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.
“Russia’s Protest Movement Shows Staying Power, Despite Today’s Dispersal,” by Fred Weir. The Christian Science Monitor, May 16, 2012.
Russia’s protest movement is alive and well in Moscow, where a group of dissenters relocated their "democracy preserve" after police broke up their ten-day encampment this week. While anti-Putin activists have been clashing with police and local residents, as this article shows, they remain committed to their Occupy-style tactics. Russia’s young protestors have proven to be adept at using social media to further their cause, which is how this camp was able to reorganize so quickly. In the words of one protestor: "Resistance can take a lot of forms."
Zoë Carpenter focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.
“How Your College Is Selling Out to Big Ag,” by Tim Philpott. Mother Jones, May 9, 2012.
Corporations increasingly co-opt national scientific research infrastructure to their own ends, notably in the pharmaceutical, medical and environmental fields. Tom Philpott turns his attention to agrichemical giant Monsanto’s takeover of America’s agricultural research universities, which effectively allows the company to set the national agenda when it comes to agriculture policy. Money in science is like money in politics: it corrupts, and in the case of agriculture, it is small-scale farmers and consumers around the world who pay the price.
Umar Farooq focuses on the worldwide movement for democracy.
“National and International Campign for the Freedom of Political Prisoners in Chiapas Presses On,” by Jessica Davies. Upside Down World, May 11, 2012.
More than a decade after the EZLN uprising in Chiapas, activists associated with the rebellion continue to be falsely imprisoned. Two cases of prominent activists being jailed on what are likely trumped up charges are highlighted here.
Loren focuses on peace, power and political culture.
“Committee Overwhelmingly Passes the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act.” House Armed Services Committee, May 10, 2012.
Last week, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) passed the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and approved $554 billion in specific expenditures for next year’s Department of Defense base budget and $88.5 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations—i.e. war-fighting. The bill is now being considered and debated by the full House of Representatives and is chock full of spending on defense programs and projects that scarcely endorse the notion of a constrained budgetary environment. One provision, offered by Representative Michael Turner, who is the Chairman of the HASC’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, would spend $100 million on a study of possible locations for East Coast missile defense interceptors that don’t work and that the US Missile Defense Agency hasn’t requested. Representative Buck McKeon, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the NDAA “the gold standard for Congressional bipartisanship.”
Connor Guy focuses on racism and race relations.
“WATCH: Strategist Behind Proposed Reverend Wright Attack Ad Has Long History Of Race-Baiting,” by Annie-Rose Strasser. ThinkProgress, May 17, 2012.
With this, Think Progress provides the necessary back story to the New York Times story out today about the race-baiting GOP media consultant Fred Davis’s plan to exploit an angle that even McCain wouldn’t touch in 2008—President Obama’s supposed "connection" to Reverend Jeremiah Wright. (Yes, this is the proposal that calls Obama "a metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.") Davis has a long history of making race-baiting that speak to conservative fears, and his distorted messaging should be followed closely.
Ebtihal Mubarak focuses on human rights.
“Saudi Feminism: Between Mama Amreeka and Baba Abdullah,” by Nora Abdulkarim. Jadaliyya, May 14, 2012.
Women’s rights activists in Saudi should listen carefully to this sincere advice from Saudi blogger Nora Abdulkarim: “Saudi feminism does not have to be a story of ‘Mama Amreeka’ coming to the rescue, or ‘Baba Abdullah’ choosing to ‘grant’ her rights. Feminism based on pride in its demand for civil rights, not pity, is worthy of praise. Feminism based on Power in the face of an oppressive state, not timidness, is the aim.”
Hannah Murphy focuses on sex and gender.
“4 Worst Media Misrepresentations of North Carolina’s Anti-Gay Amendment One,” by Kristin Rawls. AlterNet, May 13, 2012.
In the wake of Obama’s announcement in support of gay marriage, the passage of North Carolina’s Amendment One was construed in the media as a decision made by “poor inbred” southerners. AlterNet deconstructed the coverage, showing how it was misrepresented, and what, in fact, led to the passage of Amendment One—reflecting on what it could mean for similar amendments to come.
James Murphy focuses on migration in the 21st century.
“The Lovable Ms Lee.” The Economist, May 12, 2012.
“And now, the end is near. And so I face, the final curtain.” Somewhere new for the last edition of my immigration series—South Korea, the “world’s most rapidly aging country.” The subject of this Economist article is Ms. Jasmine Lee, the first foreign-born South Korean to win a seat in the National Assembly. Her story is an important first chapter in that country’s demographically-forced acceptance of immigration.
Erin Schikowski focuses on the politics and business of healthcare.
“Bridge to Health Reform ‘Undoable’ in San Luis Obispo,” by John Gonzales. California HealthCare Foundation, May 16, 2012.
In San Luis Obispo, California, Health Agency Director Jeff Hamm reluctantly chose not to participate in the Bridge to Reform (or Low Income Health) program, which would have provided free health coverage for the poor. In this piece, John Gonzales looks to San Luis Obispo as a case study and raises questions about why the county opted out of the program.
Elizabeth Whitman focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“Jordan struggling as Syrian refugees stream across the border.” Public Radio International, May 16, 2012.
Jordan has always been a refugee destination, beginning with Palestinians decades ago and continuing with Libyans, especially those seeking medical treatment, and now Syrians. But Jordan’s hospitality and resources are inevitably being strained as it struggles to provide housing, health care and education for Syrian refugees, whose stays are open-ended, while continuing to ensure that its own citizens have the same basic necessities. Meanwhile, international funds to help Jordan host these refugees have yet to materialize.