In Fact | The Nation


In Fact

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Ralph Nader writes: It's doubtful there has ever been a better,
more dauntless and more unsung investigative reporter than Fred J. Cook.
For Nation readers from the 1950s through the 1980s, Fred blazed wide
pathways with his exposés of New York City corruption, the abuses
and follies of the CIA and the FBI, and the waste and overreaching of
the military-industrial complex. These and other subjects were nearly
journalistic taboos before Cook's lucid muckraking and synthesis of
ideas and trunkloads of "disparate" information, supplied him by the
Nation's legendary editor, Carey McWilliams, broke them into print.
Other reporters followed him and expanded the public's right to know
about secret government and the corporate state. Publishers produced
longer book versions of Cook's reportage reaching wider audiences. Young
reporters, including myself, were inspired to open new areas of
injustice shielded from public scrutiny. Fred's last books were on the
oil industry giants, the Ku Klux Klan and his autobiography. He told me
how disappointed he was that reviewers had ignored the books. Their
sales were small. Even journalism schools showed no interest in the life
story of a small-town reporter who gave pride to his often-cowed
profession. After these unrequited efforts, Cook turned in his
typewriter and went into quiet retirement. Cook and McWilliams were
possibly the greatest reporter-editor team in post-World War II
journalism in our country. They stand as a luminous model challenging
the trivialization of the news by a press in indentured servitude to
corporate supremacists.


Nation movie critic Stuart Klawans has been awarded a Guggenheim
Fellowship. Our congratulations.


Representative Scott McInnis announced that he has asked the
Veterans Affairs Department to stop purchasing tombstones from Imerys, a
French company that's the main supplier of headstones for national
cemeteries. "It's obviously inappropriate," McInnis said, "for a company
owned by French interests to be supplying headstones for the VA when the
French have done everything in their power to undermine the very troops
from whose sacrifice they now stand to profit."

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