DiscoverCitations Needed
Citations Needed
Claim Ownership

Citations Needed

Author: Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson

Subscribed: 9,875Played: 551,381
Share

Description

Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.
299 Episodes
Reverse
Citations Needed is now in its sixth season. Over the past five years, we've dropped 170 episodes and over 125 news briefs. We've been joined by hundreds of amazing guests. We've done live shows, AMAs, newsletters and special interviews. Our small team does all the research, writing, recording, editing, pre-production, production, post-production, transcription, promotion and distribution. We love doing the show and we have more great episodes on the way. But first, we're doing our first PBS-style fundraiser, tote bags and all. Since we started, we've always been listener-supported. We've never run ads or had corporate sponsors. It's the way we want it - to stay totally independent. And for that, we rely on you, our listeners, fans and supporters. So, it's finally fundraiser time. Go to patreon.com/citationsneededpodcast to support the show. Next week, new and current supporters will be in the running for official Citations Needed swag - mugs, tote bags, t-shirts and sweatshirts - and nine lucky folks will get copies of recent pod guest Brandi Collins-Dexter's new book, "Black Skinhead: Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future." But you have to be a subscriber to win stuff! Sign up to support the show by 12am on Monday, October 24 to be eligible. Thanks for all your support. We can't do this without you.
The unique threat and vileness of Donald Trump’s presidency can’t be overstated. Since he took office a year ago, he’s increased civilian deaths in Afghanistan by 50%, increased civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq (surpassing Obama’s death toll in just under 7 months), issued dozens of nuclear threats against North Korea, unraveled the Iran deal, bombed Hezbollah, Iranian and SAA positions in Syria, signed a smash and grab tax bill for billionaires, and issued order after order making life hell for immigrants and other vulnerable communities. But with this unique threat comes a rhetorical habit of "Trumpwashing" that, while perhaps tempting in the short term, will - in the long term - have disastrous effects.   The desire to revamp the image of the pre-Trump Republican party and the United States in general – a concept Ali Abunimah coined “Trumpwashing” - is a favorite rhetorical tic of Russia-obsessed democrats and centrist extremists who’s primary charge is treating the phenomenon of Donald Trump as anomalous from American history, rather than its most pure, and even logical, manifestation. This trope - in addition to denying the realities of the past hundred years of American politics and policy - carries with it pernicious long term effects. We discuss this broader narrative with The Intercept's Jon Schwarz.
According to one 2014 study, 75% of white Americans don’t have any non-white friends. Put another way, white people’s perception of African Americans and other people of color comes primarily from media representations rather than actual interactions. As such, how communities of color are portrayed in the media – from news and opinion pages to movie and TV screens – is tremendously important. Two newly-published reports reveal how these perceptions are consistently distorted to over-emphasize Black and Latinx criminality, center white people in sympathetic portrayals as either victims or heroes, and overwhelmingly lump immigration coverage in with coverage of crime and violence. In this episode, we discuss the bare statistics of how people of color, immigrants, and the poor are shown in media, why it matters, and the consequences of media makers from newsrooms to Hollywood perpetuating destructive stereotypes. We're joined by some of the people behind these reports, Lucy Odigie-Turley of The Opportunity Agenda and Nicole Rodgers of Family Story. *** The Guests Lucy Odigie-Turley is the Opinion and Media Research Coordinator with The Opportunity Agenda. An experienced communication researcher with training in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, Lucy conducts and organizes multi-methods research to assess dominant media narratives and public opinion about poverty, immigration, and criminal justice. Nicole Rodgers is the founder and executive director of Family Story, a communications and research organization that elevates stories of diverse families. A strategist with broad expertise in communications, branding, and research in the public interest, Rodgers is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Role Reboot, an online magazine dedicated to storytelling and social critique from a new generation of Americans rethinking “traditional” family, breaking through stereotypes, and bucking expectations about gender roles. *** The Reports Redefining Sanctuary: Analysis of public attitudes and media coverage of sanctuary jurisdictions and related immigration policies Lucy Odigie-Turley | December 2017 | The Opportunity Agenda A Dangerous Distortion of Our Families: Representations of Families, By Race, In News and Opinion Media Dr. Travis L. Dixon | December 2017 | Color Of Change
