February 23, 2022

The Park Center for Independent Media circulates the Indy Brief. Subscribe for a weekly selection of news stories from journalists operating outside traditional corporate systems.

The Headlines

Upcoming Events

The 25th Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, March 21–April 10


Biden Urged to Ignore War Hawks and Pursue ‘Real Path to Peace’ in Ukraine (Common Dreams)

The weight of words in the Russia-Ukraine story (Columbia Journalism Review)

Racial Justice

Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Found Guilty of Hate Crimes (Mother Jones)

Economy and Labor

Poverty Is a Choice — That the US Government Is Making (Jacobin)

January 6 Insurrection

Supreme Court Rejects Trump Effort to Hide Jan 6. Records (Common Dreams)

Lack of Media Urgency Over GOP Efforts to Steal 2024 Elections (FAIR)


Backed by International Investors, Mining Companies Line Up to Expand in or Near the Amazon’s Indigenous Territories (Inside Climate News)

Global Wildfire Activity to Surge in Coming Years (Inside Climate News)

Upcoming Events
The 25th Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, March 21–April 10

The 25th Anniversary Edition of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival runs for three weeks, from March 21–April 10. This year’s festival theme is ENTANGLEMENTS.

Cinemapolis will host 25 films on its virtual cinema platform and three in-person special event screenings and talkbacks at the theater with filmmakers and community groups. 

Feature-length documentary and narrative films from 16 countries including Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, China, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Kosovo, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, Tunisia, United Kingdom, and United States will each have a one-week run on the Eventive platform. 

Read more and purchase tickets here.

Peace, War, and the Weight of Words in the Russia-Ukraine Story

Following Russia’s latest aggressive moves in Ukraine, Republicans, hawkish Democrats, and war mongers have pushed Joe Biden to take punitive action. At the same time, global peace advocates on Tuesday urged the administration to instead increase cooperative diplomatic efforts to prevent military conflict.

CodePink called for “a re-examination of NATO, which has long outlived any good purpose, and holding serious disarmament talks with Russia.”

Columbia Journalism Review stressed the importance of words as the conflict, and surrounding information war, escalates. During a duo of staged state TV conferences, Russian President Vladimir Putin justified with his security council the country’s involvement in Ukraine.

While much coverage questioned the semantics of Russia’s “invasion” vs “escalation,” not enough questioned Putin’s description of his military forces as “peacekeepers,” rather than “troops.” Rich context is essential for headlines and tweets, and “Putting ‘peacekeepers’ in quote marks is not enough.”

Racial Justice
Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Found Guilty of Hate Crimes

This week, the three men who chased and gunned down Ahmaud Arbery were convicted of a federal hate crime.

Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William “Roddie” Bryan had already been convicted in Georgia on state-level charges of murder, but this decision establishes for the legal record that they killed Arbery because he was Black and ensures the defendants would still have to serve significant amounts of prison time if their murder convictions were overturned on appeal. 

Federal prosecutors cut a deal with Travis McMichael to allow him to serve time in a federal, rather than state, prison. But after backlash from Arbery’s family, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood rejected the plea deal, ensuring the hate crimes trial would move forward.

Economy and Labor
Poverty Is a Choice — That the U.S. Government Is Making

Recent data from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University has shown that an astonishing number of children have entered poverty in a very short timeframe. America’s monthly rate of child poverty jumped from 12.1% in December 2021 to 17% in January, for the highest rate since the end of 2020.

This amounts to 3.7 million more children in poverty, in a direct contrast to the effects of the Child Tax Credit program, which sent out billions in economic relief to families. This program kept millions out of poverty each month it was in effect, while reducing hunger and maintaining parental employment rates.

But Democrats were unable to negotiate the extension of the program, largely due to the extreme demands of Senator Joe Manchin.

January 6 Insurrection
Lack of Media Urgency Over GOP Efforts to Steal 2024 Elections

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court halted Donald Trump’s attempt to block the release of White House records to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. This decision comes a month after the Court’s order that allowed the National Archives to share over 700 documents with the committee.

Now it’s the responsibility of mainstream news to reapply pressure on the story of the republican party’s attempt to steal 2024 elections.

FAIR’s Joshua Cho writes, “For a brief period after the 2020 election, particularly after January 6, corporate media stopped betraying their journalistic duties and straightforwardly reported Trump and the Republican Party’s subversion of elections as a matter of fact, rather than opinion.” It’s time to again end the “both-sidesism” to address the GOP assault on democracy.

Global Wildfire Activity to Surge in Coming Years

As of November, nine major mining companies had 225 active applications to expand their operations into or near Indigenous territories in Brazil’s amazon rainforest. A new report by Amazon Watch and the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous People show U.S.-based financial institutions are among the top funders of these key players in the extraction of rare metals for electric vehicle batteries.

The report illustrates how the companies and their investors violate indigenous rights and “threaten the future of the Amazon.”

Meanwhile, forests and communities worldwide face increased threat from wildfires as global warming heats the air and dries out plants. Scientists who authored the report for the United Nations Environmental Program project a global increase of extreme fires of up to 14% by 2030, 30% by the end of 2050, and 50% by the end of the century.

U.N. experts say governments need to dramatically shift focus from fire response to preparedness and resistance. Local and Indigenous knowledge can be a starting point to demonstrate how to live with fire.

In Other News

1. Two New York prosecutors investigating Trump have resigned, report says (The Independent)

2. How CNN Betrayed Its Audience (The Atlantic)

3. Overwhelming Majority Of Americans Don’t Support Banning Books On Race, U.S. History (HuffPost)

4. Ukraine crisis: Kyiv urges citizens to leave Russia as fears mount (BBC)

5. The Ukraine-Russia crisis explained: a complete visual guide (The Guardian

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

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.