Sunday, July 08, 2007

That's leadership on Iraq?

So The Nation magazine wanted us to know that Iraq has been taken seriously by the magazine in 2007. Of course, the examples offered by the magazine reached back to 2005. But were they addressing the illegal war seriously in the first six month of issues for 2007?

These are eye-balled figures. We may be missing something. It's done quickly and the numbers are impressions, not precision. (We've done more research with just that than The Nation did when they dumped their crap in our lap last week.) There were over 250 features, not counting the critics section, so, to be a leader on Iraq, how many features would they have to run? A third, a small number, would mean at least 80. Pay attention as we walk through.

The January 1st issue contained two articles on Hurricane Katrina. Iraq? That was left to Alexander Cockburn who penned the only feature on Iraq. (We're leaving out the critics section -- they don't review Iraq movies, they rarely tackle Iraq books. The e-mail from The Nation pointed to no review, but noted features and and an editorial -- from 2005.)

January 8th? A poem by Calvin Trillin. There's also the Pooper's cover story about a petition signed by active duty military. That's the article that contains the magazine's first ever mention of Ehren Watada and calls him a coward. The sidebar with this article doesn't make up for the lack of (print) coverage nor for printing that nonsense to begin with. But we'll be kind and count the article and the poem. That's three articles.

The January 22st issue (the 8th was an alleged 'double issue')? Calvin does another brief poem and Bruce Shapiro writes about Saddam Hussein. That's five.

January 29th? "No to Escalation" an unsigned editorial. AlterPunk looks into Iraq. That's seven.

February 5th? Empire is more than just Iraq and so is the scope of the article. Zero. We're still at seven pieces (including Calvin's brief poems).

February 12th? The lengthy editorial "Showing Bush the Way" mentions Iraq in only one sentence (and a parenthetical at that). That's not writing about Iraq. John Nichols writes a column about the "Iraq Debate." That's one piece. The total score is now eight pieces.

February 19th? "Which Side Are You On?" ponders the editorial and it's back to lapping up the pits of Jim Webb (former or recovering Republican, now conservative Democrat) and, no, it's not about Iraq. Having pissed on the peace movement online in 2006, Liza Featherbrain now writes an essay, kind of, sort of 'the peace movement' and it's failures. Go Liza! Can someone inform Featherbrain that is not a part of the peace movement? Most peace movements aren't created to stop the impeachment of Bill Clinton and that's your first clue. We'll count it since it's supposed to be about Iraq (and we're sure light readers think it is). It's once again left to Alexander Cockburn to write about Iraq and, it should be noted, his column (a lengthier version) also publishes at his own CounterPunch. We've got more Obama madness. (He may end up the most covered candidate by the magazine.) Being generous, that's two pieces bring the score to ten. In seven issues (one of which was a 'double issue' -- should we count it as two?).

February 26th? Not a single piece. Eight issues (we're counting double issues as one issue) and our score is ten articles ("articles" for this piece refers to features, columns or editorials).

March 5th they come to life! Two articles, in the front of the magazine!, one an editorial, about war! Of course it's Iran, so it doesn't count. Calvin does another poem that touches on Iraq (Douglas Feith) and Alexander Cockburn remains the most consistent means by which Iraq gets covered (here he's addressing Michael Gordon). But then, Cockburn knows their life beyond The Nation. Patti Williams writes at least the third piece on Obama this year (and a cover story! who knew drool could be printed!). We're not at nine issues and twelve pieces.

March 12th? By going historical (Lincoln) Eric Foner writes about Iraq. 13 pieces, ten issues.

March 19th? One article (by Christian Parenti). 14 pieces, 11 issues.

March 26th? One article (C.I.: "Stephen F. Cohen had little competition but even if there had been some, it was the best article the magazine's printed on Iraq. I'm not counting columns.")
15 pieces, 12 issues.

April 2nd? Jeremy Scahill writes as if he's at another magazine (that's a compliment), Calvin offers another poem on Iraq, and by running two unsigned editorials, the second one manages to cover Iraq. 18 pieces, 13 issues. Oh and a coffee fetcher (now with the Chris Dodd campaign, and one prone to attacking Alexander Cockburn's writing) writes about the war and students. 19 pieces, 13 issues.

April 9th? With Anne Hull and Dana Priest's incredible work on the veterans issue in The Washington Post, The Nation decides they better touch on the issue and do so with two pieces. Some might argue why they didn't cover it before? Some might even note that Mother JonesThe Washington Post to cover it first didn't need . 21 pieces, 14 issues.

April 16th? We're going to be real generous and call the crap on the Pelosi-Reid measure a short story, piece of fiction on Iraq. Alexander Cockburn keeps it real about the measure (and gets Abeer's name finally into the magazine), Calvin does a poem. 24 pieces, 15 issues. Chrissy rewrites history about the SDS and wants to pass off his rant as about students today. Not enough Iraq to qualify. But good news, more Obama features. What is that, the fourth article on Obama?

