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Gone With the Papers

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Posted on Jun 27, 2011
AP / Joseph Kaczmarek

The newsroom of The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2009, the year the paper filed for bankruptcy.

By Chris Hedges

I visited the Hartford Courant as a high school student. It was the first time I was in a newsroom. The Connecticut paper’s newsroom, the size of a city block, was packed with rows of metal desks, most piled high with newspapers and notebooks. Reporters banged furiously on heavy typewriters set amid tangled phone cords, overflowing ashtrays, dirty coffee mugs and stacks of paper, many of which were in sloping piles on the floor. The din and clamor, the incessantly ringing phones, the haze of cigarette and cigar smoke that lay over the feverish hive, the hoarse shouts, the bustle and movement of reporters, most in disheveled coats and ties, made it seem an exotic, living organism. I was infatuated. I dreamed of entering this fraternity, which I eventually did, for more than two decades writing for The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor and, finally, The New York Times, where I spent most of my career as a foreign correspondent.

Newsrooms today are anemic and forlorn wastelands. I was recently in the newsroom at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and patches of the floor, also the size of a city block, were open space or given over to rows of empty desks. These institutions are going the way of the massive rotary presses that lurked like undersea monsters in the bowels of newspaper buildings, roaring to life at night. The heavily oiled behemoths, the ones that spat out sheets of newsprint at lightning speed, once empowered and enriched newspaper publishers who for a few lucrative decades held a monopoly on connecting sellers with buyers. Now that that monopoly is gone, now that the sellers no long need newsprint to reach buyers, the fortunes of newspapers are declining as fast as the page counts of daily news sheets.

The great newspapers sustained legendary reporters such as I.F. Stone, Murray Kempton and Homer Bigart who wrote stories that brought down embezzlers, cheats, crooks and liars, who covered wars and conflicts, who told us about famines in Africa and the peculiarities of the French or what it was like to be poor and forgotten in our urban slums or Appalachia. These presses churned out raw lists of data, from sports scores to stock prices. Newspapers took us into parts of the city or the world we would never otherwise have seen or visited. Reporters and critics reviewed movies, books, dance, theater and music and covered sporting events. Newspapers printed the text of presidential addresses, sent reporters to chronicle the inner workings of City Hall and followed the courts and the police. Photographers and reporters raced to cover the lurid and the macabre, from Mafia hits to crimes of passion.

We are losing a peculiar culture and an ethic. This loss is impoverishing our civil discourse and leaving us less and less connected to the city, the nation and the world around us. The death of newsprint represents the end of an era. And news gathering will not be replaced by the Internet. Journalism, at least on the large scale of old newsrooms, is no longer commercially viable. Reporting is time-consuming and labor-intensive. It requires going out and talking to people. It means doing this every day. It means looking constantly for sources, tips, leads, documents, informants, whistle-blowers, new facts and information, untold stories and news. Reporters often spend days finding little or nothing of significance. The work can be tedious and is expensive. And as the budgets of large metropolitan dailies shrink, the very trade of reporting declines. Most city papers at their zenith employed several hundred reporters and editors and had operating budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The steady decline of the news business means we are plunging larger and larger parts of our society into dark holes and opening up greater opportunities for unchecked corruption, disinformation and the abuse of power.

A democracy survives when its citizens have access to trustworthy and impartial sources of information, when it can discern lies from truth, when civic discourse is grounded in verifiable fact. And with the decimation of reporting these sources of information are disappearing. The increasing fusion of news and entertainment, the rise of a class of celebrity journalists on television who define reporting by their access to the famous and the powerful, the retreat by many readers into the ideological ghettos of the Internet and the ruthless drive by corporations to destroy the traditional news business are leaving us deaf, dumb and blind. The relentless assault on the “liberal press” by right-wing propaganda outlets such as Fox News or by the Christian right is in fact an assault on a system of information grounded in verifiable fact. And once this bedrock of civil discourse is eradicated, people will be free, as many already are, to believe whatever they want to believe, to pick and choose what facts or opinions suit their world and what do not. In this new world lies will become true.

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By TAO Walker, July 19, 2011 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

The kind words of “deboldt” are much appreciated.  His observations about the
relentless media-manufactured fear-mongering (in “news” and “entertainment”
and “advertising”) that keeps its “target audience” (interesting term, that)
CONfused and misdirected, about the actual (ab)uses of “power” in their virtual
world-o’-hurt, are helpfully insightful.

The workings of the ‘dominance’-paradigm CONstruct depend utterly, of
course, on its owner/operators keeping the muddled masses of inmates, in the
“global” gulag, in a state of crippling anxiety and CONstant CONcern about
threats to their “self” from that of some ‘other.’  As the thing begins to break-
down, however, which it is doing here in these latter days, the wannabe “ruling-
class” must ratchet-up their chronic rule-of-fear into another of their periodic
reigns of outright terror.  Because of all the amplifiers and accelerants now
built-into their always entirely “self”-referential system, though, it is now in a
heterodyning ‘positive-feedback-loop’ stress-to-destruct CONfiguration….a
CONdition not seen here since the last “global civilization” blew itself (and most
of its much-more-sophisticated subject/citizenry) all to Hell fifty-some
thousand years ago.

Us surviving Free Wild Peoples, who’ve been giving our precious attention to
‘things’ here for at-least that many millions of years, have noticed a certain
steady regression from one of these (now several) outbreaks of the “civilization”
disease to the next.  This present ‘case’ is easily the crudest, most ‘blunt-
force’-dependent of them all.  The degenerate tormenting entities driving it
appear to be effectively ‘the-bottom-of-the-barrel’ of their un-dead Kind. 
They seem to have no other motive or method than to literally beat us All and
our Mother Earth first into submission….then to-death.

This is certainly reflected in the survival-of-the-fittest, zero-sum, might-
makes-right, winner-take-all CONceits of the ‘operating system’ for their
disease process, which is nothing other than the eCONomy.  Stripped, finally, of
nearly all the make-believe ideology/philosophy designed by ‘management’ to
make their exploitation more-or-less palatable to those designated hit-ees in
the general population, the damned thing is now being “marketed,” actively and
openly, as “anarcho-capitalism”....still a disguise, but one much closer to its
actual CONfiguration, which will emerge for all to see as the terminal stage of
its wannabe parasitic process reaches its inevitable DEAD END.  Many, of
course, including Derek Jensen and Chris Hedges, have a pretty good idea
already of what the “face” that “no man looks-upon….and lives” looks like.

It is not any exaggeration, either, to say even of them that what they’ve so-far
just glimpsed has them terribly frightened.  It is, in-fact, the “nothin” Ronald
Reagan delighted in telling every’one’ “they ain’t seen….yet.”

If all that is happening here was the machinations of the “money”/“power”
apparatus, COnditions would indeed be as (probably irreversibly) grim as the
more strong-stomached among our domesticated Human Relations fear them
to be.  What, after all, is there within the smothering (and shrinking) CONfines
of the virtual world-o’-hurt itself that could possible answer that very real
Living Need?  The awful answer is, “Nothin’”!

In the big wide wonderful Living Universe, however, which is The Song ‘n’ Dance
of Life Herownself, there is The Medicine specific to curing of this syndrome.  It
is The Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity.  It flows naturally to Natural
Persons ORGANized as Genuine Living Human Communities, and through this
vital component of Her immune system into the Whole Living Arrangement of
our Mother Earth.

The Tao of Humanity is just basic biology, after all.

HokaHey!

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By deboldt, July 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

The other day I was reading over some TV listings and noticing how many cop shows there were on.  I guess that is not unusual. As Leo Strauss pointed out, people need simple moral dramas with clear cut issues of good v. evil, clearly drawn.  One of the popular shows on CBS tells tales of a team of FBI investigators who are a sort of have-gun-(or a ready corporate style transcontinental jet)-will-travel outfit.  I was reminded of something Derrick Jensen wrote of in Endgame.  He reminded us that the real function of law officers, cops, FBI agents and the military is primarily to enforce the national and global social and economic hierarchy.  Sure producers of TV dramas like to show them solving crimes, helping the defenseless, righting wrongs, rescuing kitty cats from trees, etc.  All these laudatory activities are secondary.  Their real function is to make sure that, if there is to be violence, it must always flow from the top down.  It is their duty, by whatever means, to protect the power structure, vested interests and the wealthy. How can anyone who has any memory of labor history, the civil rights struggle, the peace movement, and the American Indian Movement take seriously a TV drama that purports to show FBI agents as something other than the violent brutes we know them to be?  But of course that is the purpose of TV anyway—an Orwellian/Straussean exercise in anesthetizing the masses.  I am appalled how those who should know better in the working classes and the black community have been co-opted, distracted and disenfranchised from the heritage their grandfathers fought and bled for.  I am tired of trying to explain who Joe Hill and the Wobblies were to blue collar folks.  If I have one more African American explain to me how great Obama is I swear I will go mad.  It is only in conversation with the descendants of the first inhabitants of this continent that I find any consciousness of what a desecration of human life has been visited upon us.  The battles of Labor and Civil Rights have been forgotten.  Only among Native Peoples does there still seem to be a living memory, not only of struggle and sacrifice, but of a way into a regeneration of the spirit and a true militant respect for the Mother Planet.  I salute you TAO Walker.  Teach on!  Here is one Younger Brother ready to listen and learn.

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By TAO Walker, July 19, 2011 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Derek Jensen, as “deboldt” suggests, does describe accurately the outward
effects of the “civilization” process and its deadly CONsequences for Earth’s
Living Arrangement.  He also makes an unassailable ‘case’ for the need to arrest
it….and quickly.  He does not, however, offer much in the way of deeper
analyses that might reveal exactly what sort of ‘agency’ it is that’s driving the
process.  He instead seems to accept the common idea that it’s some basic flaw
in Human Nature at-work, an overwhelming susceptibility to addictive
behaviors, perhaps….something that must be countered by efforts to disrupt
the operations of the industrial-strength “delivery system” that caters to
appetites that are every-bit as destructive to the ‘hungry-ghosts’ as they are to
that upon which they are feeding.

Jensen also is very much caught-up in the “morality play” CONceit, the “good”
vs. “evil” narrative that so dominates the perceptions of those Humans who’ve
known nothing but “civilization” all their half-lives.  Until recently that
CONtrivance seemed to “explain” most of what its adherents were experiencing. 
As “deboldt” also points-out, though, the virtual subspecies homo domesticus
appears to have entered, collectively, a ‘situation’ in which they “....have never
been….before.”

