Even among the progressive movement, divergent views can sometimes lead to misunderstanding and distrust. This is greatly illustrated by the controversy surrounding journalist Caitlin Johnstone, who has been alternately described as a “fake lefty” and a political pragmatist.
In the past two weeks, MintPress News has published two differing op-eds on the topic of left-right alliances. Both articles questioned if such alliances are an effective way to challenge the establishment. It sparked heated discussion and caused quite the firestorm online.
The first article, titled “The Green Party – Marks In A Media Con Job,” was submitted to MintPress as a repost by author Yoav Litvin, who initially published his piece in CounterPunch. Litvin accused commentators like Caitlin Johnstone and Green Party campaign manager David Cobb of being “fake lefties” who are infiltrating the progressive movement with fascist ideologies due to their calls for unity among the left and right on “common ground” issues like non-interventionism.
Understandably, Litvin’s accusations caused quite the stir among the anti-war, anti-establishment community, who have followed both Johnstone and Cobb’s extensive work exposing mainstream media lies concerning Syria, attacks on whistleblowers like Julian Assange and the illusion of the two-party system.
Within a few days of Litvin’s piece being published, a writer named Stuart Davies contacted us with a request to submit a counterpoint article to Litvin’s piece. For the sake of balance and objectivity, we gladly agreed. And out of courtesy to Litvin, who became a contributor to MintPress in recent weeks, I contacted him directly and notified him that we would be publishing the counterpoint.
In his article, titled “Caitlin Johnstone and Thought Crimes of The Left,” Davies argued that Johnstone, in seeking to ally – within specific parameters – with figures on the alt-right with this approach, was just being politically pragmatic. Davies cited Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders as examples of politicians who have used the national stage to draw attention to issues that impact broad swathes of communities that span the ideological spectrum.
While people may have varying opinions regarding Johnstone’s tactics, we still believe the debate is necessary, and we welcome conflicting views and respectful exchanges of ideas.
MintPress’s decision to publish both articles caused confusion among our own readers, who wanted to know where we stood in this debate. Many people don’t know that our blog is an open platform for the MPN community to submit their work, opinions and ideas. It’s a space that MPN neither edits, nor endorses or controls, as long as the blog entries fit within our community guidelines (no sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, etc.)
In fact, it is discussions like these that prompted us at MintPress to create the open blog over two years ago. However, in January of this year, we minimized our blog because of budget cuts, but have since accepted submissions on a weekly basis to continue to provide our readers, writers and community with an open platform to express their views.
Since doing this, MintPress has successfully attracted dozens of writers and millions of readers who appreciate the open platform we provide. They hold it in high regard because many independent and alternative journalism organizations impose tight constraints on differing opinions and often times engage in censorship themselves. This is not what we strive for.
If we obliged to all of the often-conflicting critiques and opinions of our diverse group of writers and readers, our site would be completely empty, and we would be no different than FoX News, the Washington Post or MSNBC.
MintPress does indeed toe an editorial line that holds the establishment accountable, is vehemently anti-war and calls out special interest groups that propagate their lies in order to exploit people and our planet. However, there are certain topics that are not black-and-white, where more discussion is necessary. This is where we invite our own community to initiate these conversations, devoid of editorial constraints, in our blog section.
This is why it was disappointing to have been personally attacked by Yoav Litvin for publishing a counterpoint to his article critiquing Caitlin Johnstone and David Cobb, after he asked MintPress to publish his CounterPunch opinion piece.
The subjects we cover and publish are often contentious and routinely lead to passionate debates, but we expect more from our contributors than personal attacks, which serve no purpose other than to foment resentment.
Acknowledging opposing views that exist from within our own communities is integral and denying readers the chance to see arguments from both sides is a disservice. This is the very heart of MintPress: to build an independent readership that learns and contributes, even when we may not agree.
MintPress News will remain at the forefront of the fight to provide readers with informative and topical content while always encouraging open dialogue aimed at holding the corporate media and war class accountable. What sets MintPress News apart from other publications is our dedication to freedom of expression and a widespread readership that spans the political spectrum. We may not always agree on tactics, but we certainly share a common goal of wishing to hold those in power accountable and ending war – and in order to do this, we must find ways to unite in spite of ideological differences.
When I launched MintPress News over five years ago, I had a vision for a journalism outfit that worked towards unity; one that overlooked party lines; journalism that is devoid of labels and one that unites humanity against the powers that work so hard to divide and conquer us. The establishment is exploiting “We the People” and the planet while driving us into endless wars that benefit the 1 percent. Therefore, it is our duty to engage with each other respectfully so that we can find common ground to fight against this exploitation.