The Common Ills

Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Talking entry

Those who prefer the mirror site get to see an entry first, for a change.

I'm putting this up online and not in a newsletter because I'm not going to be dealing with this issue in e-mails or waiting until the gina & krista round-robin comes out Friday.

Members are mad about an e-mail.  E-mail X will call it.  Be mad, be happy.  Be whatever.  I'm not trying to minimize the reactions but I am noting that I didn't write the e-mail.  No one in this community wrote that e-mail.

I took crap all last week for linking to a site.  Didn't I know that Eddie notified them about Nancy Youssef's article (revealing that the US was keeping body counts on Iraqi civilians killed)?  Yes, I did.  I read Mike's first column.  I heard parts of it on the last Friday in June, I read it in full on the next day (Saturday), I read it again when it ran in Polly's Brew.  (I don't have a calender in front of me, it ran the first Sunday in July.) 

I know they never noted it.  I also know they shouldn't have needed an e-mail from Eddie to tell them this was NEWS.


They won't be noted tomorrow, at all.  We can all see it as a cooling off period.  The e-mail they sent out today has enraged the community.


They link to a site in that e-mail.  We don't link to that site.


For a number of reasons.  I argued (I've discussed the e-mails at length with Mike, Jim, Dona, Ava, Jess, Ty and Kat) that they didn't know and were just tossing out the link because it was a thing about them.  The same way that would happen if there was an upcoming TV appearance.


It was pointed out to me that there was no link to Yes! or Clamor when both had pieces.  I don't know if that's true.  I would assume that I wouldn't have been told that if it wasn't believed and so, unless people are forgetting something, I'll assume that there was no link to those articles.

I read the thread because six members copied and pasted it.


No, there's really nothing in there worth reading.


It reads like a lot of people who know of the "BIG" event from 2000 but don't know much about it since.  I didn't make it all the way through but I did say to myself, "Okay, I see why Keesha -- and others, but especially Keesha -- argued that we stop allowing comments." 


There was nothing of real value in there.  There was nothing about "They just did this!"  The closest was a thing linking to a three-time greatest hits (I'm not remembering any of the "hits" having to do with the war).  (I could be wrong.)


The copy and paste was the most I've ever read of the linked to site.  I'd heard of the site for years.  Complaints from people I consider left.  That started before all the nonsense attacks on feminism.  It started before a Cokie Roberts wanna be decided he was going to Park The Party (valet, not guest, never guest).  It had to do with the fact that you may move from Henry Hyde protege to the center but you don't become the left.


It was considered a "faux left" site.  That picked easy battles and abandoned real ones.  (I'm referring to what I was told.  Until the copy and paste, I've never really read so much from that site.)  Whether it was people high up in the Dem party structure or activists, no one I knew took it seriously.


(Recent attempts at social climbing haven't changed that view.)


When West (not then a member) was attacked, that was one of the four sites he was trying to get attention for (Rebecca was another one and this site was as well).  Because West was attacked for promoting it and two community sites (as well as a non-community site) a few members felt a kinship and we noted one author, ATTORNEY Z, a few times.  No more than five or six.


That's due to the fact that immediately the calls started coming in from friends about Attorney Z.


He was not outed by The National Review.  He was already "out" but most hadn't made the connections the rag did.


(I actually feel sorry for him that they made those connections.)


When friends clued me in (including one at NPR), I wrote the members who were highlighting him and explained we weren't linking to him anymore.


That happens fairly often.  Recently we were highlighting a centrist.  I had no idea.  The writing excerpted in e-mails seemed interesting enough.  It was a topic we care about.  We highlighted it.


Again, calls came in from friends -- he's part of some organization (I believe a "fellow" there) with Christy Todd Whitman and others.  Point, he's not left.


We're a site for the left.  Again, I e-mailed the members that were highlighting him and explained we wouldn't link to him anymore.  (And we haven't and we won't.)


Liza Featherstone's wonderful mini-essay only got the conclusion linked to this morning because the first paragraph contained a link to the New York Post.  Sometimes I take the links out when they go to things we don't agree with.  This morning, I was rushing and just grabbed her last paragraph.  (We'd covered it here and Kat covered it at her site so members shouldn't have been lost that we started with the conclusion.)


With the exception of Attorney X (not Z!) and his contributions about the issues of Plamegate and a link I provided (that I regretted then and regret now) to an Andrew Sullivan thing (I was quoting an e-mail), we do not knowingly link to the right and we're not that fond of promoting the center.