From here in Indian Country, however, we can see plainly that our tame Sisters
and Brothers have never really been anywhere ‘else.’  They have, by definition,
always been infected with the “civilization” disease.  They have always been the
principal means by which the generator of the disease, an invading retro-viral
‘entity,’ has advanced its would-be World-killing process here.

We also know The Medicine that will heal homo domesticus of what ails
them….and with them, of course, restore health and wholeness to the Whole
Living Arrangement.  It is The Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity. 

Humanity, as such, is a vital component of Mother Earth’s immune system.  That
is our given Natural Organic Function.  To fulfill it, though, we must be in our
Natural Organic Form…..genuine Living Human Community.  The “self”-
CONtrolled “individual,” no matter how large or small the random collections in
which they are assembled, simply cannot meet that responsibility.

So our captive Sisters and Brothers must get-over-their sickening “self,” come
together where they live and breathe everyday as Natural Persons in
Community, and give their undivided precious attention and unconditional
spontaneous affection to addressing the Living Needs of Mother Earth, All Our
Relations, and each other.  This is The Way to arrest the wannabe parasitical
depredations of the tormenting"SELF.” 

This is The Tao of Humanity.

HokaHey!

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By deboldt, July 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I appreciate your patience with my arguments here as I struggle to present issues that for a long time I was ignoring and ideas that I still find quite troubling. 

If you will permit me a critique of your essential argument:  We have reached a critical point in the way we must think of the world.  We must acquire qualitatively different ways of thinking.  Most of the really valid points you have raised about historic systems and revolutions are so different in scale and substance from the situation we face today that they might just as well have taken place in another dimension.  I appreciate greatly all the arguments you have raised.  Your points are unassailable historically.  It is just that we have never been here before—facing the real inevitability of the total, simultaneous collapse of all global societies and ecosystems.  The global (not local) nature of our situation renders arguments of consequences like “we will become like the enemy” or “the system will resemble feudalism with thugs running things” moot.

“Bring the system down?”  How?  That is the 64 Trillion dollar question and the one I struggle with and have no answer for.  It is a lot easier to convince others of the desirability of bringing the system down than the practically of bringing it down.  Even so most people believe Capitalism and Civilization are somehow redeemable, that they can be made to be other than the people-enslaving, landbase-destroying entities they are.  The question that usually clinches the argument is: Have you ever known of a civilization that did not depend for its survival on some form of human slavery and the destruction of its surrounding landbase?  The definition of Civilization?  Here is Derrick Jensen’s.


“I would define a civilization much more precisely, and I believe more usefully (than the dictionary’s laudatory definition), as a culture—that is, a complex of stories, institutions, and artifacts— that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities (civilization, see civil: from civis, meaning citizen, from Latin civitatis, meaning city-state), with cities being defined—so as to distinguish them from camps, villages, and so on—as people living more or less permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and other necessities of… The story of any civilization is the story of the rise of city-states, which means it is the story of the funneling of resources toward these centers (in order to sustain them and cause them to grow), which means it is the story of an increasing region of unsustainability surrounded by an increasingly exploited countryside.”

http://www.endgamethebook.org/Excerpts/3-Civilization.htm

Read the whole quote.  Jensen’s examples are quite convincing as are his arguments for the necessity of our abandoning civilization before it destroys the earth.

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By Anarcissie, July 15, 2011 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

Yes, but how do you propose to ‘bring the system down’?  Only a very small minority believe that the system ought to be brought down.  The system itself is backed by military, police and mafia power.  And you shouldn’t forget that one becomes like that which one fights—combat being a rather intimate form of communication.

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By deboldt, July 15, 2011 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Apparently my difficulties with this site have reached the state where responses to my posts are no longer being automatically sent to my email.  If anyone wants to continue this conversation you will have to send me notices of your responses directly to my email,

deboldt(at)gmail.com. 

Personally I have said about all I care to on this topic, so if it is OK with you, I will just sign off from this thread. 

With Peace, Love & Rage,


Bob Boldt

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By deboldt, July 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Your points concerning the self-destructing nature of kleptocracies are well made and well taken.  The only reason our capitalist owned government has not risen to the level of an all-out kleptocracy is, until the last 20 years or so, there have been checks that kept the more sociopathic elements inherent in the system from completely dominating the government, the markets, the media, and the public conscience.  Also in the past the damage such failed systems have been able to do were limited geographically and demographically.  Today, with the entire planet in the grip of capitalist “full-spectrum dominance,” there is, for the first time in human history, the very real prospect that, when the fall comes, we and the whole earth will go with it.  In the past it might be argued that it was an acceptable strategy to simply wait patiently for the inevitable collapse of such pernicious systems.  Today it is not possible to simply wait for this cataclysm.  It is imperative that system be brought down by whatever means possible and as soon as possible.  If we wait, any post authoritarian, post capitalist thuggy regime that is left after the collapse of our civilization will rule over a ruined world that resembles the environment of the planet Venus.

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By Anarcissie, July 14, 2011 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

A lot of those in the current U.S. ruling class appear to be kleptocrats.  If so, they probably won’t last very long.  A minor Third-World country can be run as a kleptocracy for quite a while because its ruling class can hire themselves out to some larger colonializing power or Mafia, but in large countries the results of kleptocracy are indeed a kind of chaos as the kleptocrats start fighting over the diminishing goods available for stealing.  (See post-soviet Russia.)  There is no point in overthrowing such a government and the state it commands because it’s going to fall before long of its own weight.  The problem is that it is likely to be succeeded by some sort of thuggy authoritarian regime (again, see post-soviet Russia).

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By deboldt, July 14, 2011 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

I must admit to some equivocation in my use of the word “anarchism.”  The true Anarchists of old did not believe in chaos, but rather a world free of irrational authority where each man and woman was his/her own sovereign, his own policeman, a judge and jury unto him/herself.  I would rather not get into a discussion of the virtues or the practicality of this way of thinking. This is not the form of anarchy I am discussing here.  The kind of chaos (popularly thought of as anarchy) I am discussing here is the result of the collapse of civilization as we know and love it.  Of course the present Obama government is just the same old monster with a fresh, more palatable face.  I voted for Obama because (out of more a hope than an actual belief) the system under Bush had finally awakened people to the need for an extreme self-correction.  In my heart, I knew this was folly, but in my head I overrode my better judgment.  Civilization has at long last finally reached the end of its tether.  Capitalism—which is civilization carried to its own logical conclusion, will by the end of this century, have cannibalized the entire planet rendering it unsuitable for even the survival of life.  We who actually give a shit have one of two alternatives: (If you have others, I would love to hear them.) Sit back and enjoy the final ride or try to somehow destroy our country, our profligate way of life, and our civilization.  The Republicans would never admit to this.  I think in their attempts to destroy our country they are responding to deep, unconscious longings to actually save the planet.  Too farfetched

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By Anarcissie, July 14, 2011 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

What is it you think the Republicans have to ‘bring down’?  The present government, a continuation without missing a beat of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush regimes, seems adequate to any and all sorts of bad purposes.  It has nothing to do with anarchism.

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By Night-Gaunt, July 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

One doesn’t have to be the much maligned Anarchist to bring down a gov’t in order to replace with another. In this case a fascist theocratic one is what they want.

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By deboldt, July 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

“I don’t think the Republicans are very good anarchists.”

I will have to wait and see.  By their fruits we shall know them…

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By Anarcissie, July 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think the Republicans are very good anarchists.

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By deboldt, July 12, 2011 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

Sometimes the most obvious is so obvious that it escapes notice.
There is a power able to foment a violent, popular revolution and even
bring down civilization.  The Republican Party.  In fact, the end
could really begin to happen in a month or two when Amerika’s economy
tanks and we default.  If they can bring down the US government, world
governments would fall like Fats Domino.  I’m not kidding.  If you
listen what they are really saying, they are anarchists.  I’m behind
them 100%!

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By deboldt, July 12, 2011 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

Sometimes the most obvious is so obvious that it escapes notice.  There is a power able to foment a violent, popular revolution and even bring down civilization.  The Republican Party.  In fact, the end could really begin to happen in a month or two when Amerika’s economy tanks and we default.  If they can bring down the US government, world governments would fall like Fats Domino.  I’m not kidding.  If you listen to what they are really saying, they are anarchists.  I’m behind them 100%!

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By deboldt, July 11, 2011 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Good point(s)!

Thanks for the link “Better This World” sounds like a film worth watching.

The big hazard behind any kind of organizing, be it a true Revolution or even civil disobedience, is the very real possibility of being infiltrated or set up in a sting operation.  My advocacy of a revolution to overthrow the state has to be regarded by the reader as ultimately disingenuous and rhetorical.  There is the impossibility of definitive action that has any positive consequences.  Derrick Jensen has several positive suggestions as to how to bring down civilization.  The problem is that, even though it involves a surprisingly small number of activists, it still would be nearly impossible to pull off in the present total surveillance state.  My performing a Revolutionary act in front of a police station would be akin to civil disobedience and just a futile.  The situation is so much more hopeless than one can imagine.  We have an unstoppable, sociopathic civilization that surely will kill us all (including even their own) unless it is stopped soon.  There is no force that can stop it.  Forget al Qaeda—they are largely an invention of our politicians, like Emmanuel Goldstein in 1984.  Unless someone has suggestions that might actually work, I plan on withdrawing to plant my own garden.

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By Anarcissie, July 11, 2011 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Read this: http://www.fpif.org/articles/looking_at_fbi_entrapment

Instead of calling for the violent destruction of Western Civilization on a public progressive web site, I suggest you cut to the chase and perform your act in front of a police station.  If indeed you do not already work at one.

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By deboldt, July 10, 2011 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

Practically, the police are far more interested in framing and stinging young Muslim men and persecuting whistle-blowers and people trying to save public lands from oil development.

I am amazed I do not hear such talk more often. 

