June 17, 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

The Edge

Is China Going to Invade Taiwan?

Media Weigh Democracy Against Ratings on Jan. 6 Hearings

David Jackson Talks Izzy Stone’s Legacy and ‘Milking Medicaid’

Journalists’ ‘Neutrality Dogma’ Hides Republican Radicalization

Gun Violence

Trauma Surgeons Call for Gun Reforms in Wake of Mass Shootings | Truthout

Instead of Facing Ban, AR-15 Maker Unveils New, Easier to Hide Pistol Version | Common Dreams

Two fatally shot at Alabama church in latest US gun attack | Al Jazeera

The Edge
Is China Going to Invade Taiwan?

For The Edge, Dave Lindorff evaluates the history of China vying for control of Taiwan, and the Pentagon’s presence in the middle. He offers first-hand accounts of time spent teaching in Taiwan, and describes an island-spanning protest against invasion:

“It concluded with several million Taiwanese of all ages — a significant proportion of the island’s 23 million people — assembled along the westward-facing side of the island, all holding hands in an unbroken line from the very northern-most tip of the island to the very southern-most tip, with signs and shouts aimed at China, calling on Beijing to stop placing missiles aimed at the island along the Fujian coast.”

Lindorff says, “The U.S. military understands it could not defend Taiwan at this point.” Rather, U.S. fearmongering “really is all about bolstering support in Congress and among the American public for ever more money for the bloated U.S. war machine and the huge intelligence apparatus.”

Read Lindorff’s full commentary on The Edge.

Media Weigh Democracy Against Ratings on Jan. 6 Hearings

After 1 1/2 years of investigation by the House select committee on the January 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump loyalists, the committee organized a series of public hearings this past week to share its findings on what likely amounted to a criminal conspiracy.

In the runup to the proceedings, some outlets bustled to publish pieces diminishing their relevance or excitement. But the first hearing succeeded in reminding “an attention-deficient nation” of the violence committed in the worst domestic attack on the U.S. government since the Civil War.

Media commentators pointed out that no further “bombshells” are needed to show that Donald Trump rallied, in public and on social media, a violent mob in an attempted coup. Leaning on further shocking revelations is unnecessary and helps Trump’s defenders move the goalposts.

Read the full report on The Edge.

David Jackson Talks Izzy Stone’s Legacy and ‘Milking Medicaid’

At this year’s Izzy Award, Linda Jue welcomed honoree David Jackson, senior investigative reporter at Better Government Association. In addition to investigating Loretto Hospital with fellow winner Kelly Bauer and Block Club Chicago, Jackson published the BGA series “Milking Medicaid,” which laid bare the malfeasant conflicts of interest at the top of Illinois’ Medicaid program.

Jackson’s reporting showed that when Illinois privatized its healthcare program for the poor, hundreds of millions of dollars in profits shifted to insurance companies and away from medical providers and Medicaid recipients.

“To connect with America and win back public trust,” Jackson said, “the children and grandchildren of Izzy Stone will have to recapture what those corporate newsrooms have squandered and lost.”

Hear Jackson’s full remarks here.

Journalists’ ‘Neutrality Dogma’ Hides Republican Radicalization

Clear-eyed coverage of the Republican party’s radicalization “never lasts,” according to Thomas Zimmer, historian and visiting professor at Georgetown University. Rather, journalists are publishing consistent uncritical coverage of extreme GOP perspectives, in service of an imaged ideal of “balance.”

After the May 24 mass shooting of a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that killed 19 students and two teachers, Senator Ron Johnson said he opposed gun laws and blamed critical race theory and “wokeness” for school shootings.

Zimmer said, “This perfectly captures the state of political discourse on the Right.” He argued that it’s irresponsible of established media to “keep pretending theses are serious people” in an attempt to “uphold the myth” that the U.S. has two equivalent parties, especially as shootings persist.

Read more from Zimmer on The Edge.

Gun Violence
Calls for Gun Reforms Amid Further Manufacturing and Shootings

Since the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, gun manufacturer CMMG has unveiled a new, “stowable” gun that activist Ryan Busse said is meant to evade regulations on short-barreled rifles.

During a U.S. House committee on gun violence this week, Dr. Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician in Uvalde, Texas, testified on the horror of being on the scene after the Uvalde shooting. Trauma surgeons interviewed by Kaiser Health News said it has become harder to save shooting victims as the number of military-style rifles has increased.

On Thursday night, in the latest of a string of gun attacks in the U.S., a gunman fatally shot two people in a church in Alabama.

In Other News

1. Iowa Supreme Court rules abortion not protected by state constitution, reversing decision from just four years ago | The Independent

2. Police Militarization Gave Us Uvalde | The Atlantic

3. The Coming War On Abortion Drugs | HuffPost

4. Republican Senate gun negotiator walks out of talks | BBC

5. US authorizes first Covid vaccines for infants and preschoolers | 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.