Todd Gitlin

Todd Gitlin, professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph. D. program in communications at Columbia University, has been writing frequently on media and the campaign for BillMoyers.com. His next book is a novel, The Opposition.

Recent Articles

The Disgrace of ‘60 Minutes’

Steve Bannon gets a bully platform and runs rings around Charlie Rose.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon at the White House A s mainstream TV journalism strives to redeem itself from the degraded spectacle of its 2016 campaign coverage, CBS News might be expected to lead the parade of penitents—not because it has more to be ashamed of (that honor belongs to CNN for its orgy of Trump rallies), but because it’s something of a standard-bearer. So expectations rose when 60 Minutes announced it had scored the first post-White House sit-down with Steve Bannon. But Charlie Rose’s conversation with Bannon , broadcast September 10, illustrates everything wrong with showboat journalism and circus politics. There are lessons that might be learned if those in charge wanted to learn. It was the usual sort of wink-wink collusion inside the Beltway. Bannon got what he wanted: a turn at bat in the great game of Which-Republicans-Own-Donald Trump, a chance to burnish his reputation as Mr. #War, and a chance for some artful dodging...

Swept Away in the Sixties

What did the era amount to? One thing is certain: It wasn’t a revolution. 

AP Photo
AP Photo May 4, 1970: The Ohio National Guard moves in on demonstrators at Kent State University, killing four students and wounding 11. Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul By Clara Bingham Random House This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . K aleidoscopic pastiche is a serviceable form for conveying a helter-skelter swath of history, featuring many characters, locations, and vectors of action. Exemplifying the genre, Clara Bingham’s vivid Witness to the Revolution sets many scenes well and gets many moods right in conveying the sheer wildness and horror of the year that ended in August and September 1970, when a bombing at the University of Wisconsin Army Math Research Center killed an anti-war graduate student. It was a time of extremes. In the fall of 1969, behind closed doors, President Richard Nixon threatened a drastic expansion of the...

I.F. Stone, Journalist -- and Spy?

Was "Pancake" working with the KGB? The evidence is inconclusive.

American Radical: The Life and Times of I. F. Stone by D.D. Guttenplan, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 570 pages, $35.00 Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev Yale University Press, 650 pages, $35.00 Between 1953 and 1971, I.F. Stone wrote and published a Weekly (eventually a Bi-Weekly ) combining pungent, timely tidbits unearthed from government documents with debunkings and jeremiads on civil rights, civil liberties, and the dangers of American arrogance and nuclear war. Blessed with terrible hearing, Stone had more than one reason to avoid the press conferences that dominate what the mainstream call "coverage." Instead, he pored over foreign-language papers and congressional hearing transcripts. To this reviewer, who first encountered the Weekly as a 17-year-old recruit to the New Left convinced that America was deeply culpable in the Cold War, nuclear testing, Cuba, and Vietnam, the Weekly was indispensable not just...

Times Out of Joint

Last summer, I made the mistake of asking a Los Angeles Times reporter how he felt about life in a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tribune Company. He made a sour face and said he was worried about his pension. Dinner was ruined for a while. Reporters are used to holding their breath at the Times , where the editorial staff has been cut from 1,200 souls to 940, a decrease of more than 20 percent, in the course of the six years since Tribune bought out Times Mirror, which owned the Times and several other major papers. To be a survivor at the L.A. Times is to be, well, resilient, says 28-year veteran staff writer Henry Weinstein, who specializes in legal affairs. The Times has lurched from crisis to crisis for nearly a decade, since pre-Tribune CEO Mark Willes plunged the paper into an unseemly profit-sharing arrangement with the Staples Center arena. Willes, who lacked newspaper experience, did not win many reporter friends when he proposed to knock down the wall between the editorial...

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