December 15, 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 Edge
Millions Dread Impending Student Loan Repayments after Biden’s Inaction

Nearly 45 million Americans are set to face a continued period of student loan repayments after the moratorium ends on February 1, 2022.

Financial advisor Chris Kampitsis wrote in a piece for Forbes earlier this year, “Short of winning the lottery, there is often no feasible alternative for students with limited means to pay for college.” Data from the Education Data Initiative supports this, showing 44.7 million people have outstanding student loans in the U.S., with the average debt at over $36,000.

Calls to cancel debt are growing louder and pressure mounts on Joe Biden’s administration to execute his campaign promise to do so.

Read more on The Edge.

Kellogg’s Workers Strike for Wages as Executives Profit

Kellogg’s factory workers are continuing to strike for fair wages as the company employs aggressive anti-union measures against them. The union rejected a deal after two months of negotiations, and the company has recently announced its plans to hire replacement workers.

The unionized workforce reports that factories have been “purposely understaffed,” requiring employees to work “72- to 84-hour work weeks.” COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation, leaving some factories to operate with 100 workers fewer than needed, though the company disputes this.

Joe Biden has opposed the company’s move to hire replacement workers, and The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would help restrict such union busting strategies.

Read more on The Edge.

Georgia’s Republican Primary: A Referendum on Trump’s Election Lies

Ahead of Georgia’s 2022 Republican primary for governor, Donald Trump has levied his support for David Perdue over Governor Brian Kemp. Trump favored Kemp in 2018, but has developed a tarnished opinion since, calling him a “complete and total disaster on election integrity” and saying Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams might make for a better governor.

Trump and Kemp’s relationship started to fray in 2020, but fell apart when the former president pressured public officials in states where vote tallies were tight to overturn the results, citing bogus claims about widespread election fraud.

Now, Trump is stoking fears of fraud in the upcoming Georgia election, suggesting it’s the only way Kemp could win — despite the voter suppression law Kemp signed, inspired by Trump’s prior false claims of rigging.

Read more on The Edge.

More from the Edge
Exclusive Excerpt: To Protect Democracy, Recreate Local News Media

Why emphasize local news media, rather than national news media? The reason is simple: Powerful local news media are the prerequisite for viable national news media.

It is not enough to maintain a trio of competing cable TV networks that feature commentators pontificating in predictable ways on a handful of stories, along with a narrow spectrum of billionaire-sustained national newspapers.

Unless the collapse of local journalism is addressed directly and successfully, it is impossible to see how the threat of a more authoritarian, even fascistic, future can be subdued — or, put another way, how functional self-government and the rule of law can survive.

Read this excerpt of the Local Journalism Initiative’s proposal on The Edge.

CNN and Chris Cuomo Ditched Integrity to ‘Have it Both Ways’

On December 4, CNN announced the termination of prime-time host Chris Cuomo. This followed his suspension earlier that week after documents from New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed that the anchor had used his position as a journalist to attempt to help his brother, then-New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, through several reports of sexual misconduct.

The journalist had previously advised the governor in May 2021 but faced no punishment from CNN. The new documents revealed that Cuomo’s role advising his brother was far more involved than previously known.

CNN compromised journalistic standards to cash in on brotherly banter, and Cuomo to continue anchoring despite his priorities: “family fist, job second.”

Read the full report on The Edge.

Independent Media Calls for More ‘Radical Energy’ on Reproductive Rights

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case about the constitutionality of Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which could deal a devastating blow to women’s reproductive rights in the United States.

Most news outlets and commentators are predicting that the Dobbs decision will ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion in the United States up to at least fetal viability — around 24 weeks.

The U.S. already has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. Independent journalists now are asking what a “post-Roe” America would look like.

Read the full roundup on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Derek Chauvin pleads guilty to violating George Floyd’s civil rights (The Independent)

2. The Paperwork Coup (The Atlantic)

3. Kroger Ending Some COVID-19 Benefits For Unvaccinated Staff (HuffPost)

4. Hong Kong: Fire at World Trade Centre leaves hundreds trapped on roof (BBC)

5. House panel gathers mountain of evidence in Capitol attack investigation (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.