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CounterSpin, FAIR’s weekly radio show, provides a critical examination of the major stories every week, and exposes what the mainstream media might have missed in their own coverage.
Updated: 47 min 2 sec ago

David Dayen on Citibank and Cromnibus, Ladd Everitt on Gun Control

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 08:42
Progressive Democrats launched an unexpected attack on a Congressional spending bill, leaving some pundits complaining once more about nasty Beltway polarization. But legislators were trying to do something substantive: Stop an attempt to roll back an important part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Journalist David Dayen will join us to explain what was at stake. Also this week: It was two years ago that 10 first graders and 6 adults were killed by a troubled young man with an assault rifle. Media were transfixed by the disaster at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but did it affect the way they report on gun control? We'll talk about guns and the press with Ladd Everitt, communications director at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Baher Azmy on Torture, Mel Goodman on Ashton Carter

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 08:33
This week on CounterSpin: It's hard to think of a time when a free press is more necessary than when the public needs to know about crimes committed in our name. So the release of a Senate report on CIA torture is a test for US media. We'll talk about the report and the media response with Baher Azmy, legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Also this week: Ashton Carter will likely be the next Secretary of Defense. Press coverage tells us he's a Rhodes Scholar, a physicist, and an 'uber wonk.' But else should we know about him, and what does his selection mean for US military policy? Author and military analyst Mel Goodman will join us to discuss that.

Lindsay Beyerstein on Rolling Stone Rape Controversy, Amitabh Pal on Bhopal

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 08:37
A Rolling Stone account of a shocking gang rape at the University of Virginia got wide attention in the media for shining a spotlight on campus sexual assaults. But now critics are saying the magazine's approach was flawed, and some wonder if the whole thing is a hoax. Investigative reporter Lindsay Beyerstein joins us to talk about the piece and what the critics are missing. Also this week: 30 years ago a gas leak at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India killed thousands of people and injured tens of thousands more. But if you think of Bhopal as a tragedy from the 80s you're missing the point. it was a crime and it's far from over. We'll talk with Amitabh Pal of the Progressive about the ongoing disaster of Bhopal.

Maegan Ortiz on Immigration Action, Hannah Guzik on Fracking the Poor

Fri, 11/28/2014 - 08:00
This week on CounterSpin: Obama's executive action on immigration has rightwing Republicans calling for impeachment, or at least censure, or at least defunding of any agencies involved in implementing it. So does that mean it's good? We'll hear from media maker and organizer Maegan Ortiz on what media's overwhelmingly inside the beltway framing leaves out. Also this week: Fracking is often portrayed in the corporate media as many steps in the right direction: Energy independence, job creation, not to mention homeowners striking it rich. But a new investigation in In These Times magazine shows that poverty and drilling go hand in hand. We'll talk to journalist Hannah Guzik about environmental racism and the fight to find out the public health risks associated with fracking.

Mariame Kaba on Ferguson, Daphne Wysham on US/China Climate Deal

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 08:34
This week on CounterSpin: The imminent ruling by a St. Louis County grand jury about whether to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, has media focused on the possibility of violent demonstrations. But the issues raised by Brown's killing won't disappear no matter what the jury decides. We'll talk with educator and organizer Mariame Kaba about the bigger story. Also this week: The White House's climate emissions deal with China was praised throughout the media as a big step in the right direction. One liberal columnist told readers not to listen to the 'yes but' naysayers. But critics of the deal are worth listening to; we'll speak with one, Daphne Wysham of the Center for Sustainable Economy.

Lori Wallach on TPP, Ari Berman on Voting Rights

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 08:31
This week on CounterSpin: Bipartisanship and free trade are two of corporate media's favorite things, so when the Washington Post editorial expressed the post midterm media consensus--"Now that Republicans have gained control of Congress, no policy area is riper for bipartisan action than trade"--you can believe they were happy to do it. But should we be happy? And is it even true? We'll hear from Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. Also this week: Republicans have been hard at work for the past few years restricting the right to vote. Did their work pay off in the midterms? We'll speak to reporter Ari Berman of The Nation, who recently wrote that "it's become easier to buy an election and harder to vote in one."

Roberto Lovato on Mexico, Ann Jones on Afghanistan

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 08:16
This week on CounterSpin: The disappearance of 48 student activists in Mexico has brought hundreds of thousands of activists to the streets, demanding accountability from the US-allied president who just months ago was being cheered by Time magazine as the man who would save Mexico. We'll talk to journalist Roberto Lovato about the crisis in Mexico and the reasons the story isn't getting enough coverage in the US press. Also this week: US media presented the election of Ashraf Ghani as Afghanistan's president as good news, largely because he would sign an agreement allowing US forces to remain in the country. Afghan women had different reasons to be tentatively hopeful; but then, who remembers Afghan women? We'll talk with journalist Ann Jones about her new article, The Missing Women of Afghanistan.

Chris King on Ferguson, Mark Weisbrot on Brazil's Election

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 08:19
This week on CounterSpin: Ferguson was back in the headlines recently with leaks from an autopsy report that, we're told, seem to corroborate police officer Darren Wilson's version of events from the day he killed Michael Brown. We'll talk about the impact of those leaks along with other aspects of a story that is far from over, despite the fact that most corporate media appear to have moved on, with Chris King, managing editor of the St. Louis American. Also this week: When the New York Times refers to a politician as 'a former Marxist guerrilla who praises Hugo Chavez' you know they don't mean that in a good way. The Brazilian election saw a leftist incumbent challenged by a business-friendly candidate who we were told would grow the economy. Economist Mark Weisbrot will join us to talk about what the press was getting wrong about Brazil.

