Episode 213

Speaking truth to power ought to be the duty of journalism but it is not. Speaking the power's "truth" is the way to get and keep the gig in today's media – and if you do so, you’ll be richly rewarded with money and flattery. One of our frequent guests, Patrick Cockburn, had a great journalist father, Claud Cockburn, who said that the relationship of the journalist to power should be that of the dog to the lamp-post. Nothing is true, he'd say, until it has been officially denied. Fortunately, every now and then a journalist emerges who goes where few dare, who speaks what few will speak, without fear or favor. One such journalist is Eva Bartlett, so we invited her into the Sputnik studio to speak truth to power.

The surreal brilliance of ‘Addict’ by Stephen Smith is that, almost unbelievably, it is not a novel but an autobiography. Addicted to vast quantities of amphetamines from his early teenage years, his dependence led him on a roller-coaster faster than any known roller-coaster to a life of crime, prison, riches, poverty, mental institutions, broken homes, fortunes lost, regained and lost again. It seemed impossible to believe that Smith could possibly have survived the life described in his book, but it’s a story of redemption. So, with his second book about to be published, we invited him alive and kicking into the Sputnik studio.

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