As 2021 comes to an end, and the U.S. approaches the one-million mark of American lives lost to Covid-19, I would think holiday celebrations should include more somber notes than usual. Instead of seeing street behavior that would acknowledge grieving over 800,000 people in the U.S. who have died of Covid-19, we witness the convulsions for survival in a society and nation that is imploding as the wealth gap stretches far beyond our imaginations. In a nation inundated with death, whether from school shootings, the up-tick in crime rampages, fentanyl overdoses, alongside Covid-19 deaths, those who have passed may or may not have received the deserved attention due to their lives and legacies.Continue reading
Was it the space heater on the third floor? The open door on the 15th floor? The faulty fire alarms that went off frequently? The nonexistent sprinkler system? Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the library?
As local and national corporate media covered the devastating fire in the Bronx that killed 17 people on January 9, two culprits were somehow never on the list of what and who was responsible: the landlord and the city’s Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD) department, which is responsible for making sure landlords comply with housing codes. Always under suspicion were the tenants themselves, who were implicitly blamed throughout the coverage.Continue reading
Mike Kelly has worked at The Record for 46 years, and until Gannett acquired the New Jersey newspaper in 2016, he saw little need for a union.
But that changed once Gannett arrived. Kelly, a columnist for The Record, says Gannett chopped the newsroom’s staff from 190 in 2016 to 100 today and fired many of his fellow journalists in demeaning, callous ways.
“Our nationally known baseball writer was fired just eight hours after the last out of the World Series,” Kelly says. “One of our best investigative reporters — a Pulitzer finalist who was one of the first to expose Trump’s questionable deals in the New Jersey Meadowlands — was given just a few hours to clear out of the building.”Continue reading
Hunter S. Thompson, the co-founder of Gonzo journalism best known for his book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” is a legend in American letters. His reporting for Rolling Stone, in which he developed the subgenre of New Journalism that later became known as Gonzo because of his willingness to insert himself into the stories he was reporting, is studied in journalism schools across the country.
Other significant works by Thompson include his early iconic piece “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” as well as “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72,” a collection of his Rolling Stone coverage of Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign—in which he made no secret of his support for progressive candidate George McGovern—and his 1967 book about riding with the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.Continue reading
With the United States and Russia in a standoff over NATO expansion and Russian troop deployments along the Ukrainian border, US corporate media outlets are demanding that Washington escalate the risk of a broader war while misleading their audiences about important aspects of the conflict.
Many in the commentariat called on the US to take steps that would increase the likelihood of war. In the New York Times (12/10/21), retired US Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman wrote that “the United States must support Ukraine by providing more extensive military assistance.” He argued that “the United States should consider an out-of-cycle, division-level military deployment to Eastern Europe to reassure allies and bolster the defenses of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” even while calling for a strategy that “avoids crossing into military adventurism.”Continue reading
More than one in five local papers in the US have closed in just the last 15 years or so. And, yes, people are moving away from print as a form. But who is filling the void of regular, relevant, local reporting, informing people at the level at which most people engage?
Activists are tired of lamenting rampant consolidation, and the exclusion of new and diverse voices in news media. They’re working around the country on projects that both demand accountability from existing institutions and envision new systems, new processes, new ways of doing journalism that more accurately reflect and support communities.
We’re joined now by Craig Aaron, co-CEO with Jessica Gonzalez of the group Free Press. He joins us now by phone from Maryland. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Craig Aaron.Continue reading
I wrote a piece for Australian online publisher Crikey just before Julian Assange’s extradition hearings resumed in September 2020 in which I regurgitated a slur that has done enormous harm to his reputation.
Australian journalists should stop using the WikiLeaks treasure trove in their stories if they wouldn’t speak up for Assange, I’d written. Journalists like to think they’d go to jail to protect a source. Well, their source was suffering in London’s high-security Belmarsh prison, I said.
The problem was I also wrote that Assange dumped the Iraq and Afghan war logs on the internet without redacting names. I was wrong and lazy in repeating that slur which appeared whenever you Googled Assange’s name.Continue reading
Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, is one of the very few establishment figures to denounce the judicial lynching of Julian Assange. Melzer’s integrity and courage, for which he has been mercilessly attacked, stand in stark contrast to the widespread complicity of many human rights and press organizations, including PEN America, which has become a de facto subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee.
