Streams

Chris Hedges on the Myth of Human Progress

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chris Hedges, senior fellow at the Nation Institute, former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, discusses his two decades of experience as a war correspondent, and examines the American empire at home and abroad. The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress looks at the constant struggle with the nature of war and its impact on human civilization.

Guests:

Chris Hedges

Comments [64]

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Hmm is anyone else having problems with the
images on this blog loading? I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Mar. 07 2013 01:12 AM
anna from new york

Dear Mark,

I don't have to listen to the Father.
Chris Hedges is sufficiently unpleasant.
BTW, I find illiterate pedantry just slightly irritating. English is my 7th language. I am sure your writing in your 7th language and particularly spelling of millions of names perfect.

Nov. 22 2011 03:56 AM
Mark from Cleveland

anna from NY- Not sure who Father Couchlin is but if you are referring to Father Coughlin, I think you might first want to listen to some of his speeches before tossing his name around. You can do this by going otrcat.com. There you will find 60 episodes for 15 bucks. Worth it because you will not mix up Chris Hedges with Coughlin anymore. Some copies of his newspaper occasionally come up on ebay as well. That is some unpleasant stuff. Don't use it without thinking.

Aug. 28 2011 09:52 PM
anna from new york

Alex, Hedges doesn't strive for ideal journalism - he wants you to believe he strives.
Someone mention Hedges on WBAI. I am sure he's there often - a perfect match. It looks like American journalistic awards have the value of Soviet journalistic awards. At the beginning of the Arab spring I did a simple search of award winning journalist's (translation from Orwellian - a prostitute's) website - to see how Winter was covered. Here the results of my search of Democracy Now:
the Palestinians - some 1400 (of course, Amy feels for)
Libya/Qaddafi - some 50 almost exclusively in the context - the colonel condemns America
Hama -0 (zilch - gee Amy doesn't feel for these Muslims)
Molly Norris - 0 (zilch - gee Amy doesn't remember about freedom of the press, art in Democracy Now, etc) etc.
Out of curiosity I also checked -labor, unions - some 300 (compare with Palestinians)
Tell me this isn't a suspicious left.

Aug. 25 2011 03:46 PM
anna from new york

Meh, I think I had it.
Why don't you read a book or two on prejudices in general and familiarize yourself with such basic concepts, as double standards, singling out, overemphasis etc., etc. etc. The rest of suggestions you can find in my previous comments. I can't fill here all the gaps (quite significant) in your education. Knowing nothing, except for some dogmas "Islam is a religion of peace (?????????????????????), attacking the Jewish state for being Jewish while praising fascist states just for not being Jewish isn't the way to go. Read something. At least the little old Lerner's book "Socialism of fools" (something like that).

Aug. 25 2011 01:14 PM
meh

Because any criticism of Israel = antisemitism, right? That's quite a fascist attitude.

Aug. 25 2011 11:16 AM
anna from new york

Correction.
The begining of the second sentence in #57 should be:
It's unacceptable ...

Aug. 25 2011 08:30 AM
anna from new york

Alex, of course, it's Lopate's fault.
Is unacceptable to tolerate turning NPR in Father Couchlin's station.
But we know where the real problem is - the prostitutional nature of NPR - someone is paying for it. I can only guess who - a former Nazi collaborator?

Aug. 25 2011 08:25 AM
anna from new york

Alex
How can "Hedges' anti-Semitism" be irrelevant to politics?
He's not a secluded seminarian writing his treatises in his cell. He's an activist - his prejudices affect every aspect of his activities.
I am not one of those hopefully very young posters who babble about his writing/telling the truth. As a former academic I know how little in life is/can be objective.
When I see a sickly antisemitic former seminarian who is against the war (good), is an organizer and who one day organizes the Flotilla (when nearby people, oppressed by ayatollah, sheiks, kings and all sorts of bastards, beg for help) and the next day organizes the American workers I wonder whom we are going to see next - an "Uncle Joe" (was against the war until he stopped), Father Gabon (was against the war until he was stopped) etc.
People ignorant of history and deprived of any sensitivity to demagoguery don't know that opposition to war is the single worst criterion. All sorts of people are often against the war and history has witnessed a number of first class scoundrels who at this or that moment of their life opposed to war.
As a historian (among several other things), I know that it's not good for any worker when privileged, bigoted and demagogic scoundrels "organize" them.
American workers need protection - political demagogues are their prime enemies.

