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Danny Schechter (1942-2015)

Greg Palast 

Today, we lost a journalist’s journalist, the moral commander of investigative reporters from New York to Johannesburg.

Known for bringing the world the story of Nelson Mandela, Danny gave up cushy jobs at ABC and CNN, the big bucks and a steady flow of mainstream awards to blow the whistle on the degradation of American news. Danny exposed what he called the “news goo” of talking hair-dos-denouncing them as repeaters, not reporters. One of his searing books told it all in the title: “The More You Watch, the Less You Know.”

Listen to Danny Schechter Remembered with Greg Palast on KKFI.

It was Danny Schechter who, two decades ago, hectored and harassed me until I gave up a darn good job as an investigator, pushing me to become an investigative reporter. (He did demand I wear a wig so I could get on the US boob tube. (No way. Instead I went into journalistic exile at BBC London.)

And it was Danny Schechter who first brought my investigations back to our benighted America in his film, Counting on Democracy.

Once, in Bosnia, when I ran into some reporters from Kazakhstan, and I told them I was from New York, they asked me, “Do you know Danny Schechter?” When I said yes, they were dazzled. But in America, Danny was, sadly, a prophet outcast in his own land. The hair-sprayed pseudo-news puppets, with their phony tales of derring-do, exiled Danny’s clarion reports to the confined pool of dissenting websites and DVDs.

It had been my plan to surprise Danny by dedicating our current film to him. I will do that still, and, as well, dedicate myself to the Sisyphean task he demanded of me and the many others he mentored: to tell the stories of the brutalized, cheated, hurt and silenced; to be a voice for the voiceless.

Alev ha-shalom, Danny Schechter, rest, finally, in peace.

The Mandela Barbie

Greg Palast 

For Truthout

I can’t take it anymore. All week, I’ve watched Nelson Mandela reduced to a Barbie doll. From Fox News to the Bush family, the politicians and media mavens who body-blocked the anti-Apartheid Movement and were happy to keep Mandela behind bars, now get to dress his image up in any silly outfit they choose.

It’s more nauseating than hypocrisy and ignorance. The Mandela Barbie tells us in a squeaky little doll voice, not his own, that apartheid is now “defeated” – to quote the ridiculous headline in the Times.

Poor Mandela. When he’s not a doll, he’s a statue. He joins Martin Luther King as another bronzed monument whose use is to serve a new version of racism, Apartheid 2.0, worsening both in South Africa – and in the USA.  …more

New York Times Reports Illegal Vote Purge

Greg Palast 

The New York Times has uncovered Katherine Harris wipe out of thousands of voters ... only three years after killing the story exposed by the BBC TV and the Guardian. Here, 'News Dissector' Schechter, formerly of ABC's 20/20, asks how the Times could editorialize on a story they never ran in the first place. ...more