Book by John Maxwell
How to Make Our Own News: A Primer for Environmentalist and Journalists
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Missing in Action –The Press
By John Maxwell
the great unsolved mysteries of life in the United States of
America is the question –”Why do THEY [foreigners]
hate us so much?”
a question which the US press finds impossible to answer for the
very good reason that the answer to the question has a great
deal to do with the US Press itself.
of its periodic raids on Michael Jackson’s reputation, last
week, CNN ran a short clip of Jackson’s “Man in the
Mirror”—none too subtly suggesting that
Jackson was guilty as charged, of child molestation.
As far as
CNN and most of the US press is concerned Jackson’s
essential weirdness is sufficient evidence to find him guilty,
no doubt, of practically anything of which he may be
CNN news clip about Jackson’s (misguided?) supporters,
one of them shouted that if Jackson, with all his wealth
and power and celebrity can’t get justice in America, how
could any black person?
blacks are not the only victims of the US press. Anyone who is
perceived to be out of the mainstream is denied justice.
Presidential contender Howard Dean proved last week that he was
human, letting off steam after the Iowa primary with an
unmannerly yell, which immediately caused commentators and news
anchors to ponderously question whether the man was sufficiently
balanced to be President of the United States. They have never
questioned however, Mr Bush’s alleged cocaine abuse or his
alcoholism or his reported arrest for drunken driving. No,
an utterly ersatz gentility prevents them from pursuing these.
don’t question whether Mr Bush is, as Paul O’Neill
says, so disengaged from his job as to be practically absent
from important deliberations going on around him, or
whether he laid out an agenda for invading Iraq just days after
his inauguration. They don't question his reference to
“weapons of mass destruction programme activities” in
this year’s State of the Union speech, though last year they
cheered him on when he alleged he had incontrovertible evidence
of actual WMD (not “programme activities”) on the
ground in Iraq.They do not question whether it was his adviser
Karl Rove who committed the criminal offense of ‘outing’ a
deep undercover CIA operative in revenge for her
husband’s exposing false White House claims.
press has not seriously considered how it came to be that more
than one half of all Americans believe that Saddam Hussein was
involved in the 9/11 atrocity.
fact is the world’s greatest monument to the effect of
propaganda, originated by the Bush administration and fed to the
American people by a supine and corrupt press.
country, supposedly served by the world’s most vigorous,
irrepressible and irreverent press, how is it possible that a
lie of such magnitude can become established fact, persisting to
to the accounts of the media themselves, they did not
believe Saddam was involved in 9/11. The only people who
did were apparatchiks attached to the administration, notably
Dick Cheney. In fact, even Bush himself was forced to deny that
there was any such connection, but the misapprehension persists.
the Presidential election disaster in Florida three years
ago, the US press was conspicuous by its failure to speak up
about the pre and post election skullduggery. And when a
consortium of media investigated the truth after the event, the
results were, like a doctors mistakes, buried. Most Americans
are unaware that Al Gore would have won a majority of the
votes in Florida as he did in the United States
as a whole.
of course, a few years before that, semen stains on Monica
Lewinsky’s dress were immeasurably more important than the
Pope’s visit to Cuba.
of the Press
to everything I have learned in 52 years of journalism, the
press exercises a self-ordained public trust. It is the business
of the press to be truthful, to expose the truth, to tell the
whole truth and nothing but the truth. Our responsibility is to
the millions without access to the corridors of power.
delegates of the people. We are – as I like to put it
– the sensory organs of the body politic as well as
an important component of the body politic’s immune system,
listening, watching, tasting, warning, heralding, detecting
malignant intrusions and fighting them down. In the circulatory
system of the body politic, we are the white corpuscles and
don’t function correctly, the body politic is endangered by
infections, contagions and malignancies and preventable
we are self-appointed agents, the body politic has few means to
restrain us, unless we break the law, by libelling someone,
by scandalising the courts or parliament. Apart from that,
the press is just another capitalist institution, responsible
only to itself and its shareholders, forgetting that there is a
wider constituency of stakeholders whose very lives, welfare and
hope of posterity depend on us.