Aug. 25 2011 08:20 AM
alex

dr. anna- i think i understand better now. Hedges operates similarly to the omission-based journalism he criticizes so quickly. Or maybe it's Lopate's fault: Hedges' anti-Semitism may be 'irrelevant' to politics, but it is something we as an interested audience should know anyway. To omit the fact would obscure and distort the truth in exactly the way ideal journalism - which Hedges seems to strive for - should avoid.

Aug. 25 2011 01:58 AM
alex

to dr. anna: how could Hedges' anti-Semitism affect his opinions about political trends seen in the left and in America overall? Don't you think his racism, or personal bigotry/prejudice/bias is irrelevant to the larger political conversation he is part of? [this assumes his bigotry does not affect his opinions]

Aug. 25 2011 01:29 AM
anna from new york

"Overuse of posting that betrays a bad attitude"
Yes, John A., antisemitism is a good attitude, just a response to it is bad. Don't worry, shutting down any response to antisemitism will be next step in NPR. I know my history.
dr anna
The last time I checked I wasn't a corporate type who does what's ordered. Apparently, "new and evolved" "left" is. It is fascist/islamist, why can't be also corporate?

Aug. 24 2011 10:39 PM
Dylan Nirvana from Lower East Side

I found this interview quite edifying. Mr Hedges is spot-on and LL's questions were challenging indeed. It is unfortunate that the so-called left, left out the working class. Quite amazing really that Americans allowed their government to NAFTA away their manufacturing base.

A smug tone is set by Washington publicly giving Corporations the pass to act with impunity. No one has gone to jail. Where is the Ayn Rand-Right on responsibility here?

A Representative "Corporatocracy" evolves in full view of the American People who have clearly forgotten the word, "Commonwealth" and what it means.

And all this is happening in plain view. The Left has not only "lost the rhetorical argument", to paraphrase the Sophist WF Buckley, it has lost the ability to speak altogether.

How soon will the unified response to the public's dispossession by the New Corporate Class be, "Let them eat Cake?"

Aug. 24 2011 10:12 PM
John A.

Anna,
All I'm seeing with you is argumentation - Little supporting facts - codewords that don't reach a wide audience (EG for one Why is Likud an issue? and much other missing structure in your arguments).... Overuse of posting that betrays a bad attitude again that needs to be supported within the body of those posts.

I don't know much about Mr. Hedges, right now, so its a waste of your time and mine to put out faulty posting. Or it was.

Aug. 24 2011 08:10 PM
anna from new york

"Lets not even mention his ability to work so well with the Likud/Irgun/Stern Gang terrorists."
What a charming crowd!
War is peace. Islam is religion of peace. Al Quada, Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, etc., etc. etc. etc. etc. are "peaceniks" Oh Orwell, we need you now so badly.

Aug. 24 2011 07:12 PM
anna from new york

Meh, the old Stalinist left didn't label people "trolls." Definitely, this is new. So, Chris, there is progress after all.

Aug. 24 2011 06:55 PM
MartyNYC

I applaud Hedges revealing our biggest con-artist of the century- Barack Obama.
As some one who admits to having been suckered by Obama I will not drink any more of his cool-aid. If anyone has a contrary view let them explain Obama's “Justice Dept.” gratuitously persecuting Thomas Drake (See Jane Meyer;s New Yorker article) or using taxpayer money for John Yoo;s defense. Lets not even mention his ability to work so well with the Likud/Irgun/Stern Gang terrorists.

Aug. 24 2011 06:07 PM

Great guest, great segment.

More please, WNYC.

Aug. 24 2011 05:54 PM
meh

As much as I love a good troll, I think anna here is being a little over-the-top.

Aug. 24 2011 05:01 PM
anna from New York

"jeez "Anna from new york"
anna, annna , annna, you really must diversify your media and reading diet. sorry, Fox news does not count, neither does the NY Post, your local library misses you. check out some authors that you disagree with. you might find some valid points even if you disagree with them . life is too short for hating others just because they are different .life is too short to be a sheep."
This actually a traditionally left style - labeling those who disagree "backward," "enemy of the people," "lackey" etc. No lack here, friend. I am a Social democrat, multilingual, multicultural and "multidegreed." English is my 7th language. It looks like I am more educated that either West or Hedges and I can assure you I am good at analysis. Try harder.

Aug. 24 2011 04:33 PM
anna from new york

"As to the bank and Wall St. bailouts"
I can assure you that people like Hedges and West, both exceptional antisemitic demagogues, talk in code words. Wall Street is run .... you know by whom. It doesn't matter that Wall Street is closed on Good Friday (I would think because of our dear demagogues power), but open on Yom Kippur (the most sacred day for every Jew). So much for power. Obama is good, but his advisers ... (as usual, find the Jews to blame, reminiscent of Russian antisemitism), etc.
Our dear "left" intellectuals are not familiar with such concepts as systemic problem, corporate power ... it's the Jews. And this isn't antisemitic. Sure.
I happen to despise West, a pure demagogue, cheap, shallow and self-promotional. Summers probably was right.

