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Todd Gitlin
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Entries by Todd Gitlin

How to Reverse a Slow-Motion Apocalypse

(74) Comments | Posted November 21, 2013 | 9:14 AM

Why the Divestment Movement Against Big Energy Matters

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Apocalyptic climate change is upon us.  For shorthand, let’s call it a slow-motion apocalypse to distinguish it from an intergalactic attack out of the blue or a suddenly surging Genesis-style flood. 

Slow-motion, however, is not...

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The Wonderful American World of Informers and Agents Provocateurs

(22) Comments | Posted June 27, 2013 | 10:51 AM

Close Encounters of the Lower-Tech Kind

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Only Martians, by now, are unaware of the phone and online data scooped up by the National Security Agency (though if it turns out that they are aware, the NSA has surely picked up their signals...

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Is the Press Too Big to Fail?

(45) Comments | Posted April 25, 2013 | 10:49 AM

It's Dumb Journalism, Stupid

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Everyone knows this story, though fewer and fewer read it on paper.  There are barely enough pages left to wrap fish.  The second paper in town has shut down.  Sometimes the daily delivers only three days a week.  Advertising...

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Obama, One Year On

(2) Comments | Posted November 3, 2009 | 11:34 AM

Written for Progressive Book Club

Yes, we did. And the millennium did not arrive. So what showed up instead?

After a few sorely, sorely needed moments of exulting and exhaling, more rounds in the unceasing fight between the forces of progressive reform and the forces of rollback and retrogression....

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Sunday Watch 11-02-08: In Which the Guesswork Pageant Flutters to an End

(2) Comments | Posted November 3, 2008 | 5:22 PM

Originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Halloween was over, but revelers were still in costume Sunday morning. Pundits-in-chief appeared confident that they had served the American people well during their extended, peculiar process of choosing a global leader. Cheerleaders were wearing...

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Sunday Watch 10-26-08: In Which Weariness Strikes

(1) Comments | Posted October 27, 2008 | 6:21 PM

Originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review.


The campaign has lasted as long as a rhinoceros stays pregnant, but at the end, for both candidates, will come delivery if not deliverance. Ten days before that blessed day arrives, though, the campaign's...

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Sunday Watch 10-19-08: In Which Colin Powell is a Statesman

(10) Comments | Posted October 20, 2008 | 12:45 PM

My dictionary offers this definition of statesman: "a senior politician who is widely respected for integrity and impartial concern for the public good." On Meet the Press, the much-decorated Colin Powell declared that he was voting for Barack Obama. Thereby Powell clutched for the statesman ring that he forfeited five...

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Sunday Watch 10-12-08: In Which False Equivalency Struts Its Fraudulent Stuff

(32) Comments | Posted October 13, 2008 | 11:00 AM

Originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review


Tom Brokaw is rapidly making up for lost air time by building premises on sand. Conventional wisdom piles atop conventional wisdom, none of it substantial, none of it justifiable, all of it delivered with sonorous...

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Sunday Watch 10-5-08: In Which Tom Brokaw Goes Foxy

(38) Comments | Posted October 5, 2008 | 4:23 PM

Originally published on CJR.org, the website of the Columbia Journalism Review.


Sometimes it's hard to know when Tom Brokaw is actually gauche or playing gauche; actually ironic or ironizing his own irony.

On Meet the Press, Brokaw played a clip of McCain's interview last week with the...

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Sunday Watch 9-28-08: In Which George Stephanopoulos Shies Away From Moments of Truth

(22) Comments | Posted September 29, 2008 | 4:19 PM

Originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review.

In a democratic society, what is the point of questioning a candidate or any other powerful figure? When the network gets its “get,” what does the public get?

The purpose isn’t self-evident. The host of a Sunday...

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Sunday Watch 9-21-08: In Which a Whole World View Collapses With Little Notice

(5) Comments | Posted September 22, 2008 | 11:51 AM

[originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review]

“It began,” Secretary of the Treasury Czar Hank Paulson told George Stephanopoulos, “with excesses in the system, irresponsible behavior and practices in financial institutions.” On Meet the Press, Paulson again alluded to “excesses”—“excesses building up for sometime...

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Sunday Watch 9-14-08: In Which Sarahmania Subsides and the Unmentionable is Mentioned

(7) Comments | Posted September 15, 2008 | 11:42 AM

[originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review]


The possibility that Sarah Palin may well find herself one proverbial heartbeat away from the presidency has flushed out a hitherto buried issue, that of John McCain’s age and health.

George Stephanopoulos raised the subject...

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Sunday Watch: In Which the Round Table Coos

(10) Comments | Posted September 8, 2008 | 10:49 AM

originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review


If Sarah Palin’s nomination kindled a certain skepticism among the talking heads last week, this week’s rousing St. Paul speech cast a spell.

As everyone must know, Palin electrified the 98.5 percent Caucasian delegate crowd...

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Sunday Watch: In Which Skepticism Revives (But Not for Everyone)

(1) Comments | Posted September 1, 2008 | 1:30 PM

The week served up an embarrassment of riches for the Sunday shows. There were, of course, Denver developments: the Clintons' make-good speeches along with a stem-winder by Montana governor Brian Schweitzer, and, of course, Obama in the stadium, outlining his ideas as frozen Hillary supporters say he never does. But...

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Sunday Watch 8-24-08: In Which House Dwellers Throw Stones

(4) Comments | Posted August 25, 2008 | 10:22 AM

Originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review


George Stephanopoulos tried to get chief Obama strategist David Axelrod to say something­—anything—interesting about the Biden choice, but Axelrod was relentlessly on-message ticking off his points: Biden is “accomplished,” “expert,” “working class,” full of “wisdom,”...

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Sunday Watch, 8-17-08: On Air Kisses and Free Passes

(4) Comments | Posted August 18, 2008 | 1:58 PM

[originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review.]

Once again, ABC This Week’s roundtable tilted off-center, even without semi-regulars Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts to do the honors. (Perhaps Ms. Roberts, having sneered last week that Obama was making a big mistake in taking his...

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Sunday Watch 8-10-08: The Question Mark Over The Networks

(6) Comments | Posted August 11, 2008 | 11:09 AM

(Originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review.)

On Meet the Press Sunday, David Gregory told his political round table:

The big question ... on the campaign trail is readiness to lead, to handle a crisis like this [Russia-Georgia]. And the readiness issue...
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Sunday Watch, 8-3-08: In Which David Gergen Collides with the Straight Talk Express and Walks Away from the Wreck

(28) Comments | Posted August 4, 2008 | 11:00 AM

(Originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review.)

ABC’s This Week began with the same montage that every other broadcast has featured this week: the clips of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton coupled—or is it tripled?—with Barack Obama in McCain’s spot seen ‘round the...

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Sunday Watch: In Which McCain Is Not Greeted as a Liberator

(10) Comments | Posted July 28, 2008 | 11:35 AM

[originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review]

Several of McCain’s utterances in his first interview with George Stephanopoulos since April deserve, as they say, to “make news”—to be emblazoned all week on front pages and reprised in TV clips—though, being substantial utterances, almost surely...

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Sunday Watch 7-20-08

(4) Comments | Posted July 21, 2008 | 9:02 PM

[originally published on CJR.org, the Web site of the Columbia Journalism Review]


Imagine! Almost an entire installment of Meet the Press devoted to an interview with a private citizen who is not running for office—who receives the attention not only because he is famous but because he…knows...

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