Citations Needed

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

Episode 175: Selective Humanitarianism and the US Role in Afghanistan's Post-Occupation Famine

"History will cast a shadow over Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan," the Washington Post’s David Ignatius warned in April of 2021. "Biden's Betrayal of Afghans Will Live in Infamy," George Packer cautioned in The Atlantic magazine in August of that year. "The Cost of Betrayal in Afghanistan," wrote The Atlantic Council’s Ariel Cohen in Newsweek shortly thereafter. When news broke in April of 2021 that the Biden administration planned to withdraw all documented US troops from Afghanistan after a …

Ep 174: How Your Favorite 1990's "Very Special" Anti-Drug Episode Was Probably Funded by the US Government

On a Very Special Episode of "Home Improvement," Tim and Jill lecture their son about the dangers of marijuana after he’s caught smoking a joint. On a powerful episode of ABC’s "Sports Night," written by Aaron Sorkin, sportscaster Dan Rydell delivers a four-minute monologue on how dope killed his younger brother. On a devastating episode of CBS's "Chicago Hope," a dozen teenagers are rushed to the emergency room after taking a new psychedelic drug at a rave. We’ve all seen …

News Brief: 'Tough Love' Used to Justify Abusing Children and Surplus Black Population in Alabama

In this News Brief, we talk with Josie Duffy Rice about her new podcast, "Unreformed: The Story of the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children,” incarceration as racial disciplining mechanism, and what has––and hasn't––changed in our so-called "juvenile justice system".

Episode 173: How to Sell Police Crackdowns on Homeless People to Liberals

"The city has had 125 daily interactions," New York Mayor Eric Adams tells the Daily News. "We’re working to solve the homelessness crisis, with innovative mental health interventions," San Francisco Mayor London Breed tells reporters. The city needs to "clean up homeless encampments," countless city officials tell us. Everywhere we turn, our elected –– largely Democratic –– governors and mayors are talking about quote "solving the homelessness crisis" without specifying what, exactly, these plans entail. Saying elected officials are going …

Episode 172 - The Foundational Myth Machine: Indigenous Peoples of North America and Hollywood

Soldiers from the US Cavalry defeat the Plains Indians, securing new territory for their burgeoning empire. A group of settlers fends off an armed Indigenous tribe on horseback in their intrepid effort to conquer new lands. A Civil War hero decides to head for the frontier in its waning days, forging an undying friendship with the Native people there. Each of these summaries describes a film made within the last hundred years that explores dynamics between white settlers and Indigenous …

News Brief: Biden, Congressional Dems Partner with GOP, Media to Discipline Rail Labor

In this News Brief, we are joined by Real News' Mel Buer and Max Alvarez to discuss the media campaign to obscure Biden and Congressional Dems selling out rail workers.

News Brief: Law & Order's Boring Anti-Bail Reform Diatribe

Five days before the midterm elections, the long-running NBC staple removed all subtlety and character work and explicitly lobbied against bail reform in a ham-fisted, boring slog of an episode. With guest Juwan J. Holmes.

Episode 171: The Vacuity of "Radical Libs Forced Voters Into the Arms of the Right" Discourse

"How The Left Created Trump," revealed Rob Hoffman in Politico in November 2016. "Blame liberals for the rise of Donald Trump," insisted S.E. Cupp in The Chicago Tribune the year before. "How the left enabled fascism," explained David Winner in The New Statesman in 2018. For decades, we’ve been fed a narrative that the rise of any right-wing tendency is the fault of leftists and liberal scolds. The electoral appeal and success of fascist movements and politicians, we’re told, is …

Episode 170: The Shallow, Audience-Flattering Appeal of the ‘Neither Right Nor Left’ Guy

"Clinton Says He's Not Leaning Left but Taking a New 'Third Way,'" reported The New York Times in 1992. "It's not left. It’s not right. It’s forward!" proclaimed former presidential candidate Andrew Yang during a 2019 Democratic debate. "Neither left nor right," reads the slogan of far-right French political party Front National. Every few years we hear about a new, trailblazing political vision that transcends traditional party lines, leaning not to the right or the left, but straight ahead. No …

Episode 169: How the Right Ventriloquizes "The Working Man" to Push Pro-Corporate Policy and Gut Welfare

"Yes, undocumented immigrants take jobs from working Americans. Here’s the proof," an opinion piece in The Washington Post tells us. "Save our truckers, not affluent students seeking a free ride," pleads longtime Republican consultant Douglas MacKinnon in The Hill. "Biden's Student Debt Cancellation Robs Hard-Working Americans, Will Make Inflation Even Worse," proclaims a so-called Expert Statement from the Heritage Foundation. There’s a warning we hear again and again, particularly from the Right: A policy that would actually help people must …