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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

 
Izzies

by digby

Tonight is the night that Glennzilla and Amy Goodman will receive the first "Izzy" awards, for independent journalism from the The Park Center for Independent Media :

The Izzy Award is named after legendary maverick journalist I. F. Stone, who launched I. F. Stone Weekly in 1953 and exposed government deception, McCarthyism, and racial bigotry. Presented annually for "special achievement in independent media," the Izzy Award will go to an independent outlet, journalist, or producer for contributions to our culture, politics, or journalism created outside traditional corporate structures.


Jeff Cohen of FAIR, who also runs the Park center, wrote this about I. F. Stone a few months back:

Before there was an Internet, Izzy Stone was doing the work we associate with today's best bloggers. Like them, he was obsessed with citing original documents and texts. But before search engines, Izzy had to consume ten newspapers per day -- and physically visit government archives and press offices, and personally pore over thousands of words in the Congressional Record. That's how he repeatedly scooped the gullible, faux-objective MSM of his day in exposing government deceit, like that propelling the Vietnam War.

Izzy was the ultimate un-embedded reporter. His journalism was motivated by a simple maxim that resonates loudly in our era of Cheneys and Rumsfelds and WMD hoaxes: "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out."

Month after month from 1953 to 1969 I.F. Stone's Weekly (biweekly through 1971) exposed deceptions as fast as governments could spin them. His timely and timeless dispatches are gathered in an exceptional paperback, The Best of I.F. Stone.

...]

Born of immigrant parents, Izzy was an American patriot who worshipped the Bill of Rights: "You may think I am a red Jew son-of-a-bitch, but I'm keeping Thomas Jefferson alive."

And he worshipped our country's tradition of press freedom: "There are few countries in which you can spit in the eye of the government and get away with it. It's not possible in Moscow." But Izzy was never naïve about American traditions that threatened freedom, and he had a 5,000-page FBI spy file to prove it.

Today's muckraking bloggers are often belittled for working from their homes, far removed from the corridors of power. Izzy worked out of his home. If he were alive, he'd be applauding the Josh Marshalls and other independents, urging: Keep your distance from power.

I made no claim to inside stuff. . . I tried to dig the truth out of hearings, official transcripts and government documents, and to be as accurate as possible. . . I felt like a guerilla warrior, swooping down in surprise attack on a stuffy bureaucracy where it least expected independent inquiry. The reporter assigned to specific beats like the State Department or the Pentagon for a wire service or a big daily newspaper soon finds himself a captive. State and Pentagon have large press relations forces whose job it is to herd the press and shape the news. There are many ways to punish a reporter who gets out of line. . . But a reporter covering the whole capitol on his own - particularly if he is his own employer - is immune from these pressures.

I can't think of anyone who better personifies the Izzy Stone tradition than Glenn Greenwald. Congratulations to him and to Amy Goodman for the well deserved recognition.




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