Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Citations Needed, Episode 22: Trumpwashing -- How the Media Uses Trump to Launder Our Criminal Past


The unique threat and vileness of Donald Trump’s presidency can’t be overstated. Since he took office a year ago, he’s increased civilian deaths in Afghanistan by 50%, increased civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq (surpassing Obama’s death toll in just under 7 months), issued dozens of nuclear threats against North Korea, unraveled the Iran deal, bombed Hezbollah, Iranian and SAA positions in Syria, signed a smash and grab tax bill for billionaires, and issued order after order making life hell for immigrants and other vulnerable communities.

With this unique threat comes a rhetorical habit of "Trumpwashing," the absolution, rehabilitation and rewriting of the history of American politics and empire prior to 2017.

The desire to revamp the image of the pre-Trump Republican party and the United States in general – “Trumpwashing,” to use a term coined by The Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah - is a favorite rhetorical tic of Russia-obsessed democrats and centrist extremists whose primary charge is treating the phenomenon of Donald Trump as anomalous from American history, rather than its most pure, and even logical, manifestation. This trope - in addition to denying the realities of the past hundred years of American politics and policy - carries with it pernicious long term effects.

We discuss this broader narrative with The Intercept's Jon Schwarz.

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The Show



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The Guest

Jon Schwarz is a Senior Writer at The Intercept. He has contributed to many other publications, such as the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and Slate, as well as NPR and “Saturday Night Live.”




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Citations Needed is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and LibSyn (here’s the RSS feed). You can also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

***

Want More?

For further reading, show notes, a periodic newsletter, and more exclusive content, please visit our Patreon page and sign up to support the show!


***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.

*****

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Citations Needed, Episode 21: Quantifying Negative Media Portrayals of People of Color



According to one 2014 study, 75% of white Americans don’t have any non-white friends. Put another way, white people’s perception of African Americans and other people of color comes primarily from media representations rather than actual interactions. As such, how communities of color are portrayed in the media – from news and opinion pages to movie and TV screens – is tremendously important.

Two newly-published reports reveal how these perceptions are consistently distorted to over-emphasize Black and Latinx criminality, center white people in sympathetic portrayals as either victims or heroes, and overwhelmingly lump immigration coverage in with coverage of crime and violence.


In this episode, we discuss the bare statistics of how people of color, immigrants, and the poor are shown in media, why it matters, and the consequences of media makers from newsrooms to Hollywood perpetuating destructive stereotypes.

We're joined by some of the people behind these reports, Lucy Odigie-Turley of The Opportunity Agenda and Nicole Rodgers of Family Story.

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The Show



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The Reports

Redefining Sanctuary: Analysis of public attitudes and media coverage of sanctuary jurisdictions and related immigration policies

Lucy Odigie-Turley | December 2017 | The Opportunity Agenda

A Dangerous Distortion of Our Families: Representations of Families, By Race, In News and Opinion Media

Dr. Travis L. Dixon | December 2017 | Color Of Change

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The Guests

Lucy Odigie-Turley is the Opinion and Media Research Coordinator with The Opportunity Agenda. An experienced communication researcher with training in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, Lucy conducts and organizes multi-methods research to assess dominant media narratives and public opinion about poverty, immigration, and criminal justice.


Nicole Rodgers is the founder and executive director of Family Story, a communications and research organization that elevates stories of diverse families. A strategist with broad expertise in communications, branding, and research in the public interest, Rodgers is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Role Reboot, an online magazine dedicated to storytelling and social critique from a new generation of Americans rethinking “traditional” family, breaking through stereotypes, and bucking expectations about gender roles.
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Citations Needed is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and LibSyn (here’s the RSS feed). You can also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

***

Want More?

For further reading, show notes, a periodic newsletter, and more exclusive content, please visit our Patreon page and sign up to support the show!


***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.

*****

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Citations Needed, Episode 20: Lotteryism, Part II
A Most Dangerous Game -- How Sports Are Used to Fleece Public Trusts


Previously on Citations Needed, we discussed the notion of "Lotteryism," that is, the use of the media by large corporations to obscure solidarity in favor of morality tales of "making it."

It's a scam to extract resources from local governments in hopes they can "win" corporate cash, headquarters, facilities, and, of course, the promise of "jobs". Cities around the US and the world debase themselves to compete for the "honor" of hosting the Olympic Games, the World Cup, or just a new sports team - shelling out millions, if not billions, of public funds to build arenas and stadiums that average citizens often can't even afford to set foot in.

On this episode, we discuss how the media helps sports owners and other corporate forces fleece the public. With guest Dave Zirin of The Nation.

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This is the last Citations Needed episode of 2017. We'll see you next year and thanks for listening, sharing, and supporting the show!