I hope my words will not be ignored by men and women who believe all the democratic options have been exhausted and believe resistance and civil disobedience futile.  Is there any doubt now that we have been totally, definitively, terminally screwed by those who would turn our earth into a sterile, boiling hell?  Somebody has to speak out, if only for a moment in this confusing muddle.  Of course I am not alone.  A host of visionaries are crying to dismantle and destroy civilization in general and western capitalism in particular.  Let Big Brother trace away and hunt me down.  I’m here. And I am no hero.  At 73, dirt poor and with no dependents, I feel it takes little courage for me to condemn these butchers and call for them to be stopped any way possible.  More and more of us need to be doing it.

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By Anarcissie, July 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Advocating violent revolution in a public forum where each message can be easily traced to its author by the police is an interesting concept.  What can one suppose the desired outcome might be?

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By Bob Boldt, July 10, 2011 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Beware: In the history of the world, the outcome of Revolution is usually Warlords & Dictators.”

I remember (I believe it was) the film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “The Shape of Things to Come” where the world, after the last great war, had been reduced to a state of feudal barbarism.  The image of an automobile being pulled by oxen really stuck in my mind.  I would gladly trade the vast imperial powers who are destroying what is left of the air, water, plants and animals (us included) on the planet in their mad rush to end it all—I would gladly trade it all for a return to a long period of finite, primitive, probably barbaric rule of petty warlords and dictators.  I am for whatever it is can bring the present self-destructing system down—as soon as possible.


Bob Boldt (not at my computer)

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By cuzLorne, July 9, 2011 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

deboldt: “The only way left to resist a government, that is hell-bent on selling out to the highest bidder and killing us all in the process, is revolution…. Yet none dare call for the only thing that stands a chance this late in the game — an actual revolution.”

Beware: In the history of the world, the outcome of Revolution is usually Warlords & Dictators.

Even the American Revolution entrenched the powerful, and allowed a free hand to those who wanted to steal land from the Loyalists and Amerindians. (In fact, the USA has never honoured its first treaty - to pay the Loyalists for their land.)

Would the new Warlords be better than our existing Political Class/Mafia Warlords? Who knows, but it sure won’t be pretty, and likely a Lot worse than what we have now.

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By deboldt, July 4, 2011 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Are those of us who still remember how to read to be as bypassed by this new technology as the oral poets of 5th Century BCE Greece were by the new-fangled writing?  Our double-edged technology always cuts both ways, even if we only focus on the apparent advantages. I have never been more hopeful of the power of the alternate press and all the new immerging media venues.  I now have instant access to sources like Democracy Now! And Link TV that cover issues and events often squelched by the owners and editors of the large dailies and the TV stations of old.  I was witness to a lot of unconscious and not so unconscious self-censorship by both news gatherers and editors in my short career covering Martin Luther King and the Anti-War movement in those chaotic times. I once had an award-winning news photographer refuse to unpack his camera at a civil rights rally where we were the only press present.  He said, “I don’t want to give those N*****s the free publicity!” 

Even in school I was plugged into the alternative press.  The mimeograph machines occasionally ran fairly well—and exceedingly slow.  Today the latest Wikileaks dispatches circle the globe at 186,000 miles per second. 

I think we might be able to find the intelligence and the means to surmount the present difficulties.  I know so many disenfranchised people of all ages who are not satisfied with the MSM.  They don’t watch TV.  Their main sources of investigative reporting are from the monthlies, Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, etc.  I don’t even read The Times anymore let alone my local conservative fishwrap.  What “news” I read I get from my own network, a small but powerful site called Modern Writers With Conscience News, and popular sources like truthdig.  Of course let’s not forget Al Jazeera and a handful of still viable foreign journalists.

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By deboldt, July 4, 2011 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Journalism may be bloodied but it is not dead.  The Internet seems to have an infinite number of ways to coalesce around an issue and a story. We the consumers now must become our own assignment editors, carefully analyzing, verifying sources, and scrutinizing content. I like to fantasize of a day when we will someday tell our grandchildren, if runaway global warming doesn’t kill them first, about the good old days in the Wild West Web where you had to type (type!) in your commands and you could say anything. Until they take away our computers (don’t laugh), there is still a chance to mount a revolution.  We had better move fast. Protest, dissent and civil disobedience to be effective must have the amplification of a mass media.  What is the point of being beaten bloody in the street by a cop if no camera is there?  The only way left to resist a government, that is hell-bent on selling out to the highest bidder and killing us all in the process, is revolution.  Hedges and nearly every other Reality-based Left thinker has now concluded that the only path to justice and reform of the system must take place in part via some extralegal way.  They call for us to move from dissent and protest to actual civil disobedience.  Yet none dare call for the only thing that stands a chance this late in the game—an actual revolution.  Hedges basically has told us why the demise of the traditional forms of media manipulation by reformers and other agents of needed social change no longer work. 

Yet he dares not take the next logical step—calling for dismantling the juggernaught.  I believe mere reform is no longer an option.  The Internet and other electronic means of communication are perfectly structured for planning and executing sabotage and other ways of disabling a sociopathic corporatism obsessed with destroying all life on the planet.  Dissent, civil disobedience and protest will only be of minimal strategic use in this last battle for democracy.  As in many other struggles against insane power, even non-violence will reluctantly have to be abandoned. It is a sad misreading of history that would have us believe that positive change has only come through peaceful non-violence. Think of the labor struggles and even the violence that helped liberate India—yes India, in addition to Gandhi.

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By deboldt, July 4, 2011 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

Precisely because the new forms of communication are so capable of being local and non-hierarchal, they will be vital in the creation and organizing of local support systems that must supplant Big Brother as we disconnect from the grid.  When the whole system comes down, the Internet as we know it will probably come down with it too. But meanwhile it will be an invaluable resource for a ridiculously small group organized to “smash the state,” as we used to say back when. 

So far the only ones who seem to be moving in that direction are the people on the extreme edges of the ecology and animal rights movements.  I’ll bet there are others in the deep underground that you will not be reading of in the Huffington Post. Meanwhile the above ground revolution doesn’t seem to be doing all that well.  Commandant Holder seems more interested in punishing even the non-violent members of these groups more harshly than he is the local posse comitatus.  Entrapping young Muslims on trumped up charges still remains the priority, although I see that changing as more Progressives awaken to the necessity of moving from résistance to revolution. The War on Terror needs fresh illusions. Now that Goldstein has been dumped into the sea, the State is looking for fresh faces with which to frighten its children. Under President Bachmann it will be my face, your face. I say this not as an effort to get out the vote for Obama.  Make no mistake, a Republican president and a true Christian theocracy will be the surest way to start the revolution. That is why anarchists (and the rest of us wishing for change) must vote straight (sic) Republican.

I have to go now.  There is a call from an agent provocateur coming in on the other line.

Peace, Love & Rage,

Bob Boldt

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By George Thomas, July 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Did you notice that alongside Hedges’ column was an add by a travel university for an MA in journalism?  Quite an irony!

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By miroslav, July 2, 2011 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Chris keeps lambasting the corporations and
rightly so. But the heart of the problem would
seem to be that the American people, nay, the
world as a whole does not so much live under God
but the god Mammon. It might behoove the
American people, on Independence Day, to free
itself of the dictatorship of Capitalism! Obama
missed that opportunity when he went along with
the culture of Capitalism. If he had taken
Stieglitz’s advice instead of Summers we would
not be at the mercy of moneyed institutions
regardes as too big to fail. Just one example,
for a start towards what was once called “The
New Man” - if we get to the heart of the matter
it means to abandon the exchange principle which
is embedded in us at birth. Free, voluntary
exchange, democratic consideration of priorities
how we make the best of existence on this planet
one of 20 billion in the Milky Way.
http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name

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By omygodnotagain, June 30, 2011 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Chris,
I have a soft spot for newspapers, having spent many hours and thousands of cups of coffee drinking them in. I don’t believe however that newsprint is anything special, and I can read newspapers just as well on my computer. I can read papers from countries thousands of miles away, which was a hard if not impossible thing to do in the days of newsprint. For fun sometimes I go to the main library and re-read old news, a lot of it with time shows it had the wrong slant, wrong interpretation. It wasn’t that great, we remember the work of stars like Seymour Hersh, but most of the rest was hopeless. What I believe Chris misses is the sense of excitement, of the challenge to go out break a story, when journalists had time and resources, most importantly when Journalists were respected and liked.
Now, its a dead end profession, the Iraq War showed that a blogger (a Doctor in Baghdad) had better information than any any of those highly praised, highly paid experienced Journalists… the mystic died…but that does not mean that truth will be buried… it always finds a way to bubble up. May I suggest Chris rent movies like The Year of Living Dangerously, All The Presidents Men, Broadcast News, The Insider etc.. buy some good 30 year old scotch and just enjoy what has passed and stop agitating for it to return. As we get older we often pine for the a world purified that never really existed

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By Anarcissie, June 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

ardee—I see nothing in my writing that is either dishonest, obfuscatory, or even incorrect.  Would you like to point something out?

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By ardee, June 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, June 30 at 8:21 am

Why you continue to obfuscate and avoid the real issues here is unknown to me. I cannot even relate it to your support for anarchy in any substantial way unless it is society you despise, as, apparently, you do honest conversation.

I guess there is nothing to be gained by pursuing this with you as you choose dishonesty. Sad ,really.

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By Cliff Carson, June 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

It really is interesting to read about the demise of Investigative Journalism and the possible factors that might be silencing that most difficult aspect of reporting. 

Investigative reporting can change practices that allow evil to prosper.  And it can be very dangerous for the reporter.  And then there are those that will “muckrake” those who gave everything they ever had and everything they would have ever had.  Sometimes they are called trolls. 

Finally someone on here noted that sometimes after the fact those who risked and sometimes paid with their lives later would be accused of “Muckraking”.

Allow me to present the example of Veronica Guerin.  For exposing the Drug Lords of Ireland she was shot six times with a .357 Magnum by the Drug Lords hitmen. 

So disgusted was the public by this horrific act that they forced a complicit corrupt Government into putting an end to those Drug Lords.

It wasn’t long before another “Investigative” Reporter wrote a book about her saying she was deceptive and illegal in her pursuit to get the drug lords and finally the jealous reporter, a rival reporter also with Veronica’s Newspaper, even accused the slain reporter of being a “bad” mother - for exposing her son to danger by doing the investigative reporting.

The Drug Lords who had her assassinated are now serving life.  The reporter who assassinated her character after she had been murdered by those hitmen still insists that she liked Guerin.

