"Is Journalism Worth Dying For?" by Anna Politkovskaya.
NY Times review, here.
Politkovskaya's sister recently interviewed, here.
It's a difficult book to read because Anna Politkovskaya was unflinching in her quest to find the truth and tell the stories of the most abused. Reporting on the savage prosecution of the wars in Chechnya, she never shied away. Ms. Politkovskaya was the ultimate example of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the powerful.
Murdered on Putin's birthday.
While the government clearly has a right to detain and prosecute Private Bradley Manning for his violation of security clearances in the Wikileaks case (although a broader issue of the nature and sanctity of the "secret" classification also obviously exists in a government rife with "official" leaking as a strategy for dealing with select media), there are very serious questions being raised about the terms of his detention and solitary confinement. Glenn Greenwald has the best round-up of information here.
Solitary confinement is inherently punitive and over extended periods such confinement constitutes a form of imposed stress that is, in effect, torture. It literally can drive an individual crazy. And using extended punitive or extreme stress measures to extract acquiescence in one's own prosecution or implication of others is essentially the textbook definition of Inquisition-style "justice."
This apparent treatment of Manning goes far beyond bargaining away charges or other routine prosecution measures to gain leverage with a defendant. Manning's case needs to be brought into the light - but the "mainstream media" seems to be avoiding even minimal journalistic responsibility. (Imagine the press outcry if Judith Miller had been subjected to this treatment when she was incarcerated.)
Oh yeah..."Dumb, duh dumb, dumb!"
All week, I've been meaning to urge everyone to see this documentary on the financial meltdown - if only for the section where the academic economics profession gets raked over the coals for acting as flaks for corporate ideology. I'll stick to seconding this very good commentary by a blogger at Huffington Post, management consultant(!) Charles Green.
In successive nights, The Daily Show produced no doubt the most devastating take-down of the absurdity, dishonesty and perfidy of the clown show known as "FOX News" ever mounted - implicating several prominent Bush administration PR flaks to boot. Kudos to America's Most Trusted Newsman, Jon Stewart.
Via Brad DeLong, Ryan Avent writing in The Economist takes apart the "lazy journalist's" latest "nattering" in the New York Times. Avent doesn't leave much left after a surgically data-driven, source-checking analysis of Brook's fear-mongering over deficits in the midst of a deep recession and critical levels of unemployment.
"I certainly hope that America takes steps over the next decade to slow growth in health spending, to address structural obstacles to growth, and to invest in public goods like infrastructure and basic research. Those steps, alongside some tax reform, will go a long way toward fixing the long-run budget picture, which is all anyone should really be worried about. In the very short term, demand remains a problem, and markets are practically begging for more safe debt to hold. And if individuals are scared about the size of the deficit, it's probably because lazy journalists keep nattering on about it, though they consistently fail to make the case that an immediate fiscal retrenchment is at all desirable."
Read the whole piece here - it's instructive in the difference between "analysis" and "opinion."
UPDATE: Paul Krugman noted, a few days ago, that this remarkably ill-considered deficit and interest rate "hawkishness" in the midst of a deep recession has taken hold as "conventional wisdom" among many economists who should know better. Krugman's blog post and links are worth a read for their clarity on the issue. Krugman also addressed the proliferation of "Pain Caucus" arguments in this recent column.