Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Manifesto

"Mission Statement" might be a more accurate title, but "Manifesto" sounds better. Here it is:

"I tried to give information which could be documented so the reader could check it for himself. I tried to dig the truth out of hearings, official transcripts and government documents, and to be as accurate as possible. I also sought to give the Weekly a personal flavor, to add humor, wit and good writing to the Weekly report. I felt if one were able enough and had sufficient vision one could distill meaning, truth and even beauty from the swiftly flowing debris of the week's news....

The reporter assigned to specific beats lie the State Department or the Pentagon for a wire service or a big daily newspaper soon finds himself a captive. State and Pentagon have large press relations forces whose job it is to herd the press and shape the news. There are many ways to punish a reporter who gets out of line; if a big story breaks at 3 A.M., the press office may neglect to notify him while his rivals get the story. There are as many ways to flatter and take a reporter into camp--private off-the-record dinners with high officials, entertainment at the service clubs. Reporters tend to be absorbed by the bureaucracies they cover; they take on the habits, attitudes and even accents of the military or the diplomatic corps. Should a reporter resist the pressure, there are many ways to get rid of him....

But a reporter covering the whole capital on his own--particularly if he is his own employer--is immune from these pressures. Washington is full of news--if one story is denied him he can always get another. The bureaucracies put out so much that they cannot help letting the truth slip from time to time. The town is open."
--I.F. Stone, Introduction to The Haunted Fifties.

That's the goal of this site: to find the stories hidden in the open.

I will probably be focusing on U.S. human rights policy in the war on terror, as that is my area of expertise.

Izzy Stone had a lot going for him that I don't have. He didn't have a day job. He had decades of reporting experience at great newspapers when he started his weekly newsletter; I have one journalism class, two summer internships and six months at a third rate community newspaper. And he was just plain better, at both reporting and writing, than I'll ever be.

But I have Google, Lexis-Nexis, and free publishing anytime of the day or night I want. So that's a start.

Oh, and I will also be haranguing people with my Deep Thoughts about constitutional & immigration law every so often, in keeping with the "lawyer by day" part of the title. And writing whatever else I feel like writing.