Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The best media organization in the world (soon)

The current situation

Within the world of journalism, a strong criticism has emerged which gained traction since George W. Bush's presidency. Most of the news outlets, the "mainstream media" as it's often referred to, is accused of complacency with the powerful. As was described by Cenk Uygur after he left MSNBC, this is how things work: the political Establishment offers interviews to news organizations and in exchange for this "access" to themselves, they expect journalists to always present them in a favorable way. If a journalist dares to challenge the Establishment, this behavior will be punished by depriving the news organization of access, thereby condemning it to lose the interest of its audience... or more simply, the dissenting journalist will be kicked out so he learns to ask only the questions that the politicians want to hear.

In this bleak media landscape where journalists betray the trust of their audience and fail to stand up to their role as a counter-power, a few people still stand up to the powerful, question everything, and report stories that matter to help defending democracy, human beings rights, and civil liberties. Some of these remaining heroes take big risks. Powerful corporations may try to ruin their lives by drowning them in years of unending prosecutions. Some of them are targeted by governments and end up in a jail or in a coffin. Some of them need to seek asylum in a foreign embassy and their human being rights of movement are impeached by self-proclaimed democracies.

A few good men ...and woman

Among the remaining few good people, it is surprising (or maybe it isn't) to find that some of them are regular guests on Amy Goodman's pro-peace DemocracyNow program.

Glenn Greenwald has been a journalist for The Guardian where he used to focus on abuses of power by the political and financial elite, and how the well-connected enjoy exemptions from the law. This angle led to the writing of the book "With liberty and justice for some" which he discusses in the company of Noam Chomsky in the following video. Glenn Greenwald is also the journalist who has been reporting since June 6th, 2013 on the leaks by Edward Snowden about the American outreaching spying programs: PRISM, MAINWAY, XKeyScore, Upstream, Echelon, etc.

Jeremy Scahill came to the public's attention as war reporter who wrote "Blackwater: the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army" in which he denounced the crimes of American mercenaries that made up to half of all the American forces deployed in Iraq. The revelations in his book led to his witness account at a congressional hearing on the crimes committed by Blackwater. More recently, his journalistic investigations led him to Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which are the theater of operation of drones' strikes, signature strikes, and other war crimes perpetrated by the United States Government, including the targeted assassination of American citizens including a 16 year old. These accounts have been gathered in his latest book and the matching eponymous documentary: "Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield" which he discusses in the following video.

Laura Poitras is the one of the 3 personalities whom I know least about. A documentary producer, she dedicated some of her work to the exposure of the USA's security agencies (NSA, DHS) who abuse their power for intruding citizens' private life, though not suspect of any crime, and gathering massive amounts of private information in violation of the 1st and 4th amendment of the USA's constitution. The only occasions that I really heard about Poitras before the leaks by Edward Snowden were her cooperation with Julian Assange, founder of wikilkeaks, and another cooperation with Jacob Appelbaum, creator and leader of the Tor Project (which I discussed in that article). Since I am not familiar with Poitras' work, I'll propose you a lecture by Jacob Appelbaum instead, which I found fascinating.

Winter is coming

Anyway... here's the big news: Greenwald, Scahill and Poitras will join efforts together in a new media organization financed by Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar who allocated 250 million dollars for this new project.

For people interested in no-nonsense journalism, this is amazing news. 3 heavyweights of truth-telling and standing up to the Establishment joining forces is the promise of meaningful news. The name of this organization is not yet known, and nor is the time that it will start publishing though I hope it will have stories to tell before the end of the year.


I am very enthusiastic about this coming media organization that starts with the big street creds from these courageous journalists.

And in this article, you've been exposed to names of prominent journalists and activists whose work I highly respect and who are connected to other respectable journalists and activists.

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