Harriet Washington on Ebola, Carl Conetta on 'Isolationism' and US Public

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 08:40
As the Ebola fear-mongering seems to be letting up a little, one thing that hasn’t changed is media inattention to the xenopobia that has gone hand in hand with the panic, and any real exploration issues of inequality and how they play out in treatment of the deadly disease. We’ll talk to medical ethicist and award winning author Harriet Washington about Ebola. syria-protestAlso this week: Polls show pretty clearly that the public isn't enthusiastic about getting involved in more wars. To many elites, this is dangerous isolationism and a retreat from America's rightful position as a superpower. Carl Conetta of the Project on Defense Alternatives has taken a deep look at public opinion and the problem with elite rhetoric about isolationism. He'll join us to talk about it.

Richard Wolff on the State of the Economy

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 08:50
This week on CounterSpin: In the past few years as some economic indicators have suggested a recovery is under way, US media have generally responded with celebratory reporting. But according to polls, Americans aren't so sure. According to a recent NBC poll just 18 percent say the economy is excellent or good. How can we best understand an economy that seems to be serving some but slighting others? Today we'll feature a special extended interview with economic professor Richard Wolff on how to reconcile mixed messages about the health of the economy.

Gary Webb & Kill the Messenger, Katha Pollitt on Abortion Rights

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 08:45
This week on CounterSpin: The new film Kill the Messenger tells the story of investigative journalist Gary Webb, whose 1996 Dark Alliance series exposed links between drug traffickers and the US-backed Contras in Nicaragua. Prestige outlets like the New York Times devoted serious resources to going after Webb in an attempt to discredit his reporting. We'll go back to the CounterSpin archives to hear from Webb himself. Also on the show: You might think you hear enough about abortion in the press. A new book says: We need to talk about abortion differently. PRO: Reclaiming Abortion Rights is the latest from author, poet and Nation columnist Katha Pollitt. We'll talk with her about reframing that conversation.

Murtaza Hussain on Khorasan Group, Vijay Prashad on Narendra Modi

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 08:44
This week on CounterSpin: When the US military attacks on Syria got underway, there was a sudden shift in the coverage: We weren't just bombing the Islamic State, but something called the Khorasan Group. But who are they and how come no one had ever heard of them before? We'll talk to reporter Murtaza Hussain of the Intercept about that. Also this week: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi received a royal welcome when he arrived in the US for a visit on September 26. For a republic, it's always been a little strange how the US treats foreign heads of states like royalty, but with his controversial past and politics, Modi's treatment was even more curious than most. We'll talk with Trinity College history professor Vijay Prashad about Modi's American reception.

Laurie Garrett on Ebola Crisis, Anne Petermann on Climate March

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 06:54
This week on CounterSpin: The current outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa is unprecedented in its scale. But while some media focus on experimental vaccines, health experts say we ought to be talking about fundamental inequities in basic healthcare delivery. We'll talk about ebola with Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. Also on the show: The largest environmental march ever brought hundreds of thousands into New York City streets, but the People's Climate Watch was mostly ignored by the media. As was its companion action, Flood Wall Street, which targeted corporations behind climate instability with civil disobedience. Is the people's voice on climate change being ignored by the corporate media just as it's been ignored by corporate backed governments? We'll speak with Anne Petermann, director of the Global Justice Ecology Project, and the Climate-Connections blog.

Raed Jarrar on Iraq & ISIS, Robert Weissman on Democracy For All

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 08:29
This week on CounterSpin: "We have no choice," CBS's Bob Schieffer told viewers, calling for US military attacks on the extremist group ISIS, because "this evil must be eradicated." Though the shouts of warmongers may make them hard to hear, we do have choices – choices more likely to lead to longterm peace in Iraq and Syria than dropping bombs. We'll hear from Raed Jarrar, policy impact coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee. Also on the show: In response to the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, there's a grassroots movement to amend the Constitution to try to curtail the influence of big money in politics. But it's not getting much sympathy from the press-- the AP says it's an election year stunt, and pundits like George Will call it an attack on free speech. Robert Weissman of Public Citizen will join us to talk about the Democracy for All amendment.

Antonia Juhasz on BP Spill, Greg Grandin on the Economist and Slavery

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 08:37
This week on CounterSpin: A judge has ruled BP was guilty of willful misconduct and gross negligence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. With Obama talking about expanding offshore drilling, you'd hope the media would take serious notice. We'll talk about what that would look like with Antonia Juhasz, author of Black Tide: the Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill. Also on the show: The Economist magazine recently apologized and retracted its review of 'The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism,' a review that faulted the author for portraying whites as slavery's villains, and blacks as its victims. Yes. New York University history professor Greg Grandin will join us to talk about the Economist's slavery problem.

David Kotz on Ukraine, Anya Schiffrin on 'Global Muckraking'

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 07:28
This week on CounterSpin: As the fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, Russian president Putin has proposed a peace plan, and NATO is meeting to discuss Ukraine among other things. What are the prospects for peace and how is the press doing in helping us understand the events in Ukraine. We'll talk with University of Massachusettes professor David Kotz. Also this week: Is this a golden age for investigative journalism? Anya Schiffrin has edited a new collection of global muckracking, and she seems some good news for journalism. She'll join us to explai