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CounterPunch logo.png
Former editorsKen Silverstein
Alexander Cockburn
Staff writers
First issue1994; 27 years ago (1994)
CountryUnited States
Based inPetrolia, California, United States
WebsiteOfficial website

CounterPunch is a magazine published six times per year[1] in the United States that covers politics in a manner its editors describe as "muckraking with a radical attitude".[2] It has been described as left-wing.[3][4]


CounterPunch began as a newsletter, established in 1994 by the Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter Ken Silverstein.[5] He was soon joined by Alexander Cockburn and then Jeffrey St. Clair, who became the publication's editors in 1996 when Silverstein left.[6][7] In 2007, Cockburn and St. Clair wrote that in founding CounterPunch they had "wanted it to be the best muckraking newsletter in the country", and cited as inspiration such pamphleteers as Edward Abbey, Peter Maurin, and Ammon Hennacy, as well as the socialist/populist newspaper Appeal to Reason (1895–1922).[8] When Alexander Cockburn died in 2012 at the age of 71, environmental journalist Joshua Frank became managing editor and Jeffrey St. Clair became editor-in-chief of CounterPunch.[9][10]

During the 2016 presidential election, CounterPunch published a piece by "Alice Donovan",[11] who purported to be a freelance writer but who US intelligence officials alleged is pseudonymous employee of the Russian government.[12] Donovan was tracked by the FBI for nine months, as a suspected fictitious persona created by the GRU.[12][13] In late November 2017, after CounterPunch had published several more pieces by "Donovan", The Washington Post contacted Jeffrey St. Clair about her. The co-editor said that Donovan's pitches did not stand out amongst the pitches that CounterPunch received daily[12] and began making inquiries. He asked Donovan to substantiate her identity by sending a photo of her driving license but she did not.[12] On the same day The Washington Post article was published on Donovan, St. Clair and Frank published a piece stating that CounterPunch only ran one article by Alice Donovan during the 2016 election, which was on cyber-breaches of medical databases. Donovan was also exposed by the newsletter as a serial plagiarizer.[11] CounterPunch removed all the articles from their site.[14] In a January 2018 follow-up article, St. Clair and Frank exposed a network of alleged trolls that operated a site called Inside Syria Media Center, promoting a pro-Bashar al-Assad and pro-Russian view of the Syrian Civil War. St. Clair and Frank speculated that the website was connected to the same network of trolls as Alice Donovan, which was later confirmed by the Atlantic Council and other researchers.[15][13][14]


In 2003, The Observer described the CounterPunch website as "one of the most popular political sources in America, with a keen following in Washington".[16] Other sources have variously described CounterPunch as "left-wing",[3][4] "far-left",[17] "extreme",[18] a "political newsletter",[19] and a "muckraking newsletter".[20]

In 2007, the lobby group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), described CounterPunch as an "extremist anti-Israel web site."[21] In a 2013 opinion piece for The Observer, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach criticised Pink Floyd member Roger Waters for comments he made in an interview with CounterPunch. Waters described Israel as a "racist apartheid regime" that practices "ethnic cleansing".[22] Waters in a separate interview with Haaretz stated that he hates apartheid and not Israelis.[23]

In 2012, Adam Levick wrote in The Algemeiner that Counterpunch has "advanced dual loyalty canards about Jews" and has published articles by Holocaust deniers.[24]

In 2016, CounterPunch appeared in a PropOrNot list of websites which it described as Russian propaganda outlets. Writing in the New Yorker, Adrian Chen described the list as a mess and CounterPunch as a "respected left-leaning" publication.[25]

In 2018, after the "Alice Donovan" affair, author Diana Johnstone said in a Consortium News article titled "Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace" that "Russophobia finds a variant in the writing of several prominent CounterPunch contributors".[26]


  1. ^ "FAQs". Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  2. ^ "We've got all the right enemies". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  3. ^ a b Ralph Blumenthal (May 12, 2006). "Army Acts to Curb Abuses of Injured Recruits". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "The Devil You Know". New Republic.
  5. ^ "Counterpunch is the brainchild of Ken Silverstein, a former AP reporter in Rio de Janeiro." Lies of Our Times, vols 4-5 (1993), p. 26.
  6. ^ Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, Five Days that Shook the World: Seattle and Beyond (London and New York: Verso, 2000), p. 151; Alexander Cockburn, Ken Silverstein, Washington Babylon (London and New York: Verso, 1996), p. 302.
  7. ^ Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, End Times: The Death of the Fourth Estate (Petrolia, California, and Oakland, California: CounterPunch and AK Press, 2007), pp. 2, 44.
  8. ^ Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair (2007), End times: the death of the fourth estate, CounterPunch and AK Press, p383
  9. ^ Nichols, John, "Alexander Cockburn and the Radical Power of the Word",, 21 July 2012, accessed 22 July 2012
  10. ^ An Award-Winning Year, The Investigative Fund retrieved July 24, 2016
  11. ^ a b Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (December 25, 2017). "Go Ask Alice: the Curious Case of "Alice Donovan"". CounterPunch. Retrieved January 6, 2018. In sum, we published five stories by Donovan. One was apolitical. Four could be considered critiques of US foreign policy during the Trump administration. None mentioned Hillary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, the 2016 elections, Wikileaks or Julian Assange.
  12. ^ a b c d Entous, Adam; Nakashima, Ellen; Jaffe, Greg (2017-12-25). "Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  13. ^ a b DiResta, Renée (2020-09-20). "The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  14. ^ a b O'Sullivan, Donie (2018-08-23). "Facebook removes Syrian war page it believes is linked to Russian intel, Twitter keeps it online". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  15. ^ Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (January 5, 2018). "Ghosts in the Propaganda Machine". CounterPunch. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  16. ^ Christopher Reed (March 2, 2003). "Battle of the bottle divides columnists". The Observer.
  17. ^ Moynihan, Michael (December 7, 2010). "Olbermann, Assange, and the Holocaust Denier When you want to believe, you'll believe anything". Reason.
  18. ^ Boot, Max (March 11, 2004). "The Fringe Fires at Bush on Iraq". LATIMes.
  19. ^ Dan Mitchell (October 29, 2006). "Royalty checks aren't in the mail - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  20. ^ MELINDA TUHUS (March 22, 1998). "Who Pays For Mistakes In Making Electricity?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  21. ^ "Norman Finkelstein, Benny Morris and Peace not Apartheid". CAMERA. February 7, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  22. ^ Boteach, Shmuley (2013-12-12). "The Anti-Semitic Stench of Pink Floyd". The Observer. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  23. ^ Gideon Levy (August 2, 2015). "Roger Waters Sets the Record Straight: I Hate Apartheid, Not Israel". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  24. ^ Algemeiner, The. "Guardian Praises Anti-Semitic Site "CounterPunch" as Progressive". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  25. ^ Adrian Chen (December 1, 2016). "The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  26. ^ Diana Johnstone (May 21, 2018). "Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace".

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