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The Show



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The Guest

Dave Zirin is Sports Editor for The Nation and author of eight books on the politics of sports, including Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love, and most recently, Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy. He also hosts The Nation’s Edge of Sports podcast. Follow him on Twitter @EdgeofSports.

***

Citations Needed is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and LibSyn (here’s the RSS feed). You can also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

***

Want More?

For further reading, show notes, a periodic newsletter, and more exclusive content, please visit our Patreon page and sign up to support the show!


***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.

*****

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Citations Needed, Episode 19: Lotteryism, Part I
How a Compliant Press Fuels the Spectacle of 'Winning'


"Lotteryism" is the use of the media by large corporations to obscure solidarity in favor of morality tales of “making it”. It’s the atomization of parties of mutual interest by lording over them the promise of something greater than what they could achieve if they simply banded together. Lotteryism is an ideology and a PR operation. Lotteryism, above all, renders us politically impotent.

Lotteryism is a scam practiced by large corporations in various iterations to extract resources from local governments in hopes they can “win” their money, "jobs", or presence in their city.

Cities compete in a race-to-the-bottom to offer billionaire team owners the best tax breaks and enticing perks. Bill Gates uses it to pit state education departments against one another for funding. Corporations like Mercedes-Benz and Amazon use it to get massive tax breaks and sweetheart deals in cities that want their headquarters. Walmart uses it against local governments to skirt minimum wage requirements and crush unions.

The media––namely local media––mindlessly go along with these spectacles without any context or critical analysis. How is the Lotteryism scam practiced? Who does it benefit? And, most importantly, how can we fight it?


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The Show



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The Guest


Anne Orchier is an organizing member of NOlympics LA.

You can donate to NOlympics LA here.



***

Citations Needed is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and LibSyn (here’s the RSS feed). You can also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

***

Want More?

For further reading, show notes, a periodic newsletter, and more exclusive content, please visit our Patreon page and sign up to support the show!


***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.

*****

Friday, December 8, 2017

Law and Justice Ignored in Favor of Media Frenzy Over "Violence" in Wake of Jerusalem Speech

Brothers in Apartheid: Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on May 23, 2017.
(AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

My Citations Needed co-host Adam Johnson and I wrote a piece together for Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) on much of the media's reaction to the recent announcement that the United States now recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the Trump administration will soon make plans to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

December 8, 2017

After Trump’s Jerusalem Move, Media Worry About ‘Violence’–

Not Violation of International Law

Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi

NBC News (12/7/17) depicts a burning Trump poster.

President Donald Trump declared that the US saw Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced the US would move its Israeli embassy there—reversing decades of policy and removing any pretense of US neutrality in negotiating “peace” between Palestinians and Israelis.

Though both Congress and past presidents of both parties have supported the move in principle for decades, much of the US media establishment is now fretting about the Jerusalem announcement, continuing to push the illusion that a nebulous “peace deal” is still right around the next watchtower.

The American “recognition” of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital further entrenches and condones Israel’s occupation, ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestinian land. But outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and CBS, in editorials and straight reporting, downplayed and skirted matters of substance, reserving critical attention for questions of optics or process.

Thus the frame that dominated headlines as news of Trump’s announcement broke was not on the meaning of the move, but on potential reaction to it, specifically vague “fears of violence” from Palestinians and Muslims throughout the Middle East:

  • “Fears of Violence Amid Talk of Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital” (CBS News, 12/5/17)
  • “Trump’s Jerusalem Announcement Could Spark Violence, State Department Warns” (Daily Beast, 12/6/17)
  • “Warnings of Violence Ahead of Trump’s Jerusalem Embassy Move” (The Week, 12/6/17)
  • “Trump Says US Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Despite Global Condemnation; World Leaders Warned Trump That the Move Could Spark Violence and Would Create a Major Impediment to the Israeli/Palestinian Peace Process” (Politico, 12/6/17)

Editorials in the Washington Post (“possibly trigger violence, including against Americans”—12/6/17) and the New York Times (“perhaps inciting violence”—12/5/17) used similar language. Neither opposed Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem or Israel’s brutal, illegal occupation of East Jerusalem as such. Both had lots of Concerns™ and leveled minor critiques on process grounds (the most popular being that the move could “harm” peace efforts), but neither of the two leading papers in the United States could bring themselves to condemn Trump for his radical departure from US policy and international law in and of itself.

This is often the case when it comes to Israel/Palestine: Media focus is on the reaction to injustice, not on the injustice itself. The illegality of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem is rarely mentioned. Nor is the fact that the United States is now virtually alone out of the 195 countries on Earth in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or that the city has been, and is still, designated by the United Nations as a corpus separatum since 1947; that is, a separate territory under international jurisdiction. (The Economist—12/7/17—was one of the few who did point this out.) Likewise ignored are the UN Security Council’s repeated condemnations of Israel’s 1967 annexation of East Jerusalem and its 1980 declaration of the city as its capital, on the grounds that “acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible.”