Aug. 24 2011 02:33 PM
anna from new york

Hedges conveniently forgot one of the main causes which lead to the destruction of the left - prostitution of the left intellectuals and betrayal of real interests of the people.
I, a traditional Social Democrat, would be a natural participant of October march in Washington. I vow, however, now that I'd rather die that join fascists (regardless of their dress and promises). I was that pompous only once in my life when I vowed in 2007 that would not vote for Obama. I didn't.

Aug. 24 2011 02:07 PM
craig from dumbo from dumbo brooklyn

This was easily one of the boldest interviews I have heard on WNYC in some years and while I take my hat off to the station, WNYC competes for listener support against WBAI, where Chris Hedges appears with far more frequency. WBAI is far more left of center than WNYC and I support both financially.

Aug. 24 2011 01:56 PM
john smith from nyc

jeez "Anna from new york"
anna, annna , annna, you really must diversify your media and reading diet. sorry, Fox news does not count, neither does the NY Post, your local library misses you. check out some authors that you disagree with. you might find some valid points even if you disagree with them . life is too short for hating others just because they are different .life is too short to be a sheep.

Aug. 24 2011 01:46 PM
jk

Chris Hedges is a welcome breath of fresh air. His analysis of Obama was right on the mark. Obama is a tool and puppet of Wall Street and it's a tragedy that the general election will come down to a choice between this prissy, empty suit who bows down to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and a Republican nominee who is anti-science and anti-modernity.

Aug. 24 2011 01:37 PM
anna from new york

"Criticism of Israel does not antisemite make. It's criticism from the hypersensitive folk"
Don't you dare to tell me what is not antisemitism. I have a degree in Jewish history with an emphasis on antisemitism.
Where were all these prostitutional "truthtellers" when there were: slavery, tortures, mass killings, all sorts of extreme abuses in all these wonderful countries, such as Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iran, etc. etc. etc.
There are some 200 countries in the world. In many of them there is terror and horror and bastards like this seminarian are babbling about ... bad Israel. No, it isn't antisemitism. Sure. War is peace again. Why don't actually read a book or two about prejudices in general and antisemitism.
I can make recommendations..

Aug. 24 2011 01:35 PM
john smith from nyc

watch out chris, don't say anything remotely related to israel ,such as it's brutal treatment of gaza, otherwise you will be labeled an anti-semite. little do these hypocrites realize that their own abuse of this charge is a violation of the memory of those who perished in the holocaust. but then again they will stoop to any level to immunize israel against charges of inhumanity against the palestinians.

Aug. 24 2011 01:31 PM
anna from new york

At least part of the old left wasn't fascist. The left Hedges represents is fully part of fascist/islamist/this so called "left" fusion - not only the same techniques, but the same vocabulary, the same (to a degree) agenda, the same phobias, the same SPONSORS.
Oh, the charm of unlimited oil money.

Aug. 24 2011 01:23 PM
Opal from NYC

I totally agree with you re W.J. Clinton--you forgot to mention that he would not sign the treaty outlawing landmines. But your Obama bashing is something I have problems with. As to the bank and Wall St. bailouts, our country would have been in a 1930s style Great Depression had no action been taken.
I remember the 1960s and my radical friends talking of the religious right which was on the rise--and they have risen--the lunatic fringe as you call them. It is this lunatic fringe which has gained power and voted in their very own lunatics and they have gained enormous power. THAT IS WHAT OBAMA IS DEALING WITH. If we did not have a democratic form of government he could just shut them up and let them go their way or jail them. They are so irrational; they are the ones demonstating.
We have a veneer of civilization which we tout because we have advanced technilogically and scientifically but we are still basically barbarians. As for being against violence and war, I marched against the Vietnam War and demonstrated during the Iraq War. But would you have been against WWII, If so, perhaps Hitler would have won and I, as a Jewish person, would be dead by now. I think the al Qaeda is the equivalent of the Nazis. I know the U.S. has a lot to answer for, but 9/11 is not the answer.

Aug. 24 2011 01:20 PM
meh

Jeez, "anna from new york", why the insufferable IDF boosterism? Criticism of Israel does not antisemite make. It's criticism from the hypersensitive folks like you that perpetuates the false-equivalency that is endemic in the media today, whether it's coming from the Tea Party or the ADL.

