August 3, 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

What I Learned Watching Fox News This Week

Fox News has recently been campaigning egregious right-wing talking points—from claims that “critical race theory” seeks to punish white people to encouraging the flouting of vaccines and public health practices even while the deadly Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads. As the U.S.’s most watched cable news organization, the network has a staggering ability to disseminate dangerous misinformation.

Jeff Cohen, founder of FAIR and founding director of PCIM, offers five lessons, plus five corollaries, that Fox would have you take from its broadcasts.

Media Spreads Big Lies as Jan. 6 Committee Attempts To Hold Insurrectionists Accountable

On Jan. 6, 2021, a mob of loyalists to former president Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol building after he delivered an incendiary speech that falsely claimed the 2020 election, and its ongoing certification in the Capitol, was fraudulent.

After Senate Republicans blocked a bill to create an independent commission to investigate the attack, the House established a select committee to lead a probe. On July 27, the first congressional hearing to investigate the insurrection took place, which Republicans boycotted as part of their strategy to advance the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

Even with Trump out of office, GOP leaders are willing to expand his assault on the facts for political gain, and right-wing media is regurgitating their misinformation.

Read the full report on The Edge.

From the Archives: ‘2016 Was Not A Fluke’ — Unpacking Election 2020

In November 2020, PCIM hosted a panel discussion on the results of election 2020 featuring Ithaca College-affiliated speakers who are experts in politics, media, and culture.

The conversation tackled the issues that influenced the presidential race, the extraordinary mobilizing efforts that secured Joe Biden’s win, the devastating legacy of President Trump, the role of mainstream media in shaping electoral choices, and why Trumpism remains a political force to reckon with.

This discussion has become increasingly relevant as panelists’ analyses have played out and the results of the election remains a partisan issue.

Watch the full conversation here.

More from The Edge

The Health Effects of the Gig Economy

As billionaires have been raking in wealth enabling space sojourns during the Covid-19 pandemic, the average person’s workplace and livelihood have become more precarious. Especially over the past year, the structure of jobs has been shifting to be less permanent and secure.

For The Edge, Jennifer Tennant details the adverse effects of uncertain employment on workers.

Since 2020, an unemployment spike has expanded the reach of the gig economy. These contract, temporary, and freelance workers comprise about 35% of the workforce, up from 14% to 20% in 2014.

Temporary and other precarious work is correlated with negative health outcomes and higher levels of stress and dissatisfaction compared to workers in more secure work environments. Policymakers must expand social safety nets to raise the quality of life for precarious workers, such as seasonal Amazon employees and contractors at Lyft and Uber.

For more on labor and health policy, also read Jennifer Tennant’s piece on Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

Pegasus and the Global Threat to Dissent

Pegasus software is the primary product sold to government clients by the Israeli cybersecurity company NSO Group. The technology was marketed by the company as a means of combatting terrorism and surveilling suspects. But an international research network of 17 media organizations accessed a leak of more than 50,000 records of phone numbers of people selected for surveillance and uncovered widespread abuse of the technology.

Contrary to the company’s claims, the investigation, named The Pegasus Project, revealed that the primary targets of NSO Group’s government customers were not suspected criminals, but journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians.

Read the full report on The Edge.

The Media Consortium Archives

The Park Center for Independent Media is hosting materials from The Media Consortium on our website for the benefit of students, researchers, academics, and journalists.

TMC operated for 14 years as a multi-platform network of collaborating independent organizations spanning media including magazines, radio, television, online, and more. Among the impacts of the organization was that it “proved that large scale cooperation and collaboration among independent media outlets—a culture that had not previously existed—was possible.”

Maya Schenwar, the editor in chief of the 2021 Izzy Award-winning publication Truthout, served as the chair of TMC’s coordinating committee for several years. “TMC amplified the work of each independent media outlet by connecting us together,” she said. “We reprinted each other more, lifted up each other’s work, collaborated, and even helped each other fundraise as a result of TMC.”

Read more about the coalition of independent media outlets here, and view its archived materials here.

In Other News

1. Biden has shared 100 million vaccines abroad – here’s where they went (The Independent)

2. Watch the U.K. to Understand Delta (The Atlantic)

3. 5 Miami Beach Officers Charged After Violent Arrests Of Black Men In Hotel (HuffPost)

4. Drug deaths in England and Wales highest since 1993 (BBC)

5. Covid hospitalizations rise across US as hospitals say patients aren’t vaccinated (The Guardian

Read previous Briefs and more from independent media on the PCIM website, and follow PCIM on social media: Facebook | Twitter

The Indy Brief is edited by Jeremy Lovelett.