This week on CounterSpin: Confederate flags may be coming down in Southern states, but it’s still an open question how much the white supremacist murders in Charleston will re-orient media discourse. One part of a conversation with many parts has to do with when journalists choose to unleash the weaponized language of “terrorism”—and the effect that has on public opinion and policy. There’s research to illustrate media patterns on the issue, including a report out of the University of Illinois. We’ll speak with lead author, Travis Dixon, associate professor of communication at the University of Illinois/Urbana.
Also on the show: When an uprising broke out at a Texas prison earlier this year, media accounts said complaints about medical care turned violent at the facility, which overwhelmingly housed immigrants charged with “illegal reentry.” Investigation suggests media didn’t get the story right, though—not too surprising, given the general lack of attention to US prisons and the people in them. We’ll talk about the Texas story, and the bigger story of using prison to address immigration, with journalist Seth Freed Wessler.