Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Journalists and activists ‘laundering’ genocidal regimes

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad writes: A week after Damascus feted a delegation of the European far right, Bashar al-Assad’s regime ushered in a new set of suitors. On Sunday, the American blogger and Sputnik contributor Max Blumenthal announced his arrival in Syria with a selfie. The caption read: “Here I am near the border of Jobar, a neighborhood east of Damascus occupied by the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam until early last year.

With Trump in office, major newspapers increasingly quoted anti-immigrant groups without explaining who they were

The Intercept reports: The Center for Immigration Studies, a far-right, anti-immigrant group, was frequently cited by major U.S. newspapers in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency — without mention of the group’s deep ties to the Trump administration, according to a report released Thursday. Ninety percent of news articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today that cited the Center for Immigration

Bernie Sanders on his plan for journalism

Bernie Sanders writes: Walter Cronkite once said that “journalism is what we need to make democracy work.” He was absolutely right, which is why today’s assault on journalism by Wall Street, billionaire businessmen, Silicon Valley, and Donald Trump presents a crisis—and why we must take concrete action. Real journalism is different from the gossip, punditry, and clickbait that dominates today’s news. Real journalism, in the words of Joseph Pulitzer, is

Can the president of Brazil jail Glenn Greenwald for publishing leaks?

Adriana Carranca writes: On June 9, The Intercept began publishing a series of investigative stories that sent shocks through Brazil. The pieces appeared to supply evidence that Sergio Moro, Brazil’s Justice Minister and the former top judge in a major corruption investigation, colluded with federal prosecutors to convict prominent political figures—among them, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who had been leading 2018 election polls and was rendered ineligible to

Audiences are (finally) paying more attention to climate stories

Andrew McCormick writes: For years, conventional wisdom has held that climate coverage is not especially good for business. The story always seemed too abstract, or too technical, to command attention. “It was pathetic,” David Gelber, who for decades was a producer at CBS’s 60 Minutes, says, reflecting on the consistent absence of environmental reporting in mainstream outlets. “It baffles me. This is such a dramatic story. When they write the

Glenn Greenwald becomes target of effort to criminalize journalism in Brazil

The Associated Press reports: Several weeks after publishing explosive reports about a key member of Brazil’s far-right government, U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald was called before a congressional committee to face hostile questions. “Who should be judged, convicted and in prison is the journalist!” shouted congresswoman Katia Sastre, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro. And by some accounts that wasn’t an empty threat: A conservative website reported that federal police had

In China ruled by Xi, no one is allowed to speak truth to power

The New York Times reports: She was once one of China’s most feared journalists, roaming the country uncovering stories about police brutality, wrongful convictions and environmental disasters. But these days, Zhang Wenmin struggles to be heard. The police intimidate Ms. Zhang’s sources. The authorities shut down her social media accounts. Unable to find news outlets that will publish her work, she lives largely off her savings. “The space for free

Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest shows the power of one newspaper’s investigation

Brian Stelter writes: In the past year the Jeffrey Epstein case was catapulted onto the national news radar by one newspaper, the Miami Herald, and by one reporter in particular, Julie K. Brown. The paper’s “Perversion of Justice” series came out last November, and Brown has stayed on the story ever since. As soon as The Daily Beast broke the news that Epstein had been arrested on Saturday evening, fellow

News organizations are timidly changing their approach to covering climate crisis

The New York Times reports: As Europe heats up, Greenland melts and the Midwest floods, many news organizations are devoting more resources to climate change as they cover the topic with more urgency. In Florida, six newsrooms with different owners have taken the unusual step of pooling their resources and sharing their reporting on the issue. They plan to examine how climate change will affect the state’s enormous agriculture sector

Environment reporters facing harassment and murder, study finds

The Guardian reports: Thirteen journalists who were investigating damage to the environment have been killed in recent years and many more are suffering violence, harassment, intimidation and lawsuits, according to a study. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which produced the tally, is investigating a further 16 deaths over the last decade. It says the number of murders may be as high as 29, making this field of journalism one

Joe Biden and the ‘electability’ delusion — and why the media keep making the same mistake

Margaret Sullivan writes: As Iowa journalist Robert Leonard talks to voters around his state, he finds himself baffled at the national portrayal of Joe Biden’s dominance in the presidential campaign. The local Democrats he encounters respect the former vice president, he told me, but many of them also feel his time has passed. They’re far more excited about other candidates, five in particular: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.); Pete Buttigieg, the

Google made $4.7 billion from the news industry in 2018, study says

The New York Times reports: $4,700,000,000. It’s more than the combined ticket sales of the last two “Avengers” movies. It’s more than what virtually any professional sports team is worth. And it’s the amount that Google made from the work of news publishers in 2018 via search and Google News, according to a study to be released on Monday by the News Media Alliance. The journalists who create that content

Bellingcat and how open source reinvented investigative journalism

Muhammad Idrees Ahmad writes: It’s a brief window into a doomed soul. Clinging to his mother’s back, the child looks twice into the camera held by the man about to kill him. The natural curiosity of a child that fear has failed to extinguish. The smartphone captures the casual cruelty with which both mother and child are killed. Nearby, another mother and daughter are executed. One killer continues to pump

The State Department has been funding trolls. I’m one of their targets

Jason Rezaian writes: Even after spending a year and a half in prison in Tehran, I knew that if I wanted to go on writing about Iran, I would be a target for plenty of public attacks despite the abuse I had suffered at the hands of the Islamic Republic. And so it has been. But I never imagined the U.S. State Department would be funding my attackers. Last week,

Greta Thunberg slams presidents, celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and journalists for ignoring climate crisis

'We will not let you get away with it', Greta Thunberg slams politicians for ignoring climate crisis — The Independent (@Independent) May 30, 2019

Neither Congress nor the press did enough to tell the American people what they needed to know about the Mueller report

Quinta Jurecic writes: Mueller has remained silent for two years, and his first public statement was always going to be a significant event. Likewise, the underlying information communicated in both Mueller’s remarks and the report itself is appalling—and further discussion of its meaning can only be good. The question is why it took so long to happen. The difficulty in communicating the substance of the Mueller report began even before