December 8, 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
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.

More from the Edge
Protecting Democracy with the Local Journalism Initiative

Local news media “have been the foundation of the American free press, and political democracy, since 1776,” providing the “lion’s share of original reporting upon which all other news media depend.”

Robert McChesney and John Nichols of the Local Journalism Initiative explain that local journalism of the past 200 years has seen a rapid decline over the recent two decades, as the business model of commercial journalism that supported them collapsed.

“The ramifications are increasingly clear, and endlessly depressing,” but LJI’s policy proposal presents an option to revitalize this essential aspect of American democracy.

Read more of their proposal on The Edge.

Current Inflation has ‘Everything To Do with Corporate Greed’

Rising inflation in the United States has captured headlines during November. Mainstream media outlets have been warning of increasingly expensive commodities like coffee and deciding where to assign blame — including to Joe Biden, to Americans themselves, and far too rarely, to corporate greed.

A bevy of factors contribute to rising inflation levels, including interruptions in the supply chain, increased labor costs, and rising demand for goods. But a key force driving up prices are the U.S.’s mega-corporations.

Mainstream media has the responsibility to cite these conscious decisions by the wealthy to ramp up costs for profit.

Read the full report on The Edge.

The True Cause of the Omicron Variant: Vaccine Hoarding

For months, health experts have warned wealthy countries of the dangers and immoralities of hoarding COVID-19 vaccines. Affluent nations have fully vaccinated about 65% of their populations, but low-income countries maintain a vaccination rate of less than 3%.

In the absence of global vaccination, COVID-19 is not only spreading uninhibited among unprotected people, but is mutating, with new variants emerging and causing waves of panic.

Now, as the new Omicron variant has been identified and labeled a “variant of concern,” global vaccine disparity must be at the forefront of the Covid conversation.

Read the full report on The Edge.

In Other News

1. Chris Cuomo says CNN knew he tried to help brother amid sex assault scandal (The Independent)


3. California Plans To Be Abortion Sanctuary If Roe Overturned (HuffPost)

4. Covid: Pfizer says booster shot promising against Omicron (BBC)

5. US supreme court to hear case that could have dire consequences for death row inmates (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.