tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN August 15, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EDT
the core principles and calls on governments, organizations and individuals to join the united states in pursuing a sustainable approach for delivering essential health services to more people. live coverage monday at 11:30 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> now an event with investigative journalists and authors. he's best known for the book
"blackwater the rise of the world's post powell mercenary army." this is about 55 minutes. >> thank you for that. pap is broad -- c-span is broadcasting this and i'm not actually speaking about independent media. i'm announcing my candidateship for wasilla. the rumors about me and bristol i won't comment on. i want to thank campus progress for hosting this conference and making scholarships available for so many young people to come here and to study journalism with some of the best people in the business. as was stated before, these are dark times in many ways for the media industry. we see newspapers going under, foreign reporting budgets slashed. it is not just a crisis of
economics. we are in a crisis when it comes to quality reporting. we live in this society where media permits -- personalities as figures that used to be considered journalists. we see it on fox but across the board. media is addicted to the sort of reality tv culture. in many ways i think we are being so dumbed down as a society that what happens in the lives of snooki and pauley d and the kids from "jersey shore" is reality and what is happening in war zones is somehow relegated to the back pages of the newspapers if even mentioned at all. we live in a culture where it is not just journalists are embedded with u.s. troops in war zones, but they are also becoming increasingly ideologically embedded with the powerful. before i came here i was
watching cnn and ed henry was discussing how he would go on vacation with president obama down to the gulf and the discussion that went on for almost two minutes is ed henry going to wear a speedo or bikini bottom. and it is friday and d.c. and things are slow maybe but the reality is if you look at how much time is spent on tv, and i'm talking about news channels discussing irrelevant issues or personal lives of the correspondents and pakistan is almost entirely under water and wasting time talking about ed henry's swim wear and you watch the twitter accounts, they party at joe biden's house an post pictures of a soaker war. when you party with the powerful and they are the people you drink with on the weekend how are you expected to report critically on them? that is part of the crisis where you have an incredible coziness
between journalists and t powerful. what we need desperately, and i think this is the main thing i want you to take away from this conference, we need a new generation of hungry journalists. we need a new generation -- i don't many literally -- i mean hungry for the truth and justice. journalists that are willing to be unembedded. that believe that there is no such thing as objectivity it journalism. that is a fiction. the "new york times" is not an only media outlet. it was not only when it was pushing for war and judith was placing the propaganda of the bush administration on the front page to be a conveyor pelt -- belt for the lives of the powerful. we need journalists who believe that giving voice to the voiceless is a crucial aspect of journalism. here in the united states and around the world. it means journalists willing to get away from the computers and tell journalism and go into war
zones and embed with the peel that live on the other side of the gun, that is the barrel of u.s. foreign policy, because it doesn't matter and i don't care how distasteful it is to see the face of war. until journalists are willing to show the american people that, these wars are going to continue. we have a responsibility in a democratic society as journalists to have a conscience. we don't just do tit for tat journalism, he said, she said journalism. there has to be heart. at the center of it has to be a twofold mission. hold those in power accountable and giving voice to the voiceless. on accountability i want to make sure there are no professional leftists here and if you are robert gibbs needs to see your drug test. i found it fascinating that the white house spokesperson lashed out against people he called the professional left for comparing some of obama's policies to that
of the bush administration. because it was the president himself who repeatedly on the trail said if i win i want you to hold me accountable. we need to have a discussion in this country and it is not happening in the corporate media culture in this country. there are many ways which this white house policies are either as bad as the bush administration's or worse. and it is the position or should be the position of journalists to point that out to hold this president accountable and not be attacked for doing so by one of the most powell officials in -- one of the most powerful officials in washington. if you take away partisan rhetoric and look at the facts you will see what i mean. journalists have a responsibility to be the same people they are when someone they like is in power as when someone they dislike is in power. i would put forward that our principles, our courage and bravery, our ethics are defined when those we like and agree
with in power not like when george bush is in power who many can put a list of items they couldn't stand about bush or his policies. but the reality is that this administration has kept guantanamo open, has denied habeas corpus rights to prisoners around the world. in many ways the prison in afghanistan is like president obama's guantanamo. the president has even gone further than president bush in defending the right of government to spy on citizens. it has intervened in lawsuits brought during the bush remember ra -- bush era and the obama administration has taken it further than the bush administration and has said that under the patriot act there is no federal law that can be used to dismantle the state's secrets act that the president keeps invoking or to prosecute unlawful activity of the government because of sovereign
immunity. this devastating to issues of privacy and civil rights in this country. the obama administration in the form of the speech the president gave last year has put forward right of the government of the united states to detain people around the world indefinitely without charge and without any hope of a trial. this administration also has asserted the right to assassinate united states citizens. there was a citizen from new mexico who is believed to reside in yemen. you can see the search mondays -- sermons he approaches. i don't think he is a very noble individual but he is a u.s. individual and he has rights to due process. when the center for constitutional rights and alcu tried to say we want to represent this american citizen and make sure haste due process before he is nated in a missile strike or a drone strike or covert operation by the c.i.a.
