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About Todd Gitlin

Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University and author of the new e-book Occupy Nation:  The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street, also published in an expanded edition, in paperback, in August, 2012 (HarperCollins).

Articles by Todd Gitlin

This week’s front page editor

Clare Sambrook

Clare Sambrook, investigative journalist, co-edits Shine a Light.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The torrent waits for no man

As the media give Bush a wide lead over his rival John Kerry, Todd Gitlin cautions not to call the fight before the final bell.

Living history: the view from September 2001

The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 wrenched minds and hearts, but also tested moral and political judgment. Two openDemocracy voices, Todd Gitlin and Paul Rogers, responded with quiet, acute, compelling insight. Three years on, we republish their contributions, unchanged.

Festival of the smug

George W Bush’s closing speech at the Republican convention in New York celebrated the march of freedom, but Todd Gitlin reads its deeper message: endless war.

The ghost of Vietnam

In a search for truth amongst the fear and smear of the 2004 US Presidential campaigns, Todd Gitlin introduces the full text of John Kerry’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971. Essential reading.

The Manchurian Kerry

The Bush camp is making out a subversive Kerry is somehow to blame for Vietnam and Iraq. A vast right-wing conspiracy or politics as usual? Todd Gitlin bends his mind.

Spinning the Dems

Twisted stats, contorted figures, false leaks, and baby bounces. As post-convention Kerry and the Democrats hit the road, Todd Gitlin searches for some hot stuff.

John Kerry, Reporting for Duty

“John Kerry’s acceptance speech was the most cogent, most stirring in memory.” Todd Gitlin on the week the patriotic Democrats formally nominated their Presidential candidate, and the media carried “Extreme Makeover”.

Revenge of the Paramedia

Todd Gitlin on the irresistible rise of quick, dirty, heavy–breathing media.

The Deep Campaign

Todd Gitlin goes door–to–door in suburban Philadelphia to gauge the mood of America’s swing voters. Beneath the surface ripples of the televised campaign, he finds a variable, febrile, hard–to–read reality. But people are thinking.

Choosing John Edwards

Republicans are crowing at John Kerry’s selection of “Über-liberal” John Edwards as his running-mate. But are Bush’s people really so cocky? Todd Gitlin eyes an “equal-opportunity heart-throb”.

Michael Moore, Alas

America’s corroded politics, benighted democracy, scandalous history and pliant media, have created a monster. Todd Gitlin on ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ and Michael Moore, “the master demagogue an age of demagoguery made”.

God's election

George W. Bush pretends to have the ear of God, while only 7% of Americans feel that John Kerry is a man of strong religious faith. Todd Gitlin on the battle for sacred votes.

In his God he trusts

As Ron Reagan Jr. berates politicians who use religion for their own ends, George Bush Jr. tries to enlist the Pope in his crusade for reelection. Todd Gitlin on how the President is consciously dividing America.

Reagan eclipses Kerry

The passing of Ronald Reagan has helped George W. Bush to sideline John Kerry. The media is strolling down selective memory lane, says Todd Gitlin.

Kerry 3500, CBS 43

As Bush shoots himself in the foot, Kerry articulates his foreign policy. But is the media interested? Todd Gitlin keeps score.

Killing suspense

In Barcelona, Todd Gitlin measures the poll figures and analyses the body language in the anxious race for US President.

The other dirty war (continued)

The Bush camp are painting John Kerry as an “international man of mystery”, as Bush moves into full ‘aw shucks’ mode. The election race gets down and dirty.

The American island

Back home in Manhattan, the world feels a mile away to Todd Gitlin. But events in Iraq are changing America. Stunned Americans are starting to examine their globe-spanning nation.

American India

Wrapping-up his travels through Greece, Turkey and India, Todd Gitlin heads back home to the United States possessed with the spirit of democracy.

The faith-based superpower

“How can America be a superpower if its people are so ignorant?” Continuing his globetrotting weekly analysis of the US presidential race, Todd Gitlin fields some awkward questions in India.

Foreign policy is domestic policy

As India goes to the polls, what does the world’s biggest democracy make of the US Presidential race? Todd Gitlin reports from Delhi.

The US election from Istanbul

In Washington’s eyes, Turkey is prime strategic territory. But what does Turkey make of the US presidential election? Todd Gitlin on the talk of Istanbul.

Every face tells a story

Since television personalized politics, every candidate needs a coherent story to sell to voters. George Bush is a born-again war leader; John Kerry a bona fide war hero with hints of Roosevelt and Kennedy. But each candidate is trying to rewrite the other’s story. Todd Gitlin reports.

The president's men

In the Greek home of democracy, Todd Gitlin is struck by how the evasive wordplay even of “international” media exculpates the Bushites. Their misdemeanour, he says, is not faulty testosterone, but faith-based misunderstanding.

Drenched by doubts

The Bush White House is facing an ever-growing credibility gap. From Vietnam to 9/11, the President’s stories just don’t add up. The press is starting to pick up the scent, says Todd Gitlin.

The media battleground

What lesson does the American media’s coverage of the Iraq war hold for this year’s presidential elections? Todd Gitlin goes to California, looking for answers.


John Kerry: an effete, elitist, leftist, European snob, loved by commies (and Coldplay), loathed by patriots. Todd Gitlin listens to the Republican war drums.

Is John Kerry really American?

Within hours of John Kerry’s Super Tuesday triumph, the Bush-Cheney bandwagon was rolling and $4.5 million of ads hit the airwaves. Todd Gitlin on a rumble in the Republican jungle.

Bush gets fundamental

The desire of thousands of gay couples across America to unite in marriage collides with the base political calculation of their president. Todd Gitlin on George Bush, culture czar.

Lying about Kerry

The race for the US presidency is heating up, and the smear-machine is in full swing. Todd Gitlin takes the temperature.

Bush off balance

As John Kerry, the war hero, marches towards the Democratic nomination, America’s press is waking up to its president’s past. Just what did George W. Bush do during the Vietnam years? Todd Gitlin reports.

A populist wind

‘Anyone But Bush’ read the campaign buttons. As John Kerry tightens his grip on the Democratic race for President, Todd Gitlin witnesses a return to ‘class warfare’.

The greater power

President Bush gets fundamental. Senator Kerry storms home in the New Hampshire Primary. In the third of his weekly columns on the US election, Todd Gitlin looks at the key figures and does the math.

Democrats get real

Democratic voters are teaching their party to fight smart. In the second of his weekly columns on the American election, Todd Gitlin reads a lesson in the Iowa snowfall.

The politics of anti-politics

It’s election year in the United States. In the first of his weekly columns, Todd Gitlin watches candidates line up to disown Washington and asks: is this less a presidential election than a race to be outsider-in-chief?
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