Rory O'Connor

The Parkland Students Win an Important Journalism and Activism Award

At 3:18 PM on February 14, 2018, as the world now knows all too well, fourteen students and three staff members were killed and seventeen others were wounded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The count made the shooting one of the deadliest of the many school massacres we have all endured in the decades since Columbine. This time, however, the response was different: an activist movement for greater gun safety legislation emerged in its aftermath, eventually leading to the launch of the ‘Never Again’ movement and the nationwide March for Our Lives protests. Despite their own grief and trauma, writers and editors at the Eagle Eye, the Stoneman Douglas student newspaper, responded professionally and courageously, at once reporting on and participating in the growing movement for social change.

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Journalist Patrice O'Neill Wins Danny Award for Tireless Fight Against Hate Crime

A fresh burst of hate incidents and crimes was reported in the days following Donald Trump's election last year, fueled by inflamed passions roused by his campaign, with its “dog whistle” calls to bigots, newly empowered “Alt-Right,” and racist, xenophobic media arm summoning supremacists to “Make America White Again.” Not surprisingly, given the Islamophobia and antisemitism prevalent among many Trump supporters, bias crimes against Muslims and Jews – as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people -- accounted for much of the reported rise. 

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A for Activist: No Longer Journalism's Scarlet Letter

From Anderson Cooper to John Oliver, it's become fashionable of late—even in mainstream media circles—to laud those daring enough to combine journalism with activism. That's good news, but it wasn't always that way.

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WATCH: New Episode of Doc Series 'This Is Borderless' on the Refugees of Greece

June 20 is World Refugee Day. But for the people in this video, and millions of others like them all over the world, that day is every day. Watch below:

How Talk Radio and Fox News Brainwashed My Dad

Jen Senko is a filmmaker who watched in horror as her father slowly came to believe the extreme right-wing lies of Rush Limbaugh and other conservative media mavens. Now she’s making a documentary about it called The Brainwashing of My Dad.

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Failure to Pass Gun Legislation Casts Doubt on Immigration Bill's Success

Meet the new bill... Same as the old bill? 

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As News Increasingly Moves Online, Who Will Pay For Journalism?

Journalist blogger and professor Dan Kennedy has long been one of the go-to guys in the ever-burgeoning field of media criticism. He's an author as well -- and his new book The Wired City asks, and answers, an important question: Does the digital information revolution presage the end of news, or simply the end of newspapers?

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The World Is Going Digital -- Are We Doomed?

Call me irresponsible – oh hell, call me a cyber-utopian, throw in celebrant – but it’s undeniably true that I regard the admittedly messy, chaotic, confusing and upsetting digital information revolution as, on balance, a good thing, particularly when it comes to issues of democracy and power. After all, as noted in a recent book on the subject, one result of that revolution has been that “new methods of creating content and new channels to distribute it have become available to everyone and between everyone.” As networked technologies proliferate, they rapidly transform “our political, commercial and communications environments” – including “the very nature of our democracy itself.”

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Welcome to America, Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera -- one of the best cable news networks in the world -- has always had a tough time here in the U.S. It's been derided as a "terror network" and propaganda organ. It's been denounced by publicity-seeking politicians for airing messages from Al Qaeda. Its reporters have beenimprisoned in the Guantanamo gulag for years before being released after having never been tried or convicted of any terrorist ties. Others have been targeted by U.S. forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq, shot at, had missiles fired at them, and even killed.

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2012 Reasons Why Progressives Should Love Right-Wing Media

Thanks so much, Roger Ailes – we couldn’t have done it without you! And all praise to George Will, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, et al – if not for you, and your legions of credulous friends and followers, we never could have re-elected Barack Obama…

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Have You Visited a Porn Site Recently? Do You Drink Michelob or Samuel Adams? Romney and Obama Want to Know

Attention American citizens! Have you visited a porn website recently? Do you have any gay friends? Is your home in foreclosure? Do you drink Michelob or Samuel Adams?

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Public Displays of Connection: How Social Media Can Help Repair the News' Trust Problem

Excerpted from  Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands and Killing Traditional Media by Rory O'Connor, just published by City Lights.  Alternet co-presents Rory O'Connor at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco on Tuesday, May 1st, 7pm.  Event info here

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Google vs. Facebook: The New Media Showdown

 Google co-founder Larry Page is paranoid—and justifiably so…

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Nukespeak: The Selling of Nuclear Technology from the Manhattan Project to Fukushima

Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from "Nukespeak: the selling of nuclear technology from the Manhattan Project to Fukushima" by Stephen Hilgartner, Richard C. Bell and Rory O'Connor. Check out more about Nukespeak and buy the book here. 

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Did Tenet Fail to Share Information That Could Have Prevented the 9/11 Attacks? Insiders Voice Doubts About the CIA’s 9/11 story

A growing number of former government insiders — all responsible officials who served in a number of federal posts — are now on record as doubting ex-CIA director George Tenet’s account of events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Among them are several special agents of the FBI, the former counterterrorism head in the Clinton and Bush administrations, and the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, who told us the CIA chief had been “obviously not forthcoming” in his testimony and had misled the commissioners.

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Why Jose Antonio Vargas Is an American Hero

 I first met Jose Antonio Vargas in the fall of 2008, in the midst of the historic Obama campaign for the presidency. At the time, I was a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where I was researching the impact of the then-emerging social media on older legacy forms of journalism, such as newspapers.

