The corporate media is a frequent target of my criticism, so I want to share some of my favorite columnists in the alternative media. These are folks I read the most regularly right now. Their viewpoints definitely contrast with with each other, and the sum total of their collective work is anything but monolithic. Neither do I agree with 100% of what I read, but that’s not the point; for me, the purpose of reading is to inform myself and to expand my views. What I think I know and what I think I believe are both territories with fuzzy borders, and the more comfortable I become with the fact of that flux, the more I’m able to learn.
Here then, are my ten favorite columnists currently, plus three honorable mentions.
Senior columnist and executive editor for the Black Agenda Report, as well as an activist for peace and justice issues. She wrote the book, “Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents.” Margaret’s work is a political and moral touchstone for me, both informing and inspiring me. Her weekly column, “Freedom Rider,” which comes out every Wednesday on the Black Agenda Report, is required reading.
Enigmatic yet Sarah Baker, but her writing resonates with me personally more than any other writer at the moment. I greatly value her big picture perspectives on civilization, perception and values. She doesn’t get distracted by the small stuff but is able to use the mundane as a path to the universal. She’s made a minor art form out of the long-form Facebook post, and unfortunately, that seems to be the best place to find her stuff. If you’re not following her yet, start now.
By far the most controversial person on this list, this Australian blogger is actively disliked by other people on this list (and loved by at least one of them). I am aware of the critiques of her but in my opinion, she has addressed past mistakes sufficiently, with both candor and humility, far more directly than most writers bother to do (especially male ones). I appreciate her because she just keeps relentlessly pounding away on two of my most important issues: US imperialism and the corporate media. Uncompromising antiwar sentiment and incisive media criticism have both become too rare in left-of-center media circles, and she’s carrying the torch. She’s also a vocal supporter of Julian Assange who helps keep him and his plight in the public eye. But she’s not limited to politics, and also writes about issues of individual and collective spiritual transcendence. The fact that she sometimes stumbles is part of her appeal to me; it makes her more accessible, somehow, and I see myself mirrored.
Jeffrey St. Clair
Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of Counterpunch. His most recent book is “The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink” (with Joshua Frank). One of the best writers out there on the environment, and how inadequate the regulatory process is at protecting it. His regular Friday column in Counterpunch, “Roaming Charges,” is one of the highlights of my reading week.
“A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact.”
When I’m going to read a Hedges column, I clear some time and space, sit down, and give it my full attention. He is one of the best thinkers alive in our age, and he is the most sophisticated writer on this list. His opposition to war and injustice is unflagging, and he brings to it a rare perspicacity.
An “artist, writer, radical nature lover, antiwar and anti-capitalist activist, sociologist, spiritualist and hospice social worker. The intent of his blog is to bear witness to the dire events unfolding around us without any pretense of false hope; and to share insights and reflections through the transformative lens of solidarity.”
I read every column that Kenn puts out and appreciate them all, not just because our politics are aligned, but for the deep thoughtfulness he brings to every subject. I also count him as a friend.
An “agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System.” Nicky’s writing style is delightfully irreverent and profane.
A novelist and journalist. She’s a regular on Counterpunch, where she covers a wide array of topics.
An award-winning British journalist who was based in Nazareth for 20 years. Palestine is his biggest issue, but he covers many other topics too, and is especially excellent at media criticism.
An Indian historian, editor and journalist, who has written thousands of articles and over 30 books.
“A change-maker, a cultural creative, a protest novelist, and an advocate for nonviolence and social justice. She is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, The Way Between and other novels. She is the editor of Nonviolence News.” Rivera isn’t a regular columnist the way these other writers are (so hence the honorable mention category), but when she puts out an essay, it’s a must-read, and her “Nonviolence News” emails are essential for staying informed.
Environmental writer, especially good on ranching issues.
Activist and journalist covering the environment, climate, and nuclear power.