I recently read an article in the New Yorker Magazine that really pissed me off. So I wrote the guy and a letter to the editor. Ordinarily, I read the New Yorker to get pissed off at someone other than the writer, but not this time. This "guy" turns out to be the Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism and after doing a little research found that he regularly bashes bloggers and the whole idea of alternative media by contrasting them with "real" journalists. The article is entitled "Paranoid Style" and can be found in the Oct 16 edition. Below is the letter I sent.
Lumping everyone who feels compelled to speak out against the outrages that this country has had to endure under this Bush Administration into a troubled culture on the left in need of psychoanalysis is apparently what Nicholas Lemann attempts to accomplish in his piece entitled, "Paranoid Style."
From bloggers and podcasters to activists and filmmakers we are seeing an outpouring of work that is attempting to address not only the outrages coming from this White House, but the corporate media, which is perceived more and more each day as a partisan tool of the current power structure, and return the role of the press to checking power with truth. This new media revolution is a democratically based alternative media movement that is more based in truth than spin, and democracy than capitalism.
Lemann's premise is based in the world of the 911 Truth Movement, where the label of "conspiracy theorist" is routinely used by those who are quick to stereotype millions of citizens around the world who feel short changed by the reigning official explanation, then extends this label across the issues to include Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s work on election fraud, and reputable films by filmmakers like Robert Greenwald ("Iraq for Sale") and Eugene Jarecki ("Why We Fight").
Most of this new media movement is fueled by dedicated citizen's whose concern for the fate of this democracy compels them to spend their all too limited free time trying to do the job that the well paid, mainstream media, including Mr. Lemann, are failing to do.
It is so easy to dismiss anyone raising questions about the 911 attacks by simply uttering the stereotype label "conspiracy theorist" instead of doing the hard, investigative work that journalist should have and should still be doing. It took a handful of widows from New Jersey and millions of supporters to even get a 911 investigation launched, only to have the administration that opposed it, set up an underfunded whitewash overseen by their man Phillip Zelikow who then proceeded to hand pick the evidence while dismissing a multitude of unanswered questions. And in the aftermath and the run up to the war in Iraq, while the corporate media lended it's hand to flag waving, this country's new media got to work and have been a new journalistic force in checking the abuse of power ever since.
If I may be permitted to return the favor to Mr. Lemann with a bit of psychoanalysis of my own, I would say that "Paranoid Style" projects the self-serving attributes that motivate the White House, the corporate media and you sir, onto a movement that is motivated by concern for the fate of this country, it's Constitution, and, yes, even freedom of the press.
After writing that I am more convinced than ever that we all need to keep doing our part to hold the mainstream media accountable.
also posted at New Media Revolutionaries Blog