The Good: Well-written, Insightful, Progressive
The Bad: Not well-circulated enough to make a difference
The Basics: The Nation is a weekly magazine that cuts to the heart of issues by actually exploring the facts as opposed to simply going along with the mainstream.
[This review was originally written in 2005 when the Bush Administration was in power and, frankly, things were even scarier for liberals in the U.S. I stand by my review of The Nation and am leaving it mostly unaltered because I like the points I made about the state of independent media in the U.S. at the time. We are not out of the woods yet, but The Nation continues to fight for Freedom Of the Press. Enjoy! - W.L.]
It might seem like an oxymoron to say that a publication is both progressive and unbiased, but the truth is, the way the news industry is today, it is a radical notion to present news without a severe bias, usually presenting the story without any regard or respect for the actual facts. Indeed, in these first years of the twenty-first century, the media of the United States of America has become so laughably biased and uninformative in relation to the truth of what happens in the world around us that it makes those who believe in Freedom of the Press cry.
There is a solution to that.
The magazine is called The Nation; it is the antithesis to the corporately-owned or state sponsored network news that is shown nightly on television or placed in glossy pages each week to buy on the newsstand. Instead, The Nation. is a magazine that explores the happenings of the world with intimate details, unflinchingly looking at the problems of our time. So, for example, while the network news organizations do not challenge the factuality of the statements made by President George Bush, The Nation. does. In recent articles, the magazine has focused on how the dismantling of social security will hurt the citizens of the United States, the importance of the challenge to the electoral college on January 7, 2005, and the hypocrisy between the speech George W. Bush gave on Inauguration Day and the police state of Washington D.C. that same day.
As the Bush Administration dwindled, The Nation stood up against many of the worst abuses of the President. The Nation broke the whole story with the national security implications of the Valerie Plame spy leak. It was the legal experts at the magazine that began to tie the leak of a spy to crimes that are actually legally worthy of impeachment.
Each issue, The Nation explores three central issues, like how Conservatives had to do an about-face on John McCain after he won the Republican nomination, an expose on the Iraq government and another on the state of the war in Iraq. Then, there are poems, comics, and regular columns on legal issues and Feminist issues. As well, there is an extensive section on the arts and literature with views on movies, books and art exhibits that explore the implications to society of the work ion question.
Right now, The Nation. is viewed as a magazine of the left, largely because it exposes the dangers of the policies of the Bush Administration. In truth, it is not "left-wing" or liberal or even terribly progressive. It is simply examining the facts for what they are. The Nation. like Fahrenheit 9/11 does not alter the truth or bias it, it simply recalls what people said when and illustrates how their policies are contrary to their own words. For example, recent articles in The Nation. have deconstructed George W. Bush's stated goals for education and then illustrated how the No Child Left Behind Act, underfunded or not, fails to meet them. The Nation. has been unrelenting in its opposition to the war in Iraq based on the claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction because while the mainstream media was looking at the President's plans and simply supporting what he said, The Nation. did the research with the inspectors and others who knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction.
This is not to say The Nation. has no slant; it does. Its columnists are unabashedly left of center and for years they have been holding the line against the conservative media. However, while their commentary sections are slanted to progressive and populist themes, the news sections of the magazine can hardly be called biased. In other words, the Articles are held to rigorous journalistic standards of only reporting well-documented and well-supported (if under represented in other media) facts. The columns offer opinions laced with facts used to pound the arguments home in powerful ways that expose the hypocrisy of the Right.
And that's what The Nation. is all about. It is a weekly magazine that works at cutting through the witch-hunts and presenting facts about the world around us. Almost every issue includes articles focusing on each branch of the Federal Government of the United States as well as at least one international article.
The truth is, this magazine is terrifying.
Reading The Nation. opens your eyes up to the true horrors of the world around you; a world where people are convicted of serious crimes based on innuendo when things are shown at their trials that are exceptionally biasing that have no factual relationship with the person being accused, a government that is irresponsibly failing to prepare for the future while gutting our resources today and massive corporations that are rolling over the jobs and lives of countless workers to improve their stock performance.
We live in a dangerous world where the United States of America is constantly losing respect and ethical ground. Fortunately, The Nation. exists as a bastion to remind us of the principles of Freedom and encourages some of us to act to protect it.
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© 2011, 2009, 2005 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.