This article is about the newsletter. For other uses, see Counterpunch.
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 bi-monthly magazine published in the United States that covers politics in a manner its editors describe as "muckraking with a radical attitude".[1] It has been described as left-wing by both supporters and detractors.[2][3][4]

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[5][6] and extensive reporting of environmental and trade union issues, American foreign policy, and the Israeli-Arab conflict.[7]


The newsletter was established in 1994 by the Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter Ken Silverstein.[8] He was soon joined by the journalists Cockburn and St. Clair.[9] In 1996, Silverstein left the publication and Cockburn and St. Clair became co-editors.[10] 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).[11]

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";[12] "Corporate America Spends Big $$ on Pro-China PR";[13] and "U.S. Alone in Blocking Export Ban of Toxic Waste to Third World"[14]). Other entries include 1998 ("The Scheme to Privatize the Hanford Nuke Plant"[15] and "American Drug Industry Uses the Poor as Human Guinea Pigs"[16]), several in 2000[17][18] and others in 2001[19] 2003[20] and 2004.[21]

Regular CounterPunch contributor Israel Shamir was part of the WikiLeaks organisation and an associate of its director, Julian Assange,[22] 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.[23] He has also written and co-written articles for CounterPunch on what he alleges to be a campaign of harassment against Assange.[24] One of these articles, "Assange Betrayed",[25] made allegations against a plaintiff in a Swedish rape case against Assange that were widely circulated in the media.[26][27] The allegations in CounterPunch were the topic of controversy in the mainstream media.[28]

Contributions and topics

CounterPunch's "muckraking with a radical attitude" has seen it welcome contributions from a range of contributors critical of conventional wisdom on particular topics. This stance is perhaps most controversial in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict, where its contributions are critical of Israeli government actions. This includes contributions from such controversial anti-Zionist figures as Gilad Atzmon, Norman Finkelstein,[29] Ron Jacobs,[30] and Israel Shamir, as well as left-wing Israeli Uri Avnery, founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. Others include Jonathan Cook,[31] Alison Weir of If Americans Knew and Green Vice-presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka.[32] Anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes has described organ trafficking and tissue harvesting within Israel.[33] CounterPunch has been criticized by some Jewish and anti-racist groups for some of this material.[34][35]

Within the broader area of American foreign policy, contributors include Ajamu Baraka,[36] 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,[37] Paul Craig Roberts (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration), Winslow T. Wheeler and Michael Hudson.[38] On environmental issues, contributors include Joshua Frank[39] and Harvey Wasserman.[40] Some more frequent contributors, such as Dave Lindorff and Saul Landau, cover a wide range of subjects.


Contributors to CounterPunch have included Robert Fisk,[41] Edward Said,[42] Faisal Kutty,[43] Tim Wise,[44] Ralph Nader,[45] M. Shahid Alam,[46] Tariq Ali,[47] Ward Churchill,[48] Lila Rajiva,[49] Peter Linebaugh,[50] Tanya Reinhart,[51] Noam Chomsky,[52] Frank "Chuck" Spinney,[53] Paul Street[54] Diana Johnstone,[55] Boris Kagarlitsky, Franklin Lamb,[56] and Alexander Cockburn's two brothers: Andrew[57] and Patrick,[58] both of whom write on the Middle East and Iraq in particular.[59][60]

The site regularly publishes articles by left-wing authors, such as Lenni Brenner,[61] Fidel Castro,[62] and the late Stew Albert,[63] as well as newer contributors, such as Vijay Prashad, Diane Christian,[64] Joshua Frank,[65] Pam Martens,[66] Gary Leupp,[67] Cynthia McKinney,[68] Kelly Overton,[69] David Price,[70] Sherry Wolf, Gilbert Mercier, and Richard Silverstein.[71] Some paleoconservative and libertarian writers, such as Paul Craig Roberts,[72] William Lind,[73] Sheldon Richman,[74] Sarah Gillespie and Anthony Gregory[75] are also regularly published in CounterPunch. Franklin Lamb contributed a series of articles on the Libyan Civil War from his location in Libya[76] American journalist Patrick O. Strickland is also a regular contributor of on-the-ground dispatches and editorials on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader Middle East.[77]


