Journalist Michael Levitin shared his perspective on Donald Trump’s war against the media at the May 25th meeting. With mainstream media now being portrayed by Trump as the “enemy of the American people,” Levitin outlined three suggestions for journalists in the current, overcharged environment. He urged journalists to continue to report facts and the evidence of corruption, to report on the resistance to the administration, and to report on positive solutions and fresh ideas.
Mr. Levitin grew up in Forestville and is a 1994 graduate of El Molino High School, where he took classes in the (since closed) journalism department. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz, he went to Bolivia in 2000 as an English language instructor. While there, he began covering the Bolivian Water Wars, an attempt by an American corporation to privatize the Bolivian water system, for the LaPaz English language newspaper, The Bolivian Times. From 2005-2009, in Berlin, he covered politics, the environment and culture. During a 2011 visit to the U.S. he found himself in the midst of the Occupy Movement in New York City. The Occupy Movement shifted his perspective on mainstream journalism; he joined the protest and co-founded the Occupy Wall Street Journal, which reported with a political activist’s point of view, providing a voice for the 99%. He now feels that this type of advocacy journalism has largely been co-opted by the right, giving rise to platforms like Breitbart and even more extreme media outlets of the Alt-Right. But he feels that mainstream fixtures, led by The New York Times and the Washington Post, have again become more significant in defense of our democratic institutions.
Mr. Levitin now lives in Berkeley and is a contributing voice on KPFA radio’s Project Censored program. Additionally, he is active in the resistance organization Indivisible Berkeley. Violence at Berkeley civil demonstrations concerns him and, more generally, he sees few solutions for the partisan divisions in the U.S. He feels that politicians like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have adopted the platform of the Occupy Movement. This approach of reducing the wealth and influence of the American oligarchs, the 1%, is the key to returning power to the American people.
The next meeting of the Windsor Democratic Club will be on June 22 will focus on Hispanic issues with speakers Jenny Chamberlain and Herman G. Hernandez.
— Barry Hirsch