Previously on Citations Needed, we discussed the notion of "Lotteryism," that is, the use of the media by large corporations to obscure solidarity in favor of morality tales of "making it."  It's a scam to extract resources from local governments in hopes they can "win" corporate cash, headquarters, facilities, and, of course, the promise of "jobs". Cities around the US and the world debase themselves to compete for the "honor" of hosting the Olympic Games, the World Cup, or just a new sports team - shelling out millions, if not billions, of public funds to build arenas and stadiums that average citizens often can't even afford to set foot in. On this episode we discuss how the media helps sports owners and other corporate forces fleece the public. With guest Dave Zirin, Sports Editor at The Nation. Follow him @EdgeofSports.
On this public News Brief, we are joined by author and historian Jeff Schuhrke to discuss labor's response to the ongoing genocide in Gaza, the history of union support for (and opposition to) U.S.-led war and imperialism, and his upcoming book, Blue-Collar Empire: The Untold Story of US Labor's Global Anticommunist Crusade.
On this Citations Needed Live Show, recorded virtually on May 23, 2024, Adam and Nima discuss recent coverage of the campus protests over the ongoing genocide in Gaza, from the media's habit of pathologizing Zoomers to Biden's condescending implication they're just a foaming hate mob. We were joined by guests Layla Saliba and Jonathan Ben-Menachem.
"Susan Rice examines U.S. foreign policy strategy with The Post's David Ignatius," read the title of a 2016 Washington Post Live conversation. "Key player in war on climate change? The Pentagon," CNN insisted in 2020. "Democrats Need To Learn How To Get Excited About the Center-Left," The Messenger proclaimed in 2023.  These posts were all facilitated, sponsored, or authored by a member of a Democratic-aligned, corporate U.S. think tank. Whether the Center for American Progress, Center for a New American Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, or any other Washington, DC-based "Center" with a capital C, center-right to center-left think tanks are ubiquitous in major American media and in Democratic policymaking. This might seem unremarkable, even beneficial. Think tanks, after all, purport to be empirical institutions, designed to craft research-based policy proposals. But, given the prevalence of corporate funding in the DC think-tank world, these claims of neutrality contradict the anti-labor and anti-regulation records of major US think tanks, as well as their function as de facto corporate lobbying groups. On this episode, Part II of our two-part series on the relationship between political party officials, media, and the corporate laundering machine, we examine the revolving door between Democratic administrations and corporate and despot-funded think tanks, looking at how those institutions effectively serve as a stomping grounds of business industry influence on everything from climate to labor, healthcare to infrastructure. Our guest is The Intercept's Akela Lacy.
“David Plouffe's advice for 2020,” Axios shared in 2019. “James Carville: 'Stupid wokeness' is a national problem for Democrats,” CNN reported in 2021. “Robert Gibbs, former White House Press Secretary under President Obama, discusses the debt ceiling deal and the latest job numbers,” MSNBC announced in 2023. On a regular basis, news media clue us into the latest prescriptions from so-called Democratic strategists: people who’ve served as advisers, cabinet members, or other high-ranking positions within Democratic presidential administrations, who’ve also gone on to make millions from corporate consultancy and PR. Whether Larry Summers, David Plouffe, or some other cable-news fixture, these figures are consistently trotted out to give a quasi-liberal, professional face to plain old pro-war, anti-Left austerity politics. It’s an obvious conflict of interest. If a presidential alum joins the board or C-suite of Uber or McDonald’s, for example, they shouldn’t be given the authority to weigh in on regulations or labor policy, especially on media platforms that claim to be somewhat left-leaning. If they work for a military contractor-funded “Strategic consultant” firm or, as is sometimes the case, directly for a weapons maker, they shouldn’t be offering talking head opinions on issues of war. But, within US media and politics, there’s a bipartisan, Gentlemen's Agreement not to acknowledge this, let alone condemn it. There’s a taboo against noting this widespread revolving door politics between the private sector, Gulf dictatorships, black box corporate consultancy firms and high institutions of government. Instead, it’s simply accepted that every White House, State Department or Senate job is an audition for a cushy board membership at Amazon, McDonalds, Raytheon, or a shady “consultancy” firm. On today’s episode, we’ll discuss the blurring of lines between Democratic and Republican politics and corporate PR, examining the revolving door between high status government jobs and the consultancy blob, as well as how cable and print news outlets give PR flacks a platform through which to treat horrible policies as just another product to sell. Our guest is the Revolving Door Project's Jeff Hauser, founder and Executive Director of the Revolving Door Project.