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The Next Hot Thing in the Digital Frontier for Americans: Political Revolution?

 Over the past few years, the annual Personal Democracy Forum has emerged as one of the few truly essential gatherings of its type – and the recently concluded eighth PDF gathering was no exception.

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Let's Fight the Obama Administration's Crusade to Jail Another Journalist

German theologian Martin Niemoller was a staunch anti-Communist who supported Hitler's rise to power -- at first. He later became disillusioned, however, and led a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 Niemoller was arrested for the crime of "not being enthusiastic enough about the Nazi movement" and later was sent to concentration camps. Rescued in 1945 by the Allies, he became a leading post-war voice of reconciliation for the German people.

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How and Why the Media Misses the Af-Pak Story

A unique husband and wife team, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould have reported for decades on the issues and conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the spring of 1981 they received the first visas to enter Afghanistan granted to an American TV crew and produced an exclusive news story for the CBS Evening News. They also produced a documentary for PBS, returned in 1983 for ABC Nightline, and later worked under contract to Oliver Stone on a film version of their experience.

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Is the Future of Online Media to Go Offline?

I often go to media conferences – such as this week’s National Conference on Media Reform in Boston, where I’ll finally have an opportunity to speak out about hate speech in the media, after years of proposing such a panel – but few media chatfests are as valuable as the regular We Media gatherings. The annual affair features people and ideas shaping media, technology and society – and this year’s one-day event was as usual “filled with must-have intelligence, inspired ideas and brilliant people looking ahead to what’s next and what to do about it,” as conference organizers Andrew Nachison and Dale Peskin put it.

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Want the Latest Nuclear Radiation Info? There's an App for That

If there’s one thing that’s different about the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima and its forerunners at Chernobyl in 1986 and Three Mile Island in 1979, it’s the increase in information available to us “ordinary citizens,” however confused and conflicting that information might be. The digital information revolution has disrupted the previously highly centralized world of nuclear public relations and spin, putting a stunning amount of information at our fingertips for the first time.

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Hillary Clinton Talks Freedom as Protester Ray McGovern Is Bloodied

Are you as shocked as I am that even Donald Rumsfeld turns out to be a better supporter of free speech than Hillary Clinton? At least the lying SOB former Secretary of Defense didn’t stand by and do nothing as his critics were beaten, arrested and taken away in chains!

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Is PBS Show 'Need to Know' on the Ropes?

When Need To Know, a new public affairs offering described as “a multi-platform current affairs news magazine, uniting broadcast and web in an innovative approach to newsgathering and reporting,” premiered nationwide in May on PBS — and on line at PBS.org — the hybrid effort was met with an outpouring of negative reaction from media activists and public television viewers alike.

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Hate Spewing Shock Jocks Whine about Criticism in Wake of Shootings

“It is our right and our duty to criticize the people who have put the fate of our country in peril,” Rush Limbaugh said this week on his syndicated radio show.

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Persecution of Assange and Wikileaks Is an Attack on Free Speech

What do Richard Nixon, recent Nobel prize winner Liu Xiaobo and Julian Assange have in common?

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'News Bias' and the Media Battle over the Meaning of 9/11

Nine long years after 9/11, the battle over the meaning of what happened to our city, our country and our world on that fateful blue-crystal morning continues unabated, with the battleground still the swirling nexus of news and politics. As usual, all sides in this cultural clash are employing the very media they consistently accuse of ‘news bias’ to promote their competing visions. Like the “Global War on Terror” spawned by the attacks, the ongoing struggle to interpret 9/11 now appears to be a war without end.

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Obama's Tricky Battle with the Military-Media Complex

On February 27, 2009, just a month after being elected as an anti-war candidate, President Barack Obama revealed his plans for completing the combat portion of America’s ongoing military involvement in Iraq. “Let me say this as plainly as I can,” Obama said. “By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end. I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.”

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The Bush Administration Marred the Legacy of Pat Tillman With Their Lies -- New Film Shows Us the Truth

Of the many lies George W. Bush told us about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some were larger but none worse than that told about the death of Pat Tillman.

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Independence Day and Independent Journalism

This Independence Day we need independent journalism more than ever – as the events leading up to and immediately following the recent resignation of General Stanley McChrystal demonstrate anew. Why was it left to an independent journalist, Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone, to tell us important facts about our military’s people, practices and policies in Afghanistan — facts that the mainstream media’s deeply dependent and addicted to access Pentagon and Afghanistan “beat” reporters never would and never will, facts crucial to any citizen wanting to make an informed democratic decision about our country’s ongoing presence in Afghanistan? The MSM reporters, it turns out, are more than happy to explain. They have, you must understand, an “unspoken agreement” with the people they cover on our behalf, an agreement NOT TO TELL the rest of us certain things.

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Controversial Pentagon's Private Contract Killers Operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Author and adventurer Robert Young Pelton is perhaps best known for his best-selling guides to The World's Most Dangerous Places. A veteran of battles in Afghanistan, sieges in Chechnya and attacks in Liberia, and a survivor of an assassination attempt in Uganda and a kidnapping in Colombia, Pelton has also spent time hunting for Osama bin Laden with the CIA and hanging out with both Blackwater contractors and the insurgents they were fighting in Iraq.

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