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CounterPunch logo.png
Editors Jeffrey St. Clair
Joshua Frank
Staff writers Frank Bardacke,
Daniel Burton-Rose,
Andrew Cockburn,
Laura Flanders,
Annys Shinn,
Ken Silverstein,
JoAnn Wypijewski
Categories Politics
Frequency Bi-Monthly
First issue 1994 (1994)
Country United States
Based in Petrolia, California
Language English
ISSN 1086-2323

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 by both supporters and detractors.[3][4][5]

CounterPunch magazine has published frequent commentaries by Alexander Cockburn, current editor-in-chief Jeffrey St. Clair, editor Joshua Frank, and includes regular contributions by a wide range of others. Topics include critical coverage of both Democratic and Republican politicians[6][7] and extensive reporting of environmental and trade union issues, American foreign policy, and the Israeli-Arab conflict.[8]


The newsletter was established in 1994 by the Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter Ken Silverstein.[9] He was soon joined by the journalists Cockburn and St. Clair.[10] In 1996, Silverstein left the publication and Cockburn and St. Clair became co-editors.[11] 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).[12]

CounterPunch-sourced news stories have frequently featured in the Project Censored annual list of top 25 "underreported, mis-reported, or censored" news stories, including three in 1997 ("Dark Alliance: Tuna Free Trade, and Cocaine";[13] "Corporate America Spends Big $$ on Pro-China PR";[14] and "U.S. Alone in Blocking Export Ban of Toxic Waste to Third World"[15]). Other entries include 1998 ("The Scheme to Privatize the Hanford Nuke Plant"[16] and "American Drug Industry Uses the Poor as Human Guinea Pigs"[17]), several in 2000[18][19] and others in 2001[20] 2003[21] and 2004.[22]

Regular CounterPunch contributor Israel Shamir was part of the WikiLeaks organisation and an associate of its director, Julian Assange,[23] and in late 2010 and early 2011 wrote a series of exclusive articles for CounterPunch drawing on materials from the United States diplomatic cables leak.[24] He has also written and co-written articles for CounterPunch on what he alleges to be a campaign of harassment against Assange.[25] One of these articles, "Assange Betrayed",[26] made allegations against a plaintiff in a Swedish rape case against Assange that were widely circulated in the media.[27][28] The allegations in CounterPunch were the topic of controversy in the mainstream media.[29]

Topics and contributors[edit]

CounterPunch publishes articles from contributors critical of conventional wisdom on certain topics, under its slogan "muckraking with a radical attitude." This stance has been controversial in some areas, including in relation to the Arab–Israeli conflict, where CounterPunch has published anti-Zionist figures including Israel Shamir, Gilad Atzmon, and Norman Finkelstein,[30] as well as Uri Avnery, founder of the Gush Shalom protest movement in Israel. Others include Jonathan Cook[31] and 2016 Green Vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka.[32]

Within the broader area of American foreign policy, contributors include Ajamu Baraka,[33] William Blum and Patrick Cockburn. CounterPunch also has a strong tradition of criticizing US financial and economic policy, including the financial regulation deficits which led to the 2008 crisis. In this area contributors include former Financial Times and Forbes editor Eamonn Fingleton,[34] Paul Craig Roberts (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration), Winslow T. Wheeler and Michael Hudson.[35] On environmental issues, contributors include Joshua Frank[36] and Harvey Wasserman.[37] Some more frequent contributors, such as Dave Lindorff and Saul Landau, cover a wide range of subjects.