or joint special operations command, the treasury department said you can't do that and blocked them from representing him for free because they had him identified as a terrorist and said they would be violating treasury department regulation even if they represented him. they had to sue the obama administration and they were allowed to represent this man, a u.s. citizen who was targeted for assassination by his own got. when this was first announced by the obama administration i started calling democrats on capitol hill, left wing democrats, people that if this was bush doing this they would have spoken out about it. no one would return calls or make a comment. the one predictable person who had the courage to say something about it was the man that robert gibbs is attacking, dennis kucinich. people must be crazy to support him. but dennis kucinich if you read the bill he introduced saying the united states shouldn't target people for assassination all he is doing is we want this country to respect the constitution. we want its leaders to respect
the constitution. out of the hundreds of democrats that serve in the congress you know how many co-sponsored that legislation? five. that shows the utter lack of spine that exists in the political culture that we are leg in right now -- living in when we are not able to get more than six democrats to stand up against assassination without due process. we look at the war in afghanistan where this president has case lated the conflict there. each month bloodier than the last for u.s. soldiers. afghanistan civilians are in a terrible situation. in pakistan it is not just flooding but you have multiple wars on the ground. you have various resistance forces some of which are allied to the taliban, some related to al qaeda, bombing civilian marketplaces then a covert u.s. war where special forces are engaged in black operations in pakistan. then you have this administration bombing pakistan
every week for the most part using predator drones and reaper drones. some of them are done by the c.i.a. others are done by the military through the joint special operations command. this administration i think many people believed was going to do something to take head on the issue of the radical privatization of war. perhaps there is no more potent symbol of how little policy has changed than obama administration gave blackwater two new contracts last month. this is the mercenary firm that is so closely linked to the bush administration that eric prince and dick cheney project -- probably share the same straw in a milk shake. the obama administration gave them a new contract to protect diplomats in afghanistan and global contract to work with the c.i.a. around the world feel this is a country involved with extrajudicial killing, involved with the outright murder of afghan civilians according to
the justice department, slaughtered 17 iraq civilians in baghdad, five of the company's top stkaoufs were -- executives were indicted on federal conspiracy the five under the owner of the company. they are investigated by practically everybody of the federal government and as well as the congress. yet they continue to give, this administration continues to give back water these contracts. secretary of state hillary clinton, when chefs running for -- when she was running for president was only the second sponsor in the senate of legislation aimed at big papiing the companies. she said i will ban blackwater if you elect me. now she is blackwater's boss and is asking for a doubling of the mercenary force in iraq. we are talking about a withdrawal from iraq, draw down in iraq. you read the communications and look at the requests from the state department to the pentagon you will see that the secretary
of state is asking for a pa paramilitarization of u.s. diplomatic activity in iraq. we have a monstrous embassy in baghdad the size of 80 football fields. we have an embassy the size of the vatican in iraq. that necessary states a massive paramilitary force. the secretary of state is also asking for military type vehicles to replace the u.s. military ones when they leave the country and asserts the united states intends to keep five enduring presence posts around iraq. what we are seeing is a backdoor continuation of the iraq occupation by using the private sector and these companies are eating it up. in afghanistan and iraq right now combined there are 250,000 private contractors operating alongside a less number -- or a lower number of u.s. troops. right now in the global battlefield the united states
