The magazine features prolific political writers Joe Conason and Glenn Greenwald. New Yorker Conason targets those he calls corporate jet conservatives. In 2009, constitutional lawyer Greenwald earned a journalism award named for famous commentator I.F. Stone, for "pathbreaking journalistic courage and persistence in confronting conventional wisdom, official deception and controversial issues."
Salon, like many journals, offers a few year-end top ten lists and I recommend Year in Crazy: The Top 10. A few morsels:
- ". . . as part of her sales pitch for Arizona's oppressive anti-immigration bill, [Arizona Gov. Jan] Brewer had to convince people that immigrants were really, really hurting Arizona. And so she began to spin a fantastical tale of Arizona as a war-torn battleground.
"Brewer's Arizona, as described in national television appearances with friendly Fox hosts, is an ultraviolent, post-apocalyptic Road Warrior hellscape, with bloody human heads littering the unforgiving desert and drug cartels kidnapping thousands of Phoenix-area children to act as mules. She told Fox News viewers just how bad things had gotten, with "the crime, the drugs, the kidnapping, the extortion, beheadings, and the fact that people can't feel safe in their communities."
- "Poor [BP CEO Tony] Hayward wants his life back. Then again, can you blame him? That life he wants back is pretty cushy. BP paid Hayward $6 million last year — a 41 percent raise over the year before, even though the company's profits fell 45 percent.
"Every penny of which he must feel he earned. After all, despite a safety record far worse than any of its major competitors, BP somehow pulled off a cynical greenwashing ad campaign, marketing itself as environmentally friendly and declaring itself "beyond petroleum." So what if it turned out the only thing green about BP was its flowery logo? Hayward, CEO since 2007, had steered the company into a new, Orwellian branding strategy, where merely saying it was taking precautions against accidents and spills was enough.
"That magical thinking apparently carried over into the way he processed the spill. Well after scientists had started saying the Deepwater Horizon explosion was already the worst environmental disaster in the nation's history, Hayward tried to minimize the whole thing. The spill wouldn't be so bad, he declared, because the Gulf is a "very big ocean." In fact, it would likely turn out to be a "very, very modest" disaster. (Besides, haven't you seen our logo? Of course we're not responsible for the biggest oil spill the U.S. has ever seen!)
"Still, it's one thing to lie about how much oil your company is dumping, and it's another thing altogether to make yourself seem like the pitiful protagonist of the whole story. And sure enough, by the end of the week, BP's new PR armada had realized Hayward was making things worse."
- "It's been a rough couple weeks for the man who wears the pointy hat. He's been slapped with a lawsuit. He's been excoriated by Sinéad O'Connor. And in a (pardon the phrase) utterly damning series of New York Times stories, he's been implicated in one of the worst sex abuse coverups in the Catholic Church's not-too-shabby history of sex abuse scandals. . .
"But being the front-line guy for an organization that's harbored a truly outstanding number of child rapists can take a toll on a person. And so, as Catholics around the world began the Holy Week sprint toward Easter, the 82-year-old pontiff was sounding a tad defensive. In his Palm Sunday sermon, he took a moment to speak about "the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion." Hey, pope, not to tell you how to do your job or anything, but really, when your business is looking at thousands of sex crimes -- not a good moment to trot out the word 'gossip'."
- "This week, though, as if he knew that his usual conspiracy-mongering, fake tears and suffocating paranoia just weren't cutting it anymore, [Glen] Beck aired a series of shameless attacks on George Soros that seemed ripped from the pages of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
"The message? Financier and philanthropist George Soros is a "puppet master" secretly at the center of a vast conspiracy that aims to destroy our economy and take over the nation through deceit. The proof? A lot of selectively edited quotes, wild innuendo and the fact that Soros "collapsed regimes" in "four other countries."
"Beck knows full well that Soros dedicated his life to promoting democracy in Communist nations, which an avowed anti-socialist like Beck should theoretically be championing him for. But Soros is a progressive, and in the Beck world, progressives are socialists are Maoists are Communists are totalitarians, so any enemy of Soros is a friend of Glenn Beck's. Insanity makes strange bedfellows.
". . . people who read secondhand accounts of the specials -- or even those who read the transcripts -- can grasp how weird and shameless the entire spectacle was. There were puppets strewn about the set. The camera always watches Beck watching whatever we're supposed to be watching. Beck blatantly flirted with classic anti-Semitic tropes, knowing he'd be called on it but confident his friends would have his back. . .
"But the craziest bit of the entire thing came when Glenn Beck accused Soros -- a 14-year-old Jew in Budapest attempting, during the war, to survive the Holocaust -- of collaborating with the Nazis and "helping send the Jews to the death camps." Yes, that happened. Repeatedly. . ."
- "Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, opposes the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the military's long-standing ban on openly gay service members. On the whole, the Marines are less receptive to the idea of lifting the ban than most other branches of the armed forces, so his opposition makes a certain kind of sense. But he can't really come up with any good reasons to oppose lifting the ban. His most recent justification for discrimination: Gay people will cause Marines to lose their legs!
". . . OK. He obviously thinks highly of Marines, if he thinks that the mere knowledge that one of his colleagues is gay will distract a trained, professional Marine so much that his legs will fall off.
"That's what he thinks is going to happen, right? A Marine will just be so inattentive that he'll forget to keep his legs attached to himself? Because that interpretation is actually less insulting to the Marines than thinking that gay people will make them less effective in actual combat situations.
"(I'd guess that Amos' opposition to lifting the ban is informed less by realistic concerns about the safety of his Marines than by his particular brand of born-again Christianity. And the fact that he's crazy.)
". . . Marine Corps Infantry Capt. Nathan Cox -- not gay, by the way -- respectfully destroyed his commandant's reasoning in a Washington Post Op-Ed on Thursday, writing, "[in] the end, Marines in combat will treat sexual orientation the same way they treat race, religion and one's stance on the likelihood of the Patriots winning another Super Bowl."
"And Cox added a fact that Amos would probably deny: Some of the Marines at Bethesda Naval Hospital -- and some of them buried at Arlington -- are almost certainly gay. And they all served honorably, even though American politicians were too cowardly to allow them to serve openly."