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 25 min ago
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.