Matching Grant Challenge
alexPureWhen I met Alexander Cockburn, one of his first questions to me was: “Is your hate pure?” It was the question he asked most of the young writers he mentored. These were Cockburn’s rules for how to write political polemics: write about what you care about, write with passion, go for the throat of your enemies and never back down. His admonitions remain the guiding stylesheet for our writers at CounterPunch. Please help keep the spirit of this kind of fierce journalism alive by taking advantage of  our matching grant challenge which will DOUBLE every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, CounterPunch will get a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate. –JSC (This photo of Alexander Cockburn and Jasper, on the couch that launched 1000 columns, was taken in Petrolia by Tao Ruspoli)
 Day 19

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)



To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Monitor Radio vs. RCTV

Where’s the Outcry Over the Closure of Mexico’s Populist Radio Station?


Early Sunday afternoon, a giant crowd dressed largely in yellow gathered in the largest plaza of the capital city of a Latin American country to defend freedom of expression and denounce the closing of a media outlet that has operated for decades. Another opposition march in Venezuela to protest the shut down of RCTV? No, this time the angry protestors weren’t in the heart of Caracas but in the famous Zocalo of Mexico City. Thousands of Mexicans gathered to protest the closing of Radio Monitor, home to the popular newscasts of Jose Gutierrez Vivo.

But this story isn’t likely to get much traction in the mainstream US media. Unlike RCTV in Venezuela, Radio Monitor wasn’t the property of multi-millionaires that regularly denounced a controversial anti-American president. It was a populist voice critical of the political and professional elite and defender of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist who was narrowly defeated by Felipe Calderon in a presidential election many still believe was fraudulent.

Radio Monitor, a station that broadcast for thirty-three years and made Jose Gutierrez Vivo a household name, stopped transmitting on June 29th. The facts surrounding its closure are still somewhat foggy. Vivo claims that he was forced to stop broadcasting due to an economic conspiracy led by a collusion of former President Vicente Fox and the media elite.[1] Part of the accusation is that its parent company, Radio Centro has deliberately withheld over 20 million dollars it owes the station as a way of starving it into oblivion. Vivo believes that Fox, a friend of the Aguirre-Gomez family which owns the company, interfered in the legal process to undermine Radio Monitor’s financial well being.[2] Current president Felipe Calderon has also been accused of meddling, though he denies any wrongdoing.[3]

Perhaps Radio Monitor is simply the victim of impartial market forces, but for the supporters gathered in the Zocalo, this was a naked act of censorship and aggression. "Radio Monitor, No One Is Going to Silence You!" read one banner. Another sign proclaimed, "Enough is Enough You Spurious President! Stop Repressing the Information Media that Actually Tells the Truth." One man addressed the crowd by saying, "Once again our dignity is in danger. The owners and masters of society want to return to the days when they repressed the truth." Another man that I interviewed, Ruben Gutierrez Gutierrez, was quite despondent. When I asked him if there was any hope that Radio Monitor would return he replied, "Who knows, because the people that did this have all the power. First they stole an election and now they are closing a radio station without reason and without warning." Former Mexico City Mayor Obrador has also strongly criticized the situation claiming, "This is simply an act of aggression against freedom of expression, which they have been undermining since the days of Foxthis is characteristic of the right, they don’t want libertythey just want discourse with one voice."[4]

Are all these people simply overreacting because of an unwillingness to countenance one more blow to their populist dreams? Perhaps. But the closure of Radio Monitor still provides a good opportunity for reflection about what we consider to be threats to freedom of expression.

If it is true that in Venezuela, the government shut down a popular TV station simply because it could not tolerate its harsh editorial position, then such an act deserves all the attention and criticism it has received. But Radio Monitor has leveled extremely similar charges and considering that this is happening in neighboring Mexico, one might expect it to receive at least as much attention from the so-called defenders of freedom of expression as a TV station in Caracas. Whatever be the virtue of RCTV’s cause, it has some undeniable advantages. It is a station that produces wildly popular soap operas and game shows, and is owned by an ultra-rich family with connections in the United States. Radio Monitor was dedicated to the much less popular pursuit of providing hard news and being a watchdog over the political and corporate elite.

In a media landscape where two corporations ­ Televisa and TV Azteca ­ enjoy near total control in Mexico, and where US media is dominated by giant corporations and billionaires like Rupert Murdoch, who continues to expand his holdings, we must ask ourselves what is the more serious threat to freedom of the press. [5] Our civil liberties are judged not by how they benefit the most powerful, but the most vulnerable. There may be several legitimate reasons why RCTV received so much more attention than Radio Monitor. But one flyer being passed out at the recent march expressed a different view:

Hugo Chavez has been criticized for closing a TV station by not renewing its concession. But isn’t it worse to attack a media outlet that is democratic and inclusive? Apparently Radio Monitor has to die for telling the truth.

SCOTT LIEBERTZ is a high school teacher living and working in Venezuela.


1. Alonso, Emilio Olivares. "Llaman a realizar boicot contra Radio Centro"
La Jornada. 9 July 2007. p. 12

2. "Acuden trabajadores de Radio Monitor a los Pinos."

3. July 2007. accessed 10 July 2007.

See also:

Vargas, Rosa Elvira and Gomez, Carolina. "Muere Monitor a causa de boicot desde el gobierno: Gutierrez Vivo." 30 June 2007. accessed 10 July 2007-07-10

3. "Mexican President denies role in closure of radio show that highlighted rival" Associated Press. 30 June 2007. accessed 10
July 2007.

4. Cardenas, Javier Valdez. "El cierre de Radio Monitor, golpe a la libertad de expresión: Lopez Obrador." 30 June 2007 accessed 10 July 2007

5. "Mexico TV Reform signed into law" BBC News. 11 April 2006. accessed 10 July 2007

Note: All translations are the author’s.