Sep 01 2008

Media Push an Unpopular Trade ‘Centrism’

Contradictory counsel for Obama

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/BorderExplorer

As America heads toward a critical presidential election, “free trade” advocate Robert Reich, who as Bill Clinton’s labor secretary in 1993 fought hard for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), glumly admitted that the constituency for “free trade” has severely eroded. “I’m still a free trader, although I will tell you . . . there are fewer and fewer of us,” he told MSNBC host Chris Matthews wanly (Hardball, 10/8/07). “It’s a very unpopular position.” Unpopular with the public, but certainly not the media. Leading pundits and editorial writers for corporate media have persisted in counseling Democratic […]

Aug 01 2008

Juan Cole on Iraq/Afghanistan, Todd Tucker on WTO talks

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The media debate on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars seems to rest on the assumption that the troop surge in Iraq has “worked,” and more troops in Afghanistan would help turn that conflict in the favor of U.S. and NATO forces. That’s the consensus view, but does it make any sense? We’ll ask University of Michigan professor Juan Cole. Also on Counterspin today, the Wall Street Journal wonders whether the recent collapse of World Trade Organization talks means the end of the “free trade era that has done so much to spread prosperity”. Yet […]

Jul 15 2008

Obama Moves Right? Pundits Cheer

Recent campaign coverage has scrutinized the ideological positioning of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, with corporate media reporting that he has shifted toward the center on numerous issues in order to improve his chances in the November election. While some of the “flip-flops” are debatable–with media sometimes treating longtime Obama positions as new stances–what is undeniable is that for years corporate media have advised Democratic candidates to make just this sort of ideological shift (Extra!, 9/92, 1-2/95; Extra! Update, 10/00; Extra!, 7-8/06). The shifts cited by media included clear examples of Obama switching to a more rightward position, such as […]

Jul 01 2008

Selling the Colombia Trade Pact

Papers spin deal into a ‘no-brainer’

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Public Citizen

In an April 10 editorial headlined “Drop Dead, Colombia,” the Washington Post excoriated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for holding up passage of a proposed trade promotion deal with Colombia. With the hyperbole the paper seems to reserve for this issue, the Post declared, “The year 2008 may enter history as the time when the Democratic Party lost its way on trade.” Refusing to wave the deal through without challenge is an error of historic proportion, the Post declared, because “economically, it should be a no-brainer—especially at a time of rising U.S. joblessness.” Perhaps more significantly, the deal deserves support as […]

Jul 01 2008

Fareed Zakaria, Spokesperson for the Global Elite

Newsweek pundit presents pro-corporate views as the poor’s perspective

Fareed Zakaria (cc photo: James Willamor)

Fareed Zakaria, now the highly influential editor of Newsweek International, author of The Post-American World, and host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, constructed a landmark of unintended irony when he regally pronounced that “the downtrodden beg to differ” with protesters of corporate globalization (Foreign Affairs, 12/13/99). Those who demonstrated against the World Trade Organization at the famous “battle of Seattle” in 1999, he asserted, were displaying the hubris of the “rich and privileged,” who were delivering “a familiar plea for the downtrodden of the world” by challenging the WTO’s promotion of sweatshops and environmental degradation in the impoverished Third World. In […]

Apr 11 2008

Mark Weisbrot on Colombia trade deal, Rick Perlstein on John McCain

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: George W. Bush says a proposed trade deal with Colombia is crucial, and beneficial for all concerned. Rather than dig into that claim, corporate media are making fun of anyone who would dispute it, favoring congressional critics with headlines like, “Democrats Pander to Big Labor, Flirt With Return to Protectionism.” (that’s USA Today and yes they said Big Labor.) With major media singing pretty much one note, we’ll get another take from Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Also on the show: The right-wing base of the Republican Party […]

Feb 29 2008

Lori Wallach on NAFTA, J.H. Snider on spectrum policy

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Criticisms of NAFTA from Democratic presidential candidates Obama and Clinton made the New York Times feel a need to explain to readers that, despite appearances, the two politicans are not, actually, “hostile to free trade”. But that says less about the toughness of their criticisms than it does about the rareness in the corporate media world of ANY criticism whatsoever of what they insist on calling ‘free trade’. More on that from Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch. Also on the show: When we talk about media policy fights over ownership rules or network […]

May 25 2007

Deepa Fernandes on immigration debate, Laura Carlsen on trade agreements

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: what was hailed as a “bipartisan” deal on immigration was announced in the Senate earlier this month. Media usually like that kind of political coming-together, never mind the details. With Capitol Hill negotiations certain to continue, journalist Deepa Fernandes joins us to talk about the immigration conversation, and what the press is missing. Also on the program: in a similar vein, Congressional dealings on trade agreements have made headlines recently, with much talk over whether such deals should have to include “labor and environmental side agreements.” Some say if workers and the planet are […]