has more private sector individuals on its payroll fighting these wars than it does u.s. soldiers. 70% of the combined budget of the dozen and a half intelligence agencies we have is used to purchase the services or goods of private contractors. 69% of all of the people employed by the department of defense are private contractors. we have heard a lot recently about leaks fpblt the person suspected of leaking the 90,000 documents from the aflg waver is a -- afghan war is a 22 analyst named bradley manning. i reviewed his online tkhaots he had with a hacker turned info informer and what is clear from the chats they had was that bradley manning believed that what he was doing by leaking what he did -- it is unclear if
he leaked them but he admits to leaking the collateral murder video that showed the helicopter attack and diplomatic cables from the state department and task force papers relating to the prison in guantanamo. but what he cites as the motivation is a belief people need to see what is in the documents. he says i could have gone rogue and sold them to china or russia but my whole belief was that i wanted to stir up a discussion and debate. i believe that information should be free. you can make your own moral judgment about what you think of bradley manning and what he has apparently admitted to. but what he doesn't say in the chats is that he leaked the afghan war documents. he's already been convicted before he has gone to any kind of trial. and daniel ellsberg, who is the one who leaked the pentagon papers has called him a heroic whistle blower. but is lost in the shuffle of this as congressman mike regions
of michigan calls for manning to be executed, the former speechwriter for president bush basically said he wants to have the founder of wicky leaks rendered by special forces and brought to trial, is that this was one man in an army across the world of people, bradley manning, that had access to secret documents. they were not top-secret. they were secret documents, of a lower classification than many of the documents that private contractors have access to. and in this country right now there are over 800,000 employees of private intelligence companies or war companies. they have access to top-secret documents. these individuals are not in the united states army, not in the united states military and not employees of the united states government. they are private contractors. these individuals on a regular basis have access to some of the most sensitive intelligence gathered and produced in this country and they simultaneously
work for the u.s. government, for foreign governments and for multinational corporations. what is to say there wasn't a security breach from one of those individuals? the real crisis we have right now in terms of national security is not about bradley manning. it is about the radical outsourcing of our national security policy to for-profit corporations who answer to their bottom line and profit more than they do to their flag and their country. yet almost no one talks about 2 that on capitol hill. it is a nonissue. why? because of the campaign finance system in this country. war is business and business is good and democrats and republicans alike take huge contributions from the war industry. no one wants to upset that cart. but it is the responsibility of journalists to do precisely that. this is not partisan. it is not about who is in power. it is about the consistency of our profession. we are the people that are responsible journalists for
providing information to citizens in this country and around the world that will empower them to make their own decisions. my plea to you would be to be that new generation of unembedded journalists. blogging is great. tweeting is fun. it is cool to think of working in a newsroom somewhere. talking points, memos, sheriffing ton post -- huffington post but what we need are courageous young journalists willing to make not a lot of money, to go out into the field to gather the stories no one else is gathering. to give voice to the people that otherwise wouldn't have a voice and be the unpopular journalist, the one that asks the complicated when -- question when everyone wants to go home. the one that doesn't care about the powerful and don't want to be near rahm emanuel. i want to be the with respect
who asks the tough questions. one of the best journalists in this country is someone you probably never heard rick rowley. a very good friend of mine. he is an independent journalist and he has an independent production house called big noise films. he has spent the better part of the last decade going in and out of iraq unembedded. he tells the stories of the people that get killed in the knit raids you hear about. -- night raids. the ones left to suffer without electricity, gas or food. of widows and orphans. he goes around to combat zones. part of the reason you have never heard of him is because his work is almost never shown in this country. he reports largely for international media. al japanesing -- al-jazeera. most people see a different picture of the war. our best go to the war zone and hang out with the troops.
