Tues. 04/21 8:30a: The extremist group Al Shabab attacked a government building in Mogadishu on April 14, leaving 17 people dead, just weeks after a horrific attack at Garissa University in Kenya in which at least 148 people were killed. Media readers will know that Al Shabab is based in Somalia and that they’re “linked to” Al Qaeda, but what more should we know? And what needs to happen in Somalia and elsewhere to help that country move forward?
Tues. 04/14 8:30a: What should we look for in media coverage of the current Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, given Saudi Arabia’s role as a US ally and the sort of press treatment that generally entails? The Washington Post‘s David Ignatius, for one, says US support for Operation Decisive Storm shows that Obama understands the need for “pushback” against Iran in its “proxy wars.” What’s wrong with that picture?
Tues. 04/07 8:30a: The backlash was immediate and strong against the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act just passed in Indiana. The law’s proponents, including Gov. Mike Pence, say it’s just intended to “open a door” to conversations about how people can express religious beliefs. Legal scholars and rights advocates say that the law as originally written actually invites conflict and sanctions discrimination, particularly against LGBT people. The scores of organizations saying they will reconsider doing business with and in Indiana seem to know who they believe.
Tues 03/31 8:30a: March 22 was World Water Day, meant to call attention to the crisis in world water supply and sanitation that makes lack of access to clean water far and away the leading cause of death for children under 5. Headlines about “taking shorter showers” suggest mainstream media didn’t dive that deeply into the crisis’ environmental, economic or political context. We talk about water with Darcey O’Callaghan, International Policy Director at Food & Water Watch.
Tues. 03/24 8:30a: Is Venezuela really a threat to the security of the United States, as the White House has declared? And if not, what can be the point of such a statement? We'll get an accounting about what seems to be threatening Washington from activist and author Alfredo Lopez, of May First/People Link.
Tues. 03/17 8:30a: USA Today had one headline, "50 Years Later, Selma Still Inspires," paired with another reading: "Why Ferguson Reports Changed No One's Mind." Somewhere in there is a way for the media to talk about the fight over voting rights and black people's access to basics of democracy as an ongoing story, not just a historical one. We'll talk about voting rights--then and now--with Deborah Vagins, senior legislative counsel at the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office.
Tues. 03/03 8:30a: FBI director James Comey received praise for saying that police officers should recognize their own racial biases. But a new report says eliminating racism in criminal justice is about more than what's in a cop's mind. We'll speak with the report's author, Nazgol Ghandnoosh of the Sentencing Project.
Tues. 02/24 8:30a: Media are consumed with whether the authorization Barack Obama is seeking from Congress to wage attacks on ISIS "and associated persons or forces" gives the executive branch too much power--or not enough. There's no room left to ask whether authorization would actually make those attacks legal, much less what makes anyone think more military attacks are the solution to the crisis. We'll talk about those things with law professor and author Marjorie Cohn.
Tues. 02/17 8:30a: Two stories featuring bad news, but good journalism. First up: HSBC is a recidivist criminal actor, so how exactly is it still the second-biggest commercial bank in the world? The latest revelation--thanks to a whistleblower working with a number of media outlets–-is that HSBC has been helping millionaires and billionaires hide money from tax authorities. What's the impact of HSBC's actions and--once more with feeling--what will it take to put a banker in jail? We'll hear from journalist James Henry on that.
Tues. 02/12 8:30a: The head of the FCC has just announced new rules protecting the openness of the Internet. The vote is still weeks away, but if agency chair Tom Wheeler's proposal goes through, it would mean real Net Neutrality, maintaining the even playing field that makes the Internet what it is. And it would be a landmark victory for regular folks over industry titans. We'll talk about what it all means with Craig Aaron of the group Free Press.
Tues. 02/03 8:30a: The victory of the austerity-rejecting Syriza party in Greece has some corporate media clucking about “financial chaos” in Europe, due to Greece’s unwillingness to “clean up its act.” But could it be that what elite media fear isn’t that Syriza will fail—but that it might succeed? We’ll talk with Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research about the meaning of the Greek elections.
Tues. 1/27 8:30a: After the State of the Union address, one paper's headline was "Obama Pulls No Punches," but another said the speech consisted of "modest proposals," while a third deemed it "A Bold Call to Action Even if No Action Is Likely." What's the public to make of this exercise in political theater and the media's morning-after tea leaf-reading? We'll talk with journalist and activist Keane Bhatt.
Tues. 01/13 8:30a: We're told the recent midterm elections were the "most expensive in US history," but who was buying? And what do they expect in return? And what does it all mean for the relatively unmoneyed, namely most of us? We talked with Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, about the 114th Congress.
Also on the show: A reairing of an interview from July 2014 with Chicago journalist and activist Jamie Kalven about adding information to the story of police policy.
Tue. 3/19 8:30a: TheWashington Post is again suggesting that Iran is expanding its nuclear program. This time, they say Iran is attempting to import magnets for use in uranium centrifuges. But is the story credible? And how does it play alongside the US’s latest National Intelligence Estimate? We'll talk with Yousaf Butt, physicist and scientist-in-residence at the Monterey Institute for International Studies.
Tue. 11/27 8.30a: In the past six years, Israel has invaded Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in 2008, and it is now pounding Gaza with drone missiles and artillery. With a seeming strategy of occupation, colonization and war, many are wondering where this ends. We’ll talk to Yousef Munayyer, the director of Washington, D.C.’s Jerusalem Fund, about what happens when the smoke clears in Gaza.
Also on CounterSpin today, we’ll talk to independent journalist Amy Goodman about her new book, The Silenced Majority, and what she thinks media can–and must–do to serve the public.
Tue. 3/20 8:30a: The viral video Kony 2012, made by the US based group Invisible Children, calls for military action against African warlord Joseph Kony. It's been seen by more than 80 million people, AND it's been criticized for distorting the central African conflict and a paternalistic view toward Africans.
Tue. 12/20 8:30a: Few deny anymore that internet access is becoming critical to taking part in political and economic life. So, what does it matter that research shows that higher proportions of African Americans and Latinos than white people are achieving that access through relatively more affordable smartphones rather than home computers?