Best of The Nation 2007

Best of The Nation 2007

It was a year of alarming news and amazing reporting on the Iraq War, the rise of private mercenary firms, the burgeoning business of disaster capitalism, an ever more vulnerable environment. Here’s how The Nation covered the year.


It was a year of alarming news and amazing reporting and analysis–on the Iraq War, torture and unauthorized surveillance; the rise of private security firms and the burgeoning business of disaster capitalism; the beginning of a crucial campaign season; the growing power of interactive media and a climate crisis that worsens by the day.

It was a year in which Nation correspondents, columnists, bloggers, videographers and other contributors did what they do best: pathbreaking reporting and insightful analysis, viewing a world in turmoil through the lens of progressive politics.

To view the year gone by we turned to the readers of to see just which pieces drew the most attention in 2007 and to our editors, who weighed the significance of the year in news. Here’s what meant the most to our readers:

Jeremy Scahill |

Bush’s Shadow Army

This report, based on Scahill’s 2007 book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books), reveals a frightening picture of a politically connected private army that serves as the Bush Administration’s praetorian guard. The video version of Scahill’s story was viewed more than 600,000 times on our VideoNation YouTube channel.

No reporter in America knows more about the shadowy world of private security than Scahill. See his May 10 testimony on outsourcing the Iraq War before the House Subcommittee on Defense here and all his 2007 reporting on this subject in The Nation‘s Blackwater archivehere.

Chris Hedges & Laila Al-Arian |

The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness

In a special investigation supported by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute, Hedges and Al-Arian conducted interviews with fifty combat veterans that revealed disturbing patterns of behavior by US troops in Iraq–brutal acts that go unreported and unpunished. The report drew global attention and put returning Iraq veterans in the forefront as truth-tellers of what really is happening in Iraq.

Naomi Klein |

Rapture Rescue 911: Disaster Response for the Chosen

Drawn from award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist Naomi Klein’s latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Klein’s recent reporting and analysis for The Nation follows the rise of a new post-9/11 economy, driven by Bush Administration notions of an endless war against an undefined notion of evil. Read more of Klein’s columns on disaster capitalism here; view a VideoNation interview here.

Ari Berman |

Hillary Inc.

A Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, Ari Berman is on the front line, covering Campaign ’08. In this investigation that drew national attention, Berman takes a critical look at Hillary Clinton’s advisers, whose day jobs involve lobbying for huge corporations and millionaire contributors. No wonder her populist rhetoric sometimes rings false.

Christopher Hayes |

The New Right-Wing Smear Machine

Nation Washington Editor Christopher Hayes’s keen eye for the story no one else is writing resulted in this exposé of how a web-savvy form of conservative propaganda, written anonymously and forwarded via e-mail, is altering the political landscape.

Joshua Kors |

How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits

Nation contributor Joshua Kors focused national attention on how the military is misdiagnosing wounded soldiers to avoid paying their medical bills. His reporting led to Towns’s invitation to testify before Rep. Bob Filner’s House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Nation Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel described the scene in her Editor’s Cut blog.

John Nichols |

Al Franken Seeks the Wellstone Seat

Nation Washington Correspondent John Nichols covers all aspects of Campaign ’08. But this report on Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken’s campaign–and the alarm it is raising among conservatives in the state–was a favorite with our readers.

Tom Engelhardt |

As the World Burns

Contributor Tom Engelhardt, editor of the popular e-mail newsletter TomDispatch, asked uncomfortable questions nobody wants to raise about the worldwide drought. Hands down, this was our most sweeping, most popular and most eloquent environmental report of the year.

Stephen Holmes |

Apocalypse Now?

The most-read book review of the year was Stephen Holmes’s critique of Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, which challenged Chalmers Johnson’s thesis that the Bush Administration’s policies signal the end of democracy as we know it.

Daniel Lazare |

My Beef With Vegetarianism

The meatless set was not amused by Daniel Lazare’s review of Tristram Stuart’s The Bloodless Revolution, but Lazare’s testy critique kicked off a vibrant online exchange of letters and opinion.

Jeffrey Chester |

Google: Search and Data Seizure

Google’s bid to acquire the interactive ad agency DoubleClick would make it the most powerful player in interactive marketing. But media gadfly Jeffrey Chester drew huge reader interest in this exposé of the threats Google poses to our privacy, politics and democratic aspirations for the Internet.

Nicholas von Hoffman |

The Worst President Ever

How does George W. Bush stack up in a race to the bottom with other miserable failures who occupied the White House? Just guess.

A Word About Weblogs

Contributors to The Nation‘s two group blogs, The Notion and Campaign 08, drew the vast majority of reader eyeballs in 2007, with political and social commentary and unfolding coverage of the presidential campaigns. Get the full picture of the richness of our political coverage on our Campaign 08 section.

The most prolific Nation blogger is, in fact, the boss. Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel is among the contributors to The Notion;Campaign 08, and her own Editor’s Cut. Her most compelling piece of the year, The Fight for Freedom of the Press in Putin’s Russia was pegged to ceremonies in New York November 11, when Dmitrii Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, was honored by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Three of its most courageous reporters–Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekochikhin and Anna Politkovskaya–have been murdered for their investigations into brutality and corruption in Putin’s Russia. This piece speaks volumes about what The Nation and its editor stand for, and what we collectively care about.

One standout entry from another Nation blogger was Kenneth Foster’s Fate, a post in Peter Rothberg’s ActNow, which literally was a case of life or death. Foster faced execution on Texas’s notorious death row for a murder everyone knew he didn’t commit. In fact, the real killer had been executed years before.

From May 30 to August 30, an intense public outcry was heard from the blogosphere, including ActNow readers. In a scenario that was nearly cinematic, Foster was taken to the death house and came within six hours of his scheduled execution before Governor Rick Perry commuted Foster’s sentence to life in prison.

It’s that kind of real-world result that makes us proud of what we do. And speaking of proud, we could not end the year without acknowledging the role The Nation played in one of the biggest political stories of the year: Plamegate Finale: We Were Right, They Were Wrong.

In 2003 David Corn, longtime Washington editor of The Nation, raised a question in his Capital Games blog about the legality of a White House smear, published in Robert Novak’s syndicated column, that identified Valerie Plame, wife of former diplomat Joseph Wilson, as a CIA operative. Corn’s reporting was key to the unfolding CIA leak scandal that ultimately revealed Vice President Dick Cheney’s involvement in the outing of Plame and led to the conviction this year of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of lying to federal prosecutors and the subsequent commutation of his sentence by George W. Bush.

In a farewell post in Capital Games, Corn, who now heads the Washington Bureau of Mother Jones, assessed the significance of the unfolding story–and what it revealed about the duplicity of the Bush Administration. It was a story he owned, start to finish. Thanks, David.

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