Director Laura Poitras: Julian Assange Is An ‘Equal-Opportunity’ Leaker

The subject matter of Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras’ new film “Risk” could not be more timely: controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“I absolutely defend what WikiLeaks published,” Poitras tells Robert Scheer in this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” on KCRW. “It’s crucial journalism.”
Poitras, director of “The Oath” and “Citizenfour,” and Scheer discuss Assange’s role as a publisher and the effect WikiLeaks had on the 2016 presidential election. Their conversation comes just as Assange is back in the headlines: Early Friday, news broke that Sweden has dropped rape charges against the leaker.
“I don’t agree with all of Julian’s decisions. I don’t agree with his decision to not redact certain information—I think that if something is personal information, and it’s not newsworthy, it should be redacted,” Poitras explains. “But those are differences of opinion, not differences of his right Continue reading "Director Laura Poitras: Julian Assange Is An ‘Equal-Opportunity’ Leaker"

Oliver Stone On Interviewing Putin, Documenting Snowden, And Making Controversial Choices

From “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July” to “Snowden,” director Oliver Stone’s film projects have zoomed in on some tough topics and larger-than-life figures. In this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence,” Stone—who is not one to shy away from challenges or controversies—tells Robert Scheer what has motivated him to choose the subjects he has brought to screens big and small.
“I’ve always managed—miraculously—to do what I wanted to do,” Stone says. “I never did a movie because it was good for my career.”
Scheer recalls Stone’s dogged determination to make sure that author Ron Kovic’s book “Born on the Fourth of July” became a film with Stone at the helm. Scheer also engages the director on other topics, including Stone’s upcoming documentary that features lengthy interviews with Vladimir Putin. “The Putin Interviews” will screen on Showtime beginning June 12.
Stone has conducted filmed interviews with Continue reading "Oliver Stone On Interviewing Putin, Documenting Snowden, And Making Controversial Choices"

The CIA’s 60-Year History Of Fake News: How The Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers

In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” Robert Scheer interviews Joel Whitney, author and co-founder of Guernica magazine.
Whitney’s new book, “Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World’s Best Writers,” explores how the CIA influenced acclaimed writers and publications during the Cold War to produce subtly anti-communist material. During the interview, Scheer and Whitney discuss these manipulations and how the CIA controlled major news agencies and respected literary publications (such as the Paris Review).
Their talk comes at a particularly tense time in American politics, as accusations of fake news and Russian propaganda fly from both sides of the aisle. But the history detailed in Whitney’s book presents a valuable lesson for writers hoping to avoid similar manipulations today.
Scheer opens the discussion with the question: “Were they really tricked?”
“It could have been ‘paid,’ it could have been ‘subsidized,’ it could have been ‘used,’ Continue reading "The CIA’s 60-Year History Of Fake News: How The Deep State Corrupted Many American Writers"

Fired ‘Marketplace’ Reporter Wonders: Is Objective Journalism Dead?

In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence,” Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer interviews Lewis Wallace, a former reporter fired for questioning objective journalism in the age of Trump.

Wallace had been working for the American Public Media show “Marketplace” for months when he was abruptly fired in February. The reason? He’d written a personal blog post, titled “Objectivity is dead, and I’m okay with it,” in which he explored how journalists will “adapt to a government that believes in ‘alternative facts’ and thrives on lies, including the lie of white racial superiority.”

“Marketplace” executive Deborah Clark stated that the blog post “was a clear violation of our ethics code.”

Wallace, who is transgender, tells Scheer that he can’t be objective when it comes to LGBTQ issues in the news—nor should he have to be. The two also discuss diversity in journalism. Listen to Continue reading "Fired ‘Marketplace’ Reporter Wonders: Is Objective Journalism Dead?"

Lizbeth Mateo: Contradictions Of U.S. Immigration Policy


In this week's episode of "Scheer Intelligence," Robert Scheer speaks with lawyer and immigrant rights activist Lizbeth Mateo, who self-deported in order to illuminate the plight of immigrants like herself.

Mateo came to the United States with her family at age 14 and attended college and law school. She returned to Mexico for several days in 2013 and was subsequently denied DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), calling into question her ability to live and work in the United States.

In their conversation, Mateo tells Scheer why she decided to become an activist and self-deport, knowing it was a risky move. She explains why activists call President Obama the "Deporter-in-Chief," and affirms that whatever happens in the presidential election, immigrants will not forget the politicians who remained silent while Donald Trump insulted them.

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Read the interview below:

Robert Scheer: Hi. This is Robert Scheer. Welcome to Continue reading "Lizbeth Mateo: Contradictions Of U.S. Immigration Policy"

Chris Hedges And Robert Scheer Assess The Merits Of A Life Of Virtue In A World For Careerists

In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence” on KCRW, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer speaks with Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges about the rewards of Hedges’ unorthodox career as a minister and journalist covering the disintegration of societies on multiple continents, his working habits, and the consequences of elite neglect of the forces that turn civilized populations barbarian.
The two spoke in Philadelphia in late July as Democrats pilloried Republicans and their presidential candidate, Donald Trump.
“The Nazis before 1933 were buffoonish figures, as were Radovan Karadžic and Slobodan Miloševic in Yugoslavia,” Hedges remarked. “And as Trump is. But when these buffoonish figures take power, they become extremely frightening.”
“They are frightening,” Scheer replied. But “what you’re saying is they didn’t come from nowhere.”
“Right,” said Hedges. “The Nazis came out of the collapse of Weimar. And Radovan Karadžic came out of the economic collapse of Yugoslavia.”
Continue reading "Chris Hedges And Robert Scheer Assess The Merits Of A Life Of Virtue In A World For Careerists"

Larry Gross And The Formation Of The Gay Community

In this week’s Scheer Intelligence Robert speaks with author and academic Larry Gross about how“invisible” closeted gay men and women came, over the course of the middle and late 20th century, to form a community that wielded political power.
A former dean at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a professor, Larry Gross has been a pioneer of queer studies for decades. He has written two books on gay issues: Contested Closets: The Politics and Ethics of Outing, and Up from Invisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men and the Media in America.
In their conversation, Gross tells Scheer about how and when gay people emerged as a minority group after settling in urban areas after World War II. The pair also discuss how the internet has helped young gay men and women have role models and feel less isolated.
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Continue reading "Larry Gross And The Formation Of The Gay Community"