“Here's why creating single-payer health care in America is so hard,” explained Harold Pollack in Vox in 2016. “The benefits of climate action…are diffuse and hard to pin down,” shrugged a Foreign Affairs article in 2020. “A nuanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” presented Aliza Pilichowski in The Jerusalem Post in 2023. Each of the above is an example of something that can be called "Nuance Trolling": The insistence that some major beneficial development like single-payer healthcare, ending wars and bombing campaigns, or the mitigation, even cessation, of climate change is impossible because the situation is too nuanced, the plan too lacking in detail, the goal too hard to achieve, the public isn’t behind it or some other bad faith “concern” that makes bold action an impossibility. Nuance Trolls present power-serving defeatism as savvy pragmatism, claiming over and over that no good, meaningful change can happen because no version of it will ever work. Nuance and complexity, of course, are real, legitimate things. Political, social, environmental, and economic dynamics often are complicated. But Nuance Trolls abuse this self-evident truism, using it as a mode of analysis designed to weaken  and water down movements for change that seek actual, material solutions to political problems, and instead promoting inaction to ensure the continuation of the already oppressive status quo.  On this episode, we examine the rise of the Nuance Troll and analyze the media’s selective invocation of “nuance” in order to stifle urgent movements for social justice, reducing poverty, curbing climate chaos and ending occupation and war.  Our guest is Natasha Lennard.
In this News Brief, we breakdown the White House's latest attempt to arm and fund Israeli war crimes while looking like helpless. bumbling humanitarians.
In this public News Brief, we discuss Establishment reaction to pro-Palestinian protests on US campuses, from liberal handwringing to police crackdowns to therapy-speak.          
“Sen. Chuck Schumer warns drug dealers are pushing rainbow fentanyl to children,” CBS News cries. “'It's very challenging': Inside the fentanyl fight at the border,” ABC News reports. “The hard-drug decriminalization disaster,” New York Times columnist Bret Stephens laments. In recent years, we’ve been warned about the growing threat of hyperpotent street drugs, particularly opioids. Fentanyl is disguised as Halloween candy to appeal to children. US Border Patrol doesn’t have enough resources to keep up with drug screenings. Efforts to decriminalize drug use and possession are causing chaos and suffering on our streets.  The dangers of drugs like fentanyl are, of course, very real, and concerns about them are certainly legitimate. But too often, media framings don’t reflect genuine concerns. Rather than offering urgent solutions to help those who are truly struggling-like reduced penalties, or stable housing and healthcare–media, alongside policymakers, consistently promote the same old carceral logic of the Nixon-era War on Drugs, turning a true public-health crisis into an opportunity to increase arrests and policing in general. On this episode, we look at the War on Drugs 2.0: This Time It’s Different We Promise, and how, despite lofty liberal rhetoric about how the War on Drugs has been cruel and counterproductive, media and elected officials are doubling down on fear-mongering, stigmatization, and severe prison and punishment.  Our guest is Emily Kaltenbach.
"Ex-officer Amber Guyger testifies in wrong-apartment murder trial: 'I was scared to death,'" a " story reported in 2019. "Starbucks Files Complaints with Labor Board, Accuses Union Organizers of Bullying and Harassment," reported Food & Wine Magazine in April 2022. "Labour MPs fear for safety as pro-Palestine protesters target offices," The Guardianwarned in November 2023. Within the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of a phenomenon we’ll refer to as “elite crybullying," in which people in power engage in political manipulation in order to portray themselves as victims. Routinely, we hear that armed American police fear for their safety around unarmed civilians, lawmakers feel for the their safety after there's a sit in protest and corporate executives are being unfairly intimated by union organizers.  It's a sleazy, manipulative tactic that not only flattens, but flips, power dynamics. By claiming to have been bullied or traumatized by those who oppose them, wealthy and influential figures suddenly transform themselves from victimizers into victims. Meanwhile, by this same perverse logic, they characterize their actual victims–be they organizing workers and peace activists, who merely seek to stand up for themselves, or people killed by military and police violence – as victimizers. On this episode, we explore the rise of ruling-class crybullyism, how elites increasingly traffic in the language of anti-bullying and therapy-speak to indemnify themselves from criticism, examine how cynical distortions of power relations recast the upholders of colonialism, labor abuses, and police violence as the oppressed, and the people who dare to object as the oppressors, all in an effort to silence dissent from the justifiably angry masses.  Our guests are Mari Cohen and Saree Makdisi.
