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.
“Why You Should Still Care About Chicago’s NATO Summit,” by Allison Kilkenny. Truthout, April 24, 2012.
In this article for Truthout, Nation contributor Alison Kilkenny makes the case for why progressives shouldn’t lose focus on the NATO Summit, even after many declared that the President moving it to Camp David signaled a victory for protestors. Totalitarian anti-protest measures are still on track to block free speech in Chicago, and when protestors arrive in May, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and a beefed up police force will be ready to greet them en force. As Kilkenny says, May will still present the opportunity to "witness to the clash between forces bearing wildly different styles of armor," which is why the eyes of the nation still need to be on Chicago.
Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.
“The World’s Most Important Story,” by Jonathan Watts. China Dialogue, April 17, 2012.
With China as his example, Watts makes a strong case for multidisciplinary reporting: journalism that explores the connections between the big topics of politics, economics, and the environment. He pinpoints the environment and the economy as the “drivers of change,” not just in China, but globally. Watts makes the crucial point that the environment is not a topic but rather a "prism," and the basis for our economic and politic future. Our outputs—for example, greenhouse gas emissions or toxic waste—capture attention, but it is what we take in, our staggering levels of extraction and consumption, that lays the groundwork for the future.
Umar Farooq focuses on the world-wide movement for democracy.
“The Crisis of Big Science,” by Steven Weinberg. The New York Review of Books, May 10, 2012.
Do publicly-funded science and engineering initiatives create jobs for those in America who most need them? Nobel-winning physicist Steven Weinberg has been party to debates on funding science experiments for some time, and in this piece he argues for re-funding major science projects in America. Instead of diverting funds from social services, as has been done in the past, Weinberg calls for targeted taxing. It is interesting to read his view on how, or if, public projects like war or science create jobs. As he says: “For promoting invention, big science in this sense is the technological equivalent of war, and it doesn’t kill anyone.”
Loren Fogel focuses on peace, power, and political culture.
“A Declaration of Conscience,” by Albert Schweitzer. Originally broadcast by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee via Quinnipiac University, April 24, 1957.
Marking the fifty-fifth anniversary of an historic event in nuclear non-proliferation history, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, tweeted: “Read Albert Schweitzer’s famous speech on ending nuclear testing, ‘A Declaration of Conscience,’ first given 4/24/57.” Gottemoeller could not have invoked this famous speech by Schweitzer, in which he explained the dangers that the radiation produced by atomic blasts imposes upon the human body and all of humanity through fallout, at a more ripe time. Debate over the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is once again heating up in the U.S. Senate following the release of a National Academy of Sciences report, in which it has been asserted that US nuclear stockpiles can be safely maintained without the need for testing. Additionally, it has been reported that North Korea could carry out a third nuclear test in the next few days. Though nuclear tests are now conducted underground to primarily contain fallout, Schweitzer’s words of conscience are timeless. He said, “The end of further experiments with atom bombs would be like the early sunrays of hope which suffering humanity is longing for.”
Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations.
“Community Leaders in LA’s Chinatown Question if Wal-Mart Bribed City Officials,” by Jorge Rivas. Colorlines, April 24, 2012.
Coming on the heels of an excellent piece from the New York Times about Wal-Mart’s systematic bribery in Mexico, this Colorlines report explores allegations that the company used similarly shady tactics to acquire building permits in LA’s Chinatown.
Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.
Listing gruesome violations against Arab women without giving the context nor a deeper analysis of each country’s women rights conditions, and simply concluding that Arab men are women haters is a frivolous argument and a dangerous stereotype. Luckily, young Arab feminists, like blogger Mona Kareem, are quick to respond to Foreign Policy‘s racist, Islamophobic cover story.
Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender.
“Is the US Military Ready for Women on the Frontline?” by Katie Drummond. The Guardian, April 26, 2012.
While the U.S. Military is holding off on allowing women on the front lines, the Pentagon has announced plans to open 14,000 more jobs to women in the military—many of which are more dangerous, and closer to the front lines. The Department of Defense has acknowledged that their limitations on women in the military are archaic, and many women are eager to serve in the same capacity as men, but the Guardian asks, amidst institutionalized sexism and chronically overlooked sexual assault, is the military ready for them?
James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century.
“Diverse Streams: African Migration to the United States,” by Randy Capps, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix. Migration Policy Institute, April 2012.
Black Africans are among the fastest-growing groups of US immigrants. Overall, they are well educated, with college completion rates that greatly exceed those for most other immigrant groups and US natives. But with the African population projected to double by 2036, and U.S. immigration policy set to change, something’s got to give. This paper, released by the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, assesses the future of African migration to the United States.
Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.
“Romney’s Healthcare Plan May Be More Revolutionary Than Obama’s,” by Noam Levey. The Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2012.
With the general election season now underway, it is more important than ever for journalists to present the candidates’ healthcare plans clearly and in historical context. In this article, the author does both as he explains that Romney’s alternative to the Affordable Care Act would provide consumers with more choices but give employers an incentive to stop providing insurance for employees.
Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“Syria: On Lockdown.” GlobalPost, April 24, 2012.
In Dara’a, where the Syrian uprising began, checkpoints, tanks, snipers and security forces make up the landscape in what is essentially a military occupation by Syrian security forces and armed troops. However, one effect, perhaps unintended, is that residents who once appeared apolitical are turning against the regime.