AlterNet's 2005 Editor's Picks
AlterNet published thousands of great stories in 2005, but some of them really made a lasting impression on the editors. Before we set off for our holiday break, we put together a list of our favorite stories.
We hope you enjoy these as much as we have, and we encourage you to list any favorites of yours that we missed in the comments section.
Without further ado, the AlterNet editors' 2005 picks:
Our staff writers -- Jan Frel, Joshua Holland and Maria Luisa Tucker -- all filed original reporting that showcases AlterNet's ability to break new stories and dig deep to find new angles on the news.
Of particular note are Joshua Holland's coverage of the little-noticed paleocon American Legislative Exchange Council: "Creating a Right-Wing Nation, State by State"; Jan Frel's insider look at PETA's at-any-costs publicity ethos: "PETA: Whatever It Takes"; and Maria Luisa Tucker's recent story on the women of the white-supremacist movement: "A Whiter Shade of Christmas."
Hurricane Katrina was the most important domestic story of the year, and we ran dozens of important stories about it. Our coverage of Katrina included hot, breaking news like Daniela Crespo and Jeremy Scahill's expos on the Blackwater mercenaries in New Orleans; big-picture analysis including Will Bunch's "Why the Levee Broke" and Nicole Makris' "Neck Deep in Toxic Gumbo"; and unique on-the-ground insights such as New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's heartbreaking pleas for help on WWL radio and Michael Barnett's reporting from the streets on his "Survival of New Orleans" blog.
Other notable stories from 2005:
"Why Bill Bennett Is Stupid, But Not Racist" by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor. We admired this piece, because the writer was swimming against the tide from the get-go, as is obvious from the title. Instead, he proposed the outrageous notion that language itself may be part of the problem. "Both 'racist' and 'racism' are terribly flawed terms," writes Allen-Taylor. "We ought to simply throw them out and start all over again with new ones."
"Loneliness of a Lone-Star Liberal" by Rose Aguilar. After the 2004 election, many of us forgot that we had allies marooned in the middle of the country, residing in the large swatch that had been branded red. In this piece, reporter Aguilar deftly captured the frustration of some self-identified "redneck progressives" who are determined to keep fighting the good fight, even in Bush Country.
"Feminism Is a Failure, and Other Myths" by Jennifer Baumgardner. A powerful take on Ariel Levy's book "Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture," rejecting its thesis that women and feminism are to blame for the lack of positive sexual female role models.
"Dowd, Where's My Country?" by Sheerly Avni. Avni takes on Maureen Dowd's 2005 book "Are Men Necessary?" and suggests it be renamed "Are Rich and Powerful Men Necessary to Rich and Powerful Women?" Says Avni, "The only appropriate answer, for anyone outside Dowd's narrow niche is, who cares?"
"Seattle Confidential" by Laura Barcella. This interview with former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper revealed the dark side of America's police culture, from institutionalized racism to misogyny and homophobia.
"The Insurgency: Neighborhood Watch" by Gary Brecher. War nerd Gary Brecher gives us a very different look at who's behind the Iraqi insurgency. Is Zarqawi really running the resistance? Brecher says no. It's: "Every-damn-body in the place."