FAIR Counterspin Radio
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: 2 hours 26 min ago
This week on CounterSpin: A special back to school episode, with two interviews from this year that get at some of the thorniest issues around public education: The politics of teacher tenure and the de facto segregation of American schools. Our guests are writer and activist Brian Jones and Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica.
This week on CounterSpin: The New York Times' David Carr says 'nothing much good was happening in Ferguson until it became a hashtag'. It's naïve to think that media attention to the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown is enough to address the crisis it represents, but Carr's not wrong that it was the internet and not corporate media that put the story on the front burner. We'll talk about Ferguson and media with Malkia Cyril of the Center for Media Justice. Also on the show: Will New York Times reporter James Risen go to jail for refusing to testify against a source? Risen's case is seen by many as a clear-cut example of how the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers is also a war on journalists and journalism. We'll talk to FAIR founder Jeff Cohen, director of the Park Center for Independent Media about the state of the case and the activist pushback.
This week on CounterSpin: With the Islamic State, or IS, occupying large swathes of Iraq and Syria, a common refrain from politicians and pundits is to suggest that the group would not be a menace had the US intervened earlier and more deeply in the Syrian civil war. Author and professor Vijay Prashad will join us to address that canard and other misconceptions about Iraq, the US and the Islamic State. Also on the show: The recent summit of African leaders in Washington DC was criticized by some for soft-pedaling human rights issues, but that only meant in African nations; media seemed to have no question at all about the beneficent goals of the policy of increased 'investment' on the continent by US corporations. We have some questions; we'll ask them of Emira Woods of ThoughtWorks and the Institute for Policy Studies.
Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is back with yet one more plan to fight poverty. And, as usual the national media are giving him plenty of attention. But is there anything new here? And what are the broad lessons—and problems—with the poverty discussions that Ryan inspires? We'll ask poverty researcher and author Stephen Pimpare. Also this week: Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown is making the media rounds with a new corporate education reform group that targets teachers as the problem with public schools. But like other such reformers, Brown has no background in education, and often gets her facts wrong. Michigan State University education professor Alyssa Hadley Dunn with join us with a fact-check.
The UN's panel of climate scientists have issued grave warnings about continued dependence on fossil fuels, but US policy seems to be looking more to the polluting energy source--with a fracking boom, the Keystone pipeline, and in the latest news, the White House's opening of the Atlantic coast to oil and gas drilling, We'll talk to Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research about why none of this has to be this way.
Download MP3 (right click) This week on CounterSpin: The US press are reporting on Palestinians in Gaza getting their relatively meager weapons from Iran and other odious sources, but almost nothing on where Israel gets its far more sophisticated and deadly ones--a more germane conversation for a US audience. We'll talk with journalist Alex Kane of Mondoweiss and AlterNet about this and other aspects of the US role in the Gaza conflict. Also on the show: The horrific death of New York man Eric Garner at the hands of police officers adds more fuel to debate over police practices, especially […]
The UN says water is a human right, and if people are unable to pay, shutting off their water is a human rights violation. That puts the city of Detroit on the wrong side of international law, as well as human decency, with shut-offs affecting thousands of city residents. But the water shut-offs are only the latest attack on the poor and public resources in Detroit. We'll hear from area activist, Pastor David Alexander Bullock. Also this week: Something called the Export-Import Bank started getting some press once Tea Party activists and Republican lawmakers started criticizing it as corporate welfare. Pundits say the critics don't know what they're talking about and could threaten American jobs. But our guest, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, thinks the bank deserves some scrutiny—and that it's an issue that resonates beyond the Tea Party right.
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have claimed dozens of Palestinian lives, including those of more than a dozen children. There are no Israeli casualties so far. The fact that US corporate media fail to note the unequal power and disproportionate suffering of Palestinians is just one of the ways middle east coverage is distorted. We'll talk with Yousef Munayyer of the Jerusalem Fund, about that. Also on the show: For the first time, Gallup reports a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Of course many things can stand between popular opinion and legislation, and in this case one of those things is a powerful industry, though you don't hear much about it in debates around pot. Lee Fang of the Nation institute will join us to talk about his piece, The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal.
Much of the world is tuned into the World Cup. And while the drama on the field is on our TV screens, what about the wrenching political and economic upheaval in host country Brazil that has inspired millions to protest? That's the World Cup story Dave Zirin has been reporting, he'll join us to talk about it. Also this week: The Supreme Court rulings in Hobby Lobby and Harris, though reportedly narrow, may have far-reaching impacts. Particularly as both almost exclusively affect working women. We'll talk with Sarah Jaffe of In These Times.