CBS News (12/5/17), like other outlets,
stressed the threat of violence over the
illegality of occupation.
The broader context of the 60-year military occupation is likewise out of the picture, along with the dozens of international laws Israel breaks on a daily basis. Many of these relate directly to Jerusalem, including the expulsion of residents from the occupied territory of East Jerusalem and the transfer of hundreds of thousands of colonists there since 1967.

The primary focus is, instead, the possibility of “fresh violence in the region,” which evokes tropes of mindless Arab rage and barbarity. As Marya Hannun explained over at Slate (12/6/17), when we center “angry Arab” cliches, we perpetuate the notion that violence is the alpha and omega of resistance:
There is also a more insidious message being sent by warnings about the potential for a “third intifada” in response to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, one that has long haunted, not just the conflict over Palestine and Israel, but also other instances where human rights, civil rights and sovereignty are violated. When we focus on violence as the only preventive force against unjust policies, we reinforce the notion that violence is the only effective means of resistance. Perhaps more often than not, these assessments prove to be accurate, but it’s a dangerous game, and only aids those who see no point in working toward peace at all.
By leading with warnings of a “Middle East on edge” (NBC News, 12/7/17), where “Palestinians Vent Their Anger” (New York Times, 12/7/17) and “clashes escalate” (Washington Post, 12/7/17; BBC, 12/7/17), the media double down on dangerous stereotypes, marginalize legitimate frustration and resistance, and obfuscate history in favor of the ever-convenient, shoulder-shrugging, “they’ll just never get along” narrative.

No mention of redoubling of efforts of the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, or other civil-society efforts to resist Israel aggression. No mention of calls for solidarity by Palestinian activists. A singular focus on violence (albeit violence that, it should be noted, is sanctioned by international law) reduces Palestinians to cartoon hotheads rather than a deeply disenfranchised population suffering decades of displacement, discrimination and occupation, while the most powerful country on the planet condones, funds and arms their continued dehumanization.

*****

Originally published at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Citations Needed News Brief: The First Failson-in-Law Saves the Middle East


On this Patron-Only News Brief, Adam and I discuss the latest news out of Palestine, Jared Kushner lobbying for Netanyahu, the history of presidential pandering on Jerusalem, and ABC News' Brian Ross tanking the stock market.

Head over the our Patreon page and sign up to support the show. You'll get all the exclusive content!

***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.


*****

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Citations Needed, Episode 18: Fake News Panic and the Silencing of Dissident Media


Since Hillary Clinton's surprise 2016 electoral loss to Donald Trump, there have been thousands of articles, columns, and op-eds lamenting the rise of so-called “Fake News” and its pernicious effect on our democracy. The definition of what exactly "Fake News" is has never quite been made clear - yet this hasn’t stopped major corporate media outlets and even the U.S. Congress from rushing to curb this uniquely pernicious and dangerous "threat."

The primary response to this alleged crisis - the creation of a tiered, fact-checking system for social media that effectively bifurcates “real news” and “fake news” - has many in alternative, Leftist, and libertarian media claiming the anti-Fake News algorithms made by Twitter, Facebook, and Google have reduced their web traffic and readership. While it’s difficult to gauge the specifics of these individual reports, it does seem clear at this point that dissident media has taken a hit from efforts to stop co-called “Fake News.”

So what are the origins of this panic and whom does it benefit? How can one protect against obvious bullshit without bestowing the power to arbitrate truth unto a handful of U.S. national security state-aligned corporations and tech giants?

In this episode, we dive into the Fake News hole with Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, and activist Chris Hedges.

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The Show



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The Guest

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister.

He has written 11 books, including the New York Times best-seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. His other books include "Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt," (2015) “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best-selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and has sold over 400,000 copies. He writes a weekly column for the website Truthdig in Los Angeles, run by Robert Scheer, and hosts a show, On Contact, on RT America.

Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries during his work for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

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Citations Needed is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and LibSyn (here’s the RSS feed). You can also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

***

Want More?

For further reading, show notes, a periodic newsletter, and more exclusive content, please visit our Patreon page and sign up to support the show!


***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.

*****

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Citations Needed, Episode 17: Whitewashing America's Role in Yemen


Over 15,000 civilians dead and almost a million reported cases of cholera. 17 million people unsure of where their next meal will come from, including 7 million on the brink of starvation. Nearly 3 million people internally displaced. Hunger, disease, and bombs. That's what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have wrought on Yemen.

