Jun
08
2009

NY Times Ombud Agrees with Activists

Paper failed to question Pentagon propaganda on Gitmo prisoners

Citing a FAIR Action Alert (5/27/09), New York Times ombud Clark Hoyt agreed with media activists who asked him to challenge the Times' unskeptical coverage of a leaked Pentagon report on former Guantánamo prisoners. In his column "What Happened to Skepticism?" (6/6/09), Hoyt called the Times' May 21 front-page story on the report "seriously flawed." He wrote that the article provided "ammunition" for Dick Cheney's campaign against Obama's plan to close the offshore prison camp, and compared the piece to the Times' uncritical coverage of leaked intelligence on WMDs in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Hoyt also noted that […]

May
29
2009

Cheney Often Wrong, Seldom Doubted

Giving ex-VP a free ride in torture debate

"Dick Cheney seems to be everywhere," declared ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl (World News, 5/13/09), calling the formerly reclusive former vice president "the most visible Republican in the country these days." Cheney has been hard to miss. Since leaving office in January, in addition to broad coverage of his May 21 speech at the American Enterprise Institute, in recent weeks he has appeared on CBS's Face the Nation (5/10/09), Fox's Your World With Neil Cavuto (5/12/09), Fox's Hannity (4/20/09, 4/21/09) and CNN's State of the Union (3/15/09). Moreover, Cheney's public profile has been amplified by heavy coverage in other media, […]

May
27
2009

NYT's Pentagon Propaganda

Misleading report on Guantánamo and terrorism

While former Vice President Dick Cheney has been front and center in the media debate over the current White House's national security policies, he's not the only one trying to challenge the White House's message. The New York Times published a front-page article (5/21/09) that bolstered the notion that former Guantánamo prisoners "return" to terrorist activity. The remarkably credulous Times story, under the headline "1 in 7 Freed Detainees Rejoins Fight, Report Finds," was based on a Pentagon report leaked to the paper before its release yesterday evening. The article emphasized the notion that former prisoners "returned to terrorism or […]

May
22
2009

Mike Lillis on climate bill, Joy-Ann Reid on Cheney & torture

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Climate change legislation is making its way through Congress, but weirdly, that might not be good news. Some environmentalists are saying that in this case, no law might be better than this bill--that started out as a call to reduce carbon emissions but seems to be turning into something else. We'll talk with Mike Lillis, who covers Congress for the Washington Independent. Also on the show: Did top Bush officials instruct interrogators to torture detainees, not for national security reasons, but to obtain statements to justify the Iraq War? The answer seems to be […]

May
20
2009

Does the CIA Ever Lie?

Parsing the Pelosi torture controversy

The debate over Bush-era torture tactics like waterboarding has morphed into a full-blown Washington scandal. But the target isn't the Bush administration officials who ordered the torture; instead, the corporate media's focus is on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who claims that she was not fully briefed by the CIA on the use of waterboarding in late 2002. The prevailing assumption in much of the coverage is that the CIA couldn't possibly have misled members of Congress--despite the fact that this has happened repeatedly. The media reaction has been intense. Right-wing pundits and the Fox News Channel are treating the issue […]

Apr
24
2009

Glenn Greenwald on torture, Rose Aguilar on tent cities

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: While it’s pretty clear that Bush-era torture occurred, and that U.S. and international treaties oblige the U.S. to investigate, the hot media discussion centers not on when investigations will begin, but on whether President Barack Obama—not the Justice Department—thinks they should go forward. We’ll talk to Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com about the torture story. Also on CounterSpin today: Media are flocking to so-called tent cities to try and put a human face on the recession and housing crisis. That sounds laudable, but are the media getting the story wrong? We'll talk to journalist Rose […]

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. […]

Mar
01
2009

When 'We' All Supported Torture

Amidst the many calls for Barack Obama to abandon campaign promises and move to the right, one set stood out for its ghoulishness: the media pleas for Obama to keep torturing (e.g., Washington Post, 1/10/09; Newsweek, 1/19/09; Wall Street Journal, 1/29/09). News accounts of the new administration’s intelligence plans have tended to leap hopefully on any sign, real or imagined, that Obama didn’t really mean it when he promised to abide by laws and treaties banning torture (CounterSpin, 1/30/09). Why does torture have such appeal for so many in corporate media? A Washington Post column by Richard Cohen (1/27/09) provided […]