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By JDmysticDJ, June 30, 2011 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

My interpretation of this article by Hedges is that he is nostalgic for the good old days of journalism, and he should be. Hedges’ recent civil disobedience received little coverage in the media, and few heeded his call for civil disobedience.

I too am nostalgic for the good old days of journalism. In the earlier days of protest against the Vietnam War 200 of us enthusiastically and exuberantly marched from the Draft Induction Center to the Federal Building, in an out of the way city, but one of the largest cities in the nation. We were protesting against the War in Vietnam. Seven of us were arrested.

While I was lying flat on my back, half on the sidewalk, and half in the gutter, firmly in the grip of officers of the law and waiting to be bounced off the walls of the paddy wagon, I was being interviewed by a reporter from one of the two largest News Papers in that City.

Before being locked up in solitary confinement, I demanded to know what I was being arrested for, so the arresting officer took me to see the chief of police for that city. When I made my demand, the chief of police turned three shades of red, called me a punk, and rattled off the numbers for several statutes, Federal Crimes and what not. I guess he thought I was being uncivilly civilly disobedient, but I digress.

After being bailed out by the ACLU and enjoying a nice spaghetti dinner at a fancy restaurant that day, I hitched my way home to find that I and my cohorts were the lead story on the local network News stations. We made the front page of both the major Newspapers, and the following week 5000 of us showed up for a demonstration against the Vietnam War at a downtown city park.

I’m not sure if I’m more nostalgic for the journalism of that era, or for the people of that era.

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By Anarcissie, June 30, 2011 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

ardee—I don’t see how making publishing available to the working class and the poor decreases or impedes their power.

It is true that in the past, conflicts between ruling-class elements—usually between those pushing the soft cop versus the hard cop models—sometimes led to improvements in the capitalist system.  Muckraking, I think, was one aspect of such conflicts.  We have famous and endlessly self-celebrated cases like Murrow going after McCarthy, or Woodward and Bernstein after Nixon.  However, we should not forget while celebrating that a lot of ruling-class people did not like McCarthy, or did not like Nixon, were glad to get them in as much trouble as possible, and were therefore willing to fund operations against them.

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By Anarcissie, June 30, 2011 at 7:58 am Link to this comment

RayLan—I don’t know the answer to your question about where investigative journalism was born.  I suppose we might have to define ‘journalism’.  In a sense, it begins in prehistory with gossip.  It is critically important for us highly social animals to know what’s going on socially, to the point where methods of finding out about it, like gossiping and ‘prying’, seem to have been coded into our genes.  However, you may mean something industrial with printing presses, in which case we would want to look at the scandal sheets published by enterprising individuals in the 17th and 18th centuries, I suppose.  This is an interesting subject which I wish I had the time to pursue.  I am pretty sure everything I’m talking about here was pre-capitalist.

I gave a list of names of people who I think do a certain amount of investigative journalism.  The Internet is an ideal medium for I.F. Stone types.  I find it far less noisy than the newspapers of yesteryear, where 99% of the material was irrelevant to me, and much of the remainder was propaganda or outright lies, as one would expect.  Because the Internet is accessed through computers, I can filter the material for the subjects which interest me, while ignoring those which don’t, like the latest doings of the Kardashian sisters.  (Or whatever their name is; you know who I mean.)  Should my interest in a particular subject be piqued, I can go into it at great depth, unhindered by the intellectual limitations of newspaper editors and television news programmers, which appear to be severe.

Imprimatur.  Pontifex Maximus Anarcissie I.  You may kiss my ring now.

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By StXeno, June 30, 2011 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The internet, while certainly a powerful tool, is not
“free”! Far from it. When I was more gainfully
employed, I spent an upwards of $300 a month to stay
connected. And that didn’t include the price of my
laptop or my phone or all the energy I used to power
them. Believe me, when the income falters, broadband
is one of the first things to go. Food and keeping a
roof over your head are far more important.

Some folks, whether due to economics or geography,
have never had access to broadband. If we depend
completely on the internet for disseminating
information, we’re going to cut a whole lot of people
out — and those are precisely the people we should be
trying to reach the most.

The myth of the internet being “free” has also
fostered the impression that all content on it just
magically appears, that no real work is involved. But
as Hedges points out, real investigative journalism
is labor intensive and such vital work is deserving
of remuneration. In other words, if journalists are
so important to a properly functioning democratic
society, then they ought to get paid and payment is
an all too rare occurrence in the digital universe.
This doesn’t mean journalists should all have multi-
million dollar contracts and ride around in limos,
but they shouldn’t have to max out all their credit
cards and risk financial ruin to get to the facts.
God knows we pay through the nose for all sorts of
worthless crap. Why not pay for something important?

***

Every week in this comment section, I always read
something on the order of, “Why doesn’t Hedges offer
any solutions?” or “Why doesn’t he go and shoot up
Goldman Sachs already?”

I suspect he must be at a crossroads, or maybe even
an impasse. Everything he writes these days seems to
lead to one conclusion — revolution — but what should
that revolution be? How should it look? He knows it
should avoid violence like the plague since he is all
too familiar with destruction and death. He thinks we
should avoid utopianism because that has its own
pitfalls. Communism? He knows that can be ugly, too.
The only fairly recent positive movement he has to
grab onto is the Civil Rights movement, but that was,
like, almost 50 years ago.

In order to save our republic, we may have to do
something completely new, something which now lies
just at the edge of language. Perhaps, somewhat like
Moses, Hedges can see the Promised Land, but he can’t
write the bridge to get there, which certainly must
be frustrating for a writer of his caliber.

Someone else may have to write that bridge.

I also notice several posters have problems with
Hedges’ love/ hate relationship with religion,
specifically Christianity. It should be obvious to
anyone who reads Hedges that he is a deeply spiritual
man and that it is this spiritual base which gives
him the courage to write the things he does. Just
read the last paragraph of EMPIRE OF ILLUSION. (One
of the most stirring paragraphs ever written in the
English language in my humble opinion, makes me
jealous every time I read it…) That’s 1 Corinthians
13 for the Second Gilded Age.

But I wouldn’t let my prejudices concerning
Christianity (and believe me, I have several) obscure
what I believe is a central truth: Any revolution
without a firm spiritual (or philosophical, or moral,
choose the word that least offends you) foundation is
doomed to failure. You can’t keep your eyes on the
prize, if you don’t know in your heart what that
prize is.

***

Lastly, on the matter of non-violent resistance…it’s
time to get creative! Like last night a friend and I
were wondering what happened to all the analog TV
frequencies after TV went digital. I assume they are
still there, and I know they belong to us. Maybe we
should start using them?

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By ardee, June 30, 2011 at 3:03 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, June 29 at 6:49 pm

One might mention the “muckrakers” of the early twentieth century as example of what has been lost in our current media, but I fear your opinions are colored by your political beliefs, as, I hasten to add, are most of mine as well.

You are free to believe that all newspapers were always corporate owned propaganda factories thus nothing has changed. As I am to continue to remember all the grand work of so many journalists, work that led to significant changes in the workplace, in governance and in business practices.

I think it no accident that, as newspapers declined in both numbers and in seeking truth our economy came to be ruled by greed and venality. Yes indeed, capitalism has always had, as its underpinnings, such flaws, but they were, at least in part, abated or thwarted by hard working members of the press who tirelessly exposed such to the public outrage.

To pin ones hopes on the internet is, I think, to display a typical middle class elitism and snobbishness. The working class, from which change always arises, and which the middle class has always considered “beneath them”, doesn’t get its news or form its opinions from computers, in my opinion.

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By RayLan, June 30, 2011 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

@Arnacissie
“What do you find in my writing that is contrafactual?”
I questioned your blanket statement

you
“Investigative journalism hasn’t died.  What has died, or is dying, is a certain media model based on industrial conditions which favored capitalist bosses.”
with

me
‘So where was investigative journalism born? Where does it exist now? Don’t tell me the internet, that indiscriminate hive of noise in which it is virtually impossible to sort out fact from pontification. “

I still didn’t get an answer.

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By Anarcissie, June 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

RayLan—What do you find in my writing that is contrafactual?

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By Inherit The Wind, June 29, 2011 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

OK, JD: Now I’m getting bored with THIS thread….

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By RayLan, June 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

@Arnissicie
“If you were going to be properly Socratic, you would have left off delivering that judgement on the Internet in such a straightforward manner.  The key to the Socratic method is to con the other guy into delivering from his own mouth the ideas you have put into his head covertly.”
No shit. Socrates was known to actually state facts and sorted them from pontifications like yours.

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By Anarcissie, June 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

RayLan—If you were going to be properly Socratic, you would have left off delivering that judgement on the Internet in such a straightforward manner.  The key to the Socratic method is to con the other guy into delivering from his own mouth the ideas you have put into his head covertly.

ardee—My admittedly superficial impression of the pre-Internet media, especially that of the 19th century, was that it was highly partisan and full of lies and misinformation.  I.F. Stone found it necessary to start his own newsletter to get anything out.  Are there any I.F. Stones today?  Well, we have Amy Goodman. We have Glenn Greenwald.  We even have Chris Hedges, when he’s not being retrograde or hysterical.  Andrew Sullivan.  Justin Raimondo.  Laura Flanders.  In fact, I’d say there are a pile of left-wingers and right-wingers who are looking for facts, looking for the truth, who would never be given access to the quasi-totalitarian mainstream media but who are now going to have a voice which can be heard by anyone who wants to listen to them.

I can see complaining about the Internet as it is compared to what it might be, but I sure can’t see complaining about it compared to the mainstream media at any time during the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, which, as I said, simply reflected and continues to reflect the values and interests of its capitalist owners and their friends in the government.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, June 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges points out the problems with the media.

Others waffle on about, well nothing.. Hokeh Hey- Maki-Haki- Plong Pling

Others blame the evil Republicans..

But

Those of us with the facts

Bill Clinton and Al Gore 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Not evil Republicans

To those committed to more than endless talking and blathering

Lesser evil?
Still Evil
New Progressive Alliance
newprogs.org
Already started in Iowa.

To quote Public Enemy

Don’t Believe The Hype

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By RayLan, June 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

@Anarcissie
“You seem to be hankering after some reliable authority to tell you what’s what.  If I may cut to the chase, so to speak.”
I’m under no such illusion - these were Socratic questions - researching the basis of your pontifications.