After almost three years of wanton destruction by U.S.-supported Saudi bombing campaigns and, most recently, a total land, air and sea blockade, the vast majority of Americans still haven’t heard much about the dire circumstances facing the people of Yemen. They've heard even less about how the United States is enabling, facilitating, authorizing, aiding and abetting this slaughter.

By and large, the media has almost entirely ignored the decimation of Yemen and its civilian population. When it is touched upon, America's central role in the conflict is often omitted, as is––even more inexplicably––Saudi Arabia's. The violence is routinely referred to as a regional "proxy war" between Gulf monarchies and Iran or Sunnis and Shias, rather than a U.S.-backed massacre.

On this episode, Adam and Nima, joined by Dr. Sheila Carapico and Dr. Greg Shupak, look back at the media’s coverage of this tragedy, why it let Obama off the hook for it, how the typical “cycle of violence” framing is used to obscure U.S. responsibility, and what can be done to lay blame where it belongs moving forward.

[A Patron-Only News Brief on even more recent Yemen coverage was posted on November 22.]

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The Show



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The Guests

Dr. Sheila Carapico is a expert on Yemen. She is a professor of political science and international studies at the University of Richmond, contributing editor of Middle East Report, and has written for many outlets including The Nation and Muftah.

Dr. Greg Shupak is an author and activist who teaches Media Studies at the University of Guelph in Canada.

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Citations Needed is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and LibSyn (here’s the RSS feed). You can also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

***

Want More?

For further reading, show notes, a periodic newsletter, and more exclusive content, please visit our Patreon page and sign up to support the show!


***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.

*****

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Citations Needed News Brief: 60 Minutes' Yemen Whitewash


In this Patron-only News Brief, Adam and I discuss recent omissions by 60 Minutes and The Washington Post of the U.S. role in bombing Yemen, the broader effort to throw America's responsibility for creating famine and disease into a memory hole, and shifting human rights standards for U.S. and its allies.

[Note: This is a News Brief update on recent Yemen coverage; a full-length episode on the topic is coming soon.]

Head over the our Patreon page and sign up to support the show. You'll get all the exclusive content!

***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.


*****

Citations Needed News Brief: #J20 Trial Update and the Political Definitions of 'Violence'


In this all-access Citations Needed News Brief, Adam and I catch up with the latest from the #J20 trial, how the media shaped coverage early in favor of the state, and the racist roots of criminalizing protest.

We are joined by Sam Adler-Bell, who walks us through his excellent new article in Mask Magazine, “It’s a Police State Mentality” — J20 and the Racist Origins of Criminalizing Protest.



If you like what you hear, please head over the our Patreon page and sign up to support the show. You'll get all the exclusive content!

***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.


*****

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Citations Needed, Episode 16: Editorial Boards - Protectors of Establishment Ideology

Donald Trump speaks with Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan, left, as he departs a meeting with the editorial board of The Washington Post. Editorial page editor Fred Hiatt is on the right. (Bonnie Jo Mount/Washington Post)


Editorial boards are the establishment voice from above, handing out decrees of moral and political import behind an anonymous byline. Major papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post have an Official Position™ and it's important that Important People™ hear that position. But of what use is this 19th Century artifact? Whose interest does it serve and why does it even still exist?

On this episode of Citations Needed, we attempt to answer these questions and more with guests Janine Jackson and Jim Naureckas of the always-essential FAIR.org.

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The Show



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The Guests

Janine Jackson is the program director of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting and producer/host of FAIR’s syndicated weekly radio show CounterSpin. She contributes frequently to FAIR’s newsletter Extra!, and co-edited The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s.

Jim Naureckas is the editor of FAIR.org, the website of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. Since 1990, he has edited Extra!, FAIR’s print publication, now a monthly newsletter. He is the co-author of Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the ’90s. You can follow him on Twitter at @JNaureckas.


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Citations Needed is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and LibSyn (here’s the RSS feed). You can also check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

***

Want More?

For further reading, show notes, a periodic newsletter, and more exclusive content, please visit our Patreon page and sign up to support the show!


***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.

Citations Needed is produced by Florence Barrau-Adams. Our Production Consultant is Josh Kross. The theme is ‘Nonphenomenal Lineage’ by Grandaddy.

*****

Friday, November 10, 2017

Citations Needed News Brief: A Prince, a Purge & the Media's GoT Obsession


On the latest Patrons-Only Citations Needed News Brief, Adam and I discuss the Game of Thrones-obsessed media's hand-wringing over––and promotion of––Saudi Arabia's latest bloodbath.

If you want to check it out, head over the our Patreon page and sign up to support the show. You'll get all the exclusive content!

***

Citations Needed is a media criticism podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, political commentators and media analysts working to call bullshit on (usually corporate) media’s ubiquitous reliance on and regurgitation of false and destructive narratives, tropes and stereotypes.


*****