Aug. 24 2011 01:17 PM
anna from new york

"Finally, a truthteller, not afraid to speak out. go get'em chris. more of us agree with you than you might think. Sounds like the next Chomsky."
Nothing new. War is peace. Dogmatic propagandists are "truthtellers."
I can assure you that one Chomsky in the love chain "Russia-Syria-Iran-Chomsky-Chavez-Kucinich, etc." is enough."
dr anna

Aug. 24 2011 01:10 PM
anna from new york

It looks like NPR is becoming "Der Stuermer" - only antisemites need to apply.
And the reason Hedges's sick, sick, sick an tisemitism wasn't even mentioned ... is.
If I understand it correctly (I started to listen late) he is a former seminarian. Ha, apparently they still instill "the hate of Jesus-killers" for life. Charming.
dr anna

Aug. 24 2011 01:01 PM
The Truth from Becky

TO "A NOSYListener" - I wasn't addressing you A and B: a personal attack on bush and the Iraq war? Really, let's get more specific please and check your own facts, there was no outrage concerning the economy, healthcare or jobs from this clown.

Aug. 24 2011 12:58 PM
Colin from Brooklyn

Damn good interview!!!

Aug. 24 2011 12:54 PM
A listener

[[The Truth from Becky
I know you Chris and some of the listeners think you are "not mincing words", "coming out swinging", "telling it like it is" etc...you sound just like another angry white man, envious of President Obama to me.

Question: where was all this outrage when bush was in office? All was good for you for all 8 years huh?

Aug. 24 2011 12:41 PM]]

Hedges left the NYT after being rebuked by the paper for criticizing Bush and the Iraq war.

So, your whole premise is flawed.

Next time, check your facts.

Aug. 24 2011 12:52 PM
MFan from Staten Island

I have to give respect on this one. This is the best interview I've heard here in ages, and these things need to be said. And as someone in the ad industry myself, he is 100% right on Brand Obama. Hard truth, but this is what we do for a living. I just never imagined it would happen like this.

And the Tar Sands/Bill McKibben issue NEEDS to be pushed to the forefront of NPR's coverage. This is a sick secret that people need to know about.

Aug. 24 2011 12:49 PM
Working journalist

[[The Truth from Becky
I know you Chris and some of the listeners think you are "not mincing words", "coming out swinging", "telling it like it is" etc...you sound just like another angry white man, envious of President Obama to me.

Question: where was all this outrage when bush was in office? All was good for you for all 8 years huh?]]

You are aware that he left the NY Times in 2003 after harshly criticizing the Bush administration and the Iraq war...right? I mean, before launching your verbal attack you did bother to check your facts...didn't you?

Aug. 24 2011 12:49 PM
Laura from UWS

If Leonard Lopate doesn't know why Bill McKibben was arrested, then he and his staff should add Rawstory.com, BuzzFlash.com and DailyKos.com to their must-read news sources.

Samples:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/22/1009514/--Bill-McKibben-Released-Daryl-Hannah-Heads-to-DC-for-Protest-NYT-Says-NO-Pipeline?via=search

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/19/1008671/-24-Hours-From-Jail?via=search

Aug. 24 2011 12:45 PM
Jan Kasal from Long Island

I haven't known him before this interview. I like his views and remember his name. His book is on my list. Even better if I find the audio version.

Aug. 24 2011 12:43 PM
Leah

Yes

Aug. 24 2011 12:41 PM
The Truth from Becky

I know you Chris and some of the listeners think you are "not mincing words", "coming out swinging", "telling it like it is" etc...you sound just like another angry white man, envious of President Obama to me.

Question: where was all this outrage when bush was in office? All was good for you for all 8 years huh?

Aug. 24 2011 12:41 PM
John from office

Wow, the left's Michelle Bachmann. This man's heart is in the right place, but he is too angry that he and he alone is not listened to.

Aug. 24 2011 12:40 PM
john smith from nyc

Finally, a truthteller, not afraid to speak out. go get'em chris. more of us agree with you than you might think. Sounds like the next Chomsky.

Aug. 24 2011 12:40 PM
stephen from Inwood

This is good stuff. I haven't heard such since the 60s. We need civil disobedience soon, all you youngsters will see.
I'll be in the streets.

Aug. 24 2011 12:40 PM
anna from NYC

I am glad to hear someone being so anti-realpolitik. We have seen pragmatic thinking I think we need to see ideals coming to practice

Aug. 24 2011 12:40 PM

Wow. Good to know there are still journalists like him out there. Perhaps people think he sounds "nutty" because they're not used to hearing this kind of plain truth in the media. Very refreshing. Thanks!

