TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.
The Nation's Greg Mitchell has been covering the WikiLeaks cable dump for over seventy days now, and his MediaFix blog has become the first stop for readers from across the web looking for their diplomatic fallout update. In this interview with Business Insider, Mitchell explains how WikiLeaks is changing the way media outlets operate, and how we get our news.
Traditional media outlets can no longer operate as the "gatekeepers" they have been for generations, Mitchell says. "They want to print the leaks, they want to decide what is important, they want to be able to patrol the information, they want to be able to decide what the public needs to know," Mitchell says, "and then hide other things." That's not going to cut it with WikiLeaks' massive information clearinghouse model in the picture.
Mitchell, author of The Age of WikiLeaks, says that he wanted to write the book because "there was so much publicity for cablegate in the last few months that very few people really remember what happened earlier." For a sampling of the cables' revelations, check out Mitchell's run down of why WikiLeaks matters.
Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation, joins Laura Flanders the day before the Super Bowl on Grit TV to discuss the role of progressives in sports and why the non-profit Green Bay Packers are a model team.
“Whether it’s racial justice, gender equality or war, there is hardly a topic that sports hasn’t touched and yet it’s all beneath the veneer of a pure, politics-free zone,” Flanders says as she introduces Zirin.
Zirin, in discussion of his new film, Not Just a Game, argues that disengagement from sports has been a largely missed opportunity for progressives to participate in a cultural platform that reaches millions of people. He uses examples of athletes like Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Jack Johnson and Martina Navratilova, who used their fame to push for social change.
One of this year’s Super Bowl teams, the Green Bay Packers, is the only NFL team without an owner. Instead, the team is a community-run non-profit owned by 112, 000 fans. “It’s such poetic justice that in a season where NFL owners have repeatedly and thuddingly threatened to lockout the season next year, that a team without an owner made the Super Bowl,” Zirin says.
This is reason for progressives to support the Packers, he says, a sentiment he echoes today after their Super Bowl win in "Fox Be Damned: Why a Packers Victory is the People’s Victory."
Reporting from Tahrir Square, Democracy Now!'s Sharif Abdel Kouddous describes the media crackdown that journalists have faced in Egypt since protests erupted over a week ago. Egyptians are camping out in the rain in defiance of the military curfew, Kouddous says, and despite a military officer's request that Egyptians leave Tahrir Square and go home, many remain.
Kouddous explains that it is getting harder and harder for the press to get into Tahrir Square with a camera. One journalist Kouddous spoke to, a still photographer who has lived in Cairo for fifteen years, explained that “The last twelve days have been the most exhilarating and the most terrifying twelve days" of her life.
From Cairo, Democracy Now!'s Sharif Kouddous reports on the increasing violence surrounding the protests against President Hosni Mubarak. “What happened last night," Kouddous says, "this brutal assault by the Mubarak regime, was the true face of Hosni Mubarak.”
Joining Kouddous, Mona El Seif, an Egyptian activist, says that Egyptians are now safer in Tahrir Square than they are outside the square. Thugs have been attacking people with food and medical supplies, and journalists have been assaulted and arrested in the past few days.
From Cairo, Democracy Now!'s Sharif Kouddous reports on “the ominous development” of clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square. On the ground, it appears that pro-Mubarak forces and Central Security forces dressed in plain clothes are trying to intimidate the protesters who have occupied the square.
The most telling sign of the pro-democracy movement's power, says Kouddous, is the chants of the protesters: "We’re going to stay here. We’re going to spend the night. If we get beaten, we get beaten. We will not hit back. But we are not leaving."
Nation writers Melissa Harris-Perry and Ari Melber joined MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell yesterday to discuss the political theater surrounding attacks on the individual mandate in the new healthcare law. The conversation comes just a day after a Florida federal judge’s ruled that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, a move that puts the entire healthcare law in jeopardy.
“The only thing good that I can see out of this is that at least if we’re going to decide in the courts that there can be no individual mandate to buy health insurance, then maybe we can also agree that there is no right to an individual mandate to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term,” Harris-Perry says. “I mean it's bizarre how they decide…which elements of your life the government should have to get in there and mandate you to do.”
Democracy Now!'s Sharif Kouddous has been sending regular updates from Cairo on the Egyptian revolution against Mubarak, and today, one week after the January 25 protests that began the uprising, Egyptians from "all walks of life" are in the streets.
Kouddous says Egyptians have come out to "speak with one voice and have a full-throated call for democracy. They want Mubarak out and they will not stop" until he is gone. Kouddous adds, "If today is not the day, then the next big decider will be Friday."
Days after Comcast finalized details on their merger deal with NBCUniversal, The Nation's John Nichols joined Mark Cooper, research director for the Consumer Federation of America, and Jeff Gelles, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s consumer columnist, on Radio Times today to explain just how unprecedented the Comcast/NBC Universal merger will be.
Nichols, whose recent article co-written with Robert W. McChesney outlines the dramatic effects of the Comcast/NBC deal, makes clear that he is "a massive, unrelenting, overwhelming critic of this merger.” He challenges Cooper on the need to consider not just what this does for consumers but also what this does for citizens.
“I am a citizen always. I’m a consumer some times when I am looking for a product,” explains Nichols. “As a citizen, I need information from a variety of sources, not a consolidated single source.”
On the seventh day of protests in Egypt, Democracy Now!’s Sharif Kouddous circumvented the Mubarak regime‘s Internet blackout to report on the ongoing unrest in the streets. Kouddous, who is from Cairo, talks about returning home to “a different country than the one I had known my entire life."
Kouddous declares: “Egypt has been reborn. This is not Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt anymore. And no matter what happens next, it will never be again.”
Kouddous discusses the curfew, the military jets buzzing protesters, lack of access to outside news, the looting and violence and the “unbelievable feeling of community now, of people coming together.”
Nation contributor and author of Engaging the Muslim World Juan Cole appeared on Democracy Now! this morning to explain how the uprisings taking place in Egypt are part of a larger movement in the region. A series of Arab nationalist regimes that have been mostly secular have become “sclerotic,” Cole explains, and in Egypt's case, the government now exercises great control over its people through a “state elite.”
“Egypt is a praetorian regime,” Cole says, and suggests Mubarak, who has been ruling for thirty years, is a leader defined by his military background. On Vice President Joe Biden's suggestion that Mubarak is not a dictator, Cole says that Biden seems to be making that conclusion based on "the responsible role" Egypt plays in in international world and not by domestic politics in Egypt.
On US military aid to Egypt, which host Amy Goodman notes is about $2 billion annually, Cole explains the aid is a “bit of a shell game.” Congress ensures that all aid provided comes from US corporations. He talks about how the aid was initiated “because Egypt made a peace treaty with Israel” and it is how Congress more or less bribes Egypt into remaining on good terms with Israel.