Todd Gitlin

Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University and the author of Letters to a Young Activist. He is currently working with Liel Leibovitz on a book about chosen peoples.

Recent Articles

I.F. Stone, Journalist -- and Spy?

Was "Pancake" working with the KGB? The evidence is inconclusive.

American Radical: The Life and Times of I. F. Stone by D.D. Guttenplan, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 570 pages, $35.00 Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev Yale University Press, 650 pages, $35.00 Between 1953 and 1971, I.F. Stone wrote and published a Weekly (eventually a Bi-Weekly ) combining pungent, timely tidbits unearthed from government documents with debunkings and jeremiads on civil rights, civil liberties, and the dangers of American arrogance and nuclear war. Blessed with terrible hearing, Stone had more than one reason to avoid the press conferences that dominate what the mainstream call "coverage." Instead, he pored over foreign-language papers and congressional hearing transcripts. To this reviewer, who first encountered the Weekly as a 17-year-old recruit to the New Left convinced that America was deeply culpable in the Cold War, nuclear testing, Cuba, and Vietnam, the Weekly was indispensable not just...

Times Out of Joint

Last summer, I made the mistake of asking a Los Angeles Times reporter how he felt about life in a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tribune Company. He made a sour face and said he was worried about his pension. Dinner was ruined for a while. Reporters are used to holding their breath at the Times , where the editorial staff has been cut from 1,200 souls to 940, a decrease of more than 20 percent, in the course of the six years since Tribune bought out Times Mirror, which owned the Times and several other major papers. To be a survivor at the L.A. Times is to be, well, resilient, says 28-year veteran staff writer Henry Weinstein, who specializes in legal affairs. The Times has lurched from crisis to crisis for nearly a decade, since pre-Tribune CEO Mark Willes plunged the paper into an unseemly profit-sharing arrangement with the Staples Center arena. Willes, who lacked newspaper experience, did not win many reporter friends when he proposed to knock down the wall between the editorial...

OUTRAGE ON THE DEFAMATION FRONT.

OUTRAGE ON THE DEFAMATION FRONT. Just to elaborate on the story Ezra mentioned : The NYU historian Tony Judt was invited to speak October 3 on the subject of �The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy� to a discussion group entitled Network 20/20, which always holds its meetings at Manhattan�s Polish Consulate. But Judt received a call from Patricia Harrington , the president of the group, canceling his talk. She told Judt (as he recounted in a widely distributed e-mail) that the Consulate had been threatened by the Anti-Defamation League, who �warned them off hosting anything involving Tony Judt.� Judt said that ADL�s Abraham Foxman warned the Poles that unless they cancelled, to quote Judt�s e-mail, �he would smear the charge of Polish collaboration with anti-Israeli antisemites (= me) all over the front page of every daily paper in the city (an indirect quote).� Poland is particularly sensitive about the charge these days, what with the recent publication of Jan Gross �s book, Fear...

All the President's Pets

Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush by Eric Boehlert (Free Press, 352 pages, $25.00) It will come as no surprise to readers of these pages that the galloping pack of Washington journalists has spent much of the last five and a half years rolling over for an alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) fanatical, inept, mendacious, and clueless George W. Bush. In the run-up to war, they gave him the benefit of many undeserved doubts. When he claimed to accomplish his mission, they saluted. They buried their doubts and when the time came for apologies displayed remarkably little curiosity as to how they had acquired so many sins to apologize for. Even today, with Bush's approval ratings on the shadowy side of one-third and his coalition unraveling, they leave much of his malfeasance and that of his entourage barely noticed. When they do unearth telling dots, they soon re-inter them unconnected. If you have any doubt, read Eric Boehlert's devastating book. Read it and weep, tear...

The Harder He Blows

Chris Matthews blows hard. This may sound less like a news flash than a crashing redundancy. And it's true that yelling is nothing new for the omnipresent MSNBC/CNBC barking head, for whom picking up the pace and pumping up the volume almost always substitute for picking apart the fairy tales that keep the Bush White House intact. But in recent months Matthews' obsequiousness toward his favorites and nastiness toward his bêtes noires have ballooned to new proportions. He's told Tom DeLay, for instance, “You are not in this business for the money,” and said about incoming House Majority Leader John Boehner, “You can see this man's greatness,” while declaring that the country went Republican in the 1994 elections because it was “tired of Hillary Clinton's, you know ‘I'm going to run the country' mentality.” As the faith-based bubble of George W. Bush goes on veering away from reality -- even from reality as seen by many conservative politicians -- Matthews, weirdly, is having trouble...

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