Aug. 24 2011 12:39 PM

How refreshing to hear all of what Mr. Hedges has to say. Though certainly not uplifting. How do we get the word out? How do reasonable intelligent people take back the dialogue in our country? I would really like to hear some suggestions from him about how we can fight back.

Aug. 24 2011 12:38 PM
Laura from UWS

Painful segment! Failure to mention:

Our leading Liberals were killed in the 1960s and we haven't overcome the loss.

Media consolidation into only a handful of Conservative owners. Coverage of Liberal/Progressives is totally inadqueate....leading Chris Hedges and others not to know the extent of Liberal/Progressive demonstrations.

Media consolidation and the yuppification of journalism is a HUGE problem.

Aug. 24 2011 12:38 PM
roz

Mr. Hedges,
What drives people to vote against their own interests?!!

Aug. 24 2011 12:37 PM
Michael from Greenpoint

I love this man!

Aug. 24 2011 12:36 PM
elizabeth from queens

I completely disagree with the idea that the old Left was destroyed solely by McCarthyism. Much of the old Left self-imploded through infighting and from the frightening example of Socialism/Communism that was presented by the USSR.

Aug. 24 2011 12:35 PM
Sylvain

Great to hear this stuff... finally.

Aug. 24 2011 12:34 PM
Omatunde from Harlem

Wow...hedges sounding a so shrill...he get's more nutty as time goes on...

no chris, US should not become Cuba....

and you can sound as angry as you want defending the working man like me - but i'm looking for a job, not for a patronizing white man lunatic who coddles dictators and wants revoluition at home

.

Aug. 24 2011 12:31 PM
The Truth from Becky

Here we go with the generalizations...so are you saying there are no working class liberals? You seem to be contradicting yourself Chris.

Aug. 24 2011 12:31 PM
quasi from NYC

guy sounds like a nut -- which raises suspicions that's why he's on -- a "lunatic fringe" of the left wing, put on NPR only to discredit the left. Chris, what are your religious beliefs today?

Aug. 24 2011 12:31 PM
John A.

>because something sells well, that therefore it is "what people want." <

I do tend to buy that. I use the films "Network" and "Broadcast News" as markerposts in this change (early TV offered news with far less need for profits). No there are revolutions in freedom, morality, responsibility, maturity and on. It is said this is a youth based culture. Youth as in - won't take advice from authority figures. Hopefully (???) we'll have to endure enough failures from the current state of the press that popular culture will turn around and shun false freedoms and demand more.

Aug. 24 2011 12:30 PM
eligit from astoria

chris hedges: pulling no punches and mincing no words....well done.

Aug. 24 2011 12:29 PM
tom from astoria

Here's an example reporting Missing in Action. In Buffalo the main museum there sold off all its antiquities -- masterpieces gong back to 1300 BC. I researched it and found a scandalous backstory, but because Im not a trained journalist, I have been unable to get it written and published. The one remaining local paper is in the pocket of the bigshots at the museum.

Aug. 24 2011 12:23 PM
Working journalist

While I'm sure Mr. Hedges stands by the comments that caused him to separate from the NY Times, has he ever missed the access his job afforded him or has he simply shifted his sense of purpose?

Aug. 24 2011 12:22 PM
tom from astoria

Here's an example reporting Missing in Action. In Buffalo the main museum there sold off all its antiquities -- masterpieces gong back to 1300 BC. I researched it and found a scandalous backstory, but because Im not a trained journalist, I have been unable to get it written and published. The one remaining local paper is in the pocket of the bigshots at the museum.

Aug. 24 2011 12:21 PM
Working journalist

I can tell you that there is a strong bias against the working class consumer of news. In other words, managers and editors have said of the working class "those people" don't read our paper, and that bias directs which stories do and don't get covered.

I think a big reason for this bias is that newsrooms are increasingly less diverse.

Aug. 24 2011 12:16 PM
Max

Credit where credit's due, I think Ellen Barry at the New York Times does an amazing, laborious, and well-researched job covering Russia. I wonder if Mr. Hedges (who's opinions are spot on), might agree?

Aug. 24 2011 12:14 PM
Kate from Washington Heights

I do not buy the assumption that because something sells well, that therefore it is "what people want." If it is the only thing that is available, or the only thing that is convenient, then people aren't necessarily choosing what they "want." They are choosing based on many factors - convenience, especially.

Aug. 24 2011 12:11 PM
A listsner

Wow! Hedges comes out swinging. Love it.

Aug. 24 2011 12:08 PM

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