Nominations Open for 12th Annual ‘Izzy Award’ for Independent Media

With the Izzy Award set to celebrate its 12th year, award nominations are now open for work produced in the calendar year 2019. The annual honor for outstanding achievement in independent media — named after legendary journalist I. F. “Izzy” Stone — is presented by the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College.

This year’s Izzy Award will be given for work published, broadcast or posted in 2019 by an independent media outlet, journalist or producer. The award may relate to a single piece or a body of work. Journalists, academics and the public at large may submit nominations by the February 3, 2020 (midnight), deadline. The winner will be announced early next spring, with an award ceremony to follow in April 2020. Nominations should be submitted via a brief email (250 words or less) that includes supporting web links (no more than six) and/or attached materials to Brandy Hawley at

“This year has once again highlighted the limitations of mainstream corporate media,” said PCIM director Raza Rumi. “The independent outlets boldly covered issues such as immigration, racial violence, voter suppression, and climate change, and stirred national conversations. The 12th Izzy Award will honor independent journalism that places public interest above all other considerations.”

Past winners include Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Naomi Klein, John Carlos Frey, Glenn Greenwald, Todd Miller, and independent news sources such as City Limits and Mother Jones. For more information on the Izzy Award and the PCIM, visit

President Trump’s administration assassinated General Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s top security and intelligence official, in a drone strike on Friday at the Baghdad International Airport, killing additional figures tied to Iran-backed Iraqui militias. Suleimani was extremely influential and perhaps the most powerful operative in the Middle East. Neither President Bush nor Obama attempted to kill Suleimani, fearing war with Iran. Trump was unusually quiet as news spread in the U.S.: he tweeted an American flag, and in response, Iranian officials tweeted their country’s flag with threats of revenge. Columbia Journalism Review asks if this assassination means war; experts’ reactions fall on a spectrum, with some saying we’re already there.

Footage from 2011 shows Donald Trump warning about then-President Obama: “the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected—and as sure as you’re sitting there—is to start a war with Iran.” Common Dreams notes that Obama won reelection in 2012 without war.

Dissent advises readers to remember the shock and outrage of the first hours following the killing of Iranian officials at the Baghdad International Airport. The attack came without Congressional approval or any public debate. Exercising the office’s destructive power, President Trump has systematically escalated conflict with Iran throughout his presidency. In the coming weeks, media figures and politicians who supported the Iraq war will espouse sympathetic readings of Qassim Suleimani’s killing; they’ll say it prevented worse violence, and patriotism will be needed when Iran retaliates. But mobilize against war with marches and rallies, escalate disobedience, and elect a president to repair compounding damage. Push against the nationalist wave to make change in foreign policy.

In publishing and defending Bret Stephens’ opinion piece, “The Secret of Jewish Genius,” The New York Times demonstrated ignorance or, more likely, complacency in the face of a racist worldview. Instead of retracting the article, the Times edited in a preamble to assure readers the piece didn’t intend to claim genetic superiority of Ashkenazi Jews. But the original article quoted statistics from a 2005 paper that advanced a genetic hypothesis for intelligence among Ashkenazi Jews. Supposedly, only after publication did Stephens and editors discover the racist views of one of the authors. Fair Observer unravels the context of Stephens’ article.

Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has been lauded for progressive domestic policies. But outlets praising her have neglected to interrogate Warren’s position on war and militarism—presidents have great power in foreign policy to make war without Congressional approval, and the U.S. is the biggest military empire in history. In These Times reports that while Warren isn’t on the far right of war and peace politics among today’s already right-skewed Democrats, she is neither a progressive nor a leader. Her right-leaning foreign policy positions include supporting sanctions against Venezuela, criticizing North Korean peace talks, and back-and-forth rhetoric on the campaign trail.

President Trump’s decision to halt national security assistance to Ukraine received protests from Defense Department officials, as newly disclosed and administration-censored emails reveal. The top Pentagon official responsible for disbursing aid to Ukraine complained that the White House Office of Management and Budget’s top lawyer consistently misrepresented how urgently aid must be disbursed to comply with Congress. Center for Public Integrity reports other Pentagon officials spoke of repeated legal explanations to OMB that it ignored. Public Integrity has challenged in court the redactions in the provided documents.

The Green New Deal has gained traction in climate politics despite stifling climate action opponents: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Fox News, and an oil-aligned blue-collar union. The Green New Deal primarily aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero and create jobs and economic security for all—goals more exciting than carbon taxes. By April 2019, Republican voters’ support for the GND plummeted from 64% to 20%, thanks to conservative and fossil-fuel funded think tanks, covered by Fox News, warning of economic ruin from the unfinished plan. InsideClimate News covers the GND’s path in 2020.

In 2017, Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a $1.9 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, promising benefits for the middle class. Common Dreams discusses eight broken promises Republicans repeatedly made of the act. In 2020, the richest 1% will receive an average of 75 times more in cuts than the bottom 80%. Features and loopholes will benefit the wealthy by millions. Median family income has grown slower than under President Obama. Small businesses must be big to benefit, the economy hasn’t grown even 3%, the plan’s deficit rocketed, job growth is below its rate under Obama, and business investment has overall declined. An Americans for Fair Taxes report offers progressive tax reform options to raise $10 trillion, asking the most from those with the most to give.

Margaret Kimberley with the tweet of the week:

Pollution is the world’s leading cause of death. According to a new report by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, pollution killed eight million people in 2017. That’s 15% of all deaths—a greater number than caused by tobacco or war. Globally, the U.S. ranks seventh in pollution-related deaths; this is a result of its large population, but it stands out for being comparable to poorer countries like China and India. Natural Resources Defense Council experts say the U.S. pollution-related death rate will rise if the Trump administration has its way with deregulations by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Progressive gives a comprehensive analysis of pollution intersecting with politics and climate change in the coming years.


1. Trump threatens to sanction Iraq if US troops expelled over Iranian general’s assassination (The Independent)

2. It’s 2003 All Over Again (The Atlantic)

3. U.S. Military Says It Will Exit Iraq Following Iraqi Parliament Vote (HuffPost)

4. Trump under fire for threat to Iranian cultural sites (BBC)

5. Harvey Weinstein hit with new charges in Los Angeles during New York trial (The Guardian)