FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The War on Rebel Journalists

by JOHN ROSS

The pogram against independent journalists who refuse to conform to corporate media definitions of what a reporter should be continues full throttle. The murder of Indymedia correspondent Brad Will this past October 27th on the barricades in Oaxaca by death squads in the employ of that southern Mexican state’s bloodthirsty governor, segues into the denial of the courts to release 23 year-old Josh Wolf from prison during the life of the present grand jury. Wolf is charged with refusing to turn over video clips of an anarchist anti-capitalist march on Mission Street during which San Francisco’s Finest beat the living shit out of protestors–one cop claims to have been maimed.

The Ninth Circuit is now insisting that it will entertain no further motions in the case which insures Wolf of a place in the Guinness Record Book as the longest-serving imprisoned reporter in U.S. history. Wolf, who has now been locked up in the ill-named Pleasanton federal facility for nearly 100 days, will not be released until July.

As grievous as the crackdown by the courts and the death squads on independent journalists has been the callous and cynical response of corporate media (with some notable exceptions) to these outrages. Brad Will, insinuates the New York Times and its accomplices–including the New Times version of the Village Voice–was less than a journalist. Brad, the corporados cluck, was a tree sitter and a squatter, a troublemaker rather than a young man who reported on trouble.

Similarly, Josh Wolf is often treated as a post-adolescent “blogger”- as if blogging was not reportage–and an anarcho-symp unworthy of the concern of serious journalists who matriculated from famous j-schools.

Indeed, both Will and Wolf are dissed for flunking the j-school litmus test for an “objectivity” that mandates a reporter give equal weight to the words of Nazi concentration camp victims and those responsible for the genocide. Moreover, Brad and Josh stand accused of being “activists” as if protesting class and race oppression was not compatible with telling the true story. If the corporate flunkies are to be believed, by being activists in addition to reporters, both Will and Wolf are responsible for their own misfortunes.

Compare how the plights of these two brave young journalists are being spun with that of the notorious Judith Miller. Miller, whose 11 mendacious front-page New York Times stories on Saddam’s fictitious weapons of mass destruction helped justified the Bush invasion that has now taken 650,000 Iraqi lives, was not jailed for war crimes but rather for refusing to give up the name of a friendly neo-con who outed a CIA operative the White House did not cotton to. I submit that Miller is as much of an activist as Brad Will and Josh Wolf–she’s just on the wrong side of the barricades.

When I was a younger fool just getting started in the word trade, I was sent off to federal prison much like Josh, the first U.S. citizen to be jailed for refusing induction in the Vietnam War military. I wrote my first articles while imprisoned at Terminal Island Federal Penitentiary down in San Pedro California and helped formulate a convicts committee against U.S. intervention (everywhere) for which I was regularly tossed in the Hole, the prison within a prison. Jail was fertile turf in which to learn how to write.

When finally I was kicked out of the Joint, the parole officer who had made my life hell for a year, walked me out to the big iron gate at TI and snarled “Ross, you never learned how to be prisoner.”

Brad Will never learned how to be a prisoner either and neither will, I trust, Josh Wolf. All of us, both inside this business and out, owe these two valiant reporters a great debt for their mutual sacrifices in defense of freedom of the press.

Brad Will and Josh Wolf! Live, act–and report back–like them!

JOHN ROSS’s ZAPATISTAS! Making Another World Possible–Chronicles of Resistance 2000-2006 is just out from Nation Books. Ross will travel the left coast this fall with the new volume and a hot-off-the-press chapbook of poetry Bomba!–all suggestions of venues will be cheerfully entertained–write johnross@igc.org

 

 

 

JOHN ROSS’s El Monstruo – Dread & Redemption in Mexico City is now available at your local independent bookseller. Ross is plotting a monster book tour in 2010 – readers should direct possible venues to johnross@igc.org

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail