This week on CounterSpin: A Texas court has told Alex Jones to pay some $49 million dollars in damages for his perverse, accusatory talk about the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre being a “big hoax”—the jury evidently not believing Jones’ tale that he was suffering a weird and weirdly profitable “psychosis” when he told his followers that no one died at Sandy Hook because none of the victims ever existed, nor were they evidently moved by his subsequent claim that he did it all “from a pure place.”
Jones, as the Hearst Connecticut Media editorial board noted in a strong statement, is trying to keep any mention of his “white supremacy and right-wing extremism” out of the Sandy Hook case he’s facing in New Hampshire—because, his lawyer says, that discussion would be “unfairly prejudicial and inflammatory,” an “attack on [Jones’] character” that would “play to the emotions of the jury and distract from the main issues.”
What should be the “main issues” when our vaunted elite press corps engage a figure like Alex Jones? We talk with Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters.
Also on the show: In 1991, on the fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident, an editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune concluded: “Despite Chernobyl, nuclear energy is the green alternative.” The Houston Post enjoined readers: “Let’s not learn the wrong lesson from Chernobyl and rule nukes out of our future.” Corporate media have been rehabilitating nuclear power for as long as the public has been terrified by its dangers—sometimes as heavy-handedly as NBC in 1987 running a documentary, Nuclear Power: In France It Works, that failed to mention that NBC’s then-owner, General Electric, was the country’s second-largest nuclear power entity—and third-largest producer of nuclear weapons.
Now in Russia’s war on Ukraine, we’re seeing news media toss the possibility of nuclear war into the news you’re meant to read over your breakfast. Has something changed to make the unleashing of nuclear weaponry war less horrific? And if not, what can we be doing to push it back off the table and out of media’s parlor game chat? We hear from author and journalism professor Karl Grossman.
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