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CounterPunch is a bi-weekly newsletter published in the United States that covers politics in a manner its editors describe as "muckraking with a radical attitude". It includes a website, updated daily, which contains much more material not published in the newsletter.

Running six to eight pages in length, the CounterPunch newsletter primarily publishes commentaries by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair with regular contributions by a wide range of others. It is noted for its critical coverage of both Democratic and Republican politicians and its extensive reporting of environmental and trade union issues, American foreign policy, and the Israeli-Arab conflict. CounterPunch considers itself to carry on the tradition of muckraking journalism of earlier investigative journalists such as I.F. Stone and George Seldes.

Contents

History

The newsletter was established in 1994 by the Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter Ken Silverstein. He was soon joined by the journalists Cockburn and St. Clair. In 1996 Silverstein left the publication and Cockburn and St. Clair have since been co-editors.

The website, which is updated on a daily basis, is supported by revenues generated by the newsletter, as well as fundraising activities and commissions received on click-through sales from Amazon.com.

In 2008 CounterPunch was sued by a Virginian defense contractor over a story on its website. In 2009 the plaintiff dropped the suit, but the episode cost the newsletter nearly $35,000 in legal expenses.[1]

Contributors

Notable contributors to CounterPunch have included Robert Fisk, the late Edward Said, Tim Wise, Ralph Nader, M. Shahid Alam, Tariq Ali, Ward Churchill, Lila Rajiva, Peter Linebaugh, the late Tanya Reinhart, Noam Chomsky, Frank "Chuck" Spinney and Alexander Cockburn's two brothers, Andrew and Patrick, both of whom write on the Middle East, Iraq in particular.

Some paleoconservative writers such as Paul Craig Roberts and William Lind and libertarian writers such as Sheldon Richman and Anthony Gregory also contribute to CounterPunch. The site regularly publishes articles from those with left-wing views, such as Lenni Brenner, Fidel Castro, and the late Stew Albert, as well as newer contributors, such as Diane Christian, Joshua Frank, Norman Finkelstein, Ron Jacobs, Pam Martens, Gary Leupp, Cynthia McKinney,[2] Kelly Overton and David Price.

Praise

According to a CounterPunch advert, The Village Voice has said that CounterPunch "outshines all its competitors" and that articles appearing in CounterPunch are often republished by or generate related articles in Harper's (of which Ken Silverstein is an editor), The Nation (where Cockburn is a columnist), the National Journal, the New York Daily News, The Washington Post, The Texas Observer, and several other publications.[3]

Criticism

Many critics, such as Franklin Foer of The New Republic and political commentator Steven Plaut, have written articles charging CounterPunch of being biased against Israel and antisemitic. Plaut cites Gilad Atzmon in particular, a controversial anti-Zionist, and declares that "Almost every self-hating Jew on the planet capable of banging on a keyboard is today either a columnist for the anti-American web magazine Counterpunch ... or is an object of Counterpunch’s celebration."[4][5] In 2009, CounterPunch's publication of articles by Alison Weir on organ transplant accusations were accused of disseminating the medieval antisemitic blood libel.[6] Ben Cohen of the American Jewish Committee has described Counterpunch as, "frequently anti-Semitic."[7]

CounterPunch has also been criticised by anti-Zionist activists Tony Greenstein and Roland Rance of Jews Against Zionism, for its practice of publishing articles by writers such as Gilad Atzmon and Israel Shamir which they describe as "blurring the distinction" between Zionism and Judaism, and failing to publish responses to these articles. [8] [9]

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