“Teachers Unions: Still a Huge Obstacle to Reform.” “Countering Iran’s Menacing Persian Gulf Navy.” “Open Everything: The time to end pandemic restrictions is now.” “The Good Republicans’ Last Stand” Each of these headlines comes from the same magazine: The Atlantic. For 167 years, the publication has enjoyed elite stature in the American literary and journalistic worlds, publishing such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Barack Obama, and serving as a coveted professional destination for writers throughout the country. Founded by a number of esteemed 19th century authors, the magazine has long prided itself on its cultural and political depth. But beneath all of its high-minded rhetoric about democracy, free expression, fearlessness, and American ideals is a vehicle of center-right pablum, designed to launder reactionary opinions for a liberal-leaning audience. As the employer of warmongers like Jeffrey Goldberg, Anne Applebaum, and David Frum, under the ownership of a Silicon Valley-tied investment firm hellbent on destroying teachers’ unions, The Atlantic, time and time again, proves a far cry from the truth-pursuing, consensus-disrupting outlet it claims to be. On this episode, we dive into the history and ideology of The Atlantic, examining the currents of middlebrow conservatism, left-punching, and deference to boring business owners that have run through the magazine throughout its nearly 17 decades of operation. Our guest is Jon Schwarz.
On this News Brief, we are joined by Jesse Rabinowitz of the National Homelessness Law Center to discuss the upcoming Johnson v. Grants Pass case, which will be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States on April 22nd 2024. This is the most significant case about the rights of homeless people in decades, determining whether cities can make it a crime to be homeless, to sleep outside, even when there is no safe shelter available to them. We discuss the boarder media narratives that got us to this cruel, irrational point.
In this Live Show Beg-A-Thon recorded Jan 30, we break down the worst Rise-And-Grind social media stars and how they've moved from Silicon Valley-adjacent to subprime motivational content helping middle and working class people get through the daily grind. With guest Hussein Kesvani.
In this News Brief we are joined by friend of the show, Maximillian Alvarez of The Real News, to discuss Democrats' pathetic, myopic, and nihilistic attempt to play the Racist Reverse Uno Card on Congressional Republicans.
"Viet Cong Use Children as Human Shields," the Associated Press alleged in 1967. "'Civilian casualty?" That's a gray area," Alan Dershowitz argued in The Los Angeles Times in 2006. "We can’t ignore the truth that Hamas uses human shields,”"Jason Willick wrote in The Washington Post in 2023. For more than five decades, military forces with overwhelming firepower, including the U.S., Israel, and others have accused enemy combatants of using “human shields.” According to these allegations, militant resistance throughout the world, from the Vietnamese National Liberation Front to Palestinian militants, herd civilians in front of them, or hide in hospitals, religious institutions, and other public places, in order to evade attacks. In turn, they force the enemy to “risk” killing civilians, and they themselves bear responsibility for those who are killed. But rarely, if ever, have these accusations been true. Indeed, the term “human shields,” despite having a clear legal definition, has become a catch-all for militias or insurgency groups that merely operate among a civilian population, functioning as a convenient pretext for invading, occupying and colonial forces to kill civilians, and reinforcing racist conceptions about besieged populations. So why, and how, do media provide cover for governments that lie about and instrumentalize supposed “human shielding”? On this episode, we dissect the decades-old “human shields” accusation, examining how it dehumanizes and militarizes people living under occupation and invasions, demonizes resistance movements, and sanitizes civilian-killing aggressors as reluctant actors who "simply had no choice." Our guests are Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini.
"Join Wall Street. Save the world," The Washington Post urged in 2013. "How to Know Your Donations Are Doing the Most Good," The New York Times proclaimed in 2015. "I give 10 percent of my income to charity. You should, too," Vox advised last November. Each of these headlines tops a piece that extols the virtues of Effective Altruism, a philanthropic philosophy, for lack of a better term, ostensibly dedicated to the pursuit of the best ways to address large-scale, global ills like pandemics and factory farming, informed by “evidence and reason.” The school of thought, popularized by figures like the academic and author Peter Singer and disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, has been widely embraced – or at least uncritically boosted – in mainline media for years. Superficially, this makes sense. Effective Altruism seems unimpeachably virtuous: It’s great if people want to solve the world’s problems, and so much the better if they’ve done their research. But beneath this surface lies a deeply reactionary movement, predicated on an age-old desire to characterize the wealthy as the solution to, rather than the cause of, the very problems they purport to want to solve. On this episode, we parse the rise, motives, and influence of Effective Altruism. We look at how the doctrine gamifies wealth distribution, falsely portrays the rich as uniquely qualified to make decisions about public welfare, often provides cover for eugenics and racism, and masquerades as a groundbreaking ethos of data-driven compassion while it merely regurgitates a 100-year-old rich person ideology of supposedly benevolent control over the masses. Our guest is Dr. Linsey McGoey.
In this public News Brief, we react to the media spin around the ICJ's genocide ruling against Israel and how framing by the NYT and BBC seeks to uphold the logic of the so called "war" creating said genocide.
loading
Comments (81)

