Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out nearly 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 focuses on human rights and revolution.
“The World's 7 Worst Internet Censorship Offenders,” by Alex Pearlman. Global Post, April 4, 2012.
The Internet and social media have played an important role in the recent revolutionary efforts all over the world. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), many countries still struggle with online freedom and censorship. Using data from Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders and the UN Democracy Fund, Global Post lists the seven countries where Internet freedom is most in danger.
Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.
“White House and the F.D.A. Often at Odds,” by Gardiner Harris. The New York Times, April 2, 2012.
In the run-up to the election, is the Obama administration responding to attacks on its regulatory policies by putting politics before good science? A spat over listing the calorie count of theater popcorn may seem trivial, but the independence of agencies like the Food and Drug Administration is crucial for scientific integrity and sound public policy.
Umar Farooq focuses on the world-wide movement for democracy.
“Occupy Union Square: The Evolution Of A New Protest Camp,” by Nick Pinto. The Village Voice, March 26, 2012.
Occupy Wall Street has been trying to restart its occupation, this time in Union Square, where they engage in a nightly confrontation with police dubbed Eviction Theatre. As the piece points out, some organizers question the amount of energy put into dealing with the police, and worry that it is detracting from a larger political message from the movement.
Loren Fogel focuses on peace, power, and political culture.
“Japan Readies Anti-missile Defence for N Korea Rocket,” by Lucy Williamson. BBC, March 23, 2012.
In the realpolitik world of missiles and missile defenses, April is heating up to be quite a month. North Korea has announced that it will launch into orbit a rocket-mounted satellite sometime between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th birthday of the late Great Leader Kim Il-sung. Japan, South Korea, and the US have all expressed worry that the satellite launch is cover for a long-range ballistic missile test, which would violate a DPRK promise in the Leap Day deal to halt missile tests in exchange for food aid. In preparation for the launch, Japan and the United States are positioning missile defense capabilities and considering the option of shooting down the rocket. In other news, India is planning to test a long-range nuclear missile, the Agni-V, also in mid-April, which has a strike range of over 5,000-km. No one is talking about shooting it down. So it goes.
Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations.
“Chicago Has Its Own Trayvon Martin-like Scandal,” by Mary Mitchell. The Chicago Sun-Times, April 3, 2012.
All the attention paid to the Trayvon Martin case is great; unfortunately, it's also unusual. Violent crimes perpetrated against minorities rarely elicit media attention proportional to the coverage of violence against whites. Such is the situation regarding the case of Howard Morgan, a black, off-duty Chicago police officer who, in 2005, was pulled over by an all-white police team and shot twenty-eight times, after he allegedly resisted arrest and attempted to attack the officers. He was recently convicted of attempted murder and faces charges today. This case deserves our attention!
Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.
“Does International Law Shelter from Accountability?” by Sharon Weil. Jadaliyya, April 3, 2012.
Will Pinochet be the last dictator brought to justice by international law? This article explains the consequences of the recent International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on state immunity "in which a state is immune from jurisdiction before foreign national courts, even in cases involving civil responsibility for international crimes."
Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender.
“What's Behind the Anti-anti-bullying Backlash,” by Katherine Stewart. The Guardian, April 3, 2012.
As the new documentary, Bully—a chronicle of school-aged bullying and its destructive effects—makes its unrated appearance in theaters, many critical eyes are on the action, and inaction, of school districts around the country to combat it. But in this heated political climate—particularly around sex and gender—this Guardian article addresses the "anti-anti-bullying" campaigns, which have conflated "anti-bullying" with "pro-gay" and are—quite successfully—blocking state efforts to provide young teenagers with protection under the guise of the first amendment.
James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century.
“An Avoidable Tragedy.” The Irish Times, March 30, 2012.
When is one life worth less than another? Apparently when you're an African migrant adrift on the Mediterranean Sea. Based on the findings of a Council of Europe report, this op-ed in the Irish Timesreveals the horrendous truth behind an avoidable tragedy in which sixty-three people perished while attempting to reach Italy from Libya.
Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.
“Uncovering Kids: 89,000 Poor Pa. Kids Slashed From Medicaid,” Michael Hinkelman and Catherine Lucey. The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 3, 2012.
Between August and January, thousands of children in Pennsylvania "vanished" from state Medicaid rolls in what officials describe as an attempt to clear a backlog of recipients with out-of-date paperwork. However, Hinkelman and Lucey report that many of these children were wrongfully kicked out of the program, and that enrollment cuts have sparked debate about Republican Governor Tom Corbett's proposed budget, which would cut $629 million from social services. According to Hinkelman and Lucey, the governor's public-welfare official said Corbett was just trying to get ineligible people out of the program.
Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“Coalition Provides Millions for Syrian refugees,” by Stephen Dockery. The Daily Star, April 4, 2012.
Supporting the Syrian opposition is not the only role Gulf countries play in the Syrian conflict. They are also funding about thirty Islamic charities in Lebanon that are providing Syrian refugees with medical treatment, food and other aid. Although helping impoverished refugees is important, the fact that this funding comes from countries who are also arming the Syrian opposition throws into question the intent of this aid and how Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar may expect such generosity to serve them later on.