In 2003, The Observer described the CounterPunch website as a "popular political sources in America, with a keen following in Washington".[78] Other sources have variously described CounterPunch as a "left-wing",[2][3][4] "extreme" or "radical"[79][80] a "political newsletter",[81] and a "muckraking newsletter".[82]

The Anti-Defamation League in 2007 described CounterPunch as an "anti-Zionist radical left newsletter".[83] The pro-Israel media watchdog group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) in 2007 described as an "extremist anti-Israel web site".[84]

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.[79][85] The same article was also referred to by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal as similarly permitting the dismissal of CounterPunch ("an outfit whose staple is stuff comparing Bush to Hitler"). Lindorff has defended his article against this characterization.[86]


CounterPunch Books, an imprint of AK Press,[87] 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 Ontario 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."[88]

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)[89] 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.[90] 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.[91]

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. "We've got all the right enemies". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  2. 1 2 Ralph Blumenthal (May 12, 2006). "Army Acts to Curb Abuses of Injured Recruits". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  3. 1 2 "The Devil You Know". new Republic.
  4. 1 2 "Olbermann, Assange, and the Holocaust Denier When you want to believe, you'll believe anything.". Reason.
  5. 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.
  6. "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
  7. 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.
  8. "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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair (2007), End times: the death of the fourth estate, CounterPunch and AK Press, p383
  12. Project Censored, Dark Alliance: Tuna Free Trade, and Cocaine, story by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn
  13. Project Censored, Corporate America Spends Big $$ on Pro-China PR, story by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn
  14. Project Censored, U.S. Alone in Blocking Export Ban of Toxic Waste to Third World, story by Ken Silverstein and Alexander Cockburn
  15. Project Censored, The Scheme to Privatize the Hanford Nuke Plant, story by Jeffrey St Clair and Alexander Cockburn
  16. Project Censored, American Drug Industry Uses the Poor as Human Guinea Pigs, story by Scott Handelman
  17. 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
  18. Project Censored, America’s Largest Nuclear Test Exposed Thousands, story by Jeffrey St Clair and Alexander Cockburn
  19. Project Censored, U.S. Army’s Psychological Operations Personnel Worked at CNN, story by Alexander Cockburn
  20. Project Censored, United States' Policies in Colombia Support Mass Murder, story by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
  21. Project Censored, Rumsfeld’s Plan to Provoke Terrorists, story by Chris Floyd
  22. Index on Censorship "WikiLeaks, Belarus and Israel Shamir" 5 February 2011]
  23. e.g.
  24. e.g.
  25. "14 September 2010". 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
  26. e.g. David Edwards Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative The Raw Story 6 December 2010
  27. "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
  28. 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
  29. "The Cleanser". CounterPunch. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  30. "A Life Worth Saving". CounterPunch. 2010-01-10. 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. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, CounterPunch, 25 October 2010, Body Parts and Bio-Piracy
  34. Tony Greenstein (Jews Against Zionism) Open Letter to Counterpunch: Who’s Afraid of Gilad Atzmon and the Holocaust Deniers? or Why Alex Cockburn Refuses to Print a Reply to Mary Rizzo What Next? 2005
  35. Anti-Defamation League Alison Weir: Expressions of Anti-Semitism
  36. "The Yemen Tragedy and the Ongoing Crisis of the Left in the United States". CounterPunch. September 16, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  37. Harry Browne, CounterPunch, 19 February 2009, How Ireland Went Bust
  38. Michael Hudson, 19 September 2008, The Dow Jones' Wonderfully Cheesy Addition
  39. "Big Sky Rebels", July 26, 2008, Joshua Frank, CounterPunch, retrieved 5 September 2008
  40. Harvey Wasserman, 25 July 2008, New Nukes Not Ready for Prime Time