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By ardee, June 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, June 29 at 4:48 am Link to this comment


Investigative journalism hasn’t died.  What has died, or is dying, is a certain media model based on industrial conditions which favored capitalist bosses.

I find this analysis of yours an accurate rendition of what is wrong with the news media, but misses the point of what used to be before it was replaced by the corporate model you discuss.

Our news media was once ruled by circulation, it is now ruled by advertizing dollars. As Hedges enumerates in his article there was once a proud tradition of investigative journalism, and he lists a number of reporters well known for such, reporters, by the by, who were encouraged by their editors to dig and dig.

Now the reporters, those who are left anyway, are edited , not by their editors, but by the circulation managers who ,first and foremost, seek to refuse to alienate advertizing dollars, and by the BoD’s who are also on the boards of the very corporations deserving of said exposure.

I would certainly appreciate a response enumerating where you find said investigative journalism alive and flourishing. One last point, if I may. Democracy cannot flourish without a free press, which, I believe, is the point of its death.

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By katsteevns, June 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Someone PLEEEEASE throw a shoe at Obama on national television!!!

I will thank you ahead of time.

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By gerard, June 29, 2011 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

A lot depends on the ultimate “victory” of hackers, and on whether they can invent and hold onto sane standards regarding the authenticity of what they “hack” and release to the public. After that, it’s up to the public how the information is used or ignored.

Government and corporations fear hackers for the same reasons they have always feared a free press. Add to that, a general disdain for public education, and it tells you a lot.

Snag:  With information goes responsibility, in order to maintain democratic power.  “The people”—especially if kept ignorant and scared, will not do much to maintain democratic power because they don’t want the responsibility.

Again, it all boils down to everybody’s personal obligation to learn and act wisely. There is no escape.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 29, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

There’s facts, unbiased analysis, and opinion.  All three are valid aspects of what we call “The News”.

Facts have to be collected as honestly as possible.  Reporters used to try to “get the story” but that’s not “popular” anymore.

Analysis is just like any hard or social science analysis: The facts you know and the logical implications of them.

Opinion is based on guessing about facts you DON’T know but, for whatever reason, you perceive as, well, reasonable premises, subject to verification or contradiction.  We guess based on who we are, and what we would like to see happen.

Everything else is BS.

BTW, I don’t need paper. I can read “The News” on my PDA.  But I want it to STILL follow the rules I laid out.  Facts, Analysis, Opinion. All clearly demarcated.

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By Anarcissie, June 29, 2011 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

Raylan—You seem to be hankering after some reliable authority to tell you what’s what.  If I may cut to the chase, so to speak.

Suppose there is not, never has been, and never can be such an authority?

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By RayLan, June 29, 2011 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

@Anarcissie
“What has died, or is dying, is a certain media model based on industrial conditions which favored capitalist bosses.”
So where was investigative journalism born? Where does it exist now? Don’t tell me the internet, that indiscriminate hive of noise in which it is virtually impossible to sort out fact from pontification.

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By Anarcissie, June 29, 2011 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

Investigative journalism hasn’t died.  What has died, or is dying, is a certain media model based on industrial conditions which favored capitalist bosses.  I have noticed Hedges’s nostalgia for the good old authoritarian days before.  Conceded, it’s not very well-reasoned or systematic.

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By ardee, June 29, 2011 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, June 28 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

  ardee, June 28 at 3:04 am:

  ‘“Goodness, it seems there is no one more conservative—I might even say reactionary—than those who call themselves ‘progressives’.  Once again we’re to bemoan the decline of the mainstream media, owned and operated by capitalists and almost always entirely reflecting their interests and point of view.  Why?”

  One may read and interpret influenced by ones own position, but Anarcissie seems too eager to slant the real position of many here.’

In this case I was just commenting on Hedges, who seems to long for that good old-time capitalist authority.  But if the shoe fits, by all means wear it.

Your mean streak notwithstanding, you did and are still distorting the position of the many on this forum who responded by bemoaning the death of investigative journalism. That you characterize this as support for “corporate newspapers” is simply propaganda from an anarchist who, perhaps, perceives her case as hopeless.

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By Not One More!, June 29, 2011 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

What everyone should be aware of is that ‘lies work.’

At one time, the media was not so quick to repeat the lies of government and corporations. Those days are long gone. And it doesn’t mean that historically they sought out the truth to their maximum ability. It only means that they were inclined to challenge some of the more blatant lies occasionally.


You cannot have a corrupted government unless you have a corrupted mainstream media. And we have both.

http://www.NotOneMore.US

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By gerard, June 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

TaoWalker has (thankfully) stated clearly something we all need to pay more attention to:  “This Indian
would be more favorably impressed with “journalists” generally, and Chris Hedges here on ‘truthdig’ in-particular, if they would use the platform of their
profession to help readers, listeners, and viewers get a better grip on what it is about their own beliefs and attitudes, and the behaviors based on them, that has so many in such deep trouble these days.” 
  In my opinion, a large part of the “white man’s burden” is the reluctance to do any serious introspection, asking questions about why “we” do what “we” do and don’t do as we should. This lack leads to perpetuating the belief in “American exceptionalism” which actually amounts to a denial of offensive our own behavior and a pervasive belief in “I’m okay, you’re okay”.  “America is the greatest country in the world, etc.”—which is of course obviously self-gratifying and insipid. Such conceit leads to all kinds of trouble which compounds as a result of increasing lack of ever- introspection.
  We have reached the point now when an overblown national pride encourages such a fever of defensive- agressive behavior that any sort of criticism is rejected, even punished, certainly never permitted to reach the “halls of power”.  Hence we are a nation “running on empty,” and don’t even know what can be done about it.
  It is necessary not merely to point out what is wrong, but to elucidate reasons why it is wrong, and indicate (even murkily) what can be done to promote an alternative political/social atmosphere closer to reality, more humane, more enlightened, more inspiring. Diagnosis alone is not enough.
  For example:  If you really believe that organization is vital, what can you yourself, as one individual, do to bring people together?  What prevents you from doing so?  What steps can you yourself take to gain the confidence to do what you know needs to be done? 
  It is obvious that this sort of thinking is up to individuals, as governent is indicating increasingly, every day, its utter inability to cope with the rapid changes in the world today.
  Actually, government is desperate for help.  We should probably be reforming it from within rather than cursing it for its malfeasance and inadequacy.  We should regard it as an ER doctor regards a patient brought in on a stretcherat midnight.

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By Cliff Carson, June 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

Is there such a thing as “Fair and Balanced news?”  Isn’t news what it is, regardless of what someone might think about its fairness?  Isn’t news simply the truth?- a statement of what has occurred?  If it is “Fair and Balanced” doesn’t that mean that the truth has been compromised?  And finally isn’t “Fair and Balanced” news actually a definition for Spin?

No one knows exactly when spin replaced news.  And the honest observer must admit that spin is now “the news”.  The viewer while closely observing various television channel news presentations, will notice oft repeated story lines read by news anchors, who may or may not have a clue about what they are talking about, and yet those anchors present the “story” with sincerity and gusto as if their “news” was absolute fact developed or reported by themselves and their field reporters.  But often it is just a script parroting a party line. 
Another classic example of misinformation, propaganda, lies, i.e. spin, occurred during the first Gulf War.  The American public was not too interested in invading and “liberating” Kuwait and the Elder Bush Administration was trying mightily to persuade the American public to accept the White House plan to go to war -  “To save a democracy”, ( Kuwait ) was one cry, but it wasn’t going over that well because the Kuwaiti ruling family, the Salahs, wouldn’t know democracy if it smacked them upside the head, and the American public knew that a Kuwaiti Democracy was hogwash.  And the American public seeing that the grand Pubah (Salah al Salah – King of Kings) had gone to London with his sixty-six wives to sit out the war, and the public just wasn’t buying it.  So the White House hired a Public Relations firm and had them get together a focus group with one charge -  to find or fabricate an issue that would inflame the American public against Iraq.  Thus was fabricated the Great Incubator Caper.

Suddenly appearing across all American News media came a story of how the invading Iraqi Army had gone into Kuwait City, invaded the main Hospital there, dumped babies from the incubators they were in, then took the incubators back to Baghdad.
Remember that story?  There was the tearful Head Nurse relating the story and how brave the Hospital staff were but also unable to stop the Iraqis.  Well that story caught the American public’s attention and almost overnight the polls showed that now the U. S. citizenry was ready to go to war against those monsters.

After the war it was revealed (so lightly that if you weren’t alert you would have missed it) that the whole plot and story was a creation of a Public Relations firm hired by the U. S.  The PR firm admitted that the Great Incubator Scandal never really happened.  A couple of years after the war was over, and Hussein had been constrained, there was a most interesting program that I watched on PBS.  It was a documentary about the influence of the media, and how the American public had been swayed by a story of Iraqi soldiers invading a hospital in Kuwait throwing babies out of incubators and taking those incubators back to Baghdad.  The pitiful story had been relayed by the head nurse of the hospital and her eyewitness account of throwing the babies on the floor and left to die caused an instantaneous reaction across the United States :  “Those dirty bastards” went up the cry all over America! America was now ready for war!

But the devil is sometimes in the details, and the documentary had all the actors present for questions and answers after the show:  The PR firm that did the Focus study, the Head Nurse of the Kuwaiti Hospital (turns out she was one of the Salah daughters – an aspiring actress)and yes all the others who participated in staging the whole event.  In other words, the incident was a lie, much as the Saving Private Lynch story turned out to be.

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By MeHere, June 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

C. Hedges is right in calling for civil disobedience and lamenting the demise of
good reporting.  But the issue of the corporate media having taken away
journalistic excellence from us needs to be analyzed.  It seems to be the other
way around, with the public favoring more and more mediocre news,
information, and TV programming, and their incorporation into the web. Take
the example of PBS stations which, at one time, had pretty good programs and
were always easy to access. Due to the lack of public interest and support over
time, they had to change the content of their programs which now largely
reflects the interests and support of their sponsors and big donors.  There are
still some radio stations, publications, and websites that carry good news and
information and which are not hard to access. But where is the public?

The public seems to be interested in and supports things like sports, short-
attention span news, crime, celebrities, political hype, fitness, religion (most
often religiosity,) financial success fantasies, spiritual development, electronic
gadgetry, consuming—with few exceptions, hardly the sources of sound news
and information on political and social issues. This ends up being reflected on
the voting patterns which in turn result in the continued success of the
mediocre media.

