Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week and use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.
— Laura Bolt
Laura focuses on human rights and revolution.
“People vs. Putin Power: The Russian Spring Begins in Winter,” by Fred Weir. In These Times, January 13, 2012.
The voices of young protestors who felt the brunt of economic collapse and social control have dominated uprisings around the world over the past year. With Russia now in the spotlight, attention turns to a different kind of youth—professional, prosperous and ready to fight for a say in their country's political future.
— Zoë Carpenter
Zoë focuses on the intersection of economics, health, and the environment.
“Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist,” by Paul Kingsnorth. Orion, January/February 2012.
Paul Kingsnorth's essay on the hollowness of utilitarian environmentalism is eloquent and discomforting. He traces the ways in which environmentalism has been co-opted by other movements, both on the left and the right, and argues that we're completely missing the point as we scramble to find technological fixes for the crises caused by the human economy. Regardless of whether one ultimately agrees with Kingsnorth's ecocentric philosophy, the essays compel a reckoning with the flaws of a sustainability model.
— Umar Farooq
Umar focuses on the worldwide movement for democracy.
“One Million Petition for the Recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker,” by Mary Bottari. PRWatch via Truthout, January 17, 2012.
When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tried to balance the state budget last year by cutting the wages of government workers and dismantling their labor unions, the people fought back. Hundreds of thousands marched in the streets of Madison, occupied the capitol building, and garnered support across the country and the world. Along with campaigns to unseat pro-Walker officials, the protesters set their sights on the governor himself, and set out to collect signatures to spark a recall. As the article chronicles, protesters needed 540,000 signatures, but have collected more than one million in sixty days, about half of the total votes in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
— Loren Fogel
Loren focuses on peace, power and political culture.
“Occupy The Dream – MLK and the Power of Love,” by Velcrow Ripper. Occupy Love, January 12, 2012.
What would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 83rd birthday was celebrated this week, and with it the heroic and timeless contributions he and his fellow champions of the Civil Rights Movement have given to American and worldwide struggles for peace, justice, freedom, equalityand universal human rights. Featuring Alice Walker and Congressman John Lewis in an excerpt from “Fierce Light,” which is part of the film project Occupy Love, “Occupy The Dream“ is an eloquent presentation of “soul-force” power: the power of love, the power of transcendence beyond hatred, the power of maladjustment to cruelty and the destructive forces of enmity.
— Connor Guy
Connor focuses on racism and race relations.
“Racism 'Happens': Inexplicable Events Haunt GOP Primary,” by Paul Rosenberg. Al Jazeera, January 16, 2012.
In this op-ed, Paul Rosenberg efficiently picks apart (in technical and specific terms) the pillars of misinformation that support the GOP myth of a destructive, ineffective welfare state that pays out primarily to racial minorities. His deepest insight comes towards the end, where he analyzes how the skewed mainstream media in the US neglects international context when discussing these issues, allowing conservative opinion-shapers to make uninformed and blatantly racist statements without any kind of scrutiny from their base. He ends by briefly discussing the phenomenon of "racism without racists"—which is surely relevant in a political climate where politicians like Santorum and Gingrich can deny outright racism, even after their widely publicized remarks this past week
— Ebtihal Mubarak
Ebtihal focuses on human rights.
“Latinos: Turn Off Your TV, Coño!” by Julia Ahumada Grob and Jazmin Chavez. Remezcla, January 13, 2012.
To break the state monopoly of media, young Arabs flocked to the internet and created numerous webcasts that played a crucial role in challenging dictators and fueling the youth of the Arab Spring. And here, when ABC’s sitcom thought that it was funny for a Puerto Rican actor to say, “I’m Puerto Rican, I’d be great at selling drugs,” young Latinos tired of stereotypes also decided to move to the web.
— Hannah Murphy
Hannah focuses on sex and gender.
“Girl Scout Troops in Trans Panic Mode?” by Diane Anderson-Minshall. The Advocate, December 19, 2011.
The "T" in LGBT is one of the more difficult to issues broach in the media—it is both delicate and cumbersome because it has neither a common media vernacular, nor poplar familiarity. So when a traditional, familiar organization like the Girl Scouts chooses to support a young trans girl, and defend that choice, it's important to recognize, and engage in the discourse that it creates.
James focuses on migration in the 21st century.
“Migration Caps Aren't About Protecting British Workers,” by Zoe Williams. The Guardian, January 11, 2012.
With a slew of reports on migration and its impact on the British economy published recently, their press is awash with articles examining the subject. The Guardian's Zoe Williams offers, in my view, the finest opinions on the subtleties of an emotive subject.
— Erin Schikowski
Erin focuses on health and environmental politics.
“Physicians See Chance for Riches in Concierge Medicine, But Few Follow Through,” by Victoria Stagg Elliot. American Medical News, January 2, 2012.
According to a recently released survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, over sixty percent of doctors polled believe that in the present age of healthcare reform, "concierge medicine" practices that do not accept insurance offer doctors the best chance of financial success. However, the author of this article from American Medical News explains that despite annual per-patient fees of about $1500, concierge medical physicians who stop accepting insurance may actually lose money. One must wonder, then, where these widely held beliefs about concierge-medicine practices are coming from.
— Elizabeth Whitman
Elizabeth focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“After Monitor Quits, Arab League Defends Its Syrian Peace-Keeping Mission,” by Eyder Peralta. NPR, January 12, 2012.
Bickering rather than cooperating to find ways to end violence in Syria remains standard for two prominent organizations. After Anwar Malek, a former Arab League observer in Syria, quit his post, citing a "humanitarian disaster" where the regime was committing not just one war crime but a whole series of them, the head of the Arab League's mission responded by saying that Malek did not leave his hotel room in Syria for six days because of illness. Meanwhile, members of the UN Security Council have failed yet again to agree on a draft resolution.