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Nation in the News | The Nation

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Nation in the News

Nation in the News

TV and radio appearances by Nation writers and editors, big Nation announcements.

Was the DLC Good for Democrats?

The Nation’s Ari Berman appeared on MSNBC Live with Third Way's Matt Bennett to debate whether the soon-to-be-defunct Democratic Leadership Council brought “important strength and values to the Democratic Party.” Bennett claims that saying organizations such as the DLC or Third Way are just “corporate folks in the Democratic Party” is a “ridiculous” accusation often levied by those on the “internet left.” 

But Berman argues that though the DLC may have been helpful for Democrats during the Clinton years, more recently DLC leaders like Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh supported the war in Iraq and did not contribute to the rise of politicians and groups like Howard Dean and MoveOn.org. It was Dean and MoveOn.org, Berman says, who ultimately brought new grassroots energy to the Party.

Read Berman's "The DLC Is Dead" for more on the demise of the Leadership Council.

—Kevin Gosztola

The Battle to Desegregate the Washington Redskins

In 1961, Bobby Mitchell successfully integrated the Washington Redskins, the last whites-only football team in the NFL. Fifty years later, Mitchell joined The Nation's Dave Zirin, author Michael Eric Dyson and FanHouse columnist Kevin Blackistone to explain how it felt to play in a stadium surrounded by the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party: "I think people might not realize how hard it was," Mitchell says. But throughout this dangerous period in his life, Mitchell never lost sight of the importance of his role in forging a place for the Black community in sports, and in the broader American society.

For his part, Dyson argues that we seldom hear about the struggle of African Americans in sports because the US has a long history of simply avoiding uncomfortable truths. “We try to avoid dealing with it because it implies that something was wrong with us. If something was wrong with us in America, then the argument that we’ve made about our superiority cannot stand.”

This is the second video in a series of four. Click here for the first video and check back tomorrow for the next one.

Sara Jerving

Does Russia Pose a Security Threat to America?

The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel and NYU's Stephen Cohen join MSNBC's Morning Joe to explore whether Russia and US foreign interests are at odds. Drawing on their knowledge of the country, vanden Heuvel and Cohen discuss whether Russia poses a security threat to the US.

With Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday in mind, both Cohen and vanden Heuvel say that many things have changed for the two countries since Reagan and Gorbachev were in power. Vladimir Putin, for one, has served as a "protector of stability, security and order in Russia," vanden Heuvel says, but Russia's ongoing war against terrorism has done little to quell real threats to the country.

Kevin Gosztola

Sports and the African American Experience

With an all-star panel on CSN featuring author Michael Eric Dyson, FanHouse columnist Kevin Blackistone and former football player Bobby Mitchell—who desegregated the Washington Redskins 50 years ago—The Nation's Dave Zirin leads a discussion to answer the question, "Why is the history of sports and the African American experience so deeply intertwined?"

For Dyson, the reason African Americans have been prominent in sports over the past century stretches back to the days of slavery, when physical qualities, including strength and speed, were valued based on the labor needs of the Southern Agrarian capitalist society. “The physical dimensions of blackness were always focused on, and so as a result of that we invested in a very profound way our physical expressions as the poetry of our spirits.”

But as Black athletes stood up to intolerance with discipline and intelligence, they became ambassadors for Black excellence, he says.

This video is the first in a series of four. Check back tomorrow for the second clip.

Sara Jerving

Greg Mitchell: WikiLeaks is Changing the Way We Get News

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.

—Kevin Gosztola

The Green Bay Packers: A Team for Progressives

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."

Sara Jerving

Sharif Kouddous on Egypt's Media Crackdown

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.

—Kevin Gosztola

Cairo Protests Reveal the 'True Face of Mubarak'

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.

—Kevin Gosztola

Pro- and Anti-Government Protesters Clash in Cairo

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."

—Kevin Gosztola

Does the Individual Mandate Threaten Healthcare Reform?

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.”

Sara Jerving

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