In 2003, The Observer described the CounterPunch website as a "popular political sources in America, with a keen following in Washington".[38] Other sources have variously described CounterPunch as a "left-wing",[3][4][5] "extreme" or "radical"[39][40] a "political newsletter",[41] and a "muckraking newsletter".[42]

The lobby group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) that counters criticism of the Israeli government in U.S. media in 2007 described as an "extremist anti-Israel web site."[43] CounterPunch was also criticized for an interview with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters in which he made extreme comments on Israel and a "Jewish lobby."[44] (Waters in a separate interview with Haaretz stated that he hates apartheid and not Israelis.[45])

In 2004, Max Boot described CounterPunch as an "extreme" "conspiracy-mongering website", citing a 2003 article by Dave Lindorff comparing George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.[39][46] The same article was also referred to by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal as similarly permitting the dismissal of CounterPunch. Lindorff has defended his article against this characterization.[47]

In 2016, Adrian Chen of The New Yorker called CounterPunch a "respected left-leaning" publication following accusations that CounterPunch promoted a pro-Russian agenda.[48]


CounterPunch Books, an imprint of AK Press,[49] has published a number of books, typically works by individual CounterPunch contributors, or collections of essays by CounterPunch contributors. The most controversial books, reflecting CounterPunch' stance on criticism of the Israeli government, are The Politics of Anti-Semitism (2003), edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, and The Case Against Israel (2005) by Michael Neumann, a philosophy professor at Trent University in response to Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel. Of the former book, CounterPunch said "Is this the most controversial book of 2003? It was denounced by liberals and neocons alike, numerous reviews in mainstream papers were quashed by editors."[50]

A number of CounterPunch books focus on environmental issues, including St. Clair's Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes from the Dark Side of the Earth (2008)[51] and Andrea Peacock's Wasting Libby: The True Story of How the WR Grace Corporation Left a Montana Town to Die (2010), on W. R. Grace and Company's role in Libby, Montana.[52] A Dime's Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils (2004), a collection of essays, illustrates CounterPunch's criticism of both the Republican and Democratic parties.[53]

Other books include Serpents in the Garden: Liaisons With Culture & Sex (2004), Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia (2004), and End times: the death of the fourth estate (2007), all edited by Cockburn and St Clair, and How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds (2009) by Paul Craig Roberts.


