January 26, 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 Izzy Award
Nominations Open for 14th Annual “Izzy Award” for Independent Media

The Izzy Award will celebrate its 14th year this spring, and nominations are officially open for work produced during the calendar year 2021.

PCIM will again grant this honor — named after legendary journalist I. F. “Izzy” Stone — for outstanding achievement in independent media. This year’s award will go to an independent media outlet or individual journalist whose work is published independently.

Journalists, academics, and the public at large may submit nominations until midnight EST on February 2, 2022. The winner will be announced in early spring, with an award ceremony to follow in April 2022.

Nominations should include 250 words or less explaining why the entry is worthy of consideration. They should also include supporting web links (no more than four) and/or attached materials. Send submissions to Raza Rumi, director of PCIM, at pcim@ithaca.edu.

Read more on nominations here.

Izzy Award Ceremony 2021

Take a look back at last year’s Izzy Award ceremony, which honored the crucial work of journalists Liliana Segura and Tim Schwab, and Editor-in-Chief Maya Schenwar on behalf of Truthout.

Segura’s in-depth reporting on the cruelty and injustice of capital punishment detailed numerous stories from across the country for The Intercept. She described the abolition of the death penalty in Virginia as “a rebuke to generations of racial violence, the rotten history that undergirds the prison system as we know it in this country.”

Tim Schwab published a three-part investigative series with The Nation exploring Bill Gates’ so-called philanthropy and the opaque operations of the Gates Foundation. Schwab said “The Gates Foundation is one of the most powerful, least scrutinized actors in global politics,” influencing climate change in media, the COVID response, and for decades prior, education, food, and public health.

Truthout’s series “Despair and Disparity: The Uneven Burdens of COVID-19” consistently centered the devastating effects of the pandemic on those already in need. Schenwar remarked that mainstream media often “fuel state violence and cement social, economic, and racial hierarchies that are killing people.” She said Truthout’s role “is to be firmly on the side of justice.”

Watch their incisive speeches here.

The Edge
The Filibuster Killed Another Voting Rights Push

Last week, after two days of debate in the Senate, Democrats’ push for voting rights was quashed, as Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin sided with the GOP to block a change to the filibuster, a tactic long used to undermine civil rights legislation. This amounts to the fifth instance of Senate Republicans blocking Democrats’ attempt to roll back GOP efforts to make it harder to vote.

This time, Republicans used the filibuster to shut down the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, two bills that aimed to curb gerrymandering and voter suppression across the U.S.

Read the full report on The Edge.

More from the Edge
Turning off the Tap: The Pentagon Fails its 4th Consecutive Audit

One of the biggest blacked-out stories of 2021 surely has to be the news, on November 16, that the Pentagon once again had abysmally failed to pass an audit, despite the best efforts of 1,200 top-flight Wall Street auditors operating on a $220-million budget, to vet the Pentagon’s estimated $3 trillion balance sheet of assets and liabilities, and its fiscal year 2021 spending budget of $740 billion.

Pentagon spending accounts for half the entire annual discretionary budget of the U.S. government each year. The fact that this largest agency in the U.S. government cannot, and for decades has refused to, provide the government with an auditable accounting of its expenditures doesn’t seem to count as major news in the U.S. corporate media.

The result of this unaccountable expenditure is the yearly ballooning of the Pentagon’s funds, diverting needed money from the public good.

Dave Lindorff follows up to his Izzy Award-winning 2019 piece on the Pentagon’s accounting fraud, in which he correctly warned this transparency issue would persist.

Read Lindorff’s full report on The Edge.

It Is Time to Disobey; We Need a Revolutionary COVID Camaraderie

The American public is being told to get used to living with COVID-19. This means “we” are being asked to abide the inequalities that disallow a more robust challenge to the virus.

As we near entering a third year into the pandemic, more than 5.5 million people have died globally, with the most dispossessed dying disproportionately. And there is no unified national or global response.

As Zillah Eisenstein writes, the climate crisis and pandemic have exposed engrained injustices across U.S. policy and systems. To achieve a true democracy, it would have to be revolutionized to include those the U.S. massacred, enslaved, and neglected at the start.

Unfortunately, vaccine inequity continues, and a handful of billionaires multiply their wealth as so many others face hunger and eviction. Eisenstein determines: “it is time to imagine and come together and demand what we need.”

Read Eisenstein’s full commentary on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Florida ‘don’t say gay’ bill banning school children from discussing sexual orientation close to becoming law (The Independent)

2. Coup Nation (The Atlantic)

3. The Death Of Dems’ Voting Rights Bill Is A Green Light For GOP State Legislatures (HuffPost)

4. Publish Sue Gray’s No 10 parties report in full, Starmer urges PM (BBC)

5. US prosecutors investigate Republicans who sent fake Trump electors to Congress (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.