Sunday, July 30, 2006

Recommended: Danny Schechter News Dissector

In this blog, I have been reporting on Israel's setbacks behind all its macho rhetoric and anti-terrorism correctness. When the world looks at the destruction of a country, the vicious retaliations, the attacks on UN peacekeepers and an ineffective military campaign with no end in sight, a new signal has been signaled to bring down the curtain on this gang this latest 'gang that can' shoot straight' episode of more US orchestrated and backed unilateralism posing as acting in self-defense.
It is obvious that the Israeli calculation and plan, five years in the making, has come unstuck even as Tel Aviv chose to believe that the lack of support for their war last week was, in effect implicit, support. Can you believe that "Israel interpreted the lack of consensus at the Rome conference as a 'green light' to continue its bloody attacks on Lebanon."
That's called turning a negative into a positive as in: “Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon saying they received "permission" from the world at Wednesday’s Rome conference to continue their operation."

The above is from Danny Schechter's News Dissector (Saturday entry). We're noting it an entry this week for a number of reasons including:

1) We like Schechter's work (blog, writing, film making, activism, et al)
2) On national holidays, we (as a group) usually do a news roundup that goes up at all the community sites. Those things are things are time consuming. Until you've sifted through several papers, countless websites, broadcasts, et al for hours and then started writing, you may not appreciated the work done at News Dissector.
3) As C.I., Mike and Rebecca have noted, the coverage of Gaza, Lebanon, et al has made it your one-stop shop for details on the unfolding tragedy.

We've noted Schechter's WMD documentary at various times. He has a new one going in to release entitled In Debt We Trust:

I am heading upstate and taking a break from obsessing with the war. I will be screening my film IN DEBT WE TRUST Sunday at 4 at the Rosendale N.Y.Theater, a kind of return command performance to assess audience response. I will tell you how it goes.
This is all I have time or the stomach for, but I will say that my skepticism with and alternative to the conventional media wisdom about the war now feels as if it is being vindicated. I really don’t want be be right. I want this to be over. Don't you?

What goes up at one community site is usually representative for all of us. If that's the not the case, we generally note it. Before the community "requested/demanded" (Elaine's term) that the focus at The Common Ills be Iraq (due to the lack of attention elsewhere), there were numerous highlights each day. With the "Iraq snapshot" and other changes, that's no longer the case. So from time to time, at this site, you'll see a recommendation. It's our way of noting something you should be following which, often in the past, we left to the multiple daily entries at TCI.

Another reason for starting this out with this recommendation is Elaine's post Saturday:

I keep thinking of Danny Schechter's attempts to do a protest against the media in March of this year as a result of their Iraq coverage and remember how little attention that received. I didn't expect the mainstream media to provide me with coverage. I did assume that the independent media would. He organized the protest with very little help. That's not because he was shy. He would have gone on any show, sat down for any interview, to get the word out on that. Few were interested. Was that the weeks we were supposed to be getting on board for a Marine invasion of Darfur? I forget now but it was some appalling (for the left) cry that was going out that just had to be covered.
Danny Schechter did his protest and a number of people showed up. Not as many as shold have shown up (because most didn't know about it) and not as many as he would have enjoyed. But some people did focus on Iraq. Others were busy organizing and reporting on the "Bring the Troops Home and Send Them To Darfur" religious movement.I think about that now and it upsets me so much. C.I. did note the protest at The Common Ills. C.I. apologized (at The Common Ills) after for not working it more. At the time, I didn't think that was needed and wrote it off as a C.I. thing. (C.I. knows Schechter.) C.I. was already focused on another demonstration and covering a number of other issues. (That's just online activities.) If you'd asked me, I would have said, "Yes, that deserved a lot more coverage -- or any -- in the lead up." But I was under the impression, then, that the independent media was breaking their backs to cover Iraq. (By the way, if you're someone who did cover Danny Schechter's protest, before or after, consider yourselves patted on the back. There were very few of you who made the effort despite the importance of the event. And I'm speaking of the traditional outlets, not blogs.) That's not the case. To use another example, let's talk about Ehren Watada. Protests were scheduled earlier in June. There was no build up to that from the independent media and there was no real coverage of it either. (Truthout was an exception and I'll add them to my blogroll.) Watada was worthy of coverage when the story of his refusal to deploy to Iraq broke. Then it was silence. (The same with Suzanne Swift. As Mike has pointed out, a promised, recorded interview with Swift's grandfather never aired despite on air claims that it was coming later in the week . . . several weeks ago.) Then he was charged and suddenly the independent media wanted to cover it. It was really weird to get two tiny segments on that, in an hour long show, that both included, "We only have X seconds" and "We only have a minute." Why did we only have that short amount of time?
Because Iraq was an after thought. An hour long show that only has a few seconds or a minute has treated Iraq as an after thought. The same week, supposedly we were going to learn about the fasters to bring the troops home. But that was another final segment where there wasn't time to address that. The guest was fasting, had been arrested and I forget what else. All of which was crammed into a tiny segment.
It's not just that these weren't the lead segments, it's that when the time rolled around for them, there wasn't time for them. That's treating war as an after thought.
Watching Watada be dropped like a hot potato and [then] suddenly be a pressing issue after he was charged made me think of Danny Schechter's protest. It went on despite the lack of coverage. But it's true that he got burned and that everyone who attempts to organize right now is getting burned. They're shoved to the side and it's often for "lifestyle" features. That's not cutting it. It's three years later and that's not cutting it.

That really is the case. Three years later, people need to be a bit more focused. We're not seeing that. And we'll comment on that in other features this edition -- or intend to time permitting. But the protest should have received serious coverage ahead of time. That really didn't happen.
Elaine makes the point that September's protests are just around the corner. If independent media wants to make a difference, they need to be covering that. Not after the fact in a quick little bit or piece of print, but actively covering it.

C.I. and Elaine have been very vocal at their sites, and while participating here, with the point of: "Don't you dare blame the peace movement for its rate of growth." That point has become more and more obvious as we realize the truth in that. The occasional story, occassional report, occassional segment is no way for independent media to help build a movement. The peace movement's biggest growth factor remains word of mouth and its the movement itself that gets the word out. True now, true then.

Countless DNC astroturf/talking points can surface everywhere (program, site, periodical) slightly to left Joe Lieberman but when it's time for the peace actions, when it's time for the rallies, most are doing what? We urge you to read Elaine's Monday post (we've all read the portion that's already written -- she saved some of that to address on Monday). Laura Flanders says "Don't leave politics to the politicians" but it appears we're once again being encouraged by many to do just that.

What's the focus?

Schechter's keeping track of the war Israel's waging. If you're interested in that (we are), News Dissector is your one-stop shop.
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