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Just the facts, Ma'am

By Michael J. Smith on Friday June 18, 2010 05:50 PM

The Nation magazine has me on its mailing list. (I signed up because I find Katrina van den Heuvel intensely attractive, and I sorta hoped she might want to date me. That bony face, those sleepy eyelids, those lush wryly-curved lips...)

*Mops brow*

Where was I? -- Oh yes, The Nation, capital T, capital N. They sent me a survey -- here's the link:


It probably won't work for you -- that last bit looks like a 'nonce' tag, and I used it up. But give it a whirl.

Some of the questions were pretty easy to answer -- though I lied on all of them, a thing I always do in surveys, and encourage everyone else to do. But still: "How old are you?" has a reasonable range of responses, from zero to 100-plus. Ten thousand is not believeable, pace Mel Brooks.

What stymied me was this question:

What would you like to read more of on TheNation.com? (Check all that apply.)
  • Human rights issues
  • Healthcare reform
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Environmental issues
  • Social/economic justice
  • Public policy or legislation
  • Political candidates/elections
  • Gender issues
  • Media issues
  • Investigative/watchdog journalism
I ground to a creaking halt on this one.

Note that "none of the above" is not an option; hell, even the SAT usually gives you that escape hatch. But TheNation.com is allowing no evasions here. These are your options. No others are imaginable. In fact, it's not even imaginable that others might be imaginable.

I wanted to be sure all my other lies were counted, so finally, in despair, I picked the last alternative -- "investigative/watchog journalism", a thing the Nation doesn't do, hasn't done in my lifetime, and clearly doesn't want to do.

When you're under the gun, it's surprising how the truth comes out. This was probably the least mendacious answer I gave.

Facts are always fun. But from The Nation -- capital T, capital N -- fantasy seems to be what we get.

Comments (6)

"Corporate social responsibility"?

What manner of Carrollian beast is that?

A cousin of the jabberwocky?


Since none of these issues would occur to, say, Pat Buchanan, TN is obviously counting its readers to spread their responses evenly among all of them, which will allow TN to go covering each of them in its inimitable, inconsequential way.


"Investigative/watchdog journalism "

i picked the same one
immediately eagerly yelping madly
arph arph arph

and with canine gaity
he wags his tail to beat the band

fancy that

what if katrina herself
dives head first into the watch dog role

maybe i'll get to sniff her ass


jack webb was the greatest
of the great

a bonze

in my branch
of the buddhism racket -fifth wheel adventist-
he soars above all other incarnations since
the 7 th century (ce)

"this is the city ..."
nothing equals the mastery
the sweep of that framing
of a procedural tale



OK, so I feel kinda strange coming to the defense of the Nation,

BUT, to say that they never have/never will do any investigative journalism is just nonsense.

Most of the information we have about Blackwater's mercenary activities in Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond, we owe to Jeremy Scahill and his reporting in the Nation.

Do you not consider this to be investigative reporting?

Nicholas Hart:

I don't think we owe The Nation for Scahill's work. He's published all over the place, especially Democracy Now.

FYI: the survey link still works.

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