288 episodes

Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.

Citations Needed Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson

    • News
    • 4.9 • 3.7K Ratings

Citations Needed is a podcast about the intersection of media, PR, and power, hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson.

    Beg-A-Thon Live Show 1-30-24: The Grim Popularity of Rise-And-Grind TikTok #Influencers

    Beg-A-Thon Live Show 1-30-24: The Grim Popularity of Rise-And-Grind TikTok #Influencers

    In this Live Show Beg-A-Thon recorded Jan 30, we break down the worst Rise-And-Grind social media stars and how they've moved from Silicon Valley-adjacent to subprime motivational content helping middle and working class people get through the daily grind.
    With guest Hussein Kesvani.

    • 59 min
    News Brief: How US Media Obscures the Violence of the Generic, Sterile-Sounding "Border Deal"

    News Brief: How US Media Obscures the Violence of the Generic, Sterile-Sounding "Border Deal"

    In this News Brief we are joined by friend of the show, Maximillian Alvarez of The Real News, to discuss Democrats' pathetic, myopic, and nihilistic attempt to play the Racist Reverse Uno Card on Congressional Republicans.

    • 40 min
    Episode 197: The "Human Shields" Canard as Catch-All Colonial Absolution

    Episode 197: The "Human Shields" Canard as Catch-All Colonial Absolution

    "Viet Cong Use Children as Human Shields," the Associated Press alleged in 1967. "'Civilian casualty?" That's a gray area," Alan Dershowitz argued in The Los Angeles Times in 2006. "We can’t ignore the truth that Hamas uses human shields,”"Jason Willick wrote in The Washington Post in 2023.
    For more than five decades, military forces with overwhelming firepower, including the U.S., Israel, and others have accused enemy combatants of using “human shields.” According to these allegations, militant resistance throughout the world, from the Vietnamese National Liberation Front to Palestinian militants, herd civilians in front of them, or hide in hospitals, religious institutions, and other public places, in order to evade attacks. In turn, they force the enemy to “risk” killing civilians, and they themselves bear responsibility for those who are killed.
    But rarely, if ever, have these accusations been true. Indeed, the term “human shields,” despite having a clear legal definition, has become a catch-all for militias or insurgency groups that merely operate among a civilian population, functioning as a convenient pretext for invading, occupying and colonial forces to kill civilians, and reinforcing racist conceptions about besieged populations. So why, and how, do media provide cover for governments that lie about and instrumentalize supposed “human shielding”?
    On this episode, we dissect the decades-old “human shields” accusation, examining how it dehumanizes and militarizes people living under occupation and invasions, demonizes resistance movements, and sanitizes civilian-killing aggressors as reluctant actors who "simply had no choice."
    Our guests are Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini.

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Episode 196: Benevolent Billionaire Despotism and US Media’s Softball Treatment of ‘Effective Altruism’

    Episode 196: Benevolent Billionaire Despotism and US Media’s Softball Treatment of ‘Effective Altruism’

    "Join Wall Street. Save the world," The Washington Post urged in 2013. "How to Know Your Donations Are Doing the Most Good," The New York Times proclaimed in 2015. "I give 10 percent of my income to charity. You should, too," Vox advised last November.
    Each of these headlines tops a piece that extols the virtues of Effective Altruism, a philanthropic philosophy, for lack of a better term, ostensibly dedicated to the pursuit of the best ways to address large-scale, global ills like pandemics and factory farming, informed by “evidence and reason.” The school of thought, popularized by figures like the academic and author Peter Singer and disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, has been widely embraced – or at least uncritically boosted – in mainline media for years.
    Superficially, this makes sense. Effective Altruism seems unimpeachably virtuous: It’s great if people want to solve the world’s problems, and so much the better if they’ve done their research. But beneath this surface lies a deeply reactionary movement, predicated on an age-old desire to characterize the wealthy as the solution to, rather than the cause of, the very problems they purport to want to solve.
    On this episode, we parse the rise, motives, and influence of Effective Altruism. We look at how the doctrine gamifies wealth distribution, falsely portrays the rich as uniquely qualified to make decisions about public welfare, often provides cover for eugenics and racism, and masquerades as a groundbreaking ethos of data-driven compassion while it merely regurgitates a 100-year-old rich person ideology of supposedly benevolent control over the masses.
    Our guest is Dr. Linsey McGoey.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    News Brief: The ICJ Ruling and the Essentialness of Squishy Western Liberal Support for Genocide

    News Brief: The ICJ Ruling and the Essentialness of Squishy Western Liberal Support for Genocide

    In this public News Brief, we react to the media spin around the ICJ's genocide ruling against Israel and how framing by the NYT and BBC seeks to uphold the logic of the so called "war" creating said genocide.

    • 18 min
    Episode 195: David Leonhardt and the Elite Consensus Manufacturing Machine

    Episode 195: David Leonhardt and the Elite Consensus Manufacturing Machine

    "Make sense of the day’s news and ideas," urges The Morning, a daily New York Times newsletter. "Get smarter, faster on news and information that matters to you," Axios assures its readership. "This is how the news should sound," The New York Times again declares, via its podcast The Daily.
    Over the last ten years, roughly speaking, we’ve seen the proliferation of the daily digest-style newsletter and podcast at legacy and new media organizations. Inspired, at least loosely, by the so-called explanatory journalism of Vox and similar outlets that arose in the mid-2010s, publications now commonly offer bite-sized breakdowns of the news that allegedly matters most, delivered to the inboxes of upwardly mobile, dinner-party-hosting, perennially on-the-go professionals - or at least those who want to think of themselves as such.
    There’s certainly nothing wrong with accessibility in news media—quite the opposite, in fact. But, for corporate “explanatory” news models, it’s worth asking who makes the decisions about which news is the “most important,” and about how that news is framed. How do seemingly benign, even folksy promises to “make sense of the news” mask the ideology of corporate media institutions? And what are the dangers of herding audiences into a center-right political consensus that issues complaints like “campus speech is vexing” and “the left is less welcoming than the right”?
    On this episode, we examine the rise and hegemony of centrist micro-news platforms–from Axios’s trademarked "Smart Brevity" to The New York Times’ David Leonhardt’s newsletter The Morning and The Daily podcast–looking at how they package left-punching, pathologically incurious, glib news nuggets served up to busy, upwardly mobile, well-meaning liberals.
    Our guest is writer Jacob Bacharach.

    • 1 hr 20 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
3.7K Ratings

3.7K Ratings

Jake B Caldwell ,

Essential Podcast

Most of the bad reviews seem to fail to realize the hosts often are, at the onset of the episode, open and honest about their political persuasion.

Well made and hard hitting podcast with amazing guests and timely topics.

artemis179 ,

On Track

This podcast does not mince words or waste time. They are on track and to-the-point. Very illuminating.

Conscientious Chicagoan ,

Essential media breakdown

Their analysis and guests are top notch. It’s particularly helpful in peeling back layers of media that are thrown at us more frequently and across more mediums than ever before. The “data driven” and (continued) war on drug episodes are what drew me in. Stayed for the NYT slander. Keep it up guys!

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