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August 23, 2012

With the repression of free speech story of the century in the news this week, one might think that progressives would be falling all over themselves to support Julian Assange — exposer of high crimes extraordinaire — from the powers that be. To the contrary, I found myself perplexed that PEN America, an organization to which I belong, uttered not a peep as the publisher of Wikileaks narrowly escaped an attempt by UK police to kidnap him from the Ecuadoran embassy in London in order to extradite him to some CIA black hole for torture. While featuring the deplorable Russian state’s incarceration of the delinquent porn queens of the Pussy Riot punk rock band as an assault on free speech, PEN — a paragon of defending free expression — abandoned Assange like a hot potato.

All this, naturally, left me wondering what in the world is going on? Turning to radical online analysis, I may have found my answer.

As documented by Professor James F. Tracy at Wrong Kind of Green, progressive media has been corrupted as extensively as progressive NGOs. So much so, that foundation support for magazines like The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, and Mother Jones increased one hundred fold between 1990 and 2010. With the objective of divide and conquer, the philanthropic derivatives of unearned wealth are so overwhelmingly in control of progressive media now, that self-censorship by these media outlets has no doubt become routine.

Of course, failing to exhibit courage due to fear of reprisal is less of a sin than supporting evil for remuneration, and I suspect it is fear rather than greed that motivates PEN to play it safe.

This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to support PEN and all its good works, but it does mean that I will make more of an effort to encourage PEN and other organizations to cast aside their fears of government retaliation, as well as chastise organizations that have sold their soul. I will also encourage readers of publications like this one here to send what money they might have paid to progressive publications in the past that now have no need for their support.



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