There are sites that do that.  Good for them.  The right should have sites.  The center should have sites.  The left should have sites.  We're a site for the left.  We don't promote the right, we don't give them links.


That can be a problem when someone e-mails wanting a link in an entry (which I have final say on) and they're an emerging blog.  There was a guy who seemed very smart and was against the war.  His site was about that.  He was also a neocon.  No link.  I felt bad because he had asked.  I do try to help when people ask.  But I wasn't going to link to a neocon site even if the guy was a self-described good guy who was against the war.


We're not here for the center, we're not here for the right.


A rag writer (for a centrist publication) wrote that we were a "purity site with a litmus test." 

First of all, thanks for that.  It's been a long time since someone used "pure" and me in one sentence.  (Decades and decades.)  But the litmus test is "Are you left?"


If you want to see the center debate the right (or the center-right debate the right), you can turn your TV to any channel.  We're not here to say, "Good job, righty!"


We're a site that exists to share from a left point of view.  We have members who are more left than I am, we have members who are less left than I am.  Our highlights cover that spectrum.  There are enough shades of difference on the left that we can cover many things without needing to provide the false balance of Democrat and Republican.


The Johnson daughters wrote an op-ed in the Times last week.  We had a few members providing links.  I feel for Lady Bird Johnson (who's health is not good), I don't dislike the daughters.  But I don't consider them left. 


If Lady Bird's health gets better or worse we'll note it here. 


We're a site for the left.  That's our stated purpose.  In the morning entries we cover the New York Times (not in, "You go, NYT!" manner).  If a member has another mainstream publication article to highlight (Martha usually does) we can note that then.  If we were a knitting site, we wouldn't be covering how to make muffins. 


I don't personally consider the site linked to E-mail X to be left.  (Though I understand there are people there who are, I'm referring to the originator.)  Attorney Z may be a "good Democrat."  I don't consider him left.


When his work was explained to me, no more links were provided.  Nor will any be in the future. 


We also don't link to the ones who try so hard to get into that site's good graces.  Including by trashing personal friends of mine.  Or by claiming to be informed and writing that Simon Rosenberg sounds "interesting" or whatever that crap was.  If you're informed, you know damn well that he supported the illegal invasion, that he supported the war up to running for DNC chair (and may still).


You can paper the internet with astroturf of "10 Reasons Why Simon Rosenberg Is Groovy" but it doesn't change the fact that he's a War Hawk and his statements on Hugo Chavez (public statements, don't get me started on private) aren't all that different from Pat Robertson's.


We didn't promote Simon Rosenberg here.  Quite the contrary.  When he had his "big moment" we provided "Questions for the Questionable Simon Rosenberg."  He is not left.  He is the spawn of the DLC that he is.  He hasn't changed.  He won't change.  He'll try to hide who he is (and was semi-successful with that in his bid for DNC chair) but he is who he is.  The community didn't endorse him, I didn't endorse him.


The site in question did.  Again, no one I know on the left considers that site to be left. 


We had a problem with a "prankster" and it was dealt with.  Those links during that time were not my doing and members are fully aware of it.


The only thing we have linked to (I have linked to) at that site was Attorney Z.


To make clear my feelings on that.


Attorney-client privilege is not anonymity.  If you're a partner in a law firm (a corporate one) and you're writing against anti-trust cases, you need to reveal to people that you're a partner in a law firm that represents big business (Wal-Mart and whomever else).


My personal opinion, I don't think the guy lied.  I think he shared beliefs that he holds very dear.  In terms of revealing, I've heard too much from attorney friends about some of the nonsense online defending that.


There's not a defense for it other than it was a mistake in judgement.


A generic statement of "I represent corproate clients from time to time . . ." would have covered it.  I think it was a mistake in judgement and not an attempt to lie (my opinion, I could be wrong) because the identity was never that secret.  (I heard from a friend at NPR about it right before we stopped linking.)  He, my opinion, felt that there was no conflict of interest in his work and his stated opinion (I don't think there was a conflict between his work and his stated opinion, my opinion). 


The mistake was in assuming that because he didn't think so, others would all agree if they'd been informed.  It was a mistake not an attempt to deceive.  I don't believe (from what I've been told) that he would knowingly set himself up for all that's followed by doing that when he could have (without saying which law firm he was a partner in) just noted that he sometimes represents corporate clients.


