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CounterPunch logo.png
Former editorsKen Silverstein
Alexander Cockburn
Staff writers
First issue1994; 29 years ago (1994)
CountryUnited States
Based inPetrolia, California, United States
WebsiteOfficial website

CounterPunch is a left-wing[1][2] online magazine. Content includes a free section published five days a week as well as a subscriber-only area called CounterPunch+, where original articles are published weekly.[3] CounterPunch is based in the United States and covers politics in a manner its editors describe as "muckraking with a radical attitude".[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 attributed to Alice Donovan,[11] who purported to be a freelance writer but US intelligence officials alleged to be a 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 among 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 about Donovan was published, 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 of 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.[13][14][15]


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",[1][2] "far-left",[17] "extreme",[18] a "political newsletter",[19] and a "muckraking newsletter".[20]

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.[21]

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".[22]


  1. ^ a b Blumenthal, Ralph (May 12, 2006). "Army Acts to Curb Abuses of Injured Recruits". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 21, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Foer, Franklin (April 15, 2002). "The Devil You Know". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  3. ^ "FAQs". Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  4. ^ Cockburn, Alexander; Jeffrey St. Clair. "We've got all the right enemies". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on April 25, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  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. ^ Cockburn, Alexander, and 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. ^ Cockburn and St. Clair (2007), End Times, p. 383.
  9. ^ Nichols, John (July 21, 2012). "Alexander Cockburn and the Radical Power of the Word". Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  10. ^ An Award-Winning Year, The Investigative Fund. Retrieved July 24, 2016 Archived November 30, 2016, at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  11. ^ a b St. Clair, Jeffrey; 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 (December 25, 2017). "Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  13. ^ a b DiResta, Renée (September 20, 2020). "The Supply of Disinformation Will Soon Be Infinite". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  14. ^ a b O'Sullivan, Donie (August 23, 2018). "Facebook removes Syrian war page it believes is linked to Russian intel, Twitter keeps it online". CNNMoney. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  15. ^ St. Clair, Jeffrey; Joshua Frank (January 5, 2018). "Ghosts in the Propaganda Machine". CounterPunch. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  16. ^ Reed, Christopher (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". LA Times.
  19. ^ Mitchell, Dan (October 29, 2006). "Royalty checks aren't in the mail - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  20. ^ Tuhus, Melinda (March 22, 1998). "Who Pays For Mistakes In Making Electricity?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  21. ^ Chen, Adrian (December 1, 2016). "The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  22. ^ Johnstone, Diana (May 21, 2018). "Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace". Consortium N. Retrieved July 28, 2022.

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