Those in power, as Noam Chomsky points out, divide the world into “worthy” and “unworthy” victims. They weep crocodile tears over the plight of Uyghur Muslims persecuted in China while demonizing and slaughtering Muslims in the Middle East. They decry press censorship in hostile states and collude with the press censorship and algorithms emanating from Silicon Valley in the United States.Continue reading
A record number of journalists are imprisoned throughout the world, according to the annual prison index released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). But that number excludes WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
CPJ, which is based in New York, opposes the United States Justice Department’s prosecution against Assange. However, for the third year, the press freedom organization declined to classify him as a jailed journalist.
In the organization’s press release on the 2021 index, it states, “No journalists were jailed in North America at the time of the census deadline.” That may be true, but it obscures what the U.S. government is doing to keep a journalist detained in the United Kingdom.Continue reading
In the summer of 2020 we launched a collaborative writing program to connect incarcerated writers with outside journalists and editors. Our goal was to help them publish their writing in mainstream media publications.
We began only a few weeks after COVID-19 came into San Quentin State Prison, where Rahsaan lives. We knew that COVID-19 would be an incredible threat to people incarcerated, but were unprepared for the devastation and loss ahead. At San Quentin — which became home to the largest outbreak in the country — Rahsaan became infected with the virus and experienced the mental health toll of being locked in a cell, 24 hours a day, for days at a time. With a total of 2,607 confirmed cases, 29 people died.Continue reading
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked a bizarre question at President Joe Biden’s November 3 Press Briefing. The president seemed to misunderstand the question, which referred to potential settlements of a lawsuit stemming from the Trump administration’s notorious 2017–18 family separation policy. Biden bungled his response, apparently calling reports about the settlement “garbage.” Not surprisingly, the media ran with the story of Biden’s blunder. Doocy’s question, on the other hand, was mostly ignored or played down.Continue reading
“Woke” is the label the aggrieved conservative suburbanite puts on the indignity of having to call their Starbucks barista “they” and finding Ibram X. Kendi on their child’s school reading list. But as the Democrats prepare for the midterm election cycle, anti-wokeness has become a key theme about the party’s future. Woke activists have been chief culprits in Terry McAuliffe’s loss in the Virginia governor’s race, correspondents tell us, and the electoral ground loss generally by the Democrats (The Hill, 11/7/21).
The meaning of this ubiquitous term often shifts with context. Originating in Black vernacular English, according to Merriam-Webster, to “stay woke” means to question “the dominant paradigm,” and to carry awareness of racial and other forms of oppression.Continue reading
On November 8, 2021, Twitter locked my account for a period of one day for responding to corporate media darling and Russiagate fanatic Keith Olbermann’s slanderous reply to journalist Wyatt Reed’s coverage of the Nicaraguan election. The flagged tweet simply restated Olbermann’s question, replacing “whore for a dictator” with “whoring for the American oligarchy.” Twitter demanded that I delete the tweet or send a time-consuming, lengthy appeal with no assurances as to if or when my sentence in “Twitter jail” would end. This prompted me to delete the tweet and wait for the 12-hour suspension to end. Keith Olbermann’s account went unscathed.
This isn’t Olbermann’s first go-round with censorship.Continue reading
Steve Sweeney, the international editor of the British socialist newspaper, was detained in Mexico City on Friday as he traveled to Nicaragua to cover the presidential election being held today. Sweeney is anti-imperialist and a founder of Media Workers for Palestine. His detention follows a multi-platform social media ban on independent journalists, activists and websites in Nicaragua, as detailed by Ben Norton of The Grayzone. There is also a corporate media disinformation campaign targeting Nicaragua and the current election. Sweeney’s detention must be viewed in this context as an effort to prevent readers in the United Kingdom from having access to factual reporting.Continue reading
The Central Intelligence Agency’s record of retaliation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including reported plans to kidnap or assassinate him, was focused on during the second day of the United States government’s appeal hearing.
It was part of the Assange legal team’s effort to convince the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom of the gravity of the risks, which Assange would face if they overturn a district judge’s decision and allow extradition.
Mark Summers QC, one of Assange’s attorneys, contended this was the “first time the U.S. had sought the assistance of a U.K. court in obtaining jurisdiction” over a person that a U.S. government agency had planned to poison or assassinate.
“That is worthy of an investigation in relation to the assurances,” Summers added, referring to the pledges involving how they would treat Assange.Continue reading