From our archives: articles you should have read when they first appeared but missed.
The mainstream media’s long-time kid-glove treatment of Andrew Breitbart led directly to the unjustified ouster of Shirley Sherrod.
[Originally: July 26, 2010 ]
This piece was first published by the Hillman Foundation.
Let me make this utterly clear: What you see on Fox News, what you read on Right Wing websites, is the utter and complete perversion of journalism, and it can have no place in a civilized society. It is words crashed together, never to inform, only to inflame. It is a political guillotine. It is the manipulation of reality to make the racist seem benevolent, and to convict the benevolent as racist—even if her words must be edited, filleted, stripped of all context, rearranged, fabricated, and falsified, to do so.
By Stephen Gowans, What’s Left
The idea that the uprising against the Syrian government is inspired by a grassroots movement thirsting for a pluralist, democratic state is a fiction. The opposition’s chief elements are Islamists who seek to establish a Sunni-dominated Islamic state in place of a Syrian government they revile for being secular and dominated by Alawi “heretics.” “Al Qaeda-linked groups…dominate rebel ranks,” notes The Wall Street Journal.  “There is frustration with the West’s inability to help nurture a secular military or political opposition to replace Mr. Assad,” echoes The New York Times.  “Islamic forces seem to be ascendant within the opposition,” observes Gerald F. Seib. 
Articles of compelling importance you should have read but missed the first time around.
American democracy is in deep trouble. Cynicism and distrust of the political system, fueled at least in part by imposed ignorance, have grown steadily in recent years. There are several reasons for this, but few as important as the condition of our media. Many Americans, especially those on the left, know that after a generation of rampant consolidation and conglomeration, the American media are dominated by less than twenty firms—and that a half-dozen or so corporate giants hold the commanding positions. These firms use their market power to advance their own and other companies’ corporate agendas. And they increasingly commercialize every aspect of our culture. By any known theory of political democracy, this tightly-held media system, accountable only to Wall Street and Madison Avenue, is a poisonous proposition.
|May 20, 2013|
|Oh, please, spare us any more pious declarations. After a week of “IRS scandal,” we simply can’t bear another bogus claim that we’re witnessing one of the “most shameful abuses of government power in 20th-century American history.”We’re witnessing no such thing. Let’s be clear about what’s really happened: An understaffed and overburdened IRS office responsible for handling applications for a tax-exempt status that lets political groups conceal their donors cut corners.This office took the “path of least resistance.” Staffers crudely targeted a “rickety raft of minor Tea Party groups” and ignored the “heavily lawyered-up big-money groups” that had already gained this special tax-exempt status. These billionaire-subsidized outfits would go on to pump over $250 million into the 2012 elections.The real scandal here? Our super rich, as campaign finance reformer Arn Pearson puts it, are continuing “to influence the outcome of elections while keeping their identities secret.” The real core problem here? The continuing concentration of America’s wealth in a precious few hands. More on that concentration — and its toxic impact — in this week’s Too Much.|
By Chris Hedges
Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.”We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones”—the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.