|Editors||Jeffrey St. Clair|
|Staff writers||Frank Bardacke,|
|Based in||Petrolia, California|
CounterPunch is a magazine published six times per year in the United States that covers politics in a manner its editors describe as "muckraking with a radical attitude". It has been described as left-wing.
CounterPunch began as a newsletter, established in 1994 by the Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter Ken Silverstein. He was soon joined by Alexander Cockburn and then Jeffrey St. Clair, who became the publication's editors in 1996 when Silverstein left. 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). When Alexander Cockburn died in 2012 at the age of 71, environmental journalist Joshua Frank became managing editor and Jeffrey St. Clair became editor-in-chief of CounterPunch.
Former CounterPunch contributor Israel Shamir was part of the WikiLeaks organisation and an associate of its director, Julian Assange, and in late 2010 and early 2011 wrote a series of articles for CounterPunch drawing on materials from the United States diplomatic cables leak. He has also written and co-written articles for CounterPunch on what he alleges to be a campaign of harassment against Assange. One of these articles, "Assange Betrayed", made allegations against a plaintiff in a Swedish rape case against Assange that were widely circulated in the media. The allegations in CounterPunch were the topic of controversy in the mainstream media.
During the 2016 presidential election, CounterPunch published the writings of Alice Donovan who purported to be a freelance writer but was in fact a pseudonymous employee of the Russian government. Donovan was tracked by the FBI for nine months. According to The Washington Post, "she seemed to be doing the Kremlin's bidding by stoking discontent toward Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and touting WikiLeaks, which U.S. officials say was a tool of Russia's broad influence operation to affect the presidential race." In late November 2017, The Washington Post contacted CounterPunch about Donovan; co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair said that Donovan's pitches did not stand out amongst the pitches that CounterPunch received daily. St. Clair asked Donovan to substantiate her identity by sending a photo of her driving license but Donovan never responded. On the same day The Washington Post article was published on Donovan, St. Clair and Frank published a piece stating that CounterPunch only ran one article by Alice Donovan during the 2016 election, which was on cyber-breaches of medical databases. Donovan was also exposed by the newsletter as a serial plagiarizer. In another follow-up article St. Clair and Frank exposed a network of alleged trolls that operated a site called Inside Syria Media Center promoting a pro-Bashar al-Assad and pro-Russian view of the Syrian Civil War. St. Clair and Frank speculated that the website was connected to the same network of trolls as Alice Donovan.
In 2003, The Observer described the CounterPunch website as "one of the most popular political sources in America, with a keen following in Washington". Other sources have variously described CounterPunch as "left-wing", "extreme," a "political newsletter", and a "muckraking newsletter".
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 CounterPunch as an "extremist anti-Israel web site."CounterPunch was also criticized for an interview with Pink Floyd member Roger Waters in which he made controversial comments on Israel and a "Jewish lobby". Waters in a separate interview with Haaretz stated that he hates apartheid and not Israelis.