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By TAO Walker, June 28, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

It’s good that “felicity” points-out the critical distinction we need to be making,
carefully and regularly, between the virtual tsunami of mere data overwhelming
peoples’ senses (and sensibilities), and actual knowledge….or, as it might also
be characterized accurately, real information.  Too few among us appear at-
present to understand and appreciate the fundamental difference….so too many
are severely handicapped (because they’re also so dependent on language as
the primary repository and ‘carrier’ of vital knowledge) in their capacity to
engage not only their immediate day-to-day circumstances, but the Whole
Living World, to mutually beneficial effect.

Of course the “self”-chosen few owner/operators of the “global” command and
CONtrol apparatus are well aware of all this, and are using their own knowledge
ruthlessly to maintain and enhance their already substantial advantages over
the muddled masses who, for the most part, just don’t “get-it.”  This Indian
would be more favorably impressed with “journalists” generally, and Chris
Hedges here on ‘truthdig’ in-particular, if they would use the platform of their
profession to help “readers,” “listeners,” and “viewers” get a better grip on what
it is about their own beliefs and attitudes, and the behaviors based on them,
that has so many in such deep trouble these days.

For now, though, it is apparently much easier and more “self”-satisfying to
pick-out some no-doubt richly deserving whipping-boy (or -girl), of which
there seems to be a near infinite supply, erect some usually rather grotesque
caricature of an effigy, and demolish the thing (and supposedly inflict some
kind of ‘damage’ on the “individual” in-queston, as well) in no uncertain
terms….but, much more often than not, to no discernibly beneficial effect
whatsoever.

HokaHey!

HokaHey!

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By ghostcommander, June 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

All that matters are the cold hard facts.

The radical extremist so-called republicans and their criminal business cronies want to return to the Legalized White Collar Crime that was experienced by millions of American before and after the “almost” financial collapse.

The marriage between the totalitarian,corrupt, and incompetent corporate world and the GOP totalitarianism, corruption, and incompetence I commonly referred to as Fascism.

These “things” ignore the cold hard facts that Fascism is very destructive to every aspect of society.

Why are these narrow minded ideologists so unthinking?

Why do they not fact check their ideology?

Why do they have such a short term belief in criminal greed?

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By rjg1971, June 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette: “I wonder if the present (officious)
recession will resuscitate union membership….”

It won’t matter much if they aren’t dedicated to
publishing and broadcasting their own media.
Something they had given up doing by the middle of
the 20th century. We also used to have non-profit
union radio stations, before the for-profit lobby
put them under. The point McChesney makes, that
Hedges misses in this article, is that the market
is done with supporting journalism as a profession.
The people want it, but the corporations don’t.
They’ve made their billions off of it and have
moved on. Only a non-profit, commercial model, with
government support, is going to revive journalism.
Corporate capitalist journalism and media in
general has thrived because of government subsidies
and protection for more than two centuries. A non-
profit alternative can rise to take its place, but
it is going to have to get into politics for it to
be successful.

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By Lisa Simeone, June 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

Eloquent and poetic as ever, Chris.

We know we have an uphill battle for the October
action.  We know how easily and glibly the media
dismisses protesters and marginalizes them.  But
we’re still pushing on.  I know you’ll be there, as will I. 
And I believe there will be tens of thousands.  We will
force the powers-that-be to pay attention.

http://october2011.org/

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By gerard, June 28, 2011 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

People blaming the lack of religious faith for mass reluctance to undertake civil disobedience need to think twice.  People who “invented”, prescribed in detail, and practiced civil disobedience were not motivated primarily by religious faith but by a faith in human beings to get together and do the right thing in the right way.  Many of them were “religious” in the sense that they were not atheists.  They were grounded in cultures based on Buddhism and/or Christianity or both, but the doctrines were implicit not explicit in action.
  Nor was religious belief essential.  Faith in the humanity of humanity is the essential requirement, plus the absolute determination to “do no harm” even when harmed oneself.  Plus to be open,courageous,
honest and kind. And to be aware that, though publicity has been widely withheld, most changes brought about nonviolently have been successful, the more knowledgeable and aware the participants, the better the results.
  Gene Sharp particularly, but others as well have written many studies of nonviolent movements, but they are little known.  The reason is screamingly obvious—people who do not “believe” alternatives to violence are possible, prevent them from being widely publicized. 
  Nevertheless, the fact that those works are increasingly studied worldwide is a hopeful sign. (Sharp’s work has been translated into 60 languates. The charge against the recent Iranian protesters was that they had used more than half of Gene Sharp’s stated principles. (See Albert Einstein Institution)

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By DavidByron, June 28, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Old fart misses the point while remembering the good old days.

Quote:
“But Schanberg also argues, as do I, that newspapers prove a vital bulwark for a democratic state. It is possible to decry their numerous failings and compromises with the power elite and yet finally honor them as important to the maintenance of democracy.”

The failures are successes.  Corruption is a feature, not a bug.  The new financial tactic of the media is NOT as Hedges supposes, “news as entertainment and the loss of sustained reporting” but the entire new product is now an advert, that is, propaganda.  Like the difference between a TV program and an infomercial.

The stuff about the Civil Rights marches is instructive.  Now that the media is 100% corporate propaganda those same marches would not be covered, or if they were then equal space would be given to a faked counter-protest of 1/10,000 th the size.  This is already happening.

The editors are the enemy and the editors are the medium.  Newspaper print is 100% propaganda now—the enemy.  Don’t mourn its loss.  What was good died long ago.

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By felicity, June 28, 2011 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Lafayette - Maybe you’ve hit on why American
conservatives have an obsessive hatred of the French
- they don’t take political chicanery lying down. And
you’re so right that American politicians quake in
their shoes if civil disobedience is even just in the
wind.

You refer, as do others, to this age as the
Information Age.  Unfortunately, that’s all it is. 
We’re inundated with data, so much so that we’re led
to believe that we’re also inundated with knowledge,
a mistaken belief the evidence of which is rampant in
our apparent willingness to accept political blather
as truths.  Data without concomitant knowledge can be
more dangerous than little or no data at all.

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By TDoff, June 28, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

And, as if all of this were not bad enough, think of the millions of unwrapped fish, and the frustration of trying to teach a puppy to pee on a plastic bag.

So there will always be a need for some newspapers.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 28, 2011 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Funny seeing “Liberal Media” spoken of as if it is a truism instead of an ideological propaganda chimera. As FAIR has pointed out numerous times the corporate owned media (90%) is dominated by the conservative and the military and the officials rarely is it otherwise. MSNBC and now Current are the exceptions along with non-corporate like Democracy Now an Pacifica radio cover things in ways not done otherwise. But they are still in the minority in this country and not the go to for most people who are even interested in the news which is still a small sliver of who watches TV, Cable and Internet.

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By Anarcissie, June 28, 2011 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

ardee, June 28 at 3:04 am:

‘“Goodness, it seems there is no one more conservative—I might even say reactionary—than those who call themselves ‘progressives’.  Once again we’re to bemoan the decline of the mainstream media, owned and operated by capitalists and almost always entirely reflecting their interests and point of view.  Why?”

One may read and interpret influenced by ones own position, but Anarcissie seems too eager to slant the real position of many here.’

In this case I was just commenting on Hedges, who seems to long for that good old-time capitalist authority.  But if the shoe fits, by all means wear it.

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By Lafayette, June 28, 2011 at 5:15 am Link to this comment

rjg: He makes no mention in his article of the once vibrant labor and revolutionary press that had basically ceased to exist on an effective level by the time Hedges started his journalism career.

Pretty much in line with the historical reduction of union support and membership. See info-graphic here.

I wonder if the present (officious) recession will resuscitate union membership. It’s a shame if it doesn’t. Unions are the only way to protect livelihoods, with the notable exception of automotive unions that priced its members out of the car market. (And they are noticeably weakest in the Service Industries, which represent more and more of our national GDP.)

The near-death of the the Big3 automotive industry was due very largely to privatized Health Care insurance costs - and supports the argument for a National Health System that caps such costs and reduces them where it can.

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By Lafayette, June 28, 2011 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

BRAVE NEW WORLD

rjg: I really like the suggestions of media historian Robert McChesney for how we could revive journalism in this country again

We have, right under our noses, here on the Internet.

Screw corporate advertising boycotts. I use a browser that shows no advertising. It is amazingly easy to survive not reading the intrusive nonsense ...

Unless, of course, I am so stupid as to believe that without any given Must Product life as we know it on earth ceases to exist. Which is the motivator that advertising is trying to reach.

It’s a Brave New World for the press as past advertising revenues have been displaced by Google and Facebook. So be it.

Which is just another aspect of the Brave New World that we have entered.

MY POINT

Once again, we have put our finger on a singular fault of our past economic policy. As regards advertising boycots, the press is just another market where we allowed consolidation that created press oligopolies - which create markets where to too many customers chase too few suppliers.

We have done it time and time again in an erroneous belief that bigger is better, when the observed consequence has been a marked reduction in market competition.

Oligopolies can and do destroy competition by thinning the ranks of competitors. Customers are those who lose most when markets consolidate since the result is typically higher market prices.

A prime example is privatized Health Care insurance. DSL-interconnect fees show another. The list is long because federal oversight of uncompetitive (or insufficiently competitive) oligopolies has been lax for a great many years.

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By RayLan, June 28, 2011 at 3:10 am Link to this comment

Journalistic objectivity which is almost redundant, since the idea of journalism is nonsense without it, is itself an elusive fact. All states are political entities which control the dissemination of information.
Chris, I think to some extent was a babe in the woods thinking that a major corporate medium like the New York Times cared primarily about the Truth. It’s true that there was a time when the media at least tried to honor fact and ‘balanced’ reporting and there are still uncompromising bad boys like Matt Taibi who will lock on to a story like a pitbull until all the facts have been exposed. On the whole however, people don’t want the truth - a culture that consumes so much illusory crap like so-called reality tv and tabloid forms of entertainment really ‘can’t handle the truth’. Big doses of it would make the nation heave - which, when reality does break through, like the housing bubble,the nation retches with the proverbial hangover, throwing up toxins like the Tea Party.

