Dec
01
2011

Youth Reporting--Aided by NewsHour

Outsiders’ voices making inroads at PBS

Photo Credit: PBS

“There are a lot of marginalized communities that really need to be involved in this struggle,” insists a young woman from the People of Color Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. Another organizer reflects, “Marginalized communities from New York City, particularly oppressed people, people of color...were totally underrepresented, and it was unclear if that was going to change. But it has. It really, really has.” These critiques of Occupy Wall Street, by some of the young people shaping and propelling the growing protest, are not typical stories you see on websites and broadcasts of major news outlets. Even as Occupy […]

Sep
01
2008

Media's 'Girls Gone Wild' Fantasies

Pregnant girls ignored in story on ‘pregnancy pact’

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/MestreechCity

When Time magazine (6/30/08; online edition, 6/19/08) reported that “nearly half” of 17 pregnant teenagers at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts had made a pact to have children simultaneously, corporate journalists latched onto the story and scurried to express their dismay on newspaper pages, blogs and 24-hour cable news. Time’s article, which reporter Kathleen Kingsbury largely sourced to school principal Joseph Sullivan, told of a group of girls who repeatedly visited the school clinic for pregnancy tests. The girls, according to the principal, “reacted to the news that they were expecting with high fives.” And “the story got worse,” Kingsbury […]

Jul
11
2008

Robert Dreyfuss on Obama's foreign policy, Amanda Marcotte on 'pregnancy pact' story

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama's image as a harbinger of change has many hoping his election will bring change in foreign policy. He certainly differs from George Bush on the need for diplomacy. But what about issues such as the projection of American power and so-called humanitarian intervention? Does Obama's thinking really represent a departure from, say, Bill Clinton's views, or from the bipartisan thinking of the Cold War period? We'll talk to journalist Robert Dreyfuss about his Nation magazine report, "Obama's Evolving Foreign Policy." Also on CounterSpin today, a story that proved too good to be […]

Jul
01
2008

Pope Gets Pass on Church Abuse History

Media overlook Benedict’s record of downplaying the issue

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/MATEUS_27: 24&25

When Pope Benedict XVI visited the U.S. in April, Fox News anchor and managing editor Brit Hume spoke of the Catholic leader in language that was more worshipful than journalistic (Fox News Sunday, 4/20/08): And he turns out to have about him sort of a beatific sweetness that I think is enormously important for a religious leader, that you’re drawn to him. You feel a need to be around him. . . . There was a tremendous sense of his kindness and of the message always, which permeates the Christian faith, of forgiveness. Hume’s adoration was extreme, but not a […]

Mar
01
2007

Perilous Reporting

The risks of writing about child porn laws

When journalist Debbie Nathan accidentally viewed child porn last May, it set off a chain of events that ensnarled her, New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald, and Salon.com into a messy tangle of child porn law and accusations of libel and censorship. Nathan, a freelancer, did some of the first reporting on people falsely convicted of child molestation in the 1980s (Village Voice, 9/29/87). Last May, while doing online research for a young adult book on pornography as a social issue, Nathan stumbled across “child porn-y looking stuff”; she immediately left the site. Nathan then documented the experience with her […]

Dec
01
2006

The Smell of Success

After 10 years of 'welfare reform,' ignoring the human impact

In August, the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program—popularly known as “welfare reform”—turned 10 years old, sparking a rash of articles looking back on how the new law’s emphasis on time limits and “work activities” requirements has fared. But even with recent figures showing poverty on the rise, by and large news media treated the program as an unquestioned success. Defining what exactly constitutes “success” when it comes to welfare policy has long thrown reporters. TANF was originally sold as a program that would get people off welfare and into jobs, thus lifting them out of poverty. Yet journalists […]

Oct
20
2006

Daniel Davies on the Lancet study, Peggy Charren on the FCC and indecency

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: When a study in the British Medical journal the Lancet found that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died as a consequence of the war, the Lancet was dismissed by George W. Bush, who called its methodology flawed. American media outlets also cast doubt, calling the peer-reviewed findings "disputed" and pointing to lower, less scientific numbers as more reliable. Daniel Davies, a writer for the Comment is Free blog on the website of London's Guardian, will join us to explain why the critics are wrong. Also on the show: The FCC’s war on what […]

Oct
01
2006

More Dangerous Than Anyone Thought

Driving data latest attack on ‘teen brains’

Earlier this year, I asked my undergraduate students at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to evaluate a barrage of news stories declaring that “teen drivers are more dangerous than anyone thought” (Paula Zahn Now, 1/18/06) in response to an American Automobile Association study warning that crashes involving 15- to 17-year-old drivers killed 31,000 people over the last decade. Within minutes, the students, ages 19-21, formulated three obvious questions reporters should have asked about the study: (1) Did the teen drivers “involved in” the crashes in the AAA study cause the crashes? (2) Why are teen drivers singled out, when […]