Todd Gitlin

The New Book of Revelations - America After Weinstein

A new Book of Revelation is streaming into the collective psyche, chapter by chapter, verse by verse — a saga of men mauling, manhandling, exploiting, raping, battering and diminishing women, commandeering their lives, making them doubt themselves, driving them out of their jobs and even careers. I doubt that what we are seeing is simply a gush of headlines, a scandal du jour. Two or three scandals by media standards may qualify as a “trend,” but 10 or 20 or 50, complete with public meetings and multiple ethics investigations (however perfunctory they may turn out to be), are a whole culture trembling. The outpouring of women’s stories of male abuse is moving and powerful. Speaking for myself, I had no idea how many women have been humiliated, damaged and derailed as the result of a whole range of abuses. A man who is not humbled, ashamed, at his ignorance of this grotesquerie (however slight, however good-humored his ignorance may have been) is an ignoramus, or worse — a denier.

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Bannon Would Be Nothing Without Big Money From Radical Right-Wing Billionaires

A hoary riddle comes to mind. Question: Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit? Answer: Anywhere it pleases.

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Journalism as We Knew It Is Never Coming Back

It’s old news that Donald Trump abuses reason, knowledge, decency and dark-skinned people. You can’t tear your eyes away. You can already write tomorrow’s story: Today the vicious, deranged freak-show star trashed Enemy A, picked a fight with Failed Insider B, invited unconstitutional action C, insulted population D, declared his intent to abrogate Agreement E or make war on Country F, and denied facts G through Z. Fill in the blanks.

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The Disgrace of ‘60 Minutes’

As mainstream TV journalism strives to redeem itself from the degraded spectacle of its 2016 campaign coverage, CBS News might be expected to lead the parade of penitents—not because it has more to be ashamed of (that honor belongs to CNN for its orgy of Trump rallies), but because it’s something of a standard-bearer. So expectations rose when 60 Minutes announced it had scored the first post-White House sit-down with Steve Bannon. But Charlie Rose’s conversation with Bannon, broadcast September 10, illustrates everything wrong with showboat journalism and circus politics. There are lessons that might be learned if those in charge wanted to learn.

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The Violence of the ’60s Is Nothing Like What We Are about to Face

The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were crazy, but we’re looking wilder.

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Spicer Uses what George Orwell Called Duckspeak

The Trumps’ nine-day journey outside the United States was “incredible, historic…because it truly was an extraordinary week.” It was “unprecedented.” “We’ve never seen before at this point in a presidency such sweeping reassurance of American interest,” said press secretary Sean Spicer.

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Todd Gitlin: The 60s' Activists' Lesson for Protesters Today

Editor’s note: The 2016 election brought student activism back into the spotlight. No student activist organization in U.S. history has matched the scope and influence of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the national movement of the 1960s. We asked Todd Gitlin, former president of SDS (1963-1964), professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, and author of The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage for his perspective on this renowned organization and the state of student protest today. The Conversation

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The Public Does Not Really Have a Clue About Fake News

For getting a sense of what Americans think, decent polls, for all their deficiencies, are better than wild guesses. So consider the findings of a major poll that last month looked into the question of whom to believe, Trump or the major media. It ain’t pretty.

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Trump's Wacky Conspiracy Nut Pal Alex Jones Tries to Say He Is Just Pretending

You may have heard of Alex Jones of Austin, Texas — the fellow who markets his own brand of “BRAIN FORCE” and “SUPER MALE VITALITY” pills on the radio.

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Gibberish Is the White House’s New Normal: What Trump's Nonsensical Speech Patterns Tell Us About His Presidency

Once upon a time, there were presidents for whom English seemed their native language. Barack Obama most recently. He deliberated. At a press conference or in an interview — just about whenever he wasn’t speaking from a text — his pauses were as common as other people’s “uh’s.” He was not pausing because his vocabulary was impoverished. He was pausing to put words into sequence. He was putting phrases together with care, word by word, trying out words before uttering them, checking to feel out what they would sound like once uttered. It was important to him because he did not want to be misunderstood. President Obama valued precision, in no small part because he knew he lived in a world where every last presidential word was a speech act, a declaration with consequence, so that the very statement that the sky was blue, say, would be scoured for evidence that the president was declaring a policy on the nature of nature.