This week on CounterSpin: The crisis in Iraq has pundits talking about Al Qaeda and ISIS and regional powers like Iran -- but there's also the suggestion that this is merely the latest round in a 1400 year old war between Muslim sects. That lets the US off the hook, but does it fit with actual history? Writer Murtaza Hussain joins us to explain how it doesn't. Also this week: Are the increasing numbers of children migrants from Central America "refugees who need asylum or illegal gold-diggers who need to go home?" Not clear whom the Christian Science Monitor thought it was helping with such inhumane framing of what the White House is now calling an 'urgent humanitarian situation'. We'll talk about the more complicated pushes and pulls behind this child migration with Laura Carlsen of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy.
This week on CounterSpin: According to US media, a brutal jihadi group known as ISIS has taken over large regions of Iraq in recent days. This has resulted in a parade of pundits discussing just how massive the US military response should be. We'll talk with Ross Caputi, a former marine who served in Iraq and is a now a leader in the reparations movement, about what is really going on there. Also this week: A judge in California takes aim at tenure for public school teachers, to the delight of education 'reformers' and editorial pages. But are they right about what tenure means? And does any of this help students? We'll talk to writer and activist Brian Jones.
This week on CounterSpin: Another fatal school shooting, another round of media stories about what we as a society need to talk more or more honestly about. One effort now gaining ground says there are some things we can do besides talk. Jennifer Fiore is executive director of the Campaign to Unload. She'll join us to talk about divesting from gun violence. Also on the show: Two Nobel prize laureates have joined scores of academics in publishing letters to Human Rights Watch, challenging the prominent human rights group to scuttle a revolving door policy that has seen top staff land jobs in the US state department and vice versa, and noting times when the group seems to put aside neutrality to side with the US. Keane Bhatt, the activist and writer behind the effort, will join us to talk about that.
The EPA has proposed new rules limiting carbon emissions, and the outcry from industry -- lost jobs! higher energy costs! -- were completely predictable. But people concerned about climate change aren't exactly dancing in the aisles either. So are the new rules a bold step toward fighting climate change, or something much less? We'll hear from Janet Redman of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. Also this week: New York Times reporter James Risen faces incarceration for citing the reporter's privilege to protect a source and refusing to testify in a criminal case against an ex-CIA employee. The Supreme Court refused to take his case on June 2nd and effectively let stand a lower court ruling finding there is no such thing as a reporter's privilege. We'll talk to Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation about the ruling.
India's new prime minister Narendra Modi is being well-received in the US press, with his neoliberal economic ideas in the foreground and his ties to Hindu extremism pushed further back, or glossed. We'll speak to University of Cambridge professor Priyamvada Gopal about Modi. Also this week: 'Trigger warnings' are, according to various media think pieces and op-eds, a new attack on free speech on college campuses, an attempt to protect the delicate sensibilities of young people who refuse to be challenged or have their beliefs questioned. But many argue that alerting people that they may encounter traumatic content isn't about punishing free speech, but actually about expanding conversations about things like racism and violence. We'll talk it over with feminist writer Soraya Chemaly.
This week on CounterSpin: Much of the media coverage of the 60th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision outlawing segregated schools noted an ominous development: American schools are still segregated, some even more so than before Brown. We'll talk to Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica, who has been tracking this for a series called "Segregation Now." Also this week: Congress is currently debating the military budget, including White House proposals to increase spending on nuclear weapons to 300 billion dollars over the next decade. But besides the rare wire story, you wouldn't know about it, despite news angles which might question how it conflicts with US international obligations and previous White House pronouncements. We'll speak with Lizbeth Gronlund of the Union of Concerned Scientists Global Security Program about nuclear weapons spending.
This week on the show: The Bring Back Our Girls social media activism is an understandable response to the horrific kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian school girls by the Boko Harum militant group. The story, ignored at first by the US press, is receiving wall to wall attention. We'll talk to Bronwyn Bruton of the Atlantic Council about some of the complexity often missing from that coverage. Also this week: Some folks thought it odd that Barack Obama chose a Walmart as the place to declare his commitment to clean energy – the behemoth company is known, by many, for its record of climate pollution on a scale a few solar panels won't fix. But our guest says White House policies promoting energy efficiency and renewables face another formidable obstacle: namely, other White House policies. Ben Lilliston from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy will join us to explain.