Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, West Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, NPR, Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, where he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years. In 2001, Hedges contributed to The New York Times staff entry which received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism in 2002.
In 2003, shortly after the war in Iraq began, Hedges was asked to give the commencement address at Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois. He told the graduating class “…we are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige, power and security.” He went on to say that “This is a war of liberation in Iraq, but it is a war of liberation by Iraqis from American occupation.” As he spoke, several hundred members of the audience began jeering and booing. His microphone was cut twice. Two young men rushed the stage to try to prevent him from speaking and Hedges had to cut short his address. He was escorted off campus by security officials before the diplomas were awarded. This event made national news and he became a lightning rod not only for right wing pundits and commentators, but also mainstream newspapers. The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial which denounced his anti-war stance and the The New York Times issued a formal reprimand, forbidding Hedges to speak about the war. The reprimand condemned his remarks as undermining the paper’s impartiality. Hedges resigned shortly thereafter and became a senior fellow at the Nation Institute.
Hedges is a columnist for the progressive news and commentary website Truthdig, for which The Los Angeles Press Club named him Online Journalist of the Year in 2009 and 2011.His books include War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction; Collateral Damage (2008), Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009); Death of the Liberal Class (2010); Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012), Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt (2015), and his most recent America: The Farewell Tour (2018). Hedges currently hosts On Contact on RT, the Russian television network.
Hedges’ focus has shifted to ever more provocative examinations of American collapse. His time spent observing conflict and collapse in other countries has made his political and historical perspectives poignant and highly regarded in the collapse community.
“The state, in its internal projections, has a vision of the future that is as dystopian as mine. But the state, to protect itself, lies. Politicians, corporations, the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and our ridiculous television pundits speak as if we can continue to build a society based on limitless growth, profligate consumption and fossil fuel. They feed the collective mania for hope at the expense of truth. Their public vision is self-delusional, a form of collective psychosis. The corporate state, meanwhile, is preparing privately for the world it knows is actually coming. It is cementing into place a police state, one that includes the complete evisceration of our most basic civil liberties and the militarization of the internal security apparatus, as well as wholesale surveillance of the citizenry.”