  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. ^ a b "Olbermann, Assange, and the Holocaust Denier When you want to believe, you'll believe anything.". Reason. 
  6. ^ Richard Keeble, Ethics for Journalists (2nd edn; New York: Routledge, 2009), p. 170; James Walch and Jim Walch, In the Net: An Internet Guide for Activists (London and New York: Zed Books, 1999), p. 127.
  7. ^ "largely progressive political commentary—commentary that transcends the "good Democrat, bad Republican" dichotomy by taking aim at any policy, policy-maker, or too-comfortable consciousness that conserves the status quo." - Gorski, Paul (2007), "Beyond the Network News: Progressive Sources for the News You and Your Students Won’t See on Fox or CNN", Multicultural Perspectives, 9(1), 29–31. p30
  8. ^ Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Thinker's Guide for Conscientious Citizens on How to Detect Media Bias and Propaganda (3rd edn; Dillon Beach, California: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2006), p. 29.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair (2007), End times: the death of the fourth estate, CounterPunch and AK Press, p383
  13. ^ Project Censored, Dark Alliance: Tuna Free Trade, and Cocaine, story by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn
  14. ^ Project Censored, Corporate America Spends Big $$ on Pro-China PR, story by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn
  15. ^ Project Censored, U.S. Alone in Blocking Export Ban of Toxic Waste to Third World, story by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn
  16. ^ Project Censored, The Scheme to Privatize the Hanford Nuke Plant, story by Jeffrey St Clair and Alexander Cockburn
  17. ^ Project Censored, American Drug Industry Uses the Poor as Human Guinea Pigs, story by Scott Handelman
  18. ^ Project Censored, U.S. Agency Seeks to Export Weapons-Grade Plutonium to Russian Organization Tied to Organized Crime, story by Jeffrey St Clair and Alexander Cockburn
  19. ^ Project Censored, America’s Largest Nuclear Test Exposed Thousands, story by Jeffrey St Clair and Alexander Cockburn
  20. ^ Project Censored, U.S. Army’s Psychological Operations Personnel Worked at CNN, story by Alexander Cockburn
  21. ^ Project Censored, United States' Policies in Colombia Support Mass Murder, story by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
  22. ^ Project Censored, Rumsfeld’s Plan to Provoke Terrorists, story by Chris Floyd
  23. ^ Index on Censorship "WikiLeaks, Belarus and Israel Shamir" 5 February 2011]
  24. ^ e.g.
  25. ^ e.g.
  26. ^ "14 September 2010". 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  27. ^ e.g. David Edwards Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative The Raw Story 6 December 2010
  28. ^ "On his Twitter feed, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann (162,000 followers) links to a rambling blog post arguing that ... a Swedish feminist who accused Assange of rape, is an anti-Castro activist with connections to CIA front groups. Elsewhere on the Internet, NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller, the popular liberal website FireDogLake, Bianca Jagger, and The First Post (a British news website "brought to you by The Week") all circulated the charges without an ounce of skepticism... [The original source was] one comes to an article posted on Alexander Cockburn’s far-left website Counterpunch by the writers Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett". Michael C. Moynihan "Olbermann, Assange, and the Holocaust Denier" December 7, 2010
  29. ^ Kate Harding "Accusations against Assange's accuser" Australian Broadcasting Company 9 December 2010; David Leigh and Luke Harding "Holocaust denier in charge of handling Moscow cables" The Guardian 31 January 2011
  30. ^ "The Cleanser". CounterPunch. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  31. ^ Jonathan Cook CounterPunch, 28 June 2008, Israel's Encaging of Gaza
  32. ^ Baraka, Ajamu (November 19, 2014). "Violence and Resistance in Palestine". CounterPunch. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  33. ^ "The Yemen Tragedy and the Ongoing Crisis of the Left in the United States". CounterPunch. September 16, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  34. ^ Harry Browne, CounterPunch, 19 February 2009, How Ireland Went Bust
  35. ^ Michael Hudson, 19 September 2008, The Dow Jones' Wonderfully Cheesy Addition
  36. ^ "Big Sky Rebels", July 26, 2008, Joshua Frank, CounterPunch, retrieved 5 September 2008
  37. ^ Harvey Wasserman, 25 July 2008, New Nukes Not Ready for Prime Time
  38. ^ Christopher Reed (March 2, 2003). "Battle of the bottle divides columnists". The Observer.
  39. ^ a b Boot, Max (March 11, 2004). "The Fringe Fires at Bush on Iraq". LATIMes. 
  40. ^ "The Assange allegations". December 21, 2010. Archived December 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine..
  41. ^ Dan Mitchell (October 29, 2006). "Royalty checks aren't in the mail - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  42. ^ MELINDA TUHUS (March 22, 1998). "Who Pays For Mistakes In Making Electricity?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  43. ^ "Norman Finkelstein, Benny Morris and Peace not Apartheid". CAMERA. February 7, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  44. ^ Boteach, Shmuley. "The Anti-Semitic Stench of Pink Floyd". Retrieved 5 January 2017. 
  45. ^ Gideon Levy (August 2, 2015). "Roger Waters Sets the Record Straight: I Hate Apartheid, Not Israel". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved March 23, 2017. 
  46. ^ Dave Lindorff (February 1, 2003). "Bush and Hitler and the Strategy of Fear". CounterPunch.
  47. ^ Dave Lindorff (July 17, 2003). "Is Bush Another Hitler?: Bush and Hitler...Compare and Contrast A Response to the WSJ's James Taranto". CounterPunch.
  48. ^ Adrian Chen (December 1, 2016). "The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 23, 2017. 
  49. ^, CounterPunch Books, an Imprint of AK Press
  50. ^ CounterPunch, NEW BOOKS FROM COUNTERPUNCH / AK PRESS, accessed 22 May 2011
  51. ^ AK Press, Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes from the Dark Side of the Earth
  52. ^ AK Press, Wasting Libby: The True Story of How the WR Grace Corporation Left a Montana Town to Die
  53. ^ CounterPunch, A Dime's Worth of Difference:Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils

External links[edit]