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Truthdigger of the Week: Citizen Radio

Every week, Truthdig recognizes an individual or group of people who spoke truth to power, blew the whistle or stood up in the face of injustice. You can see past winners here, and make your own nomination for our next awardee here.

A month after protesters first stepped foot in Zuccotti Park, the mainstream media has grudgingly realized that they better talk about what’s happening because it doesn’t seem to be going away. But one news outlet was in the thick of things, reporting on the gritty details of the protests before any of the mainstream media. Citizen Radio, a people-funded political radio show with hosts who are not afraid to call out bullshit when they see it, is our Truthdigger of the Week.

The show, hosted by political writer Allison Kilkenny and comedian Jamie Kilstein, is a podcast (with dreams of one day going live) that each day “balances humor and unreported news.” And for 10 of the last 11 days, that has meant reporting almost exclusively on Occupy Wall Street. Truthdig reader Tim said in his nomination of the duo that Citizen Radio has had “excellent coverage of the OWS protests” and “energizing discussions” with both special guests to the park and with day-to-day protesters. “Not to mention,” Tim said, “host/comedian Jamie [Kilstein] provided some awesome stand-up for the protesters. I’m a reborn fan of radio.”

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Honorable Mentions

In his column this week, Chris Hedges introduced us to Ketchup, a “petite 22-year-old from Chicago with wavy red hair and glasses with bright red frames.” Ketchup was one of the first protesters to arrive in Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17, and remains there to this day. Through her story, Hedges walks us through the earliest days of the movement, showing us through Ketchup’s eyes the way the movement quickly organized itself in the park, and how the leaderless, disorganized chaos the media portrays as a weakness is actually the movement’s strength.

Pediatrician Dr. Margaret Flowers quit her practice four years ago when she realized she could make more of an impact on health care as an activist than as a doctor. Since 2008, Flowers has made her voice heard on Capitol Hill through protests and rallies and speaking before Congress. This week, Flowers joined the Occupy Washington, D.C., group to further voice her grievances with a health care system she says denies poor patients the care they need. On Thursday, Flowers went to a Washington Health Care Conference, where she confronted industry investors, saying “Wall Street has no place in health care.” But while those health care professionals in the room refused to listen to her and instead had her escorted from the premises, a video recorded of the interaction speaks volumes.

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Watch Jamie Kilstein and Talib Kweli perform for Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Watch Dr. Margaret Flowers’ interaction with health care professionals at a Washington, D.C., health care conference.

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