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Frightbart: The View From Steve Bannon’s Propaganda Site Will Scare the Bejeezus Out of You... Which Is Its Point

The home page of Breitbart.com, the quasi-official voice of Steve Bannon’s White House, is a virtual stew of menace, a pit of monsters, an unending onslaught of apocalyptic horsemen rearing up at full gallop, coming straight at you, drawing closer. . . . But what the Breitbart reader is not being warned against is poisoned water, eviction, a melting glacier, a rising sea, a pauper’s grave, a burning cross, a bank swindle or a loss of medical care. Those are the kind of fears that afflict liberal wimps brainwashed by “the enemy of the people.”

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How the Infantile, Violent ‘Black Bloc’ Plays Into Trump's Hands

The black-masked vandals who launched smoke bombs, smashed windows and set fires in Berkeley, California, the night of Wednesday, Feb. 1, share incendiary techniques with the Trump regime: They want to prevail by outbursts.

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Understanding the Right-Wing Media Alternate Universe and the Twisted 'Truths' They Report

I spent most of 2016 doing my duty as citizen, writer and educator aghast at the favors done for the unprincipled, incoherent, vicious, dangerous ignoramus Donald Trump by the business known as “the media,” formerly known as “the press” — an enterprise accorded privileges by the US Constitution on the quaint 18th-century belief that if the people are informed, they will make better judgments than if they are less so. Detailing the incomprehensions, incapacities, failures, inadequacies and airbrushings over the course of many months was not, for me, a feel-good exercise, but I judged it preferable to sitting at home griping, ranting and snarling to my family and friends while my mind exploded in the knowledge that the rudder was coming off the ship of state even if some last-minute reprieve might be granted.

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TV News and Its Long Dark Night of the Soul

Last week I met a prominent network personage I will call Sandra. I asked her what had been going on in her shop since election night. “Soul-searching,” she said. Approvingly, I commiserated, then asked what kind of soul-searching she meant. “The polls were all wrong,” she said, “and we took them at face value. Also, we had no idea what was going on in the white working class.” That was all.

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Insinuation, Conspiracy, Delusion: Welcome to the 'Truth' According to Donald Trump

After the carnage in Orlando, Donald Trump didn’t wait long before launching yet another guided missile full of insinuation. He didn’t exactly say that the massacre was the doing of an unreconstructed Mau-Mau descendant born in Kenya. Trump is craftier than that. Monday morning, he told Fox News:

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Call Me a Convert: The Climate Movement Is Stepping Up

Less than two weeks have passed and yet it isn’t too early to say it: the People’s Climate March changed the social map -- many maps, in fact, since hundreds of smaller marches took place in 162 countries. That march in New York City, spectacular as it may have been with its 400,000 participants, joyous as it was, moving as it was (slow-moving, actually, since it filled more than a mile’s worth of wide avenues and countless side streets), was no simple spectacle for a day. It represented the upwelling of something that matters so much more: a genuine global climate movement.

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Todd Gitlin: How to Reverse the Slow-Motion Climate Change Apocalypse

Apocalyptic climate change is upon us.  For shorthand, let’s call it a slow-motion apocalypse to distinguish it from an intergalactic attack out of the blue or a suddenly surging Genesis-style flood.

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The Shocking, Super Secret, Unbelievably Wasteful World of Low-Tech Spying

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Is the Press Too Big to Fail?

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Corporate Media Performing Miserably in Health Care Debate

No one packed heat, no one screamed at a member of Congress, no one called anybody a Nazi, no fistfights broke out. So—no story.

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