FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The War on Rebel Journalists

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

 

 

 

More articles by:

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail