October 6, 2021

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The Edge
Corporate Media Myths About the Chaos on Capitol Hill

“If you get your news about politics from corporate media, you’re getting myths from journalists and pundits instead of clarity.”

FAIR founder and former PCIM Director Jeff Cohen analyzes mainstream coverage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIF) and the Democrat-only Build Back Better (BBB) reconciliation proposal — measures that commentators have falsely labeled as the “biggest” current spending bills.

“The supposedly $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August and was delayed Thursday in the House actually would provide only $550 billion in new spending — and that’s over a period of 5 years — to modernize infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports, airports, transit systems, Internet and water systems.”

Read Cohen’s full criticism on The Edge.

Pandora Papers: Investigative Consortium Exposes Massive Global Corruption

Millions of secret documents uncovered by the biggest journalism partnership in history have exposed the corrupt offshore dealings of world leaders and politicians in 91 countries and territories.

The records reveal that many powerful figures could help end this offshore system, but instead benefit from it while their governments ignore “a global stream of illicit money that enriches criminals and impoverishes nations.”

These 11.9 million leaked documents are known as the Pandora Papers. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained them with a team of more than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets that spent two years tracking sources and digging through public documents from dozens of countries.

Read a summary of the ICIJ’s findings on The Edge.

Post-9/11 War Spending Exceeds $8 Trillion — The Costs of War Project

“[Over] the past 20 years, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the cost of the wars — neither in terms of dollars nor lives lost. These costs have been largely hidden from public view. Of course, in some respects, the public didn’t even realize we were still at war.”

On September 14, Heidi Peltier talked with PCIM Director Raza Rumi about the Costs of War Project’s findings on the impacts of the United States’ bloated defense budget on American citizens and the world.

Professor Peltier is the Director of the Costs of War Project’s “20 Years of War” research series at the Pardee Center, launched in October 2019 in collaboration with Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

Read or watch the full interview on The Edge.

Should Hatemongers Have Free Speech Rights?

Hate speech is discouraged and banned increasingly by institutions and media platforms. But allowing for open discussion, rather than ostracization, for all speech is essential to democracy.

With Barry Strauss, Director of Cornell’s Freedom and Free Societies Program, civil liberties expert Nadine Strossen discussed the crucial need for free speech in the U.S. and across the globe.

Strauss asked to hear why hatemongers and extremists should have free speech rights. “Why, indeed,” Strossen said. “As compared to what? Would we rather have government power to censor hate speech?”

She elaborated that one person’s hate monger is another’s preacher of the truth, as exemplified by attempts to censor so-called “terrorist speech” by both Black Lives Matter and “Blue Lives Matter” proponents. People censor hate speech, she said, to stigmatize and ostracize whatever they don’t like.

Read more from Strossen’s talk on The Edge.

Who Owns the Story? Roundtable on Documentary in Africa

On September 27, PCIM co-hosted with FLEFF and DocA a 90-minute roundtable discussion with filmmakers, producers, researchers, and cultural activists probing the aesthetics, economics, politics, problems, and solutions of documentary across the African continent.

For a discussion interrogating the interconnections between identity, art, diaspora, capitalism, and film, watch the full recording of the event here.

Read more about the speakers here.

Upcoming Events
October Events Calendar

Save the dates for these upcoming PCIM events concerning photography, environmental justice, and journalism.

Thursday, October 7, at 5:30 p.m.
Lali Khalid Artist Book Launch: “Home. In my heart, beating far away”
Khalid will discuss her photography and issues relating to diaspora, identity, family, and home.
Tuesday, October 26, at 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Prakash Kashwan and Dr. Jake Brenner (Environmental Studies and Sciences) will be in conversation discussing climate justice.
Thursday, October 28, at 6:00 p.m.
Todd Miller: “Build Bridges Not Walls: A Journey to a World Without Borders.”
Award winning journalist and author Todd Miller will speak about his new book where he asks the question: “Is it possible to create a borderless world?”

Find out more about each event here.

In Other News

1. Biden just floated the ‘nuclear option’ for the debt ceiling – what does that mean and how likely is it? (The Independent)

2. How the Smug Politics of COVID-19 Empowers the Far Right (The Atlantic)

3. AT&T Is Funding Right-Wing Conspiracy Network OAN, Reuters Reports (HuffPost)

4. Abu Zubaydah: Top US court to hear test case on state secrecy (BBC)

5. Canada invokes 1977 treaty with US as dispute over pipeline intensifies (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.