Will Shogren

"wokeness" probably is a problem for Democrats but who cares, fuck them.

May 29th
Reply

Will Shogren

People who work children should be in prison.

May 17th
Reply

Will Shogren

American Liberals might as well be fascists and I dare one of you fat boys to argue with me in light of the 2024 genocide of Gazans. Say something cute.

May 16th
Reply (3)

Will Shogren

These guys are pro-Mason in the Propaganda Due sense.

May 16th
Reply

Will Shogren

You're both weak, pudgy little men at least one of whom has a shitty, bird's nest haircut. I think the chances of you two being put up against a wall by bolesheviks is extremely slim but it's worth hoping for.

May 16th
Reply

Will Shogren

David Brooks is a legendary cretin.

May 15th
Reply

Will Shogren

As much as I dislike pudgy liberals with internet jobs sneering about reparations to people who work for a living, Columbus was a demon and PragerU is for guys with Punisher skull tattoos.

May 15th
Reply

Will Shogren

Instead of wasting time trying to parse liberal privilege discourse, you might consider just being a Marxist and trying to organize along class lines. Ultimately much less repulsive.

May 15th
Reply

Will Shogren

Two genres that are way more diverse than they get credit for: pro wrestling and shooting sports.

May 8th
Reply

Will Shogren

Question: would you mind identifying the antisemitic grifter interlopers penetrating the Palestine solidarity movement? Are they high profile? Since they're clearly important enough to invoke during an ongoing fucking genocide.

Mar 21st
Reply

Will Shogren

The ADL is a litterbox full of cockroaches.

Mar 21st
Reply

Will Shogren

Elizabeth Warren is a stupid piece of shit.

Mar 13th
Reply (1)

Will Shogren

Goldberg is a repulsive little pigman.

Mar 13th
Reply

Gary McCammon

"Mike Schellenberger dipshits" I just may have to join the Patreon if you keep this up. That's a keeper!

Mar 7th
Reply

Will Shogren

...we just hit at least 30,000 murdered Palestinians.

Feb 27th
Reply

Will Shogren

Get your goddamn wig split, Kirby.

Feb 27th
Reply

Will Shogren

Kim Kelly is fire.

Feb 8th
Reply

Will Shogren

Bernie's likeability was filtered through racial and gender norms, how wonderfully intersectional of you.

Jan 1st
Reply

Will Shogren

Oh, Data For Progress said it? That *does* sound interesting!

Jan 1st
Reply

John Rockwell

excellent episode! one of my recent favorites, good guest.

Nov 15th
Reply