Archive for the 'free press heroes' Category

Robert Parry

A Tiny Revolution alerts us that Consortium News is having difficulty with its fundraiser.

In a healthy news culture Robert Parry would be editing a profitable Newsweek or hosting the NewsHour. But because our news media is controlled by hacks and parasites Parry labors in an obscure corner of the internet, keeping the craft of journalism alive. If you have disposable income, please send him some help.

If you are not familiar with Consortium News, here is a sample of Parry’s willingness to follow the facts wherever they take him.

ZOMG a newspaper sees thru school privatization

Via Madfloridian, we see this headline: Stop L.A. Unified’s ‘charterization’

Handing over L.A. schools to outside operators will turn out to be yet another failed attempt at reform. Expanding vocational education holds more promise.

Why we can’t have a better press corps

To answer Brad deLong’s question.

Paul Rosenberg talks about Froomkin

The same sort of fate has befallen some of the best journalists in modern times.  It happened to I.F. Stone, who was remembered this week on Democracy Now! He was so prominent he was on Meet The Press one week in 1949, challenging the editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association, who was leading the charge against national health care, and he was gone in a flash, not to appear on national television for another 18 years. It happened to famed foreign correspondent George Seldes as well, first subject to repeated censorship by his publisher at the Chicago Tribune, and later almost silenced by the blacklist under McCarthy.  It happened in stages to investigative reporter Robert Parry, who broke the initial story on Iran/Contra, and now runs  And it happened to Gary Webb, whose 1996 “Dark Alliance” expose of CIA/Contra involvement in the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s was later confirmed by CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz, but that didn’t save him from being driven out of journalism.  The overwhelming preponderance of this pattern makes it blindingly clear that (a) there’s nothing random or haphazard about it, and (b) the media establishment is not about quality newsgathering, it’s about ideological confromity, it’s about propaganda, it’s about hegemony.

Gary Webb, American hero, American tragedy

Consortium News

Webb ended his life because people who should have supported his work simply couldn’t be bothered.

Though Gary Webb was horribly betrayed by his colleagues in the news business – and especially his editors at the San Jose Mercury News – he also was taken advantage of by people in the progressive movement, who sometimes exploited his celebrity by having him speak at their events for little or no money.

There is a deeply troubling attitude within the American progressive movement that it bears next to no responsibility for people who speak truth to power and suffer terrible consequences, as Webb did. While sometimes progressives cheer the heroism, they rarely back it up with anything sustainable.

Maybe instead of sending money to politicians who go out of their way to insult us, maybe we should send money to those who are doing to hard work of progressive politics.

Mike Dennison, a hero for our time

Reporter’s Notebook: Why is single-payer health reform not viable?
Reporter’s notebook

HELENA – When it comes to health care reform in America, there is a relatively simple solution that will cover everyone’s basic health care, control costs and save businesses, most people and the country a lot of money.

It’s called a single-payer health plan, where the government collects taxes to finance national health insurance. The government, which is the “single payer,” covers all citizens and pays the bills when they visit private (or public) doctors, hospitals and other facilities for medical care.

Why ins’t Mike Dennison on TV? He clearly knows where of he speaks.

My hope is through Left in the West, I can do some small part to help deepen understanding of the differences between these bills. I’m also optimistic that with Dennison’s knowledge on these issues (even if he and I don’t seem to see eye-to-eye) that Lee will provide informative coverage of the debates.

Contra cocaine

Gary Webb’s exposé

Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery

The publisher of Robert Parry’s 1993 rare book, Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery, recently sent us 10 pristine copies that we are offering in an auction to raise money to help keep afloat.

In support of a free press

Washington Post Unfair

Over Five Years Without a Pay Raise; Over Four Years Without a Contract. Now the Post Wants More!

The 400 production workers at the Washington Post have not seen a wage increase in five years. Five years. For much of that time, since May 2003, the workers have been fighting for a fair labor contract. But the Post has been holding things up. And now the Post is after the workers’ employee-funded pension plan.

What do Production Workers Do?

At the Washington Post, it is the production workers who assemble the papers and prepare them for delivery. Production workers are the last link in the production line. They receive the printed sections of the paper from the press room and bundle the final product into the paper you get on your doorstep. Some workers feed and operate heavy collating machines and inserters that combine the various advertisements and sections of the paper into a neat package. Others stack, lift and transport bundles of papers from one area to another.

Without production workers, there would be no newspaper. The Post would be sitting in huge jumbled piles at the end of the presses in the Post’s plants in College Park, Maryland, or Springfield, Virginia. The work is hard, dirty, heavy and demanding. Production work mostly nights, weekends and holidays—times when most other people are home with their families.

What Is The Main Issue Holding Up A Contract?

Right now, the production workers have a national pension plan administered jointly by a board of employer and union trustees. But the Post is now demanding the right to withdraw from that plan, as well as requesting the unilateral right to decide what to do with the money in the plan. That money has been diverted from the workers pay raises over the last 30 years. It belongs to the workers. That’s right – the Post is asking to take pension money that has been coming out of its workers’ paychecks.

You might say, “But times are tough. Everybody’s got to tighten their belt. Right?”

But times aren’t tough for the Washington Post. In 2006, the company reported $324.5 million in profits, and Post executives rewarded themselves with millions in bonuses.

Let’s Review: $324.5 million in profits for the Post, millions in bonuses for Post executives, — and absolutely nothing for production workers.

No raises. No parity. No help on health care. No improved benefits. Is this the same Washington Post that claims to be a watchdog against corporate greed? We don’t think so.

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Robert Parry on our times

We saw the emerging war on information and reason

The clever neoconservatives recognized that the vulnerability of a modern democracy was through its media. If independent, honest sources of information could be cut off – and if the public could be overwhelmed by misinformation and fear-mongering – the neocons knew they could dominate the political process.

The neocon strategy was aided and abetted by a Washington press corps that had lost its way, seduced by the financial rewards of lucrative careers.

The political system failed, too. Many Republicans worked hand in glove with the neocons, while many Democrats chose to accommodate, rather than resist.

That is still the state of play as we enter this pivotal election year. So what can be done?

I believe that this battle for the survival of the American Republic will be won or lost primarily on the battlefield of information.

So, just as the neocons promote false narratives to confuse the American people, we must tell honest narratives and get this information to the people.

That is one aim of our new book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, putting in one place the true history of this era.

A people who are armed with reliable information can be a powerful force for good.