Since April, Nader has worked with a team of fifteen freelance writers and journalists to publish Citizen of the Capitol, a new print journal that offers a decidedly untraditional look at Congress. The paper’s coverage centers on the issues that Nader had dedicated his career to exposing – and which, according to Nader, the mainstream press refuses to address: the growth of corporate influence on Capitol Hill, the steady erosion of power of Congress, the ongoing corruption of American lawmakers and, of course, the follies and failures of mainstream political media. The CitizenNader’s mission, Nader said, is to bring national attention to the kind of big picture stories that are overlooked by Washington’s scoop-obsessed press — and to do so without the media bells and whistles. digital.
“Online is a gulag of clutter, misappropriation, advertisements, intrusions and overabundance,” Nader says, explaining the newspaper‘s retro format. “People are fed up with the distraction and manic matrix of the internet” [Ian Ward, “Ralph Nader Thinks People Aren’t Paying Attention to His Progressive Agenda,” Politico, 2022.09.04].
Nader supports his model of print only with a careful observation of the Harrison-Bergeronian distraction facilitated by web pages and a view of the tangible newspaper as a metaphor for the face-to-face civil discourse necessary for democracy:
To Nader’s credit, there is a certain consistency – in a kind of “the medium is the message” – between the CitizenNader’s retro format and Nader’s old-fashioned approach to politics. Both suggest that to reinvigorate democracy, America needs to get back to basics: a face-to-face conversation between a representative and their constituents. A journal you can actually hold in your hands.
“People see clarity when they have a journal in their hands,” Nader explains. “That’s all they read. No one is trying to get their attention any other way. They really appreciate it” [Ward, 2022.09.04].
Nader published two editions of Citizen of the Capitol so far in April and June. Nader hopes the subscriptions will support a monthly print schedule. You can order a copy of Citizen of the Capitol here. Perhaps order copies to send to the offices of Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Rep. Johnson.
Despite Nader’s example, Dakota Free Press will continue to avoid paper and publish only in the manic matrix. But I promise: no flashing ads, no pop-ups.