It's a single sentence and it's not worth all that's followed for him to not include it.  It was a mistake, not a lie.  (My opinion.)


Did people have a right to know?  Yes, of course they did.  They had every right to know that someone writing about anti-trust cases wasn't just offering an opinion from a detached stance but from their own personal experience.  That would be true regardless of his opinion on the issue.


Somewhere online, someone made a huge fool of himself.  He rushed in to dismiss the issue with idiotic thinking (there's no other word for it).  He offered that maybe the clients didn't want to be named. 


He didn't have to name them.  He wasn't writing on Nabisco or one company. 


The idiot (I've heard about this post over and over from friends) then made it worse by saying that attorney-client privilege allows you not to name a client.  (I believe a "maybe" was thrown in there.)


If you're the attorney of record, the courts know it.  Privilege applies only to what you discuss with your client, not that they are a client.  (A privacy agreement might cover that but that's in private matters that's not in terms of business law.) 


If I am your attorney (I'm not an attorney) and the police or the courts come to me compelling me to give information about you, I must declare that you are my client to have the attorney-client privilege.


Furthermore, if we're doing a civil case (which is the only thing that a privacy-agreement might cover because were you a coporate client, there's little chance that the court records would be sealed -- therefore, they are available to the public) and I choose to write on the topic, I can still note: "In my practice, I frequently address this issue."


Those are the basic ethics.  If I enter into some strange relationship with you (I guess the idiot thought Great Expecations was how law was done), I have two ways of dealing with writing on the subject I'm representing.  I can note in a generic statement that I take cases on this issue or I can simply not write about the topic.


If I chose to write about it, the disclosure needs to be there.  And the assumption that someone's just writing online applies to many professions (entertainment, you name it) but the law profession and the medical profession are quite a bit different.


By journalism standards, anything would have to be disclosed regardless of the profession or line of work.  (Not every job is a profession.)  Saying, "I'm not a journalist" may cut if for Sally who does your hair but there are higher standards with attornies and doctors.


It should have been disclosed.  That all that's come after has come after is no surprise.  Which is why, my opinion, it was a mistake and not an attempt to deceive.


Attorney Z believed that he'd looked at it and decided it was a non-issue.  That's not how it works.  It's not is it a conflict of interest, it's might others see it as such.  That's why there is disclosure.


I know Robert Kagan.  When I wrote the piece about NPR bringing him on to address the John Kerry campaing in 2004, my point was not that he couldn't have an opinion.  My point was not that his opinion was pulled out of thin air.  He pretty much believes what he said on air.


And he should be able to say it on air.  And if NPR wants to bring him on to discuss the John Kerry campaign, that's their right too.


The issue was that NPR did not inform listeners that Kagan's wife worked for Dick Cheney.  Did that change his opinion?  I would say no.  But listeners had a right to know so they could judge for themselves.  Some might have agreed completely.  Some might have said, "You know what, I don't think NPR needs to bring Kagan on to correct Juan Williams' slanted reporting on John Kerry if Kagan's wife works for Dick Cheney."  (Kagan was brought on to address the issue because listeners had complained about the "reporting" provided by Williams.)


Was it a conflict of interest?  From where I sit, he would have offered that opinion regardless of who his wife worked for.  But listeners had a right to know and NPR failed to disclose it.  (Kagan didn't fail to disclose it.  They knew his wife was and where she worked.) 


NPR failed it's listeners and when the laughable ombudsman tried to address the issue he made it all about how some listeners saw Kagan as a Hawk (he is a Hawk) and thought he couldn't give a fair evaluation for that reason.  If that had been the biggest issue, fair enough. 


But the ombudsman, who had received e-mails, letters and calls about this, failed (when supposedly addressing the issue) to note a bigger issue: That Victoria Nuland worked for Dick Cheney and Robert Kagan was evaluating the Kerry campaign, that NPR knew that and they did not disclose it to their listeners.


That failure was not Robert Kagan's.  That information was known by NPR.  It was known by the ombudsman when he wrote that laughable column, but NPR knew about it ahead of time.  NPR listeners complaining about Williams felt that Williams was slanted towards Bully Boy-Cheney in his coverage.  NPR should never have put Kagan on to clarify the issue without disclosing to the listener that the opinions were coming from a man married to someone who works for Dick Cheney.


Should they have brought him on at all?  They bring him on frequently.  They can provide whatever they want and whomever they want to listeners.  But listeners have a right to expect that things will be disclosed.


