I am actually surprised that it took this long for me to earn what has become a badge of honor for independent journalists. I expected to get smeared ever since my articles started being shared by opinion leaders and pundits who have the ability to influence public discourse; that day arrived like a bolt of thunder yesterday as I experienced what it feels like to be politically lynched for having to temerity to question media narratives.
The reason I finally tasted the bitter dose of mainstream media’s poison that is regularly dispensed to free thinkers and non-affiliated content creators can be traced back to a stance that I took that is perfectly acceptable to normal people but is a subject of great apprehension for the establishment; I advocated a movement that transcends all divisions and is rooted in class and race solidarity.
I was not the only one who was besmirched, quoted out of context, tarred with ad hominem and condemned by association in what is tantamount to a political hit piece by the Daily Beast. Jimmy Dore, Niko House, Craig Jardula and Fiorella Isabel from the Convo Couch and a few other rabble-rousers who try to honor the spirit of muckrakers were taken to the woodshed by a marginal correspondent with an axe to grind an a premeditated agenda.
I’ll be honest, when I sat down for an interview with the writer of the drivel in question, I had no idea he would end up publishing a piece worthy of the National Inquirer. I should have done my research; any media company that has Chelsea Clinton on its Board of Directors is not one that is driven by ethics and decency. To say that Alexander baited me with a semblance of deference over the phone only to switch to malice behind the sanctuary of distance is an understatement.
On February 4th, Alexander Reid Ross contacted me through my page on Facebook and requested an interview. One to never turn down opportunities to reach an audience that might not necessarily agree with my positions because I truly believe that conversations change people, I readily accepted his invitation and gave him my phone number. Alexander called me within an hour and we talked for roughly twenty minutes; I recorded the exchange with his permission and what transpired was a pretty cordial conversation—or so I thought. Initially, I could sense that Alexander was ferreting for a “gotcha moment” more than he was asking questions in good faith, but I foolishly believed that I disarmed his hostility and the rest of the interview was more amicable than it was acerbic.
My assumptions were thrown to the dogs yesterday after I was notified by a friend that an article was published by the Daily Beast that portrayed me in a very negative light. I got off the phone and made a beeline to a website that I largely avoid like Covid-19 to read the missive that was written about me. From the outset, I could tell Alexander wrote a piece that was more tabloid than it was an exercise in truth-seeking. The title said it all; “These ‘Dirtbag Left’ Stars Are Flirting With the Far Right” let me know before I could even get to the body of the article that what I was about to read was shitty journalism with political motives. I persisted and read on only to shake my head with each paragraph I had the misfortune of consuming.
The first target was Jimmy Dore as Alexander ravaged him for giving a platform to the Boogaloo Bois and supposedly legitimizing an extremist group that took part in the “insurrection” at the US Capitol on January 6th. I heard the interview that Dore conducted with Magnus Panvidya a couple of weeks ago; not once did I find anything objectionable. To the contrary, the interview was at once refreshing and very much needed; in a time where factionalism has become prevalent and we are continually being ghettoized behind sociopolitical walls meant to divide us, Dore’s interview with someone we are taught to hate in abstraction deserved praise not scorn.
The only people who would find discomfort in Dore’s exchange with a Boogaloo Boi are those who thrive by keeping us apart and are enriched by perpetuating the status quo. Well, it was the latter who picked up their hammers and went after those of us who advocate unity that overcome our differences and seek universal justice. Of course, this is nothing new; Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and a litany of modern day prophets were gunned down because they had the audacity to consolidate poor “whites” with poor “blacks” under one umbrella of defiance. They will reward demagogues but what the ruling class will not abide are unifying voices.
Alexander shellacs Dore for finding areas of agreement with Magnus; in one instance belittling him for advocating “class consciousness”, as if being aware of social constructs that bolster inequalities is a radical position that needs to be castigated. Dore did not endorse some of the more provocative statements attributed to the Boogaloo Bois; in fact, Dore challenged Magnus and did an adequate job in delineating between spheres of agreement and areas of divergence.
“We would agree on the war, we would agree on the corporate control of our government, we would agree on police brutality,” noted Dore during the interview. “We’re not going to agree on the Second Amendment… you know what, I tell you what, I go back and forth on the Second Amendment.”
These are not the words of a firebrand looking to incite public violence; to the contrary Dore is espousing feelings harbored by many of us who wish to overcome America’s caste system through some sort of collective action that moves beyond identity and ideologies and embraces our common humanity. What I heard in Dore was a quest for a common ground where he struggles to define his red lines in a paradigm that is making us question all our preconceived notions. Once a staunch supporter of gun control, I too now hesitate about disarming Americans as our government is arming the police to the teeth and loosening the military against civilians in ways that were strictly forbidden by the US Constitution.
Niko House was likewise mauled for appearing on a fringe network called OAN where he rightly warned of Biden’s neoliberal streak and Kamala’s thirst for power that could lead to her occupying the first chair before the end of 46’s term. After all, Kamala was the preferred candidate of the Hillary Clinton wing from day one; it was only because she gained zero traction that the Democrats were not able to clear the runway for her before her campaign crashed and burned in the fields of Iowa. In a cottage industry of disinformation and propaganda that Alexander is rooted in, anyone who dares to hint at facts must be dealt with as a heretic. Once again, guilt by association is leveraged as Niko is presented as an unacceptable and uppity malcontent because he picked up the third rail of politics which is truth.
When Alexander finally got around to me, I knew I was in for a pummeling. Over the past five years, I have literally written over a thousand articles that deal with a wide array of social, political and cultural events. Of course, Alexander picked out the pieces I wrote that made it seem like I was some sort of a wild-eyed “conspiracy theorist”. He glommed on to the articles I wrote about Freemasons and Jews, topics that are very controversial on their faces unless people actually take the time to read the nuanced positions I take on these two fronts. Alexander set up the strawman and then went on to excoriate me for stating confirmed stories of US duplicity during my interview with Matt Taibbi last year.
“Last year, Fikremariam hosted Dore on his podcast in an interview focused on “the corporate press” as the “enemy of the people,” in which the duo floated the idea that the U.S. funded ISIS and secretly started the war in Syria in order to install a natural gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe.”
What Alexander does masterfully is erect windmills and then tilts at them as he conflates narratives in ways that slanders his targets of opportunism through innuendos and half-truths. He comes across as a fair arbiter but that is only a front; behind his soft-spoken demeanor is a snake coiled and ready to strike. Alexander unleashed this same practice against Craig Jardula and Fiorella Isabel because they had the nerve to tell it as it happened by stating that the Boogaloo Bois joined Black Lives Matter protestors in standing up to a government that is ruling without consent. Here is what you should take away from this drivel that was published at the Daily Beast; anyone who advocates solidarity between “white” and “black” people must necessarily be crucified in order to discourage a critical mass from heading towards that direction.
The net-net of the Daily Beast’s yellow journalism is boils down to this core element: those who aspire to be accepted by mainstream media must become pit bulls who take pounds of flesh from independent journalists. This understanding of how the supposed “fourth estate” works is the reason why I am celebrating today instead of being in a rut; three days after Twitter permanently suspended my account, I am flogged by the Daily Beast. My father taught me to always get up when knocked down and to learn lessons from each drubbing; after losing 9,000 followers, I started a new Twitter account and after tasting the whip of Alexander, I rise yet again to speak truth to power and to advocate unity of all marginalized people irrespective of our color, cultural or creedal differences. As for @theDailyBeast and @areidross, I thank them for their shoddy journalism; they upbraided us to their base but they elevated our profile to those who can actually think for themselves. #DailyWaste Click To Tweet