By Leslie Thatcher
On Sunday May 18, Truthout's Leslie Thatcher interviewed veteran reporter, master raconteur and founder of the This Can't Be Happening web site, Dave Lindorff. Dave's remarkable background - and that of his three colleagues at the new "news collective" - informs the style, content and unmistakable attitude the new venture brings to Internet journalism.
Leslie Thatcher for Truthout: So who are you, Dave Lindorff?
Dave Lindorff, This Can't Be Happening: I grew up in rural Connecticut; my father was an engineering professor at the University of Connecticut. I came to political consciousness in 1967 when I turned 18 and received my draft card. I had done a paper on the Vietnam war, researching in "The Realist," learning about napalm victims and other horrors and had made the decision that I was not going to participate. I didn't request a student deferment the following September when I started college at Wesleyan University, but decided that when I was drafted (my lottery number was 81), I just wouldn't do it. I participated in the big October 21 Mobilization Against the War demonstration that year and was among those who occupied the Pentagon mall and were arrested. After I spent three days in jail with veterans of the civil rights movement, I came out a confirmed radical.
The last semester of senior year, I needed three more credits to graduate, which a journalism course being offered by the local Middletown Press editor filled nicely. I had no thought of going into journalism, but I signed up. Midway through the course, everyone in class had to go out and report on a live story. I checked the police blotter, which showed that a truck had crashed into a railway trestle the night before, leaving a little diesel spill on the road. The story had resonance for me because one of the ways I had intermittently earned money was as a semi driver and I'd hit a trestle myself in Boston. The truck story took me to the fire department where I discovered the real news: a bomb shelter for city government buried under fifteen feet of concrete, with a blast door behind which there was a room set up with rows of desks, each with a black telephone and a name tag for a city office - mayor, police chief, tax collector, welfare, etc. Now THAT was the story. "This is so f*cking crazy," I thought. "They think after The Bomb, they think there will be rich people and poor people and taxes being collected? And as I wrote about it, it struck me: This is what I want to do with my life - report on the madness."...
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