Kerry supporters may have agreed with Kagan take. (I was told a little under a third had written in to say that they felt Kagan clarified the matter.)  But especially since they had already complained about the coverage and Kagan was brought on to clarify John Kerry's stance as an objective DC observer, listeners had a right to know who he was married to and whom his wife worked for.

They have a right to that information when attempting to decide how much weight to grant to Kagan's opinion or how much weight not to grant to it.

That's basic in journalism.  Attorney Z doesn't feel he's a journalist and that's his right to self-identify however he wants.  (I don't believe he's paid for what he's doing online.)  But his profession is law and that profession has certain guidelines.  By those guidelines, it should have been disclosed.


Though he wasn't outed by The National Review, he was also concerned about his own privacy which is his right.  If he didn't want to identify as an attorney online then he shouldn't have written that piece.  It was a mistake.


An easy one because, although I disagree with his perspective, it is an informed one and he was hoping to share what he knew.  (A noble desire.) 


We don't link to that site, we don't link to him. 


What was in E-Mail X was not written by me or anyone in the community.  The slams against women, the slams against choice, the slams all the way around would make it impossible for us to link to it even if I didn't consider it "faux liberal" based on what I've been told.


Due to the fact that the sender of E-Mail X either didn't address Iraq or always ran out of time for it last week, the issue that they DID NOT note (and still haven't) that the US government was CAUGHT IN YET ANOTHER LIE snowballed into all these e-mails to me.  I'm not a part of that.


Share your opinions by all means, but I have no control over what they do.  I offered in e-mails that I had avoided noting that they were looking for interns because I was aware that anyone could see it and not to keen on anyone seeing it.  I've noted that an intern or two may explain the lack of some needed attention to things that matter.  (I doubt the host, for instance, goes through the e-mails.  They should have known about Youssef's articles on their own.  But I doubt seriously that the host saw Eddie's e-mail and chose to ignore it.)


We're not noting them tomorrow.  Everybody take a cooling off period.  After tomorrow we'll decide what we do from there.


My own opinion right now is that the e-mail link was a mistake.  I'll allow it was an honest one.  But I know from members in Ohio that this is a HUGE deal to them due to the Paul Hackett issue.  (I never endorsed Hackett.  I don't endorse anyone now.  Individual members can but I don't endorse anyone.  It was obvious, from earlier coverage here, that I didn't care for Hackett.  He didn't impress me.  When he dropped out of the race, I noted he should get back in and why.  That wasn't an endorsement of Hackett, that was an endorsement of everyone who wants to run for office running for office.  I don't endorse "Don't Run!" campaigns, whether they're directed at Hackett, Ralph Nader or Elizabeth Holtzman.  If someone thinks they can do the job, they should run.  I don't believe they hurt a party by running.  They may expose huge flaws in another candidate or in the party but that's not their problem.  What they owe themselves and others is to run the best campaign they can.  My opinion.)


Between the events of last week, the Ohio issue with Ohio members, the speculation that continues to dog that site, that site's slams against women, and a host of other things, we won't be promoting the sender of E-Mail X tomorrow.


After that, we'll see how it goes.  My guess was an intern felt, "Oh, that's a big site!  If we generate traffic to it, they'll note us more!"  It was a mistake.  The comments in the thread indicated people were aware of the show but didn't follow it.  (I've heard enough generic praise over the years to know when someone really doesn't know what they're talking about but feels the need to  flatter me.)  (It's why I don't read fan mail.  I won't read it at The Third Estate Sunday Review and I don't read it in my offline life.  I never have.)


It may not be the actions of an intern.  I could be wrong.  I often am.  But we need a cooling off period and we won't be noting it tomorrow out of respect for those who feel passionately about this.  Our loyalties are always with this community.  Not outside of it.  I would hope that if there's no other reason to see E-Mail X as any trend or thing to worry about, we can return to noting the program.  (I'm sure even visitors know what we're talking about.)  But if we can't, we can't. 


That's fine.  I don't care at this point.  I was quoted by Mike as saying, "Everyone's in it for their own gain" when he read portions of his column.  That's my atttitude.  I don't have that many illusions left -- especially with the left sites which continues to stifle and steer debate while largely ignoring the peace movement.  (And, no, I didn't listen to the radio program where I was trashed, me -- not me as C.I., me -- but I wasn't surprised by it.  I think the guest trashing me intended for me to hear it.  He was mistaken in assuming I hung on his every word.)  (I don't hate him.  I'm not going to engage in mutal trashing.  He said his peace.  I think he embarrassed himself more than he trashed  me.)  We'd still link to him.