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By ardee, June 28, 2011 at 3:04 am Link to this comment

Goodness, it seems there is no one more conservative—I might even say reactionary—than those who call themselves ‘progressives’.  Once again we’re to bemoan the decline of the mainstream media, owned and operated by capitalists and almost always entirely reflecting their interests and point of view.  Why?

One may read and interpret influenced by ones own position, but Anarcissie seems too eager to slant the real position of many here.

It is the death of both investigative journalism and the access of the public to that lost necessity that most bemoan, at least in my own opinion.

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By rjg1971, June 28, 2011 at 3:02 am Link to this comment

Hedges idealizes the corporate too much. He makes
no mention in his article of the once vibrant labor
and revolutionary press that had basically ceased
to exist on an effective level by the time Hedges
started his journalism career. They didn’t go out
of business due to a lack of readership. These
large circulation newspapers, many of them dailies.
They were put under by corporate capital
concentration and defacto corporate advertiser
boycott.

I really like the suggestions of media historian
Robert McChesney for how we could revive journalism
in this country again. Like economist Dean Baker’s
suggestion that a portion of our tax dollars be
devoted to the non-profit media organization of our
choice. Government policies helped create the mass
media we have today, and it is going to be needed
to help save journalism from extinction.

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By EmileZ, June 28, 2011 at 1:49 am Link to this comment

@tedmurphy41

Watergate was kind of a farce if you look at Nixon’s real crimes.

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By tedmurphy41, June 28, 2011 at 1:33 am Link to this comment

It would appear that investigative journalism is a thing of the past; would there ever be another “Watergate”?
The media has been effectively emasculated and for what purpose? Just why has it been allowed to happen and who is the greatest beneficiary?
You can answer all these questions by carrying out investigations yourselves, that is if you can be bothered to do so but if you do, be careful that your own jobs are not on the line if you have the nerve to investigate.

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By EmileZ, June 28, 2011 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

“Those who battle the corporate destruction of the ecosystem and seek to protect the remnants of our civil society must again take to the streets. They have to engage in acts of civil disobedience. But this time around the media and the systems of communication have dramatically changed.”

I am stumped and discouraged as well.

“Keep your eyes on the prize” and “Keep on keepin’ on” is the best I have to offer.

“Better to try and fail than to never have tried at all”. (I don’t know who said that). I might also add: The harder you try the more you learn and the better you get.

Another great column Mr. Hedges!!!

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By Lafayette, June 27, 2011 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

A WHOPPER

OM: The hatred that the Leftist media, those ‘watchdogs of truth’ which Hedges loves so much, had for conservatives and Christians has been evident all my adult life.

Because the reverse is not true .. ?

Cut the crap, you are just as biased towards the Right as I am towards the Left. Your problem is that I have the facts on my side and I can show them. (Try this fact regarding blatant Income Inequality on for size.)

MY POINT

The Right keeps mouthing the same petty nostrums and Darwinian dogmas. You (plural) think the world is just and right because God preordained it to be that way. Nothing has changed in the 5000 years since He created it.

As bullsh*t goes, that one’s a whopper.

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By Peter Adamski, June 27, 2011 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris, why not “mute” instead of “dumb?”

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By Lafayette, June 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

THE FRENCH WAY

ITW: For years in France each paper had its agenda.  La Monde was the liberal-socialist paper and La Figaro was the “Christian Democrats” paper, each tailoring news for its liberal or conservative readers.

Not sure that description has changed much.

Politics is more orthodox, perhaps, in France because the country had been so Monarchically Monolithic for centuries. The French actually DO believe that government should be interventionist and curry to their every whimsy.

They are to be credited for one custom, however, which is their readiness to demonstrate in the streets at the first sign of political discontent. How I wish Americans were so prepared to do so - because when that happens politicians quake in their shoes.

It is a Very Significant indication of potentially dangerous Civil Disobedience - of the kind that brings down government everywhere in the world.

The French actually follow political coverage assiduously ... more so, I think, than do Americans. And the two camps (Left and Right) are as separated as never before, with always the same banal ideas being promoted.

POST SCRIPTUM

Example: Martine Aubry effectively hobbled French productivity by introducing the 35-hour week when she was a Minister of state (in 2000). In the ensuing decade, un- and semi-skilled jobs fled the country in droves. Now she is the candidate the socialists think is the most “presidentiable” in the upcoming election.

Ten years later and no one on the Left connects the dots between her and the 9% level of unemployment in France. Or the fact that the French put fewer work-hours into a year than Germany, Italy, Britain, Spain, the US, Japan, etc., etc., etc. - for which it has not known a level of unemployment lower than 9% since the mid-1980s, which is now almost a quarter of century. (Perhaps they are grateful that it is no longer at 11%, where it stood for a great many years?)

Go figure ...

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By Lafayette, June 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI

Newspapers are not the only profession to be changing as we transit from the Industrial to the Information Age. And in the process altering itself profoundly.

But let us also remember that it is quite possible that more of the news is getting to more of the people via the Internet than ever did on paper sheets.

Unfortunately, in the competition to attract readers, more and more of it may be the “See it here first!” variety whereby one sacrifices in-depth factual reporting for instant sensationalism.

The amount generated of this kind is sickening, especially to feed the demand to know everything about celebrities - the role models of an entire generation. Berk ....

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By Inherit The Wind, June 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

I’m generally unmercifully critical of Chris Hedges but this time my main criticism is his confusing masses of dead tree detritus through 3 story machines with newspapers.  The “paper” part is trivial and the death of newspapers has nothing to do with the end of news printed on paper.

On the rest he’s correct. When the Kardashians are “news”, when Prince William’s marriage is all-day “news”, when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Love Child” is “news”, and when the “winners” of “Dancing With the Stars” is “news”, but I can’t find anything on Turkey, and heaven help the person seeking the name of the Belgian Prime Minister, you know the death of news has nothing to do with paper.

For years in France each paper had its agenda.  La Monde was the liberal-socialist paper and La Figaro was the “Christian Democrats” paper, each tailoring news for its liberal or conservative readers.

I remember clearly the attacks on the “Liberal” media and they were biased.

Yes, the election of Ronald Reagan WAS a “tantrum” by people who didn’t realize what he stood for, and deceived themselves that it was “good” that he was destroying our democracy and the foundation of our economy.  He is the one who signed the gigantic tax incentives for corporations to STRIP America of its industrial base and send it overseas.

And I consider anyone who voted for him a fool.  And anyone who doesn’t REALIZE what a fool he was to vote for Reagan is delusional.  When I see smog in the air I don’t have to be a genius to realize that pollution is real.  And I don’t have to be a genius to recognize that the concentrate and redistribution of wealth upward with the impoverishing of much of America accelerated rapidly after Reagan came to power in 1981.

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By OzarkMichael, June 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges laments “the retreat by many readers into the ideological ghettos of the Internet”,

Like Truthdig?

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By OzarkMichael, June 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

The liberal media would never accuse liberal voters of throwing a tantrum. It views liberal voters as smart and rational.

But i got my elections mixed up anyway. The tantrum in question was almost 20 years ago.

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By kerryrose, June 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Ozark

‘The American people were throwing a tantrum.’

Yes, they were.  There were protests everywhere.  You know why?  Because Bush lost and the Supreme Court still handed him the presidency.

When democracy is trampled, people have ‘tantrums.’

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By OzarkMichael, June 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

The hatred that the Leftist media, those ‘watchdogs of truth’ which Hedges loves so much, had for conservatives and Christians has been evident all my adult life.

Everything from abortion to zoology, the ‘watchdogs’ controlled what was seen, and what was not seen. The Leftist watchdogs had subtle ways to tell the public how to feel. Those subtle ways were powerful because they were pressed upon us daily, and there was no other common source to listen to, or read.

One night the watchdogs were not so subtle(at least to me) and that happened on the night when Reagan was elected President. That night, the news anchor gazed at the electoral votes that were coming in and remarked, “The American public is throwing a temper tantrum.”

In other words, the liberal media thought that I was a child, that I didnt really use any reason when I voted. I was a lesser being who perhaps shouldnt be allowed to vote at all. That was the first time I voted. I listened to the debates and read up on the candidates and their positions.

Thats when my trust in the watchdogs ended, and that lack of trust has proven to be wise time and time again. I am not the only one, by the way. At different times and for different reasons, conservatives abandoned the liberal watchdog in uncountable droves. We had to find news elsewhere and eventually we did. 

Now it might seem wise to be nostalgic for the homogenous watchdog, but the homogeneity that Hedges approves of is not exactly fair. The watchdog, for example would like to prevent what i am saying from being heard.

Are you aware, dear reader, that Hedges would label me not merely a temper tantrum throwing child, but also as a ‘fascist’? ah but perhaps you, dear reader would also label me that way. Thats okay, here we are debating as equals, but its not okay when your side controls the public narrative about my activism or what i stand for, or how I vote and why. I know how desperately some of you want that power, i know especially that Chris Hedges would give his right arm for that kind of control.

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By @CT, June 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

colin2626262 writes:
“I think I made it clear in what I wrote that nonviolence was [emphasis added] the only option.”

Obligatorily so, even in these down-the-rabbit-hole days when a U.S. president may proclaim, with a semi-straight face, that robo-bombing doesn’t rise to the level of “hostility”.

However—grammatically and sensibly speaking—one expects that “I wrote that nonviolence is”, etc., is what colin2626262, led astray by the past tense of “wrote”, really means to say. :^)

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By Brian Monger, June 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“A democracy survives when its citizens have access to trustworthy and impartial sources of information, when it can discern lies from truth, when civic discourse is grounded in verifiable fact.”  Journalism?  LOL!  Some rare bits of it perhaps?

The media has changed - write elsewhere.  If you are good and can deliver the goods, journalism will not “perish from the earth”

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By Night-Gaunt, June 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

In some ways we are returning to the bad old days of the Hearsts and yellow journalism and politically based journalism. Where making the news up is as important as controlling the reality of what news there is. Only now there isn’t the freedom to set up news paper except maybe on the Internet.* And that is being trashed as being a poor replacement. It is one of the few places where one can produce news and repost it for others to see that goes out side the Corporate Main Stream Media organs. For the Octopus all trails lead from the Media, Military, Corporate, Gov’t, Education etc. Narrowing the choices makes it easy to keep the Big Lie and all its little lies going. Most people aren’t news geeks so they get the general slub of Corporate News. And they end up believing that a scientific fact-Global Climate Change is a myth as in 45% here in the USA. The only industrialized country that has made GCC a political stance.

