One of the things that makes FDL such an important resource for news coverage and analysis is our thriving diarist community. Our diarists write some of the most compelling and thought-provoking pieces of ‘citizen journalism’ to be found on the internet, especially among the progressive left.
From liveblogging the Prop 8 trial, to offering unique insights into the Julian Assange / WikiLeaks saga, our diarists make important contributions to the work of Firedoglake as a whole.
Check out the top 10 MyFDL diaries from 2010 (based on pageviews):
It’s no secret that the US Government has made use of private contractors in theaters of war for decades. Part of the reason why it’s no secret is because of some of the appalling acts committed by these contractors, such as defrauding the government of billions of taxpayer dollars, raping and killing innocent civilians and engaging in international human trafficking. When word broke that Washington Post writer Dana Priest would be writing an article investigating the size and scope of America’s addiction to contracted security and intelligence service, those respective agencies became very nervous. A day ahead of the article’s release, Rayne posed some important questions to the community, such as “How many of the intelligence contractors aren’t actually contracted by CIA but by DIA?” and “Just how many of these intelligence contractors are not only working in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in places the American public at large doesn’t think of as threats – like Central and South America?”
The Prop 8 trial to overturn the ban on same-sex marriages in California was, and continues to be, one of the most contentious civil rights battles of this generation. It’s been a long, arduous fight, but our writers have remained at the forefront, meticulously liveblogging the proceedings while providing great context and analysis at the very same time. Teddy Partridge is one of our most popular diarists and was part of a team (along with Marcy Wheeler and David Dayen) covering Perry vs Schwarzenegger from the San Fransisco courtroom. His work garnered a lot of attention and was referenced by writers across the spectrum. This post in particular is just one of several of Teddy’s livebloggings — but the entire set is well worth the read.
Simply put, Rand Paul is a gaffe machine. As of last spring, it seemed as though the Senate candidate from Kentucky could not make an appearance without creating some sort of controversy. Most notably, Paul got himself in a lot of trouble by acknowledging his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While many were caught up in the accusations that Paul was a racist, Jim Moss pointed out that the more subversive and dangerous point being made here was instead about an ideology pertaining to the role of government. In this excellent post, Jim goes through a list of important government contributions to the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to disprove the oft-repeated conservative line that government serves to take freedoms, not protect them.
President Obama caved on his promise to end the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy amidst soaring unemployment and expiring benefits, leaving millions of Americans empty handed and without hope. The AFL-CIO and many other groups worked hard to prevent renewing the Bush tax cuts – an effort that unfortunately failed in the end. As part of the AFL-CIO’s campaign, they put together a tremendous video showcasing several unemployed Americans whose benefits were on the verge of expiration (if they hadn’t expired already). It’s an important look into the struggles facing the nearly 15 million Americans currently out of work. . . .
Remember the first time we heard about Wikileaks? It began with a leaked video entitled “Collateral Murder,” which showed US forces in Iraq firing upon what appeared to be unarmed photographers from an Apache helicopter. People debated the authenticity, analysis and conclusions to be drawn from “Collateral Murder” for weeks on end, here at MyFDL and elsewhere. One of the most popular analyses of the video came from diarist c0mputar, who disagreed with the premise that these were completely innocent, unarmed civilians that had been targeted by soldiers. Instead, c0mputar pointed out that “… in the end, it is incomprehensibly stupid to be unmarked, carrying a large camera and tripod around with armed individuals, when Apache copters are overhead and are near an area where a gunfight had occurred.” Whether or not you agree with him, his post is a great step-by-step look at the video that began the Wikileaks saga.
Scarecrow’s revelatory diary on a Halliburton presentation was a crucial finding in the days after BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off the coast Louisiana. The presentation, from November 2009, showed that Halliburton was aware of the dangers involved in the new deepwater cementing taking place at rigs like Deepwater Horizon, and certainly knew of the consequences if done incorrectly. The diary and accompanying presentation seemed to further allegations of willful neglect and corner-cutting by the companies involved.
What’s great / depressing about Jim Moss’s post on how awful the mainstream media has become in driving meaningful national conversations is its continued relevancy. Most anyone keeping a close eye on media and politics today will note that TV shows featuring pundit roundtables and talking heads are increasingly devoid of real debates on substantive issues. Instead, they would much rather spend their time engaging one another in a continuous volley of insults and vague declarations that their side’s ideology is the right one, and is held by the majority of Americans. As Jim points out, this style of programming is terrible and useless, and he laments the fact that he had to turn to Comedy Central to witness a truly balanced and informative interview (between Jon Stewart and Condi Rice).
What had originally appeard to be a few small leaks on the ocean floor quickly became an enormous geiser of oil erupting from the seabed. To the horror of millions of Americans watching live on their TVs and computers, BP’s defunct well grew increasingly out of control and would eventually take five months to cap. As the situation deteriorated, FDL diarist Mason stood by, reporting on the growing oil volcano that seemed to be in the same spot where the blow out preventer had previously been, and speculated as to the cause of the mounting instability on the ocean floor.
After seven months in solitary confinement at the Quantico Brig in Virginia, David House reported on the physical and psychological wellbeing of his incarcerated friend and accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning — both of which were rapidly deteriorating, to say the least. From David’s post, we learned about the discrepancies between what freedoms and treatments the military said Manning had, and what David actually heard and saw during his visits. It began to look as though the terms of Manning’s incarceration were more vindictive than anything, as guards routinely refused access to so much as a simple pillow and blanket. David’s work has been essential keeping the story of Bradley Manning alive.
Many people held suspicions about the rape charges leveled at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after his organization leaked thousands of confidential Iraq War documents to the press. Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden was Anna Ardin — an accomplished anti-communist activist with ties to all sorts of questionable characters involved in the US interventions in Latin America, including convicted terrorist and former-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles. Ardin’s connections to US foreign policy interests brought her accusations into question, especially since evidence suggests she threw a party for Assange after the alleged ‘crime,’ only to report it to authorities once the US political class started clamoring for his head.
And there you have it — the top 10 MyFDL diaries of 2010! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to our fantastic community of writers. We look forward to reading your work in 2011.
What were your favorite MyFDL diaries from last year? Share your picks in the comments!