Annual Fundraising Appeal

Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
BARBARA EHRENREICH…

BarbaraE

Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle.  We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day9

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Associated With Whom?

Rightist Bias in Wire Coverage of Colombia

by PHILLIP CRYAN

Imagine your local newspaper publishing a profile of a Venezuelan military general staunchly loyal to that country’s president, Hugo Chavez Frías. Now try to imagine that report lacking a single unflattering point about the general or Ch·vez. If you’re having trouble, it’s no surprise. Any decent editor would recognize such a piece as leftist propaganda and hit the delete button.

So why did the Associated Press profile Colombia’s new Army chief, Gen. Reinaldo Castellanos, without mentioning any criticism of him or of the nation’s president, Alvaro Uribe Vélez? And why did news outlets across the United States–from the Miami Herald to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, from ABC News to MSNBC–publish this rightwing propaganda?

After interviewing Castellanos, named to the post November 10, AP reporter Juan Pablo Toro apparently never questioned the general’s claim that "the Colombian government is winning in its offensive against Marxist rebels," as Toro’s first paragraph paraphrased it the next day. The 670-word story, rather, provided Castellanos a soapbox and lionized Uribe, who won the presidency in 2002 after slamming efforts to negotiate with the guerrillas and promising to rout them on the battlefield. Like many reporters in Colombia, Toro left the impression that a U.S.-backed military offensive and Uribe’s authoritarian policies have devastated the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest guerrilla group.

The story ignores compelling evidence to the contrary. Colombia’s most respected military analyst, Alfredo Rangel Súrez, says the 17,000-strong FARC is merely biding its time until the offensive runs out of steam. Rangel’s Security and Democracy Foundation, based in Bogot·, reported last month that the FARC mounted 900 attacks during Uribe’s first two years in office–nearly as many as the 907 it mounted during the preceding four-year term of President Andrés Pastrana Arrango. "It’s essential not to lose sight of the kind of war the FARC is carrying out," the foundation report concludes. "This kind of war does not seek to openly confront the Armed Forces but rather to exhaust them."

And, typical of U.S. reporting, Toro’s piece pays little attention to the war’s history and doesn’t even mention Colombia’s paramilitaries–the government-aligned forces responsible for most of the conflict’s civilian casualties and a large share of the country’s drug production.

Given what the hemisphere’s largest newswire dishes out, it’s hard to blame folks in the United States for their apathy about military aid to Colombia.

PHILLIP CRYAN writes the Media column for Colombia Week, where this article first appeared. In 2002 and 2003, Cryan did human rights work in Colombia. Next year Common Courage Press will publish News From the Southern Front, a book he is writing about the impacts of recent U.S. intervention in the country.

He lives in Ames, Iowa, and can be reached at: phillipcryan000@yahoo.com