Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most 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 please use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.
Angela will be focusing on money in politics.
“Fulfilling Kennedy’s Promise: Why the SEC Should Mandate Disclosure of Corporate Political Activity,” by John Coates and Taylor Lincoln. Public Citizen, September 2011.
Professor John Coates of Harvard Law School and Taylor Lincoln of Public Citizen make the case for mandatory disclosure of political spending by publicly traded corporations in a report showing—contrary to popular assumption—that politically active companies that disclose their activities are valued more highly than those that do not.
Cal will be following the drug war and human rights in Latin America.
“Napolitano denies knowledge of Fast and Furious gun-tracking program,” by Jordy Yager. The Hill, Sept. 13, 2011.
Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano denied to a senate investigation committee that she had knowledge of the ATF’s Fast & Furious program, a covert program where the bureau authorized the sale and distribution of assault weapons to straw-buyers for Mexican drug cartels in an effort to track the weapons. The botched operation has already resulted in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, but top-ranking Obama administration officials are still denying prior knowledge of the program before ATF Director Kenneth Melson stepped down from his position.
Teresa will focus on "Global South" politics, or sociopolitical developments in areas of the developing world.
“Wikileaks cable: Ethiopia reporter Argaw Ashine ‘flees.’” BBC, Sept. 15, 2011
After suffering repeated government interrogations, Ethiopian reporter Argaw Ashine has told the BBC that he has fled his country because he was cited in a US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks last month. Though Wikileaks denies that any "journalistic source" is named in the leaked cable, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claims that this is the first instance in which a citation in a Wikileaks cable has caused direct repercussions for a journalist.
Paolo will be following war, peace, and security.
“The Journalist and the Spies: The murder of a reporter who exposed Pakistan’s secrets,” by Dexter Filkins. The New Yorker, Sept. 19, 2011.
I chose this piece because I read the book that Shahzad wrote, and I thought it was a really good piece of investigative work. I also believed that his work could have shed some light on the Pakistani regime, and that it could have contributed in setting the tone for a new roadmap toward transparency and conflict resolution in the region. I was deeply wrong.
Erika will be following the environmental movement.
“Facing the Forests: Can community land management save forests—and fight climate change?” by Dorian Merina. The Caravan, May 1, 2011.
The UN has named 2011 the ‘International Year of the Forests’ and is focusing on local indigenous communities in the fight to protect forests worldwide and mitigate climate change. Dorian Merina’s story, published in The Caravan in May, but equally relevant now, paints a vivid picture of community-managed forest preservation in the Philippines.
Josh will be covering the labor beat.
“Longshore Workers Dump Scab Grain to Protect Jobs,” by Evan Rohar. Labornotes, Sept. 8, 2011.
This week I’m watching the Washington State showdown between members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) and a new management consortium set on doing their work without them. In a scene that’s become rare in the US labor movement, workers from across the state have been blocking train tracks, defying a restraining order, and halting production.
Eli will be looking at the intersection of politics, ideas and economics from a macro perspective.
“The Non-Scenic Route to the Place We’re Going Anyway,” by John Lanchester. London Review of Books, Sept. 8, 2011.
This piece by John Lanchester in the London Review of Books offers a very good, wide-angle account of the insanity of international austerity politics.
Collier will be following discrimination.
“A Racial Profiling Victim on 9/11 Shares Her Story,” by Arturo R. García. Racialicious, Sept. 14, 2011.
As we rounded the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 this past Sunday with a day-long commemoration of the lives lost in the tragedy, one woman, Shoshana Hebshi was removed from a plane and detained for appearing Arab. The incident serves as a harsh reminder for us work to affirm the honor of those wrongfully and unlawfully profiled.
Allie will be following human rights.
“The pursuit of happiness: In Bhutan, progress is measured by how happy people are, not how much wealth people have,” by Robert Costanza. Al Jazeera, Sept. 13, 2011.
Following the recent transition of Bhutan from a monarchy to a democracy, the tiny country tucked between India and the Tibetan region of China revisits its 40-year-old gross national happiness—or "GNP"–initiative by polling its people directly. The piece, written by an American professor of sustainability, details the ways in which the more traditional measurement of GDP growth does not necessarily reflect social progress. It’s refreshing to see human rights—such as clean natural resources and "recreational and spiritual opportunities"—addressed not as a response to crisis, but as a tool to prevent it.
Jin will be following the US’s image in international media.
“China: Now With America’s Attention Back,” by John Kennedy. Global Voices, Sept. 13, 2011.
Fully embracing the ideologies of democracy, freedom, and fairness, Chinese writer Yang Hengjun argues that the US has a track record of successfully defeating formidable enemies—such as the former Soviet Union—with its ideologies, a strategy that the US should stick to instead of engaging in the "War on Terror," which has greatly hurt its core strength. Critiquing Sino-US relations and China’s undernourished democracy, the article reflects the keen interest that many Chinese hold in the US politics and foreign policy, and the Chinese perceptions of these issues, even though some may be overly romantic, naive or idiosyncratic.