and that is an important part of the story and i want to know what david patraeus is saying. but i'm more interested in what are afghan civilians saying. what is their life like? that is the reality i want to see because that is the reality that would threaten to change the way things are and that is the reality tv show they won't allow because the corporations won't buy the ads for it and people will flip the channel. we, young journalists, need to challenge that system and break the chains of this reality tv society we are living in. that is the challenge in front of you and i look forward to your questions and comments. [applause]
>> i'm from the boston college gavel and i was wondering how you thought the dilution of media like how you were saying they spend so much time talking about bathing suits and stuff has been pushed by the proliferation of media and the 24-hour network and how much news do they really have >> if you watch cable news you will see more of that than just watching a network newscast at night. but i think that unfortunately what could have been a very good thing in terms of proliferation of the 24-hour news cycle and rise of cable news has turned in a disastrous thing where i think it is helping to numb people and dumbed down news for the most part. i think that one of the unfortunate realitys is that one of the great institutions in this country, pbs, is almost
entirely held by the mcdonald's corporation or sesame is brought to you by the letter z for suzanne next. but bill moy years off the wear and replacing it with right wing news programs. the rise of the power of right wing media outlets. there's been a fox newsization of cable news. and while msnbs is portrayed as the liberal alternative to fox, my concern about msnbc is there is too much of a blue state fox. that it has become sort of the talking points for liberals or talking points from the white house versus being a truly independent outlet that wants to hold those in power accountable. and i think that a big part of the problem is sort of the coziness of the press corps with the powerful. i think we are seeing it in a more pronounced way under this administration because i think
that journalists, they like this president more and they like to hang out with white house officials. they are their friends. and that is why you are seeing a reflection of their inside the beltway coziness on television. the flip side is there is a lot of great independent media being proufd. the democracy now when i started there it was on 30 radio stations and now it is easily the biggest independent media project in the country and on television and radio every day in this country. i think there is a lot of exciting young journalists doing great work. the challenge is how do you get it out to a wider kwrepbs. -- wider audience. >> samuel collins from ace magazine. earlier you talked about infotainment and entertainment as news. we understand that politics is
very important but as journalists how do we write stuff that is important to people but appealing to them like say if i want to write about what is happening in the white house or something of importance or like aids in d.c. hour do i write it so people enjoy it but it is informing because that is important because it is important but they don't want to hear about it, they want to hear about snooki or whatever you said. >> i think that is a big challenge right now. i think you are raising an issue that is one that i think ail of us that already work in media should be discussing on a regular basis. i think a lot of stories are written for a certain group of people in this country. i don't think there's a lot of serious journalism aimed at young performance, for instance. and i think there is an utter lack of cultural understanding of the sort of way things are with young folks across the board on the part of established media outlets.
i think that one thing this generation could really do, this generation of journalists, is combined some of the exciting new media tools with old fashioned muckraking and narrative nonfiction. it is a dying breed and we need more narrative nonfiction in our journalism where you are telling stories of real people. real people's lives are exciting and that is one reason this inventoryies particular culture is so addictive. but you rarely see the real lives of people whose stories indicate something broader about what is happening in this country. i think that we need to also be very mind fful in the culture o new media not to step away from what was i think essential in old school journalism, fact checking, peer review, editing. part of it is finding stories that speak to experiences of the people you are trying to reach. i don't think the powerful media outlets often do that.
