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Citations Needed

Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.

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Episode 27: How the Media Mainstreamed Racist Pseudoscience

If one were to approach New York Times-reading liberals circa 1990 and tell them about a crime-fighting policy that arbitrarily harassed black and Latino youths who had committed no crime and th...

Episode 26: The 'Welfare' Dog-Whistle

The term "welfare" is thrown around so casually in political speeches and media coverage we hardly notice it anymore. CNN reports that “GOP will tackle Medicare, Medicaid, welfare in 2018," while T...

Episode 25: The Banality of CIA-Curated Definitions of ‘Democracy’

Few words elicit such warm feelings as the term "Democracy." Wars are supposedly fought for it, foreign policies are built around it, protecting and advancing it is considered the United States' hi...

Episode 24: Highlighting Alternative Media - The Moral Limits of Dunking on Thomas Friedman

Here at Citations Needed we enjoy nothing more than ragging on corporate media - indeed, it’s our primary job. But can constant snark and negativity breed cynicism? Recent feedback from some of our...

News Brief: Why the Media Should Stop Calling it a "Government Shutdown"

It's not a "government shutdown", it's a liberal government shutdown––or, more precisely, a backdoor rightwing coup. Our words should reflect that. Relevant article: It’s Not a Government Shutdown....

Episode 23: The Media's Grim Addiction to Perseverance Porn

We’ve all seen these feel good segments on the local news. The adorable and resourceful seven-year-old in California who's been recycling cans since he was three and now has $10,000 saved up for co...

Episode 22: Trumpwashing -- How the Media Uses Trump to Launder Our Criminal Past

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 ...

Episode 21: Quantifying Negative Media Portrayals of People of Color

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 ...

Episode 20: Lotteryism, Part II -- A Most Dangerous Game: How Sports Are Used to Fleece Public Trusts

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...

Episode 19: Lotteryism Part I -- How a Compliant Press Fuels the Spectacle of 'Winning'

"Lotteryism" is the use of the media by large corporations to obscure solidarity in favor of morality tales of “making it”. It’s the atomization of parties of mutual interest by lording over them t...

Episode 18: Fake News Panic and the Silencing of Dissident Media

In this episode, we dive into the Fake News hole with Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, and activist Chris Hedges. Since Hillary Clinton's surprise 2016 loss to...

Episode 17: Whitewashing America's Role in Yemen

Over 15,000 civilians dead and almost a million reported cases of cholera. 17 million people unsure of where their next meal will come from, including 7 million on the brink of starvation. Nearly 3...

News Brief: #J20 Trial Update and the Political Definitions of 'Violence'

In this News Brief Nima and Adam catch up with the latest from the #J20 trial, how the media shaped coverage early in favor of the state, and the racist roots of criminalizing protest. With guest S...

Episode 16: Editorial Boards––Protectors of Establishment Ideology

Editorial boards are the establishment voice from above, handing out decrees of moral and political import behind an anonymous byline. Major papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post h...

Episode 15: The Real Estate Page As Colonial Dispatch

Real Estate sections are mostly breezy, fun profiles of the super rich buying up houses and remodeling the ones they already own. Harmless escapist fun? Maybe. But how we write about real estate r...

Episode 14: The Iran Deal Protection Racket

We are told time and again from Republicans and nominal liberals alike that Iran desperately wants to acquire nuclear weapons, was "racing toward the bomb" before the implementation of the multilat...

Episode 13: The Always Stumbling US Empire

"Stumbling", "sliding", "drawn into" war––the media frequently assumes the US is bumbling its way around the world. The idea that the United States operates in “good faith” is taken for granted for...

Episode 12: The New Atheists, Celebrity Crusaders For Empire

Since the mid-2000’s, a specific breed of liberalism has emerged broadly called “New Atheism”. While the movement is hardly a monolith, it has at its core features of liberal chauvinism, anti-"poli...

Episode 11: The Deficits Racket Part II -- Racist Media as Barrier to Govt Spending

If broad government programs are so popular why don’t we just vote them into existence? One of the primary barriers to democratic socialism--or spending in general--is racist media coverage and rac...

Episode 11: The Deficits Racket Part I -- Single Payer Propaganda War

The idea that we’re “running out of money” and have to “tighten our belts" is a common trope in US media; the premise that the US government is like a household that must balance its books, largely...

Episode 10: Ableism and the Ethics of Calling Trump “Crazy”

“Insane”, “crazy”, “totally fucking nuts”–Trump’s mental capacity is the subject of much speculation, joke-making, and earnest concern. But how should the subject be approached by the media? On th...

Episode 09: Liberal Media Throws #J20 Activists Under the Bus

The #Resistance warms up to rightwing ghouls David Frum and Evan McMullin while ignoring anti-Trump protesters facing 80 years in federal prison. With guest Sam Menefee-Libey.

Episode 08: The Human Rights Concern Troll Industrial Complex

We discuss the cynical use of "human rights" to advance US interests with guest Glenn Greenwald.  The conceit that the U.S. has been a dedicated and earnest promoter of “freedom”, “democracy,” and ...

News Brief: Harvey, Climate Change and Snitch Reporters

On this news brief we discuss the media's fear of covering Harvey in the context of race, class, and the manifest threat of climate change. With guest Katherine Krueger of Splinter News. 

Episode 07: BDS & the Moral Narratives of Colonization

In Episode 7 we explore how the media discusses the issue of BDS and the broader topic of Palestinian liberation with guest Steven Salaita.

News Brief: Nazis, the ACLU & the Moral Limits of 'Free Speech'

We discuss the virtue of defending lofty free speech ideals in the Trump era with our guest George Ciccariello.

Episode 06: The Media’s Default Setting of White Supremacy

In Episode 06 we explore how the media both consciously and subconsciously works to smear black victims, protect the police, and works overtime to ameliorate the sensibilities of white media consum...

News Brief: Media Helps Trump Stoke Tensions with North Korea

Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson recap today's North Korea escalation. 

Episode 05: Purging Socialists of Color From History

On Episode 5, we explore the history of the media erasing socialists of color from the history books and present day discourse––a tactic that serves to both commodity and water-down black radicalis...

Episode 04: The Root of All Evil

On Episode 04 we talk about a recent New York Times article — and the broader media habit of painting the US as benevolent democracy-seeker and Iran and other Official Enemies as cynical imperiali...

Episode 03: The Rise of Superpredator 2.0

Episode 03: The Rise of Superpredator 2.  Episode 3 is about the media narrative surrounding the rise of so-called “gang raids” that have exploded over the past three years. These high-stakes, head...

Episode 02 : The North Korea Memory Hole

In the second episode of Citations Needed, Nima and Adam breakdown the history and present "crisis" on the Korean peninsula.

Episode 01 : The Charter School Scam

The first episode of Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson's podcast, Citations Needed, tackles the media hype surrounding the privatization of education. Show notes can be found here: 2010 tax form for Pa...