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CounterPunch logo.png
Staff writers
First issue1994; 27 years ago (1994)
CountryUnited States
Based inPetrolia, California, United States
WebsiteOfficial website

CounterPunch is a magazine published six times per year[1] in the United States that covers politics in a manner its editors describe as "muckraking with a radical attitude".[2] It has been described as left-wing.[3][4][5]


CounterPunch began as a newsletter, established in 1994 by the Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter Ken Silverstein.[6] He was soon joined by Alexander Cockburn and then Jeffrey St. Clair, who became the publication's editors in 1996 when Silverstein left.[7][8] 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).[9] 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.[10][11]

During the 2016 presidential election, CounterPunch published a piece by "Alice Donovan",[12] who purported to be a freelance writer but who US intelligence officials allege is pseudonymous employee of the Russian government.[13] Donovan was tracked by the FBI for nine months.[13] In late November 2017, after CounterPunch had published several more pieces by "Donovan", The Washington Post contacted Jeffrey St. Clair about her. The co-editor said that Donovan's pitches did not stand out amongst the pitches that CounterPunch received daily[13] and began making inquiries. He asked Donovan to substantiate her identity by sending a photo of her driving license but she did not.[13] 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.[12] 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.[14]


Journalist Diana Johnstone expressed concerns about what she called CounterPunch's smearing of activists in a Consortium News article titled "Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace".[15]

In 2003, The Observer described the CounterPunch website as "one of the most popular political sources in America, with a keen following in Washington".[16] Other sources have variously described CounterPunch as "left-wing",[3][4][5] "extreme",[17] a "political newsletter",[18] and a "muckraking newsletter".[19]

In 2007 the lobby group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), which opposes criticism of the Israeli government in U.S. media, described CounterPunch as an "extremist anti-Israel web site."[20]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".[21] Waters in a separate interview with Haaretz stated that he hates apartheid and not Israelis.[22]

In 2016, Adrian Chen of The New Yorker called CounterPunch a "respected left-leaning" publication following accusations that CounterPunch promoted a pro-Russian agenda.[23]


  1. ^ "FAQs". Retrieved .
  2. ^ "We've got all the right enemies". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on 2011-04-25. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b Ralph Blumenthal (May 12, 2006). "Army Acts to Curb Abuses of Injured Recruits". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ a b "The Devil You Know". New Republic.
  5. ^ a b Moynihan, Michael (December 7, 2010). "Olbermann, Assange, and the Holocaust Denier When you want to believe, you'll believe anything". Reason.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair (2007), End times: the death of the fourth estate, CounterPunch and AK Press, p383
  10. ^ Nichols, John, "Alexander Cockburn and the Radical Power of the Word",, 21 July 2012, accessed 22 July 2012
  11. ^ An Award-Winning Year, The Investigative Fund retrieved July 24, 2016
  12. ^ a b Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (December 25, 2017). "Go Ask Alice: the Curious Case of "Alice Donovan"". CounterPunch. Retrieved 2018. In sum, we published five stories by Donovan. One was apolitical. Four could be considered critiques of US foreign policy during the Trump administration. None mentioned Hillary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, the 2016 elections, Wikileaks or Julian Assange.
  13. ^ a b c d Entous, Adam; Nakashima, Ellen; Jaffe, Greg (2017-12-25). "Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (January 5, 2018). "Ghosts in the Propaganda Machine". CounterPunch. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Diana Johnstone (May 21, 2018). "Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace".
  16. ^ Christopher Reed (March 2, 2003). "Battle of the bottle divides columnists". The Observer.
  17. ^ Boot, Max (March 11, 2004). "The Fringe Fires at Bush on Iraq". LATIMes.
  18. ^ Dan Mitchell (October 29, 2006). "Royalty checks aren't in the mail - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011.
  19. ^ MELINDA TUHUS (March 22, 1998). "Who Pays For Mistakes In Making Electricity?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011.
  20. ^ "Norman Finkelstein, Benny Morris and Peace not Apartheid". CAMERA. February 7, 2007. Retrieved 2011.
  21. ^ Boteach, Shmuley (2013-12-12). "The Anti-Semitic Stench of Pink Floyd". The Observer. Retrieved 2017.
  22. ^ Gideon Levy (August 2, 2015). "Roger Waters Sets the Record Straight: I Hate Apartheid, Not Israel". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ Adrian Chen (December 1, 2016). "The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017.

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