i think that is one of the great things that people like yourself and others here is one of the challenges and would be great if more young journalists were doing this, writing from the heart, telling stories of real people. you could almost co-op some of the tools of that culture and make it real so to speak. >> haley cohen. how do you balance being the unpopular journalist and getting the whole story and not ail i don't know tphaeugt the more -- alienating the more powerful people? >> you don't. i will tell you a true story. i have been to every democratic and republican convention since 1996 and i always feel kind of like a kid at a candy shop when i go in like with the press
credential because all of these people that refuse to return my calls or calls of my colleagues or we are not allowed to go to t the parties that they have, they are also stuck in a confined space and so we literally i kind of am known as a super nerd because i have all the faces of congressmen memorized so we are chasing the people around and asking them questions. so every four years that is my little party is running. and if you look at the work on democracy now at both of the conventions that is one thing we were doing it 2008. we were asking the democrats questions about the democratic platform and overlapping similarities with bush administration policy particularly on foreign policy. of course there are stark differences between obama and bush on a lot of policies. i do foreign policy and there is very little difference. and at the republican convention the same, going after the politicians for the incredibly heinous policies they have
endorsed and things they have said, votes they have cast, money they have taken from corporate donors and you have to pick which side you will cast your lot with. because the powerful people don't like being asked uncomfortable questions. and i think that that is part of the reason i think there is a sort of pay to play climate in washington where there is a line that is never going to be crossed unless the person is so battered in public. look at what has happened with charlie rangel, there was reluctance for people to go after him. once he became a punching bag the gates were opened and it was like ok to pile on when it was clear the ship was sinking. i think that is a lot of what happens in washington is that one person does it, opens the gates. but i think it is more important to keep your integrity and principle than to keep access to the powerful. i'm sure there are journalists
that would disagree with me about that. >> jared johnson. i want to know how would the proposed google verizon version of net neutral iity affect not only journalism in the current state but affect jung journalists' -- young journalists' ability it do proper news? >> i think this is one of the premier issues facing journalism, but young performance because young people are going to inherit a far left democratic internet than currently exists right now. if these corporations are allowed to make access to certain sites much easier, or promote those sites in a way that really unlevels the playing field of the internet i think it will be disastrous for independent media. i think that is one reason why you have seen independent organizations join in lawsuits
and speak out and entire organization free press was started around this issue years ago. that is also why the electronic frontier foundation and others have tried to litigate the warrantless wiretap stuff. all of this is ultimately under the umbrella of decreasing our civil liberties because that is part of that includes having a vibrant democratic media. and i think that every young journalist but also journalists across the board and young people in particular should be very active in opposing this. it would be disastrous. these corporations are getting more and more powerful by the mome moment. and there is incredible media consolidation that is happening. juan gonzalez, a colleague of mine a columnist for the "new york daily news" is writing a book that will be out that started as a history of media started and owned by people of color, but what it has turned into is a history of media
consolidation because the two have been intertwined. the destruction of black newspapers, targeting of mexican media outlets in this count is the story of media consolidation. so, i would encourage people to look for that. it is a very serious issue. >> i'm francis from ucla. what are some good domestic journalism we can reading or referring to learning about the big issues out there? >> mac mcclellan from mother jones has been hands down the best reporter in reporting on the gulf oil spill and the disastrous war on the environment that is being waged by big oil corporations. the reason her journalism has been so powerful is because she is telling the stories of people
whose lives are affected in a way that is just so much more detailed and real than what you see even in visual media. and also holding the corporation and government accountable. i think that if you look at the reporting that is being done by the nation magazine, a magazine that i work for, on economic issues in this country, on issues that are affecting working people, i think that the magazine is getting better and better every year. if you are talking about the prison industrial complex or racial issues, color lines is a media collective. left turn, which is -- which was built up by a number of people in the gulf but very much due to the work of an independent journalist named jordan flaherty. you will see stories not often
covered by corporate media outlets. that is what i was getting to before when the young man was asking about journalism that translates in the culture and what people are interested in. it depends on what culture you are part of. largely big corporate media outlets are directing their news coverage at well off white people and i think that is a big problem with big journalism today. >> hi. many peel in this room are in college and are listening to you speak about this type of journalism and i'm sure are pretty excited about the prospect of engaging in it. there are only so many positions in in places like the nation and democracy now that are receptive to this continued of reporting. how do we break into this? >> that is a very good question.
