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]

EditorsJeffrey St. Clair
Joshua Frank
Staff writersFrank Bardacke,
Daniel Burton-Rose,
Andrew Cockburn,
Laura Flanders,
Annys Shinn,
Ken Silverstein,
JoAnn Wypijewski
First issue1994 (1994)
CountryUnited States
Based inPetrolia, California


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]

Former CounterPunch contributor Israel Shamir was part of the WikiLeaks organisation and an associate of its director, Julian Assange,[12] and in late 2010 and early 2011 wrote a series of articles for CounterPunch drawing on materials from the United States diplomatic cables leak.[13] He has also written and co-written articles for CounterPunch on what he alleges to be a campaign of harassment against Assange.[14] One of these articles, "Assange Betrayed",[15] made allegations against a plaintiff in a Swedish rape case against Assange that were widely circulated in the media.[16][17] The allegations in CounterPunch were the topic of controversy in the mainstream media.[18][19]

Russian disinformation

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.[20] Donovan was tracked by the FBI for nine months.[20] 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."[20] 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.[20] St. Clair asked Donovan to substantiate her identity by sending a photo of her driving license but Donovan never responded.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22]


In 2003, The Observer described the CounterPunch website as "one of the most popular political sources in America, with a keen following in Washington".[23] Other sources have variously described CounterPunch as "left-wing",[3][4][5] “extreme,"[24] a "political newsletter",[25] and a "muckraking newsletter".[26]

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."[27] 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".[28] Waters in a separate interview with Haaretz stated that he hates apartheid and not Israelis.[29]

In 2016, Adrian Chen of The New Yorker called CounterPunch a "respected left-leaning" publication following accusations that CounterPunch promoted a pro-Russian agenda.[30]


  1. "FAQs". Retrieved 2017-07-31.
  2. "We've got all the right enemies". CounterPunch. Archived from the original on 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  3. Ralph Blumenthal (May 12, 2006). "Army Acts to Curb Abuses of Injured Recruits". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  4. "The Devil You Know". new Republic.
  5. "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. Index on Censorship "WikiLeaks, Belarus and Israel Shamir" 5 February 2011]
  13. e.g.
  14. e.g.
  15. "14 September 2010". 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
  16. e.g. David Edwards Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative The Raw Story 6 December 2010
  17. "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
  18. Kate Harding "Accusations against Assange's accuser" Australian Broadcasting Company 9 December 2010
  19. David Leigh and Luke Harding "Holocaust denier in charge of handling Moscow cables" The Guardian 31 January 2011
  20. 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 2017-12-25.
  21. Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (December 25, 2017). "Go Ask Alice: the Curious Case of "Alice Donovan"". CounterPunch. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  22. Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (January 5, 2018). "Ghosts in the Propaganda Machine". CounterPunch. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  23. Christopher Reed (March 2, 2003). "Battle of the bottle divides columnists". The Observer.
  24. Boot, Max (March 11, 2004). "The Fringe Fires at Bush on Iraq". LATIMes.
  25. Dan Mitchell (October 29, 2006). "Royalty checks aren't in the mail - Business - International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  26. MELINDA TUHUS (March 22, 1998). "Who Pays For Mistakes In Making Electricity?". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  27. "Norman Finkelstein, Benny Morris and Peace not Apartheid". CAMERA. February 7, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  28. Boteach, Shmuley. "The Anti-Semitic Stench of Pink Floyd". Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  29. Gideon Levy (August 2, 2015). "Roger Waters Sets the Record Straight: I Hate Apartheid, Not Israel". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  30. Adrian Chen (December 1, 2016). "The Propaganda About Russian Propaganda". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
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