May 1 2013

When Bigotry Is ‘Balance’

Media still worried homophobes aren't being heard


As the Supreme Court finished hearing oral arguments on two same-sex marriage cases, the Wall Street Journal editorial page (3/27/13) proclaimed what has become a mantra of the right on this subject: The liberal media frame opponents of marriage equality as bigots. America’s cultural and media elites are attempting to browbeat the High Court into coercing the country into recognizing same-sex marriage by casting opponents as bigots for holding a position that President Obama held less than a year ago. Murdoch’s Journal is woefully misguided on two counts. It’s hard to make the case that the most prominent arguments against […]

May 1 2012

Discounting Expertise

How journalism embraces right-wing anti-intellectualism

James Inhofe--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Ars Skeptica

From the Scopes trial’s crackdown on Darwinism to William F. Buckley’s famous preference for government by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book over the 2,000 members of the Harvard faculty, from columnists George Will (Washington Post, 11/28/10) and Jonah Goldberg (L.A. Times, 8/30/11) lashing out at the “cult of expertise” to Rick Santorum’s rants against universities as “indoctrination centers for the left” (AP, 2/28/12), the American right regularly expresses contempt for expertise, education and other manifestations of “book learnin’.” As if that’s not damaging enough to public discourse, corporate media outlets often seem to embrace the same […]

Jul 29 2011

Devin Burghart on Norway terror, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd on Strauss-Kahn case


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The US media narrative equating terrorism with Islam was on embarrassing display last week following the Norwegian terror attacks, a story which raised issues about right-wing extremism, and the links between violent speech and violent actions. We’ll speak with Devin Burghart, the vice president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, who has written about white nationalism in Norway and the US. Also on CounterSpin today, some things about the Dominique Strauss Kahn rape case are all-too familiar: a famous, powerful suspect, an anonymous accuser whose background and personal life are […]

Oct 8 2010

Jodi Jacobson on Tea Party & social issues, T. Christian Miller on military contractor deaths


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The New York Times says democrats are “wielding” issues like abortion rights in hopes of frightening voters about Republican victories in upcoming elections, whereas Republicans really just want to talk about the economy. Same goes for the Tea Party: we’re told not to focus on the movement leader who calls rape “part of God’s plan,” because actual Tea Partiers really only care about fiscal issues. What’s going on, or not going on, here? We’ll hear from Jodi Jacobson, editor in chief of RHReality Check, whose recent piece is titled, “Social Issues and the Tea […]

Apr 15 2005

David Swanson on Bankruptcy Bill, Sarah Posner Low-Power Radio

Download MP3 As we record this week’s show, the House is voting on bankruptcy legislation that’s been under discussion for week. Our guest says despite the quantity of coverage, the public still may be confused about what the changes would actually do — and not do — and that media have to take some blame for that. We’ll hear from David Swanson of on that story. Also on the show: when the FCC legalized low power radio back in 1999, media activists saw it as a real challenge to the media giants, and a return to radio’s localism roots. […]

Sep 1 2002

Scuttling a Debate With Scandal

Harmful to Minors controversy a missed opportunity

Judith Levine is a Brooklyn-based journalist with a long history of writing about sexu­ality and gender. When her most recent book came out this year, she hoped, as all authors hope, that her work might provoke some useful debate. Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex (Minnesota University Press) is a scholarly text, full of footnoted research into the history and con­temporary effect of U.S. laws and attitudes relating to sexuality. Age of consent laws, Levine notes, originat­ed to protect patriarchal property–a daughter’s virginity; ghastly things keep happening to kids whose sexu­al curiosity is cast as pathological; […]

Mar 1 1998

Inside the 700 Club

Pat Robertson's former co-host speaks out

Many people have heard of Pat Robertson, but few can say they know him, even among his limited number of close friends. To the general public he is an enigma–a Baptist minister, a televangelist, a would-be kingmaker behind the Republican Party, the founder of the powerful Christian Coalition, a businessman, a broadcast mogul, a defender of the faith and a failed presidential contender. As the host of his own nationally syndicated television show, the 700 Club, Robertson has also called himself a broadcast journalist, interpreting and commenting on the news of the day. Aired on his own Christian Broadcasting Network, […]

Jun 1 1995

No Hindus Need Apply

Responding to criticism of religious broadcaster Pat Robertson anti-semitic conspiracy theories (Extra!, 3-4/95), Christian Coalition spokesperson Ralph Reed declared that Robertson’s group “believed in a nation that ‘is not officially Christian, Jewish or Muslim,’ where anyone can run for office without church or synagogue attendance becoming an issue,” the New York Times reported (4/4/95). But what does Robertson himself say? “When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm,” Robertson wrote in his book The New World Order. “If anybody understood what Hindus really believe, there would […]