the only way i think i could answer it is i could tell you about how i ended up accidentally in the position of being a journalist. i don't have a journalism degree. when i applied for an internship at the nation i was rejected. i work there now but i never got an internship at the nation. i have had like interns. i don't have a college degree. so i decided i wanted to do media and basically stalked amy goodman like if you have a dog i will walk the dog, feed your cat. wash your windows and i think she was debating between getting a restraining order and giving me a chance. and eventually she told me i could come in to volunteer but she was not sure if it would work out. i went in that day and stayed like 14 hours and kind of never left. the first job i had in journalism was amy was paying me $40 a day out of her pocket to
write the news headlines in the morning and i used to go in and i would buy, she would give me 20 bucks and i would buy newspapers i was like a chain smoker and sit in this room at the station cutting out news stories from the "new york times" and corporate media before we had the internet, just it date how old i am and i would cross out the bad politics of "new york times" and write a different way of saying it so it was a radio and amy would read this tilted papers and times they would get out of line and i basically sort of begged my way into a newsroom and learned the technical side of radio. i learned how to edit tape and started working with journalists so i learned it as a trade rather than a profession or an academic study. and literally what i started doing was going to countries around the world by begging for money from rich people and asking, you know, can you pitch
in $200 or $300, i want to go to iraq. i went and i had no idea what i was doing and wasn't getting paid for the work. the most i paid was like $14,000 in the 1990's one year. but i was going and writing for free for places like common dreams and counterpunch and e-mail spafrps to those -- dispatches to those places and try to introduce myself. part of it is i was probably irresponsibleably not thinking of it as a living in terms of my financial situation but i didn't care. i felt if i can't get a job i will try to do it. i'm not saying that works for everyone. i also think i was fortunate and lucky to meet some of the people i met. but i do think it speaks to something deeper and that is journalism as a trade rather than a career. if you want to do it for life it has to be burning in your heart in some way or another. part of it is about what internships do you get but part
of it is initiative and being there and changing a chance and saying i'm going to try to raise $5,000 and go to lebanon for three months or four months and see what happens. if that is the kind of journalism that you want to do. a large part of it is not being willing to give up. the best journalists i know are people that in one way or another ended up taking that road. i don't know many that went the route of internship. assistant staff writer. bureau chief. i don't know many people like that. most of the people i know are people like this is a way of life. it is not a career. i don't know if into is helpful -- i don't know if that is helpful but i meet a lot of people that have the same path they have taken in one form or another. >> i'm nick from north by northwestern. it seems to me that insurgent media is getting a lot of power. things like wikileaks and i
would say the next five or 10 years we may see more chaos. do you agree and think this is a good thing? >> first of all, wikileaks is not a media outlet. in a way it doesn't matter to the point that is an interesting one. bright bart, i think what andrew brightbart did to shirley sherrod was reprehensible and racist. i think that what james o'keefe did to acorn was reprehensible and racist. i think it was also shameful that the powerful democrats in both cases refused in realtime to step up and denounce it for what it was. so, having said that, i think you are right, that you are going to see a lot more sort of
gorilla tactics like we have seen with wikileaks. brightbart is more dishonest ambushing of people and the targeting of people who in the case of both acorn and shirley sherrod those were utterly false. but it is what sells. i think that is a big part. and i don't even mean making money. look at the headlines caused by wikileaks and what is amazing is how the conversation has degenerated into a discussion almost exclusively about the names of afghans being listed in those documents. if i was the one releasing them i wouldn't have put the names of afghanistans out there. that is something only wikileaks can answer as to why they did that. but the idea that because they were released in the way they were or because they did that that they shouldn't be subjected to a congressional investigation or examined for what they say
about the war, you take that and you juxtapose it with the recent "time" magazine cover where bbie was shown, 18-year-old young woman who had her nose an ears chopped off and what she says is it was the result of a judgment by the taliban that led to her being butchered in that way. the "time" magazine cover doesn't ask the question, it declares what happens if we leave afghanistan? women in afghanistan, this happened under the u.s. occupation of afghanistan. this butchering of her. the united states for years dealt with the taliban. we helped to create the mujahidin, funded the people responsible for 9/11 during the 1980's and 1990's as part of the war against the soviets in the 1980's and against yugoslavia laugh in the 1910eu9d. -- yugoslav in the 1990's. with the wiki leak documents, it should show there is an ongoing
humanitarian crisis caused by our presence there and what happens if we stay in afghanistan. i think that we see, to bring it back to your point, a clash of media civilization where you have the establishment "time" magazine narrative and sort of more insurgent tactics of dumping documents on the world and doing it brilliantly coordinating with three of the most powerful media outlets in the world. it is something that will be studied in classes for years to come. >> earlier you talked in how journalists in washington are too close with senators and congress people and it is too much of a back yard barbecue. how does that apply to college campuses where students try to get close to administrators and burning a bridge for us means that is the ends. we won't get access after we
step on someone's toes. and it goes for the publication. if somebody from a publication says something that is the end. no one has any more access. >> part of the problem and i suspect this is part of what you are saying, i don't know how many of you work for a media outlet on campus. many media outlets on campuses are owned or controlled by the school. i think that is a very serious problem. i think there should be more move to negotiate total autonomy for outlets that are student run. i could see some cases where there need to be faculty involvement in these publications for continuity and leadership and such. but i do think that that should not be the moral challenge when you are talking about it.
