The modern news industry is in crisis. For years, formerly stalwart publications have been bought up, hollowed out, and sold for scrap by predatory (and often utterly incompetent) venture capital firms. The recent global outbreak of COVID-19 has further shattered the business as reporters and editors have been furloughed, or outright laid off, en masse. Now, as demonstrations across the country protesting George Floyd’s death at the knees of a Minneapolis cop grow in both scope and intensity, traditional newsrooms are finding their resources to cover these events spread thin. But into that coverage void has stepped a new generation of independent, internet-based journalists bringing the voices of the people in the streets to the eyes and ears of the American public, all without paywalls.
California - Senior editors and contributors at Truthdig, including Executive Editor Kasia Anderson, Managing Editor, Jacob Sugarman, Foreign Editor Natasha Hakimi Zapata and Book Editor Eunice Wong, along with columnists Chris Hedges, Lee Camp and Paul Street and the cartoonist Dwayne Booth, aka Mr. Fish, as well as blogger Ilana Novick, announced in a joint letter today they were beginning a work stoppage today to protest what they describe as unfair labor conditions and the effort by the publisher, Zuade Kaufman, to remove the site’s founding Editor-in-Chief and co-owner Robert Scheer. The letter, posted briefly on the site before being taken down and sent out to the 45,000 people on Truthdig’s email list, read:
This October, Facebook and Twitter deleted the accounts of hundreds of users, including many alternative media outlets maintained by American users. Among those wiped out in the coordinated purge were popular sites that scrutinized police brutality and U.S. interventionism, like The Free Thought Project, Anti-Media, and Cop Block, along with the pages of journalists like Rachel Blevins. Facebook claimed that these pages had “broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.” However, sites like The Free Thought Project were verified by Facebook and widely recognized as legitimate sources of news and opinion. John Vibes, an independent reporter who contributed to Free Thought, accused Facebook of “favoring mainstream sources and silencing alternative voices.”
Facebook has declared war on political dissent. In a rash of purges last week, the behemoth corporation banned 30 pages, with a total of 22 million fans, on the grounds that the accounts were “created to stir up political debate in the US, the Middle East, Russia and the UK.” At the top of the list were the anti-police lawlessness pages Cop Block , Filming Cops , The Free Thought Project and Police the Police, with a combined audience of 8.1 million. The other banned pages range across the non-establishment spectrum , from the reactionary Right Wing News, to Punk Rock Libertarians and the pro-marijuana page, Hemp. These pages are “inauthentic,” Facebook claims , because they “use sensational political content” to “drive traffic to their websites.”
During a closed-door and off-the-record meeting last week, top Facebook executive Campbell Brown reportedly warned news publishers that refusal to cooperate with the tech behemoth's efforts to "revitalize journalism" will leave media outlets dying "like in a hospice." "We desperately need to develop alternative delivery mechanisms to Facebook." —Judd Legum, ThinkProgress. Reported first by The Australian under a headline which read "Work With Facebook or Die: Zuckerberg," the social media giant has insisted the comments were taken out of context, even as five individuals who attended the four-hour meeting corroborated what Brown had stated. "Mark doesn't care about publishers but is giving me a lot of leeway and concessions to make these changes," Brown reportedly said, referring to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
On Friday, a landmark case against Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller concluded in San Francisco in which a jury awarded $289 million in damages to a former school groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, concluding that Roundup gave him terminal cancer. Naturally, Monsanto announced that they are going to appeal this case. However, what this case illustrates is a massive shift in the tide against the chemical behemoth. Had Johnson attempted this lawsuit just three years ago, he would’ve likely been laughed out of the courtroom. Thanks to the relentless independent investigations and independent media, however, this is all changing. If you get all of your news from mainstream media and cable TV infotainment, then you’re probably unaware that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide) has been linked to cancer.
It is with a heavy heart that we inform Consortiumnews readers that Editor Robert Parry has passed away. As regular readers know, Robert (or Bob, as he was known to friends and family) suffered a stroke in December, which – despite his own speculation that it may have been brought on by the stress of covering Washington politics – was the result of undiagnosed pancreatic cancer that he had been unknowingly living with for the past 4-5 years. He unfortunately suffered two more debilitating strokes in recent weeks and after the last one, was moved to hospice care on Tuesday. He passed away peacefully Saturday evening. He was 68. Those of us close to him wish to sincerely thank readers for the kind comments and words of support posted on recent articles regarding Bob’s health issues.
There really is a vast conspiracy to strangle radical dissent in the United States, under the broad heading of suppressing “Fake News” -- meaning reporting, analysis and advocacy that challenges the corporate narrative. The most active early conspirators emerged from Hillary Clinton’s campaign tent, packed with Wall Street and Silicon Valley operatives, lobbyists for all the profiteers of imperialist war, most of the corporate media, and the spies, assassins and information manipulators of the national security state. All were now Democrats – virtually the entire ruling class, brought together in terror of the unpredictable Donald Trump, a man known for his hatreds, but who failed to exhibit sufficient malice toward Russians or rhetorical loyalty to the free movement of global capital. Amazingly, the Democrats attacked Trump from the Right, reprising the McCarthy era of three generations ago. Trump was soft on the Kremlin . . .
For this edition of Now Age TV Indie Media Report, Craig Gordon speaks with Kevin Zeese, co-director with Margaret Flowers, of Popular Resistance, a website of daily movement news and resources. In this interview Craig Gordon and Kevin Zeese discuss the role of indendent media in shaping public opinion. They discuss the role of the independent political movement in helping to shape the political dialogue. The role of Popular Resistance is reporting on media for the movement is discussed along with the history of Popular Resistance. Zeese explains why the next phase of Popular Resistance emphasizes media even more, in particular with the creation of audio and video media in the new Popular Resistance studio.