‘Ajit Pai Wants to Shut Down the Way We Communicate and Organize’

24 February 2017— FAIR

Janine Jackson interviewed Jessica Gonzalez about new FCC chair Ajit Pai for the February 17, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Jessica Gonzalez

Jessica Gonzalez: “Our voices are making a difference, and making it more difficult for them and the administration to undo all of the important consumer protections that we fought so hard for.”

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Media: Mizue Aizeki on Criminalizing Immigrants

24 February 2017 — FAIR

ICE officer making an arrest (Wikimedia)This week on CounterSpin: Early morning deportation raids are stoking fear in immigrant communities, pulling parents from children and shipping people who’ve lived in the US for decades to places they don’t remember. Donald Trump talks about rounding up “drug lords” and murderers, but not only is that not who is being targeted, recently released executive orders expand the category of “criminal alien” to any immigrant who has been accused of a crime, or who someone thinks may have committed one.

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Media: Jessica Gonzalez on FCC Chair Ajit Pai

18 February 2017 — FAIR

Ajit Pai being sworn in as an FCC commissioner (photo: FCC)
Ajit Pai (photo: FCC)

This week on CounterSpin: “T-Mobile Very Pleased with Direction of Change under Trump Administration, CEO Says.” That headline tells you pretty much what  you need to know about Ajit Pai, Trump’s choice of chair for the FCC—the entity charged with representing the public interest in the communications industry. The phone company exec is pleased, he says, because Pai’s appointment signals “an air of less regulation.”

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Media Lens: Paul Mason And The Grand Propaganda Narratives

17 February 2017 — Media Lens

As corporate media continue to haemorrhage ad revenue to websites like Facebook, and credibility to social media activism, dissent seems to be increasingly viewed as a luxury the ‘mainstream’ can ill afford.

Where once a handful of dissidents was allowed to challenge the Grand Propaganda Narratives (GPN) of the day, modern leftists are tolerated only if they accept these narratives even as they talk radical change.

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Media: Trump Supporters Support Trump: To Maintain ‘Balance,’ Media Resort to Tautology

15 February 2017 — FAIR

Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East has been a major story during the new administration’s early days. As one of Trump’s main campaign promises, this immigration policy has generated untold hours of TV coverage and news headlines.

The policy’s sloppy language, bungled roll-out and punitive real-world impact on innocents have rightly been prominently reported by journalists. Much of the coverage has focused on the widespread backlash to the ban, which has manifested itself in numerous legal challenges and a nationwide series of rapid-response airport protests. Coupled with the new president’s record-low approval ratings, the refugee ban increasingly tells a tale of a White House struggling to impose an unpopular agenda. Continue reading this...

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Media: ‘It Is Not at All Typical to Stifle Basic Scientific Information’

13 February 2017 — FAIR

Janine Jackson interviewed Andrew Rosenberg about the Trump administration’s hostility toward science for the February 3, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Andrew Rosenberg, Union of Concerned Scientists

Andrew Rosenberg: “If you tell technical experts…you have to only give us information that we like, then you’re not getting technical advice. You’re telling them not to do their jobs.”

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Media: ‘This Is a Country That’s in a Tremendous Crisis’

13 February 2017 — FAIR

Janine Jackson interviewed Zaid Jilani about Trump’s Yemen raid for the February 3, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Zaid Jilani (image: Arn Menconi/YouTube)

Zaid Jilani: “It’s important for people, whenever they address news events, to understand that we don’t live in year zero. There’s always a history and a context.” (image: Arn Menconi/YouTube)

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Media: On Iran, SPLC’s ‘Extremist’ Is NPR’s ‘Expert’

8 February 2017 — FAIR

NPR: Did Iran's Ballistic Missile Test Violate A U.N. Resolution?NPR’s report on Iran turned for analysis to what the SPLC describes as “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”

Last week, the Trump administration began ratcheting up hostilities with Iran, nominally in response to a ballistic missile test in late January. NPR (2/2/17) dutifully reported Trump’s announcement of new sanctions on Iran, framing the issue as the Trump White House responding to an Iranian “provocation” in regards to Iran’s agreement with the UN, rather than simply executing long-held plans. A follow-up explainer by international correspondent Peter Kenyon (2/3/17) would muddy the waters further and use an incredibly dodgy source to do so.