it should be a logistical challenge. but there would be nothing more noble than losing your job by legitimately taking down a corrupt official, a corporation on a campus that is involved with some nefarious activity around the world. that is real journalism. real journalists sometimes lose their jobs because of the risks they have taken and stories they have done. and i think we need those kinds of journalists that are willing to take the chances and it comes with consequences but also we could systemically look at trying to negotiate greater autonomy for student run media outlets. i remember at the university of wisconsin there are two publications. one was the daily cardinal which is controlled by the university. the other was the badger herald which was independently funded and started by william buckley to support the vietnam war but game an independent student newspaper and has substantially more independence than the more
liberal leaning paper on the campus did. but that is a microcosm of the media ownership today in this country. i think we have time for a couple more. >> i'm from the f-word from the university university of pennsylvania. you hear the barrier between the truth and people. do you think we need to force the truth on them or is there another way we can go about that? >> i think that as steven colbert says truth has a liberal bias. i think that one of the greatest things we can do is provide people with information that empowers them and that has heart and provides them with a story or a narrative or information that might encourage them to be
more active. in a way, i think there needs to be a barrier broken down that separates people from many truths in this country. a large part of it, i think, is providing them with information that empowers them. often we are full of garbage on television. it nonsense and jibber iish instead of of information performance could use to change things. i keep coming back to the war because i think it is the clearest example. if we saw on a daily basis the consequences of the wars in iraq, afghanistan and pakistan, i believe in the genuine goodness of people and they would be furious and would be sad at what the war looks like. >> i was wondering why it is that issues like blackwater or
more important or more real journalism than something like snooki who shapes and reflects the common shared culture of the american people, and why it is that -- or how it is smaller publications can address the interests of the nation as a whole without reaching the entire population. >> a lot of people in this country would object to snooki represents the common shared culture. she represents john mccain's campaign in some ways. but it is an incredible coup she makes it into the discussions of the white house and here and i did it myself. snooki is not running around killing innocent civilians and not being funded with no-bid contracts by democrats and republicans alike. i think there is something to be said about the reality tv
culture and you may choose a snooki angle or another angle into the story. i think that if you look at the corporate media coverage of the war over the past 10 years, you will see that most of the information is there. but it is left to you to connect the dots. "new york times," "washington post," "l.a. times," "time" magazine, "newsweek," all of them have reported on the things talked about about blackwater, drone bombings, targeted assassinations. but they are few and far between and no drum beat coverage to say to people this is something really important. we saw the impact of drum beat coverage in the lead-up to the iraq war where you had the coordinated campaign between the administration and allies and corporate media. any changed public perception
and helped lead the country in war. if we had the moral equivalent taking place where people were being presented with a mental of urgency -- a message of urgency about the policies i think we would see it wouldn't be niche publications or smaller independent publications. i think we would -- i think we have moved from that culture of journalists as protectors in a way of not only freedom of speech but of access to information from the powerful. in terms of relevant, i think that it is what has been drilled in people's heads and it is altering the culture. it has altered our way of seeing the world by the name of reality tv. it is as though the lives of others becomes reality and i think that this is stuff for psychologists and others to study. but i do think we are -- it has contributed to a degradation of journalism has a whole.
i think we are going to have to wrap up in in about four minutes or so. >> i'm with the michigan independent. i was wondering if you could share your thoughts on bl blogging's role in the world of skwrufrpl. i have -- journalism. i have noticed a tension between the two that bloggers can't be journalists, et cetera, et cetera. >> i think bloggers very much can be journalists. i will give you a couple of examples. i would imagine one of the people that robert gibbs was expressing his outrage about was glen greenwald a constitutional lawyer who is a daily blog ger and one of the best journalists we have in the country. i don't know if glen would want to identify himself as a journalist but i see him that way because he does interviews and back check the powerful and focuses on issues and a lot of people read him. he is funny, smart and he has a
cultural understanding of what is happening across the board in this country and around the world. i think it helps that he doesn't live here. he blogs from brazil where he lives. but he covers the united states. and i think in a way that helps because he doesn't get sucked into the vortex of the washington culture. the other great unsung hero of online journalism is a young woman named marcy wheeler whose blog empty wheel is must read every day for national security reporting. she regularly scoops "new york times" on issues regarding torture, civil liberties, the war. the times has been forced to credit her at times because she has beaten them to a story. i think if you look at the role that talking points memo has played in covering politics on a daily basis, there is some things that it does that i don't particularly like but they have changed the game.