There are people we link to that I cannot personally stand.  People I know and I think are useless.  If they speak to members, I don't mind linking to them.  But I stated that, my opinion, if you had money to give now, you should give it to Dahr Jamail (whom I don't know but have heard speak).  (I could add Danny Schechter whom I do know to that list.)  Otherwise?


If someone or something has pissed you off as much as the community's been pissed off for two weeks, don't support it.  Don't give money, don't listen, or watch or read or subscribe.  Francisco has to beg me to get me to address Juan Forero because Forero's "reporting" gives me a headache.  Life's too short for me to go after planned frustration day after day. 


If something doesn't speak to me, I move on to something that does.  That's not saying that we don't call out when calling out is needed but if everyone is as upset as their e-mails indicate then ignore it.  We can ignore it here.  It will certainly provide me with more time.


When the site started, it was basically a left version of Wheel of Fortune with me playing Vanna White and applauding everytime someone took their spin. 


I'm not in the mood for that anymore.  I've seen too much cowardice and too little bravery.  In January of 2005, a friend came close to losing it on a radio program because the issue of the war wasn't being taken seriously.  I've not heard him that angry in years.  I'm pretty much now where he was then.  I've had it with people pushing their nonsense.


I've had it with people acting like we can cover every single issue under the sun with, though we're supposedly all against the war in Iraq, military intervention as the answer to every conflict.  Force is not the only answer.  Our choices have been reduced because we've played in the Bully Boy's framework.  (That's not an endorsing of "framing" which, as I've noted before, is a nonsense hula-hoop, this decade's "Reinventing Government" and just as harmful.) 


The mainstream media and elements of the left and "left" have left us with very few options.  We're supposed to be going after the 'vangical vote.  (Which we can't get.) (Which, for me, primarily means Dems but it applies to the Greens and most third parties of the left.)  But we're all supposed to have our big Oprah moment (not a slam at Oprah) where we make a point to talk God.  I haven't done that here.  I never will. 

I don't use religion as something to argue with or to hide behind.  I believe in a secular government.  Though not buying into Michael Walzer's Spheres of Justice, the book has many good points.  But what I see is a lot of people watering down their positions to be palitable to a small segment of the population (domestic) instead of standing up for what they believe in.


My opinion, that takes a toll.  It makes it that much harder in the future. 


The Nation wasted space (my opinion) on a supposed student left that wasn't left.  One idiot (and I try not to insult the high school and college age people, but there's no other word) bragged about how she tricked the religious ones into buying into her political position.  That was idiotic because the final judgement was months away and there she was, in a national magazine with a huge circulation, bragging about how she'd put one over on people (any of which could have come across the article).  But it's idiotic as well because if that's how you make your argument (via trickery), two things can happen.  (Probably more than two.)  You can end up having to rely on the same trickery in the future or you can have no future because you're trickery is exposed.


Instead of 'tricking' them by making a Christianity argument, she should have avoided tricks and stuck to reality.  Everytime someone weakens the left, we move further and further right.  It's not just the media (mainstream) that's out of step.


There are a few people who say that we're "hard left."  (I don't think we are but I could be wrong.)  The intended point of this site early on was to provide you with voices that you could go to in the future when you needed to think something through.  So that, for example, if Cynthia McKinney was being trashed by posers pretending to be left, you'd have voices you could turn to to get an honest left opinion.  I think we've done a pretty good job of that thanks to the hard work of members. 


But maybe it's the realization that the NEWS that the US government was keeping a body count (despite the lies) wasn't seen as news to basically anyone outside of Youssef and Aaron Glantz brought home that a lot of people still want to play or maybe it's that it's day whatever of this fast or maybe it's that it's day whatever of this illegal war, but I'm not in the mood in for playing. 


I'm not talking about an inability to have fun.  I'm not talking about not being able to be silly.  But I am talking about taking serious issues seriously.  And I don't see a great deal of that.  (The Nation has beefed up their war coverage of late.  Credit to them for that.)  "War as an After Thought" (Mike's speech and column) captured it perfectly.  There's too much of that going on.


Jane Fonda (whom I know and love) was trashed by some at the tail end of the sixties and the early seventies for the causes.  (One idiot dubbed her a hitchiker on the highway of causes.)  I don't think that was at all true.  I think she managed to give time she could to the various causes she was advocating for.