*And if they get their way the Internet will become two tier with the poor among us getting a second rate Internet while the oligarchs get a much faster and larger choices run Internet. Then where will we go? Back to the local small press.

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By heavyrunner, June 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

I think the internet and other electronic media will prove to be powerful enough to not only replace newspapers but do better than they ever did in providing information.

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By colin2626262, June 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

We need a Christian revolution in this country, a revolution in spiritual values, where love triumphs over all.

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By colin2626262, June 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

@CT,

I think I made it clear in what I wrote that nonviolence was the only option.

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By CitizenJimserac, June 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Curious.  Chris Hedges correctly identifies
fundamental philosophical, governmental and personal
consequences of the demise of the newspaper
publishers but fails to see the revolutionary
potential of its replacement, the Internet. We have
not been driven to hang out in odd corners of the
Internet, we have been empowered to seek out our
interests and to follow link after link deepening our
understanding and expanding depth and width of
perception.  That such an entity as the Internet
might, by its very virtuality, come to threaten the
existence of the Nation states is a possibility. 
That it might threaten the cozy zombification of the
corporate mass mind with all its consequent
passivity, consumerist addictions and pseudo-thinking
is obvious.  See Fravia.

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By @CT, June 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

colin2626262 writes:
“It’s fine to be privately religious, but if you want to appeal to the masses, you have to shout it out.  Then you can throw the moneychangers out of the temple, with God’s help.”

—> With G-d’s help, and a few million divinely-sychronized machetes, maybe.

The masses are cognizant of, and terrorized by, what the privileged “left” elite now blithely ignores, while churning out endless essays, and a deadly daily dozen click-democracy appeals from a phalanx of holier-than-they “nonprofit” corporations: surveillance-state surveillance, and its ensuing retaliation upon those-less-protected.

The revolution, if any, will be ... mimeographed, most likely, and delivered by hand. :^/

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By Arouete, June 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Chris for your passionate editorial. I think it pretty much agrees with Jay Rosen of New York Times who thinks the success of Wikileaks is built on the failure of traditional media.     
“The watchdog press they treasure so much died. Mostly what our journalists did, with a few exceptions is they just went on to the next story. The watchdog press died and what we have is Wikileaks instead.”

(See Jay Rosen on Wikileaks: “The watchdog press died; we have this instead.” at http://vimeo.com/17393373 )

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By colin2626262, June 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

Chris,

You can’t blame the newspapers for not covering protests or acts of civil disobedience in this country.  The fact is, very few people are protesting or practicing civil disobedience, and the few that are don’t seem to appeal to the masses.  If there was a mass protest movement against our government, there would be mass media coverage.  It’s simply not there.  There are no mass protests.  There was a moment in Wisconsin, but that was about it. 

You want people to go out in the tens of thousands resisting corporate greed, war, financial fraud, and the destruction of the environment.  These are all issues that need to be addressed, wrongs that need to be made right.  So why is no one responding?  You have to ask yourself why.  Why is it that in other countries the people, especially the young people, get out on the street and protest, even knowing they’re facing injury and even death.  What is it about America?  Or what is it about the message of the Left in America?  To me, it seems hollow. 

Maybe there’s a cultural problem.  For example, in Muslim countries, where religion is taken seriously, the people feel they have God on their side, and that gives them strength and courage to protest.  It also gives them a sense of meaning.  How many American college students, for example, are interested in religion and its relation to social issues?  They’re more interested in drinking and sex. 

Then there’s Chris Hedges saying we have to watch out for those dangerous Christians, the Christian Right, who might become a “fascist” force in the country, imposing their will through violence.  That kind of view only turns most people off.  We actually need populism, and religion is the way to bring people out on the streets.  One of the things you’ve written about, Chris, is that we need to be less geared toward emotion in understanding politics, more focused on using our reason.  And yet what is it that brings people out in mass protests?  Anger.  They’re angry, and they want change, real change.  There’s another powerful emotion, much more powerful, and that is love, which trumps anger, and which leads to peaceful protests on the part of the people.  Maybe the government responds with force, but if there’s love in the protesters’ hearts, they will stay nonviolent.

None of this is possible without a belief in God, the source of love and peace.  This is something you know well, Chris.  Your writing is enlightening and true, but there is something lacking, and I believe it’s in the secular nature of your approach.  It’s fine to be privately religious, but if you want to appeal to the masses, you have to shout it out.  Then you can throw the moneychangers out of the temple, with God’s help.

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By DigThis, June 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Editorial comment:  “...reassumed Kifner…” should read “...reassured Kifner…” in the following
sentence:

Kifner relayed the distressing bit of news to Bigart, who, sick of the needling of his editors, reassumed Kifner with the words: “At least you’re dealing with sane people.”

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By the Educating Gossip™, June 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Feel It, Love It!

Ohhh this makes me feel sad but also more determined.  The writer holds passionate beliefs about the role of a free and impartial press especially now as “[T]he increasing fusion of news and entertainment, the rise of a class of celebrity journalists on television who define reporting by their access to the famous and the powerful, the retreat by many readers into the ideological ghettos of the Internet and the ruthless drive by corporations to destroy the traditional news business are leaving us deaf, dumb and blind.”  Powerful stuff.  Love It!
—the Educating Gossip™ 
http://www.edugossip.com

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By Grady Lee Howard, June 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

surfnow: I admire you for being a civics teacher. But it does bother me how you dismissed the comment by litlpeep about Lewis Hyde saying WTF**K is he? It made me curious so I looked up Hyde who appears to be a mainstream literature instructor with a particular interest in intellectual property. Now if the Internet is the last bulwark of intellectual resistance intellectual property is an issue of outsized importance. Attend or stream any alternative media convocation to find out why. So in fact litlpeep has raised a pertinent issue which you have carelessly dismissed. Lewis Hyde, who resembles Newman from Seinfeld and seems to luck into some juicy jobs at Harvard and Kenyon teaching the elite progeny is not himself the issue. He does have some arguments about the precedents laid down by the Funding Fathers when they imposed the Constitution regarding the subject of intellectual property, to whom it should accrue and how long rights endure. Now I oppose most of what he concludes but It is something key to our human rights, almost as important as undermining the absolute rules of private property.

On Chris Hedges column this week. It put to shame the discussion today at DRShow on the same subject. But if you read “Death of the Liberal Class” you would see how it is lifted 90% from that now fading book. Chris Hedges is not a superhero: He’s just a nice guy who wishes he had a real job doing investigative reporting. That is unlikely now due to totalitarianism and corporatism. I’d actually rather have Chris reporting on my civil disobedience and trial than participating with me. See you at the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, NC.

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By Cliff Carson, June 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges, I tend to disagree, to an extent anyway,

Hedges
“A democracy survives when its citizens have access to trustworthy and impartial sources of information, when it can discern lies from truth….. And once this bedrock of civil discourse is eradicated, people will be free, as many already are, to believe whatever they want to believe, to pick and choose what facts or opinions suit their world and what do not. In this new world lies will become true.”

Mr. Hedges our citizens do have access, at least for now, to the greatest fountain of truth that has existed since mankind rose up on their legs to become dominant is this World.  That fountain is the Internet.  Long may it live - unfettered.

Yes the Trolls lurking on here seeking prey are legion, but there are good and honest people on here also.  To find the truth all one has to do is look for it.  It is here to nourish us, to defend us, to unify us.

That is why the Government wants control of the content.

Who was it that said “I don’t care who runs the election as long as I get to count the votes.”?

Truth is forever.

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By prosefights, June 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Getting our stolen $22,036 back project would have failed if we had to rely on the liberal arts ‘educated’ msm.

But we have a chance to succeed because of Internet

Motion for Leave to Intervene in Case No. 11-00123-UT

http://www.prosefights.org/pnmrate/pnmrate.htm#motion3

William H Payne, author of Alternate Report, Electric Integrated Resource Plan for the Period 2008-2027 and David B. McCoy, Executive Director, Citizen Action New Mexico in compliance with NMAC 1.2.2.23A hereby request to intervene.

1.2.2.23 INTERVENORS AND COMMENTERS: A. Intervention: Any person other than staff and the original parties to a proceeding who desires to become a party to the proceeding may move in writing for leave to intervene in the proceeding.

(1) The motion for leave to intervene shall indicate the nature of the movant’s interest in the proceeding.


(2) The motion shall also comply with the provisions of this rule governing pleadings except that the motion shall indicate the facts relied upon as grounds for intervention.


(3) Motions for leave to intervene shall be served on all existing parties and other proposed intervenors of record.

state:

....

Liberal arts ‘educted’ strategy is ignore the problem and hope it goes away.  Even violations of law.

We are using our knowledge of how the liberal arts ‘educated’ ‘think’ to try to defeat them.

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By Becky O'Malley, June 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The great newspapers” did not “sustain” I.F. Stone, they blacklisted him.  I.F. Stone’s Weekly, his great achievement, was sustained by Izzy himself plus the heroic efforts of his wife Esther.

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By Foucauldian, June 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

To follow up on your comment, BlackFlag ... , to extol
the virtues of true journalism is to claim that the
Fourth Estate has produced a nation of free and
independent thinkers (by and large).  Nothing could be
further from the truth.  Consequently, the only
argument one’s left with is to say that we would have
been far worse off if it weren’t for “true journalism,”
a weak argument at best.

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By BobZ, June 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

No doubt, the newspaper business has fallen on hard times. Still I adhere to my
daily ritual of reading my morning newspaper over coffee and O.J. It is my tie to
my community at large and the internet can’t substiture for that. What is lacking
though are not only the hard core journalists but the top flight columnists who
represented the area we lived in and helped give an entire region its originality.
Newspapers still do a better job than other mediums in filtering out the banal and
putting forth what is important. I don’t have to have my intelligence jarred by daily
references to the idiotic comments put forth by the Michelle Bachmann’s and Sarah
Palin’s of the world.

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By BlackFlagOfFreedom, June 27, 2011 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

I must agree with Anarcissie…The death of newspapers should be lauded as progress. How many forests are cleared to print out the daily newspapers. We should not be worried about losing the medium of newspapers, we should mourn the loss of an independent fourth estate and true journalism. With the internet multiple sources are readily available and

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