and when it comes to online journalism by having serious reporters that are doing a combination of old school journalism, muckraking, and blogging. i think it is one of the most exciting parts of being a young journalist right now. and if you are tech savvy, because it is an open frontier. i think the best bloggers are the ones that are most serious about keeping intact what was good about old school journalism. you have to have the facts straight. you have to call people and check things. i think that bloggers are journalists. i don't think there should be a debate about that. it just has to do with what tool they are using. just because you are not printed on a press doesn't mean you are not journalist. >> how can we as student journalists increase credibility against the major media outlets? as we are in a publication a lot
of times student are in iran, palestine and say an event takes place and c tphfrblgts n reports it and a student has been there but reports something else but our report is kicked aside as a student publication, they don't know what they are talking about. >> i think that one of the big mistakes that powell u.s. media outlets made when the united states was gearing up to invade iraq and was on the ground in afghan was not -- afghanistan of not building greater partnerships with the media in those regions. the war on al-jazeera has been unbelievable. al-jazeera for the most part is a much more responsible news outlet than cnn is because they are showing all sides of the war. anyone who calls al-jazeera a terrorist organization or accused it of being linked to terrorism is an idiotic person.
al-jazeera is the only outlet that i was kicked out of saddam's iraq and bush's iraq. i bring this up because you had reporters that knew the region, spoke the language, had connections that could have informed u.s. public opinion in a way far more democratic than what we had by being willing to team up with unlikely partners. the same could be said of the journalist, student journalists with independent or progressive media outlets. i think it would be great if the nation magazine or mother jones or others did more outreach to student journalists particularly those that are from abroad or have access to areas of the world where u.s. policy is very much in full swing. i think that one thing you can do is reach out and offer those partnerships to bigger media t outlets saying we have a student that is doing great reporting, would you take a piece from him or her. it would be great. like i was saying before you have to are hungry and keep
trying and eventually i think it will land. you just have to be willing to hear no a bunch of times before somebody says yes. i think we are wrapping up here but there is one thing i wanted to say before we left. firm, thank you for coming and for enduring through this on such a nice washington day of smog, fog and flack. i wanted to end by issuing a challenge in the form of reading you something that was done by the policy in a case brought by the center of constitutional rights for two prisoners that died at guantanamo. this speaks directly to the issues of responsibility and ethics of journalists. the assistant attorney general tony west who works under eric holder intervened in a case where two individuals died and the families filed a lawsuit against donald rumsfeld, general
myers, the chair of the joint chief of staff and 22 other military officials. they intervened in the case, the obama administration did, to exonerate rumsfeld and the others to say we will remove them and say you can't sue them because they were doing was in the course of their official duties. what obama's assistant attorney general said in this case where there was alleged allegation of torture. he said the type of activities alleged against the individual defendants were foreseeable and were a direct outgrowth of their responsibility to detain and gather intelligence from suspected enemy combatants. he says genocide, torture, forced relocation and cruel and tee grading treatment by defendants were within the scope of their employment. genocide, torture, forced relocation, cruel and inhuman and degrading treatment were in
the scope of employment of rumsfeld, myers and 22 other officials for torture at guantanamo. when robert gibbs attacks people for having the audacity to question some of the policies of this president it is ultimately an attack on free media. the challenge is to always be consistent. be the same journalist you are when someone you like is in power as you would with be when somebody you dislike is in power because that is the future of this country. young people like you becoming journalists of conscience. thank you very much for coming today. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> thank you very much. that was a terrific speech. we will now take a break and get into our media criticism section so feel free to take a bathroom
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