The River

Monday, May 21, 2007

Giving journalism a good name

Greg Palast: When I say the 2008 race has already been stolen, about a million and a half voter registrations have been turned down. Even though there have been massive voter registration drives among Hispanics and African Americans, as the churches fill up the bucket, there’s a hole in the bucket where the registrations are being dumped.

It used to be that you signed your name -- bang, you got through, you’re registered. Not anymore. About 40% of the registrations are being rejected on the grounds that they don’t match citizenship files. Well, you know what? It ain’t the Soviet Union. We don’t have citizenship files in the United States. They don’t exist. They can’t exist under the law, which is the U.S. Constitution.

So how do you verify voters? Well, you don’t. About the only thing that could happen is if you require a passport -- and who has passports?

BuzzFlash: This is not conjecture on your part. You're very methodical.

Greg Palast: We've got the documents. We ain’t guessing. When I say they had caging lists targeting innocent black soldiers, I have the lists. I have the soldiers’ names. We spoke to their families. In fact, interestingly, "60 Minutes" came into our office and said, “My God, to prove what these caging lists are, you’re going to have to make hundreds of calls and spend hundreds of hours going through this stuff.” And we said, “Yeah, it’s reporting. Try it. It won’t hurt you.”


Damned refreshing. We need more of this.

In one of his books, Palast said that most people don't really want any reporting, not if it undermines a narrative they feel they ought to prefer. Sy Hersh said the same thing about his reporting on My Lai. The readers didn't doubt it. But they didn't think it was a story that should be told. I believe both of them. That reaction is typical of people raised in an authoritarian culture. They're more concerned about what they appear to know, as it constitutes security in social capital, than with knowing something based on whether or not it's approaching a real, capital T truth.

Really I don't see how there could be any risk to having the "wrong" social capital. People are not, generally, as uptight as the fundamentalist statist minority. Most can live in a world where people are not at all like them. They like that.

Palast is a good man. I admire his persistence and skills. I wish he was in danger of giving journalism a good name.

Good find! I sent the article, with hi-lites and the like, to a large group of people, some of whom will probably read it.

the problem, as I see it, is that damn fundamentalist statist minority is as equally well armed as they are batshit crazy. Not news to anyone here, I know.

Rick, yes, indeed, time for a few Terrapins at Manuels. See ya there.
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