April 23rd? Another Iran war article. Juan Cole writes about Iraq and he blew any trust factor when, as Steve Rendell rightly noted, he came out in favor of continuing the illegal war and occupation (a fact Cole wants to pretend didn't happen but Rendell is correct, it did). 25 pieces, 16 issues.

April 30th? Calvin writes another brief poem on Iraq (this time on Senator Crazy's visit to Baghdad). 26 pieces, 17 issues.

May 7th? Zero. Still 26 pieces. Now 18 issues.

May 14th? Thanks to Calvin's poem, Iraq is not forgotten. 27 pieces, 19 issues.

May 21st? Editorial on Iraq. (Well, on Congress.) David Corn actually covers Iraq (unlike the editorial -- by the same staff, remember, who applauded the 'benchmarks' for Iraqis in the Pelosi-Reid measure). 29 pieces, 20 issues.

May 28th? Katha Pollitt finally weighs in on Iraq for 2007. (No, the insulting "BE HONEST" paragraph doesn't count and didn't for that craptacualr column.) She manages to mention Abeer finally as well. Strange isn't it, that Cockburn wrote about her before Pollitt could. 30 pieces, 21 issues.

June 4th? Spencer Ackerman writes about Iraq. It's about Iraq. A bit pedestrian. A bit centrist actually. What does the mag tell us? Slug line page 20 that he's "a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a national security correspondent for The Washington Monthly." Oh, those Democratic Bibles. The ones that couldn't call out the illegal war for the longest, but could argue for a 'smarter' illegal war. Hmmm. But there's something that C.I. and Ava just really feel is being left out. What could it be? Oh, that's right! He was an associate editor for The New Republic(an). Well why not. It's not like the magazines really had any different outlooks to begin with, right? (Slow Creep of the Centrists.) Moving to cowardly, ____ (couldn't mention Darrell Anderson was a war resister when quoting him in the Guardian of London, so he will not be named here) writes about Tony Blair and mentions Iraq every now and then. (Very little, strange since he thinks Iraq is the biggest issue, or that's what he writes in this column.) 32 pieces, 22 issues.

June 11th? By running three unsigned editorials, they manage to write on about Iraq and, yes, it's the last editorial printed. Nick Turse's online piece is pruned (severely, online originally and fully at TomDispatch) and run. They also offer Iraqi refugees. 35 pieces, 23 issues.

June 18th? John Nichols writes about Cindy Sheehan's announcement. The party organ for the Democratic Party announces, in an unsigned editorial, "The Honeymoon Is Over." We say, "Yes, we see the bruises on your face." But it's not about Iraq. Iraq's mentioned in three sentences. Not even three sentences about Iraq, mind you, Iraq is a subclause in all. The third time probably sums up the magazine's attitude best: "Beyond ending the war . . ." They're always moving "beyond" Iraq at the magazine. This doesn't count for crap. It's about progressives and health care and the 100 days, and corporations and, probably, daisies growing out of someone's ass. 36 pieces, 24 issues. Naomi Klein includes "Baghdad" in her title but she's writing about Canada's natural resources and it doesn't count either.

June 25th? Nothing on Iraq. Apparently the issue of People magazine Patti Williams was using as a social science resource didn't cover Iraq. 37 pieces, 25 issues.

Now, if we take out Calvin's seven brief poems (no offense to him or poetry), we're left with 30 pieces. If we take out Alexander Cockburn the figure drops even lower. Maybe we should take him out after that shameful note the magazine recently wrote about him. As we remember it, when they ran that anti-Palestinian ad, activists had to organize writes in, start a petition and protest to get that weak-ass "We take money, we do not necessarily agree with ad content" nonsense. But Cockburn rates something akin to The New York Times non-mea-culpa.

So leaving out Calvin's poetry (and we didn't count poetry in the critical section that they run reviews in), we're left with 30 articles. Some of which, like ___'s article on Gordon Brown replacing Tony Blair, only touched on Iraq, didn't focus on it. So while the US was engaged in a declared war -- an illegal one -- 30 articles could touch on Iraq? How proud they must be.

Not one article on war resisters ran. (A sidebar is not an article.) Liza Featherstone's laughable 'peace movement' article is included. This is the magazine stepping up?

During the six month period, there was a special issue on the environment (May 7th) and a special issue on Cuba (May 14th). We've already had the special issue on food in 2006. July's already offered the special issue on health care. We're told a special issue on Iraq is on the way. It's nice that 4 years and 4 months after the start of the illegal war, they finally think it warrants a special issue. Over 250 articles and 30 can be ranked as having to do with Iraq. That includes Calvin's poems. That includes Cockburn's columns. That includes editorials. 30? A bit like Charlie Gibson reducing Iraq to two minutes in a broadcasting week if you ask us. Even more so when you grasp that 70% of Americans turned against the war, that the war decided the 2006 elections and that The Nation is seen as the strongest magazine speaking out against the illegal war. (It's based on what they used to do. Not what they do today.)

Meanwhile, the cover we never saw on Iraq in 2006? We noted it in 2006. We still haven't seen. Not of any individual war resister. In fact, there's not been one article in print that covered a war resister (a sidebar is not an article).
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