Pacifica's WPFW Axes FAIR's CounterSpin

For Immediate Release
December 9, 1999
Contact: Rachel Coen
(212) 633-6700 x318

Pacifica's WPFW Axes FAIR's CounterSpin:
Media Criticism Show Cancelled After Three Earlier Instances of Censorship

Without notice to producers or listeners, the Washington, DC-based Pacifica affiliate WPFW has cancelled FAIR's radio show, CounterSpin. FAIR learned of the cancellation early this week when listeners called our
offices to ask why the show was not on the air.

CounterSpin-a media criticism show-has been censored by Pacifica stations five times this year for covering the ongoing crisis at the network.

A brief history:

-- 4/16/99: Los Angeles Pacifica affiliate KPFK refuses to run a
CounterSpin featuring Larry Bensky, the recently fired host of
Pacifica's Sunday Salon.

-- 4/19/99: WPFW cuts off the CounterSpin broadcast featuring Bensky
in mid-interview.

-- 7/16/99 KPFK edits a broadcast featuring KPFA local advisory board
member J. Imani and media critic Norman Solomon to include commentary
on Pacifica from KPFK station manager Mark Schubb.

-- 7/19/99: WPFW refuses to run the show featuring Imani and Solomon.

-- 11/9/99: WPFW interrupts CounterSpin in the middle of an item about
the "reassignment" of Pacifica Network news director Dan Coughlin.

In an indication of WPFW's hostility to efforts to cover the crisis at Pacifica, program director Lou Hankins told FAIR associate Laura Flanders that the station pulled CounterSpin's 7/16/99 discussion of Pacifica issues because "We're not putting that garbage on our air" (In These Times, 9/5/99).

When FAIR contacted WPFW this week to ask why, after years of providing the station with a high-quality show for free, FAIR had been given no notification of its cancellation, general manager Bessie Wash replied only, "I'm sorry if that upsets you."  She gave no explanation for the cancellation.

"It's hard to conclude this is anything but a final act of censorship by WPFW," commented CounterSpin co-host Steve Rendall. "For years, WPFW has run our analyses of fear and favor at other news outlets-but when we turned our attention to Pacifica, WPFW repeatedly interfered with and finally cancelled our show."