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A Lesson Media Missed About the Dangers of Scapegoating

4 February 2017 — FAIR

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau,  Alexandre BissonnetteUS news outlets were roughly six times more interested in Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (left) than in Alexandre Bissonnette—even though Bissonnette is accused of killing six times as many people.

If you were unfamiliar with the way US corporate media works, you might assume that the murder of six people in a Quebec City mosque, allegedly by far-right white supremacist Alexandre Bissonnette, would be a big story.  After all, the January 29 massacre happened when the United States was had just begun a furious debate over Donald Trump’s executive order barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, ostensibly as an anti-terrorism measure. Thousands of protesters descended upon airports across the country, denouncing the order as arbitrary scapegoating.

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Zaid Jilani on Trump’s Yemen Raid, Andrew Rosenberg on Science and Resistance

3 February 2017 — FAIR

Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, killed in a US raid in Yemen.Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, killed in a US raid in Yemen.

This week on CounterSpin: No one should be surprised that the Trump White House declared the recent commando raid in Yemen that killed at least 23 civilians, including children, “a successful operation.” Some media accounts are describing the first raid on Trump’s watch as “botched,” but that’s not the same as questioning it, much less putting it in a broader context of what’s happening in Yemen and what the US is doing there. We’ll get more information from Zaid Jilani, reporter for The Intercept.

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Media: (The Absence of) Power is Exhausting By Dan Hind

30 January 2017 — Return of the Public

The Guardian could use its membership scheme to create reader-owned co-ops across the UK. The Guardian still has enormous communicative power and this could be put to work promoting democratic, accountable media. A working model for this exists already, in the shape of the Bristol Cable.

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It’s Austerity, Not Globalization, That Pulls European Workers to the Right

23 January 2017 — FAIR

The Washington Post failed to mention that the Socialists’ declining fortunes are the result of anti-worker austerity programs.

Both the Washington Post (1/22/17) and New York Times (1/22/17) had pieces about declining support for the left in France and the rise of a nationalist right in both Italy and France. Both pieces attributed the rise in support for the right to people losing from globalization, implying that this is some impersonal process that is causing these people to be losers.

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NYT Ignored Reality at 2001 Bush Inauguration; Now Ignorance Is History

19 January 2017 — FAIR

NBC News coverage of the 2001 inaugurationIt was much harder for TV than for newspapers to downplay the reality that George W. Bush was greeted in 2001 by massive protests.

Discussing the security challenges posed by the inauguration of Donald Trump, the New York Times (1/18/17) reported:

Those numbers are quite likely to be larger than any seen at an inauguration since at least the Vietnam War era. Mr. Bush’s 2001 inauguration attracted modest protest action, the largest in more recent memory, but it was largely disorganized and caused no significant disruptions.

The link in that passage goes back to the Times‘ 2001 coverage of the inauguration—coverage that was critiqued by FAIR at the time under the headline “Ignoring Reality at the Inauguration” (Extra!, 3–4/01):

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WaPo’s Factcheck of WikiLeaks Highlights Paper’s Strange View of Facts

11 January 2017 — FAIR

Washington Post: Julian Assange’s claim that there was no Russian involvement in WikiLeaks emailsThe Washington Post (1/5/17) “factchecks” Julian Assange’s claims without either proving or disproving them.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Fox News, 1/3/17) again denied that the leaked e-mails he published during the election came from Russia—an assertion contradicted by many anonymous US intelligence officials. “We can say, we have said repeatedly over the last two months, that our source is not the Russian government, and it is not a state party,” Assange told Sean Hannity.

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