Mar 1 2015

Torture Defenders Dominated TV Debate

FAIR study: For every critic, 2 sources defended CIA abuse

Former Vice President Dick Cheney talked to Meet the Press on NBC

Only 18 guests (34 percent) articulated clear opposition to the CIA’s torture practices—about half as many as spoke up in defense of torture. Representatives of human rights groups and experts on international law were notable for their absence.

Jan 7 2015

Torture Advocates Outnumbered Critics 2-to-1

FAIR survey finds torturers well-represented on TV news

Dick Cheney on Meet the Press: 'I would [torture] again.'

A new FAIR study finds that torture defenders outnumbered critics of torture by nearly 2 to 1 in TV news coverage of the Senate Intelligence Committee report released on December 9. FAIR surveyed the guests of nine news programs for the week of December 7 to December 14, when discussion of the torture report’s findings was most prominent. The programs included the Sunday talk shows (NBC‘s Meet the Press, CBS‘s Face the Nation, ABC‘s This Week, Fox News Sunday and CNN’s State of the Union) along with four weekday news shows (MSNBC‘s Hardball, Fox‘s Special Report, the first hour of […]

Jan 1 2015

SoundBites January/February 2015

Elizabeth Warren, Antonio Weiss

Making ‘Torture’ Impossible When the Washington Post (12/9/14) described on the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the treatment of prisoners at CIA “black sites,” it said it documented “harsh interrogation measures,” “painful procedures” and even “seemingly arbitrary violence.” But what it didn’t say was that this treatment was “torture”—except when saying it was “deemed torture by program critics including President Obama.” And that was no accident. In a Post story (12/9/14) about the “old debate” about torture terminology, Philip Bump quotes the justification Cameron Barr (then national security editor, now national editor) gave to Brian Stelter (7/2/10) in 2010: “After […]

Jun 1 2011

‘Waterboarding Worked’?

After bin Laden’s death, media push pro-torture message

A waterboarding demonstration in Coney Island.--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Salim Virji

To hear some tell it, the intelligence clues that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan were generated by the use of torture. But the evidence available so far does not bear this out. Torture advocates on the right are claiming vindication. On Fox News Channel’s O’Reilly Factor (5/2/11), Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.) announced that we obtained information several years ago,vital information about the courier for Obama [sic]. We obtained that information through waterboarding. And so for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, to say that it should be stopped and never used again—we got vital information […]

May 6 2011

Matthew Alexander on torture, Tyson Slocum on gas prices

By

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 4 2011

Waterboarding ‘Worked’?

Media push pro-torture message

To hear some tell it, the intelligence clues that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan were generated by the use of torture. But the evidence available so far does not bear this out. Torture advocates on the right are claiming vindication. On Fox News Channel‘s O’Reilly Factor (5/2/11), Rep. Peter King (R.-N.Y.) announced that we obtained information several years ago, vital information about the courier for Obama [sic]. We obtained that information through waterboarding. And so for those who say that waterboarding doesn’t work, to say that it should be stopped and never used again– we got […]

Apr 29 2011

Andy Worthington on Guantánamo files, Lucinda Marshall on Greg Mortenson

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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 […]

Feb 1 2011

The Delicate Tightrope of Supporting a Dictator

U.S. media gloss over Washington's role in Egyptian repression

The political context of the current Egyptian uprising is clear: The United States has steadfastly supported dictator Hosni Mubarak, whose rule has been marked by sham elections and the jailing and torture of dissidents, propping up his regime since 1981 with some $60 billion in aid, most of it military. But since U.S. corporate media are accustomed to viewing international affairs through the lens of U.S. elite interests, much of the current coverage elides Washington’s role, or presents it as a “tightrope” balancing act for the Obama administration. As one New York Times story (1/26/11) put it, “The administration has […]