Media Heroes

The Nation Magazine has published a list of 30 top media heroes, as voted for and appointed by its readers. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), although the pole was coming from a progressive online blog, many of the top spots went to TV personalities, mostly from MSNBC. I'm not so sure how I feel about MSNBC getting so much credit from liberal-progressive readers, but I'm at least glad that Amy Goodman made it to the [almost] top of the list:

1. Rachel Maddow (MSNBC)

2. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!)

3. Glenn Greenwald (Salon)

4. Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone and more)

5. Bill Moyers (formerly PBS)

6. Jon Stewart (The Daily Show)

7. Keith Olbermann (MSNBC)

8. Jeremy Scahill (The Nation)

9. Paul Krugman (New York Times)

10. Stephen Colbert (Colbert Report)

11. Chris Hayes (The Nation, MSNBC)

12. Seymour Hersh (The New Yorker and more)

13. Chris Hedges (The Nation and more)

14. Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post)

15. Jane Hamsher (FireDogLake)

16. Cenk Uygur (The Young Turks)

17. Naomi Klein (The Nation)

18. Dylan Rattigan (MSNBC)

19. Bill Maher (HBO)

20. Frank Rich (New York Times)

21. David Sirota (syndicated columnist)

22. Thom Hartmann (radio)

23. Julian Assange (WikiLeaks)

24. Digby -- i.e. Heather Parton (blogger)

25. Greg Palast (writer)

26. Ed Schultz (MSNBC)

27. Laura Flanders (GRIT TV and more)

28. Allison Kilkenny-Jamie Kilstein (Citizen Radio team)

29. Sam Seder (Huffington Post and Majority Report)

30. Jim Hightower (The Nation and more)

Also recieving honorable mention were Markos Moulistas, Lawrence O'Donnell, Katrina vandenHeuvel, Eric Boehlert, Bob Herbert, Josh Marshall, Marcy Wheeler, Robert Scheer, Helen Thomas, Dean Baker, Yves Smith, Nick Kristof, Ezra Klein, Atrios, Mike Malloy, Max Blumenthal, Joe Conason, Robert Fisk, Melissa Harris-Perry, David Swanson, Nate Silver, Ali Abuniman, Gail Collins, Dave Weigel, Eugene Robinson.

Kudos to these various journalists for having the cahones to tell it like it is! What do you say? Who are some of YOUR personal media heroes who perhaps did not make the list?


Change of Heart?

Has the Catholic world gotten a new Pope? I don't recall seeing a tower of black smoke billowing from Vatican City, but it seems like the former Benedict XVI- you know, the one who said last year that condoms increase the AIDS problem in Africa- has disappeared and been divinely replaced by a Pope who has some sort of a grasp on reality.

It seems difficult to believe that a Pope would have any semblance of sensibility when it comes to issues of dirty, scary, sinful s-e-x, but it seemed as if the public health fairy had knocked him on his highly-hatted head when comments that he made on HIV and condom use were publiziced this past weekend. The comments came from a book which is to be published by Ignatious Press, titled "Light of the World: The Pope, The Church, and Signs of the Times." In it, Pope Benedict addresses the controversial issue of contraception and the AIDS epidemic by saying that there MAY be SOME situations where condom use is SORT OF accepted.

Whoa. That's a big step, no? The Vatican actually endorsing condom use? Ok well no not exactly. What the Pope REALLY said was that condom use is the "first step" on a sort of moral ladder... that using condoms in cases of, say, prostitution, is a way of assuming responsibility and acknowledging that what one is doing is wrong. Sure. Leave it to the Vatican to instill some sort of plaguing guilt on what would otherwise have been a solid ethical lesson. Here's Benny's words, in context:

"There could be single cases that can be justified, for instance when a prostitue uses a condom, and this can be a first step towards a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, to develop again the awareness of the fact that not all is allowed and that one cannot do everything one wants."

It seems tricky, but somewhere in there is a light of hope for AIDS activists and others around the world who see condoms as a solid, albeit not exclusive, means of combatting the disease. Because even though his holiness spoke in very vague and confusing language, his statement was a reversal of the Church's typical outright denunciation of contraceptives. And for an institution that bases its belief system on a 2,000 year old moral code, in which global epidemics and HIV did not exist, these statements made by their glorified leader are quite a miraculous step forward.

9 3/4

Three of my favorite things: street art, harry potter, and the NYC subway!