By the same token, a . . . Let's use The Nation since it got it's praise above.  There's a limit to what The Nation can cover.  It has only so many pages.  It has to cover breaking events (on a magazine's time frame) and it has to cover other issues.  Iraq (I almost typed Vietnam, I'm tired) is an issue that should always be addressed.  The nation's engaged in a war.  (An illegal one, my opinion.  One that needs to end.)  You don't treat it as an after thought.  (Again, the magazine has beefed up its coverage.)  They've been criticized by some for not doing more than the Take Action on Darfur. 


Exactly what are they supposed to be doing on Darfur?  What is our answer because the ones on the right clamoring for a solution (and some on the left) say America should invade.  That's our only answer?  That's pretty sad.


Equally sad are that the brave Darfur champions have yet to note that Israel continues to refuse admittance to refugees from Sudan. 


My problem with The Nation (and with everyone but they got praised so we're usingthem as an example) continues to be the lack of coverage of the peace movement.  A woman just won a student contest for writing of the alleged do-nothing nature of her generation.  I find that really sad.


First of all, I know young activists on colleges across the nation and many in high schools.  They are doing something.  And maybe if there was coverage of that (instead of rewarding a slam on the generation), there would be more action?


It's basic that there would be.  When you hear inspiring stories, you're inspired.  Hell, when you see a really cheesy action movie with squealing tires, many times you want to drive like a maniac home.  Vroom! Vroom!


As a people we can only do what we can picture and we can only picture larger possibilities when we're presented with examples (of large ones and small ones).  So I fault all the independent media (though not indymedia which does a good job with photos of every event they can) for not doing more to cover the peace movement.

I'm old enough to remember when the flip came during Vietnam.  When it went from sneering to embracing.  It became "cool" because it was getting attention.  ("It" being the peace movment.)  We're opposed, the nation, to this war.


We'll continue to be opposed and continue to see the war drag on as long as we're opposed and that's it coverage wise.  A person like Alice Walker is a visionary who can picture a whole world with few if any examples.  Most people aren't like that.  They need examples.  The mainstream media understands that.  That's why they don't cover Ehren Watada.  They're fully aware of what a brush fire among the people that could create.  It's why they low ball the numbers at a peace rally.  They're clamping down.  That's not surprising. 


But that's where independent media comes in, covering the peace movement.  We had better coverage during Vietnam from the mainstream than we do from the independent media today. 


I think, I could be wrong, that Matthew Rothschild gets that.  We criss-crossed recently with a section of a group.  (He had spoken to a number of people a day before I did.)  From their remarks, he grasps not only what is going on but what needs to be done.  I hope so because I'm not seeing a lot of media leaders. 


The fight at Pacifica awhile back was over whether they were doing a so-called community board or being on the vanguard with some sort of audio Le Monde.  I'm not seeing a great deal of writing (i'm speaking of print obviously) that's on the level of Le Monde.  Maybe some are fooling themselves.  (To focus on The Nation, Patricia J. Williams consistently writes articles that goes beyond the obvious and leave room for indepth exploration by the reader, my opinion.)  I see some reporting (some of it good, some of it bad) and I see some columns that are more popularizers than intellectualizers (I may have just made up both terms).  (I'm tired.  I've agreed to stay on the fast until this Friday.  And I'm dreaming of chocolate right now.)

So maybe the lack of attention to the peace movement springs from that battle (which led to huge divisions on the left)?  But the reality is, for whatever reason, the peace movement isn't being covered.  When it is covered (again, print) it's something that's already being covered.  The stories that aren't getting told still aren't getting told.

I do not slam the peace movement.  Whether it's CODEPINK, ANSWER, United for Peace & Justice, Not In Our Name, Gold Star Families for Peace, or whatever organization, they've had to work in isolation with little coverage.  It's a testament to their strength and hard work that the numbers continue to increase.  But that's them doing the heavy lifting.  (Or look at Danny Schechter's media protest in March which did not get the attention it needed.  He had a turn out.  Dedicated people showed up when they heard about it.  But a lot more should have heard about it.)  (I've already stated that I didn't go.  My plans were etched in stone before that date was announced.  My schedule's pretty tight for the next six months currently.  I also didn't do my part to get the word out on it and I own that mistake and regret it.  The next protest he has, we will try to note it nonstop.)

