI chief Robert Mueller, and the FBI is giving agents new powers. Can media start connecting the dots? We’ll ask Shahid Buttar of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Also this week: The work of recentlly murdered Pakistani journalist […]

May 06 2011

Matthew Alexander on torture, Tyson Slocum on gas prices


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The killing of Osama bin Laden has delivered plenty of media themes: Can the U.S. trust Pakistan? What does this mean for Al Qaeda? And, predictably enough, did Bush-era torture help find the al Qaeda leader? Torture advocates’ insistence that this proves their case has given media yet another chance to weigh the supposed benefits of illegal interrogation. We’ll speak with former military interrogator and author Matthew Alexander about why this is all wrong. Also on CounterSpin today, Gas prices edging up to an average of $4 a gallon are making headlines, but consumers […]

May 01 2011

More Terror, Less Coverage

Discounting right-wing domestic political violence

On the morning of January 17 in Spokane, Washington, city workers found a backpack with a bomb that was set to go off along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. An FBI official (Spokane Spokesman Review, 1/19/11) called the bomb “a viable device that was very lethal and had the potential to inflict multiple casualties.” Another official told the Associated Press (1/19/11), “They haven’t seen anything like this in this country…. This was the worst device, and most intentional device, I’ve ever seen.” On March 9, Kevin Harpham, a white supremacist with past links to the […]

Apr 29 2011

Andy Worthington on Guantánamo files, Lucinda Marshall on Greg Mortenson


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: If you’ve heard much at all about WikiLeaks new disclosures about Guantánamo, you’ve probably noticed that US media tend to emphasize information justifying and rationalizing the U.S. actions regarding its offshore prison camp. But what should listeners really know about the new WikiLeaks revelations? We’ll talk with journalist and Guantánamo expert Andy Worthington about what the latest disclosures mean. Also on CounterSpin today, the U.S. public soured on the Afghan War a long time ago. That might explain some of the popularity of Greg Mortenson, whose bestselling book Three Cups of Tea suggests that […]

Mar 25 2011

Asli Bali on Libya, Alia Malek on US Muslim prisons


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The U.S.’s sudden military involvement in Libya raises many questions that have not been answered by officials who’ve plunged the country into a war they say is to protect civilians, or even asked by many journalists who have been too busy cheering to ask them. Questions like how certain are we that going war will be better for Libyan civilians than the threat they faced from Libyan dictator Muammar el-Gadhafi? And what solutions short of war were sought? We’ll be joined by UCLA law professor Asli Bali. Also on the show: the seemingly unending […]

Mar 01 2011

No Culture of Vitriol on the Right?

From metaphors to threats to actual bloodshed

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Talk Radio News Service

During the 2010 campaign, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin published a map on her Facebook page (Associated Press, 3/24/10) with crosshairs targeting 20 Democratic congressional incumbents, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D.-Ariz.), who was later critically injured in the January mass shooting in Tucson. Palin rallied opponents of the healthcare bill with the tweeted slogan (L.A. Times, 3/26/10) “Don’t retreat, instead—RELOAD!” Barack Obama, on the other hand, revved up his base in the 2008 campaign by promising, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun” (Politico, 6/14/08). So in the debate over political civility in the aftermath […]