Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FANTASY LAND: US Media

We have two stories about Gaza this week. One in the NY Times and one in the British Guardian. What was left out of the NY Times version?

-"we are going to have to suspend our food distribution programme to 860,000 people in Gaza if the present situation continues," said Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief Works Agency, which distributes food aid to 860,000 Palestinians in Gaza. (no mention of this in the NY Times)

-"We are already seeing signs of malnutrition and there have been cases or rickets [a cause of weak bones through a lack of vitamin D]," Gunness said. (again, left out of the NY Times story)

-The EU criticized Israel for punishing all of Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants and urged it to restart fuel supplies and open border crossings. "I have made clear that I am against this collective punishment of the people of Gaza," the EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said in a statement. (didn't happen if you read the NY Times).

Instead of this criticism of Israel, the NY Times gives us a long discussion of post traumatic stress disorder. Stress on the Palestinians of having no food or fuel, and being invaded? No, the NY Times discusses the post traumatic stress on Israeli citizens fearing rocket attacks. Leave it to the NY Times to cover up the humanitarian crisis in Gaza by presenting Israel as the perpetual victim.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2244363,00.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/world/middleeast/19mideast.html

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Another NPR propaganda piece to make us cringe. Julie McCarthy's Saturday report on the student opposition to Chavez sounded like every other peace NPR has done on Venezuela in the last two years. It could have been written by the Pentagon. In fact, it probably was.

Has NPR ever worried about its reporting on Venezuela? Worried that this supposedly more trusted source of news does nothing but parrot what our government wants us to hear about Chavez. Where is the balance? Where is the attempt to include other voices or points of view?

Like the New York Times, NPR has fallen into line with government vilification campaigns against America's "enemies." Ironically enough, the attacks are all directed against democratically elected leaders in other countries. Has NPR ever done a piece on Saudi students critical of the rule of the royal family? Or about demonstrations against Mubarak, our strong man in Egypt?

And can Ms. McCarthy be happy with her role as government propaganda hack? Could one have needed an advanced degree for that? What a shame on all of us to witness NPR reduced to parroting the Pentagon, again.
-this statement will be read on NPR this coming Friday...

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Our media likes to forget Martin Luther King's thoughts on war and racism. Let us look at some of those words, since you will not hear them or read them in this country. Too close to home. Too much like the ongoing war in Iraq...

"It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor - both black and white - through the Poverty Program. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political play thing of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such...

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.” It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over...

Somehow this madness must cease. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam and the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop must be ours...

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
- April 1967 At Manhattan’s Riverside Church

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