of the kind I consider myself to be, cannot slough off their
citizenship at the newsroom door. We are engaged by our
humanity, committed to our communities, and ideally, dedicated
to the public interest as against any partisan interest or sectoral
journalist I have ever met is a eunuch, although a goodly number
pretend to be. We cannot simply be spectators, because the very
act of observing engages us and changes the thing observed. It
will, at least, no longer be secret or private property.
The reporter’s presence means that the public is present.
if we detect lies, misfeasance or malfeasance, it is our duty to
bring it to public notice, so that the people, from whom all
wealth is derived, can make up their minds what to do to protect
their common interest, to work for their survival and their
principle means that while journalists may be impartial or
non-partisan in support of the public interest, we can
never really be disinterested or uninvolved. No-one can
lay claim to such godlike qualities. The question is not whether
one is committed or to what, but whether one is willing to admit
one’s bias and one’s commitment.
as the son of a Baptist parson, I am likely to hold certain
positions, even if I am no longer a Baptist or even a Christian.
Clearly, as a Jamaican, as a black person, as a journalist,
as an old boy of Calabar and Jamaica College, traces of those
influences must persist. I did not arise from the head of some
goddess, immaculate; I was shaped by my environment and my
culture, just like everybody else, every other person, every
other journalist, everywhere.
world, plastic principles
world built on plastic, and on the petroleum which is its
feedstock, it is tempting to look at facts as fungible; to
believe that one fact can easily and acceptably be replaced by
another, that the world is a construct of half-truths and that
one half-truth is just as good as any other. The problem with
half-truths is that they are also half-lies, and just as one
cannot be half pregnant or half-free, we need to ensure that our
facts are not fungible but that they are stripped of everything
that we suspect may be false .
are at this moment, dying in Iraq and other places because of
half-truths and outright lies. How can my conscience square with
my failure to warn you that you are walking into a trap, that
you are putting yourself in mortal peril if you pursue a
certain course of action which I KNOW to be dangerous?
for years between the two Gulf Wars, the US press knew that
eminent capitalists were stealing money from their shareholders
and diverting public funds for their own private delectation.
For years, that same press continued to delude the world into
believing that the UN sanctions on Iraq permitted the US and
Britain to bomb and murder innocent people. And, for most of the
last two years, this press has allied itself to a campaign of
untruths and to the actual subversion of the Constitution of the
United States in order to assure its own profitability.
decades, the US press has carefully avoided telling its
constituencies about the real behaviour of their government in
Latin America, in the Middle East and in other places. Americans
have no real idea of the damage done to their country’s
reputation by entities such as the United Fruit Company, the
Special Forces or those US proconsuls who take it on themselves
to ally themselves to the rapacious ruling classes of places
like Jamaica, Haiti, Venezuela and Cuba, or the Philippines or
Vietnam, or Iraq and Iran.
don’t believe that the majority of world opinion hates the
United States or Americans in general. To be in that bag would
be to be crazy. But, as thousands demonstrated in Mumbai over
the last days, there are many who detest the actions of the US
and the malign results on people abroad.
in the US itself, the capitalist revolution has begun to eat its
own children, wiping out jobs, degrading pride of workmanship,
destroying the community of feeling which existed between
craftsmen and their employers.
this development which upsets people like Howard Dean and
the thousands of ‘un-clubbable’ people who will vote
for him. The American press like those it serves so slavishly,
needs to cast the beam out of its own eyes before it begins
attending to the motes in others.
Copyright©2004 John Maxwell
Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered
the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It
By H. W. Brands
In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign. The Economy
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Allah, Liberty, and Love
The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom
By Irshad Manji
In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times. What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation?
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The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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Negro Digest /
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 7 May