We hear often, "Why are ex-military brought on TV and not peace activists?"  Well that's the mainstream and it's a good question, but why is that we do not have one columnist in any of our big indepedent magazines whose "beat" is the peace movement?

That's a better question and one that we should be able to address without protests or call ins.  (Or e-mails.  My age is showing.)  Christian Parenti does a wonderful job covering Afghanistan and Iraq and, when it came up, he did a wonderful job covering the peace movement.  But that's not his beat.  (I loved his article, don't get me wrong.)  To focus on The Nation, whose beat is it?  (They've been doing a photo essay for awhile now.  That's a good step.  That's also online and not everyone goes online.)  Magazines have their columnists who focus on DC (David Corn and Ruth Conniff are two examples), who focus on the international scene, the chat & chews, etc.  Whose got the peace beat?

(The Go Gos?  That was a joke.  I'm tired.)

With or without the help of the media (big or small media, mainstream or independent), the peace movement will continue to grow the same way it has thus far, from the hard work of the ones participating in it.  But for those who slam the growth of it currently, they need to stop pointing at organizations and starting pointing at the coverage.

When Bully Boy is in office and the knee jerk response is "Send in the Marines!" a peace columnist is needed.  They do exist.  And peace coverage can not upcoming actions, can not personal stories of activism and awareness, can go to the intellectual well, you name it. 

But until we start seeing that coverage, don't slam the peace movement.

Carly Simon's "Let the River Run" (a wonderful song) opens with "Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation . . ."  The dreamers can't wake anyone who doesn't hear them.

Rebecca's on vacation, so I'll try to talk her area, "marketing."  A trend starts because it gets attention.  (And the peace movement during Vietnam has never seen more like just a "trend" than it does today as I see so many who once stood up not choose to sit it out.)  A trend reaches maxium impact because it's everywhere.  There's no attempt to cover the peace movement in a way that aids it.


People may think they have but they're fooling themselves.  Two or three stories a week aren't  going to do it.  A recent letter to The Nation blasted the singers who were singing out, saying it wasn't that big of deal what they were singing.  That is so wrong on so many levels.

On the reality level, they might try taking their tired views to a campus and speaking to people.  What excites me may not excite someone else.  What inspires them may not inspire me.  There are a multitude of things inspiring the youth of America to action today.  (Despite the winning essay, the youth of America is inspired and active.)  And everything helps.  A song by Pink matters.  A song by Stephan Smith-Said matters.  A song by Ani DiFranco matters.

What doesn't matter, what doesn't help, is silence from the media.  Until that changes, the peace movement exists and grows despite the media (big and small), not because of it.

So to pull the two threads of thought (or what will pass for it) in this entry together, we're not hear to cheerlead blindly.  We're not interested in sites that provide "Fighting Dems" who can't speak out against the war in a useful manner (they can't utter the word "withdrawal").  We're not interested in those who prolong the war by not using their power to to cover what matters.

Let me repeat, I remember better coverage from the mainstream of the peace movement (certainly more coverage) than what I'm seeing in our independent magazines.  I think Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) gets that (from what I was told was discussed at one of his speaking engagements).  I feel like The Nation is committing itself to covering the movement more. 

But until there are serious, repeated efforts to cover the movement, in its many forms, it's going to be word of mouth.  Count on the activists, count on the Alice Walkers who can see what's not presented to them, but I really don't think we've been able to count much on the independent press thus far. 

I don't know who's posting tonight and who isn't.  No one may.  I'm putting this up at the mirror site because Blogger was down.  I know Mike is very bothered by the X E-mail so he may not post at all tonight even if it's up now or comes up shortly.

But, closing thought, we didn't hitch our ride on anybody.  We don't owe anyone outside the community a thing.  If people don't want the sender of the X-E-mail covered anymore, we probably won't cover it.  I'm too drained and too tired to put up with all the e-mails that came in about it last week. 

This is a talking entry, no links.  Everything mentioned here that we would link to has a link on the left (always on the left) at the original site (or "at this site" if you're reading the repost).  One member did e-mail the X E-mailer hours ago and I'll check with her to see if she got a reply.  If you see this, she didn't.  This is really something for members to work out on their own and with the community and I'll go along with the decision the community comes to on it.  (Last week, I was fine with the e-mails.  I'm not in the mood for them this week.  I'm tired and just want Friday to come so I can eat again.)



Posted at 04:00 pm by thecommonills

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