August 10, 2021

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

The Edge

Media Should Counter COVID Misinformation with Nuance and Science

America’s Homeless Crisis is Being Criminalized

Last Week in The Edge

What I Learned Watching Fox News This Week

Media Spreads Big Lies as Jan. 6 Committee Attempts to Hold Insurrectionists Accountable

‘2016 Was Not A Fluke’ — Unpacking Election 2020

U.S. Whistleblowers

Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison for Drone Leak (The Intercept)

Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Is a Truth-Teller in a Time of Systemic Deceit and Lethal Secrecy (The Intercept)

‘A Backdoor War on Journalists’ — Defending Rights & Dissent on Whistleblower Daniel Hale (The Edge)

Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Dr. Daniel Ellsberg: Risking Freedom for Public Knowledge (PCIM)

The Edge

Media Should Counter COVID Misinformation with Nuance and Science 

COVID-19 caseloads are climbing again, and the Right continues to spread virus misinformation as the government struggles with its response. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given contradictory advice over the past months concerning mask wearing—its May 13 mask recommendation lift for the vaccinated prompted celebration, but proved premature.  

News media now has an especially important role to counteract confusing government messaging and targeted disinformation. One way to achieve this is to promote a better understanding of science while identifying and disproving false claims. Unfortunately, not all media has helped to clarify the best available information; sensationalism and ever-present disinformation has muddied recent mainstream reporting.

Read the full report on The Edge.

America’s Homeless Crisis is Being Criminalized

More than half a million people are estimated to be homeless in the United States. This alarming statistic has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a “7% increase among individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, marking the first time there are more individuals living unsheltered than in shelter,” according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Yet despite increasing rates of homelessness, help appears to be far off. Systematic criminalization has perpetuated the cycle of homelessness that plagues the United States, and efforts to continue this cycle have only increased in recent months.

Read the full report on the Edge.

More from The Edge

What I Learned Watching Fox News This Week

Fox News has recently been campaigning egregious right-wing talking points—from claims that “critical race theory” seeks to punish white people to encouraging the flouting of vaccines and public health practices even while the deadly Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads. As the U.S.’s most watched cable news organization, the network has a staggering ability to disseminate dangerous misinformation.

Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR and founding director of PCIM, offers five lessons, plus five corollaries, that Fox would have you take from its broadcasts.

Media Spreads Big Lies as Jan. 6 Committee Attempts To Hold Insurrectionists Accountable

On Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of loyalists to former president Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol building after he delivered an incendiary speech that falsely claimed the 2020 election, and its ongoing certification in the Capitol, was fraudulent.

After Senate Republicans blocked a bill to create an independent commission to investigate the attack, the House established a select committee to lead a probe. On July 27, the first congressional hearing to investigate the insurrection took place, which Republicans boycotted as part of their strategy to advance the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Even with Trump out of office, GOP leaders are willing to expand his assault on the facts for political gain, and right-wing media is regurgitating their misinformation.

Read the full report on The Edge.

From the Archives: ‘2016 Was Not A Fluke’ — Unpacking Election 2020

In November 2020, PCIM hosted a panel discussion on the results of election 2020 featuring Ithaca College-affiliated speakers who are experts in politics, media, and culture.

The conversation tackled the issues that influenced the presidential race, the extraordinary mobilizing efforts that secured Joe Biden’s win, the devastating legacy of President Trump, the role of mainstream media in shaping electoral choices, and why Trumpism remains a political force to reckon with.

This discussion has become increasingly relevant as panelists’ analyses have played out and the results of the election remains a partisan issue.

Watch the full conversation here.

U.S. Whistleblowers

Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison for Drone Leak

At the end of July, former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison after pleading guilty to leaking a trove of government documents that exposed the inner workings and severe civilian costs of the U.S. military’s drone program.

Hale told the judge that “I couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretend that things weren’t happening that were. Please, your honor, forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.”

While Hale’s sentence fell short of the maximum sentence of 11 years, the nearly four-year sentence amounts to another victory for the U.S. government in an ongoing crackdown on national security leaks that has spanned multiple presidential administrations.

Read more about Hale and watch a Defending Rights and Dissent Webinar from April featuring whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jeffrey Sterling.

And from 2010, watch PCIM host Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press.

In Other News

1. Senate passes $1 trillion infrastructure bill with bipartisan support (The Independent)

2. The Words the AP Didn’t Want to Use (The Atlantic)

3. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Announces Resignation After Damning Harassment Report (HuffPost)

4. Florida governor says no salaries for school leaders requiring masks (BBC)

5. ‘I still feel it isn’t real’: Gold Rush town residents reckon with wildfire devastation (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.