At the invitation of a member of the Indiana Peace and Justice Network, I addressed a Social Problems class at Franklin College this past week. The students' reading material included essays about unilateral U.S. military action in Iraq and terrorism.
I was urged to use my experience as a journalist in the post-9/11 era to stimulate discussion of the themes raised by the reading materials. This opportunity offered me a chance to review developments over the past 31 months and relate them to current events. But more important, I was able to get a glimpse of what young adults think about the current situation.
As The Bloomington Alternative eases into a two-week spring vacation and anticipates the inevitable reflection such downtime will inspire, recent alternative media developments in Bloomington and Indianapolis promise to fuel the mental dialogue. As will an article by self-described "guerrilla journalist" Studs Terkel from the Nov. 17 edition of In These Times titled "No brass check journalists."
Locally, last week's one-year anniversary of WFHB's local news initiative was cause for celebration indeed, not to mention a testament to Terkel's observation that "there is reason for optimism." Sixty miles to the north, the demise of the Indianapolis Eye provided a sobering reminder of just how daunting a challenge it is to compete with today's brass check, corporate journalists.
Journalist and political analyst William Rivers Pitt is the best-selling author of War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence: Four Years in America, and Our Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism. He is managing editor and senior writer for the online news service truthout.org. He spoke with Thomas P. Healy from his home in Cambridge, Mass.
"There is much talk at the present time of standing by the president. I am willing to stand by the president if he stands for the things I want, but when I look at the gang that stands behind the president, I know it isn't my crowd." - Eugene V. Debs, March 1918
Terre Haute native Eugene Victor Debs wouldn't stand by a government that hurt its own people. Instead, he helped found the Industrial Workers of the World, headed the presidential ticket of the Socialist Party of America five times, and spoke out against war, which led to his imprisonment for sedition in 1918.
This edition of The Bloomington Alternative closes the first year of publication for this experiment in online media. I published the first official issue - committed to progressive social change and independent journalism - on Sept. 1, 2002. Today seems an appropriate time for reflection.
It's also an opportune time for rumination because interest in the Alternative has taken a great leap forward of late. Weekly traffic to the Web site nearly quadrupled in the past two weeks. It's grown roughly 1,500 percent since that first issue a year ago.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when Tucker Carlson approached the podium on the IU Auditorium stage last Tuesday evening. I knew that he was one of the shouting heads on CNN's Crossfire. But since I have come to view post-9/11 cable news as an insidious virus infecting the body politic, I didn't know if he played a liberal or a conservative.
I was fairly certain, however, that I would leave the experience secure in my professional judgment that Carlson, a symbol of the corporate TV news biz, defames the entire journalistic profession when he claims to be a journalist. I didn't expect to exit the Auditorium gratified. But, on balance, I did.
WEST LAFAYETTE - "Ladies and gentlemen, September 11, 2001, did not change the world."
With these words, award-winning British journalist Robert Fisk began his two-hour lecture to an overflow crowd in excess of 500 at Purdue University last Wednesday. Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the Independent in London, pulled no punches in his talk entitled, "September 11th: Ask Who Did It, But for Heaven's Sake Don't Ask Why."
A new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press suggests that the public has reawakened to the American press’ failure to meet its civic duties.