  41. "Who Killed Bhutto?". CounterPunch. 2007-12-31. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  42. "A Tiny, Unelected Group, Backed by Powerful Unrepresentative Interests". CounterPunch. 2003-03-08. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  43. "Five Truths You Should Know About Terrorism And Islam". CounterPunch. 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  44. "What Kind of Card Is Race?". CounterPunch. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  45. "Obama's Afghan Formula". CounterPunch. 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  46. "Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism". CounterPunch. 2003-06-28. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  47. "From Reconquista to Recolonization". CounterPunch. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  48. "What Did I Really Say? And Why Did I Say It?". CounterPunch. 2005-02-21. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  49. "Unnatural Disaster?". CounterPunch. 2004-12-30. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  50. "Some Principles of the Commons". CounterPunch. 2010-01-10. Archived from the original on 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  51. "Jenin: The Propaganda Battle". CounterPunch. 2002-04-24. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  52. "The New War against Terror". CounterPunch. 2001-10-24. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  53. "Obama's Toxic 'Green' Policy". CounterPunch. 2010-03-14. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  54. "The Liberal Apologies for Obama's Ugly Reign". CounterPunch. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  55. "Disillusion With the Euro and Europe". CounterPunch. 2012-04-24. Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  56. "Waiting for the Endgame in Libya". CounterPunch. 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  57. "The Wall Street White House". CounterPunch. 2009-07-02. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  58. "Erdogan Rising?". CounterPunch. 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  59. "How Many Iraqis Have Died Since the US Invasion in 2003?". CounterPunch. 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  60. "Uproar Before Iraqi Elections". CounterPunch. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  61. "Dave Van Ronk". CounterPunch. 2002-02-17. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  62. "The Secret Summit". CounterPunch. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  63. "Cops of the World". CounterPunch. 2003-05-29. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  64. "War Corrupts". CounterPunch. 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  65. "Blackwash". CounterPunch. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  66. "How Wall Street Blew Itself Up". CounterPunch. 2008-01-21. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  67. "Is Iran Being Set Up?". CounterPunch. 2005-07-27. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  68. "Goodbye to All That". CounterPunch. 2002-09-18. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  69. "Animal Rights and Obama". CounterPunch. 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  70. "Silent Coup". CounterPunch. 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  71. "Dimona: Israel's "Little Hiroshima"". CounterPunch. 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2015-05-21.
  72. "Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty with It". CounterPunch. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  73. "Why Obama Is Wrong". CounterPunch. 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  74. "Obama the Neoconservative". CounterPunch. 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  75. "When Killer Cops Walk". CounterPunch. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  76. "Whither Gaddafi and Libya?". CounterPunch. 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  77. "The Struggle for Rachel Corrie's Legacy". CounterPunch. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
  78. Christopher Reed (March 2, 2003). "Battle of the bottle divides columnists". The Observer.
  79. 1 2 Boot, Max (March 11, 2004). "The Fringe Fires at Bush on Iraq". LATIMes.
  80. "The Assange allegations". December 21, 2010. Archived December 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine..
  81. Dan Mitchell (October 29, 2006). "Royalty checks aren't in the mail - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  82. MELINDA TUHUS (March 22, 1998). "Who Pays For Mistakes In Making Electricity?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  83. "Pro-Palestinian Groups Praise Jimmy Carter's Book". Anti-Defamation League. January 3, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  84. "Norman Finkelstein, Benny Morris and Peace not Apartheid". CAMERA. February 7, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  85. Dave Lindorff (February 1, 2003). "Bush and Hitler and the Strategy of Fear". CounterPunch.
  86. Dave Lindorff (July 17, 2003). "Is Bush Another Hitler?: Bush and Hitler...Compare and Contrast A Response to the WSJ's James Taranto". CounterPunch.
  87., CounterPunch Books, an Imprint of AK Press
  88. CounterPunch, NEW BOOKS FROM COUNTERPUNCH / AK PRESS, accessed 22 May 2011
  89. AK Press, Born Under a Bad Sky: Notes from the Dark Side of the Earth
  90. AK Press, Wasting Libby: The True Story of How the WR Grace Corporation Left a Montana Town to Die
  91. CounterPunch, A Dime's Worth of Difference:Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils
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