August 1st, 2007 16:19 EST
Greg Palast - Old School Journalism at its Best
Journalism has its canonical heroes, like Bob Woodward and Seymour Hersh—journalists the establishment makes room for—and then there are the non-canonical heroes who, by choice or by virtue of the poobahs they have disturbed, operate outside the mainstream.
The canonical heroes have achieved what their bosses have allowed them to achieve, pushing the envelope and fighting within the system. This is an increasingly forlorn arena. The non-canonical heroes achieve outside and often against the system, and they are rarely rewarded with either fame or money.
The late I.F. Stone published a famous anti-establishmentarian weekly in Washington. It was for many years a sharp pebble in the shoes of big shots. Today Sam Smith publishes Progressive Review and the online Undernews, performing something of the same function, pointing out the warts and crimes of Big Media.
Now when Rupert Murdoch has succeeded in buying The Wall Street Journal would seem to be a good time to consider the place of the non-canonical heroes in our society. That they have no place in Murdoch’s empire goes without saying, but they also have no place in a press that censors itself in the interests of corporados, among whom are some of its owners.
Today the maverick forensic journalist Greg Palast announced that unless he gets some help from people who care about what the press is censoring, his rambunctious news operation will go under. Palast is doing exactly what is not being done in journalism: he talks about the elephant in the room and he promotes the idea that the money trail must be followed by journalists who understand forensic accounting.
I’m giving Palast whatever I can afford today, to put my money where my mouth has been all these years. I urge you to send him whatever you can afford, because with a sold-to-the-highest-bidder government we will lose our prosperity, our rights and our lives unless we can find a way to support his kind of journalism.
I know some journalists are turned off by his razzle-dazzle style, but there is substance there, too. He has no institution behind him and so he resorts to attention-getting language just to stay afloat. But if you have any doubt about his value watch him on PBS as he explains how the 2008 election has already been fixed. Then send him your help at the Palast Investigative Fund.