Special Online Project: Tracking Torture Coverage

Barbed WireIn Utne Reader’s July-August 2008 Editor’s Note, “Tortured Coverage,” David Schimke wrote about how much of the mainstream media’s play-by-play coverage of human rights and U.S.-sanctioned torture is a bloodless intellectual exercise. That readers and viewers will not be forced to confront first-person accounts of torture or detailed clinical analysis documenting the irreversible effects of sensory deprivation, sexual humiliation, and mock execution. That few of us will be asked to imagine our brothers, husbands, wives, and sisters stripped naked in the dark, in secret, without being charged.

One year later, with a new administration in the White House, Schimke revisited the torture issue , praising the work buried deep in our daily newspapers, down the dial on public TV and radio, and on the pages of independent blogs and alternative magazines. There we're constantly finding laudable work that gives context to our country’s unprecedented fall and humanizes those who suffer systematic abuse or neglect.


In Utne Reader's November-December 2009 issue, our torture coverage continues with a Mother Jones piece about American physicians who were complicit in the Bush administration's torture policy .


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