Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Tears

Writing at The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington noted: "Or maybe they have fallen prey to the war fatigue Chris Matthews thinks is responsible for the appalling lack of Iraq coverage on TV -- and the smile on Karl Rove's face."

Where is Iraq? We still have to ask, where is it? On independent media or in the Congress, where the hell is Iraq?

What happened, did you get all Lisa Lisa & Cult Jammed out on it?

Did it go "stale"?

That can't be it because one personality's promoting a new book and can't shut up about the power of independent media and, get this, uses, for an example, Camp Casey.

Are you sides aching?

The personality says Camp Casey is an example of how independent media can make a difference. Now Camp Casy III happened this summer and did you see anything, in the five hours a week, on it? Yeah, you saw, at the very end, some footage of a war resister (Mark Wilkerson) announcing that he would turn himself in. That's it. What was that, a few minutes out of thirty or so hours?

Weren't we informed.

We're a little sick of the "brave voices" who really aren't. They'd rather travelogue than cover Iraq. Maybe it's past time for indepedent media to stop marketing itself and start doing its job?

Oh, but it's so much easier to cover Sudan. It's a "new flavor." And by shutting out voices of dissent on the left, you can march right behind the Bully Boy. Consider Sudan the flag lapel on your jackets. You're all just as 'patriotic' as the mainstream was when they pulled that nonsense.

In fact, you are worse than the mainstream right now because you pointed a finger at the mainstream. You could only name Judith Miller. It's still the only name you can name. Takes a special kind of cowardice to avoid holding Dexter Filkins accountable for the sort of lies that have allowed the Iraq war to drag on.

But you pointed your finger and clucked over the fact that only certain voices were allowed to be heard. Now we come to the Sudan and the only voices you put on are from the Sammy Powers movement. Last week, The Guardian had a column about the Sudan by Jonathan Steele entitled, "Sorry George Clooney, but the last thing Darfur needs is western troops." From that column:

An air of unreality, if not cant, surrounds the latest upsurge of calls for UN troops to go into Sudan's western region of Darfur. The actor George Clooney takes to the stage at the UN security council, pleading for action. Tony Blair seizes on the issue to write letters to fellow EU leaders. In cities around the world protesters hold a "global day for Darfur" to warn of looming genocide. Is it really possible that western governments, in spite of being burned by their interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, would use force against another Muslim state?
Groups in the west have long campaigned to have the government in Khartoum replaced. In the US the Christian right and some of Israel's friends portray it as an Islamic fundamentalist regime. Human rights activists raise the issue of slavery to suggest that Arab raiders, supported by the government, are routinely abducting Africans from the south to use as human chattel. The Clinton administration listed Sudan as a terrorist-supporting state because Osama bin Laden once lived there.
Against this background it was always going to be hard to expect fair reporting when civil war broke out in Darfur three years ago. The complex grievances that set farmers against nomads was covered with a simplistic template of Arab versus African, even though the region was crisscrossed with tribal and local rivalries that put some villages on the government's side and others against it.

Jonathan Steele said what? Strange that he can be featured on programs to discuss Iraq or Egypt, but the same programs won't bring him on to speak about Sudan. Instead we get the English prof who 'extrapolates.' The Sammy Powers movement is on the march and no point of view will hit the airwaves that's not pre-approved by the head after it's passed down from the Bully Boy. Well why else inflate/invent an 'academic' but to use them?

Right now, CounterPunch (although it has no radio program, it has been one of the few outlets willing to question the official narrative) has an article by Carl G. Estebrook entitled "The Darfur Smokescreen." From that article:

But by mobilizing the cover story of humanitarian intervention, the Bush administration should be able to introduce a military solution to its real problem: how to attack another country on the Neocon hit list, another country (like Serbia) on the concentric circle around the cynosure of US foreign policy, Middle East energy resources.
President Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has frequently expressed the bipartisan consensus of the US foreign policy elite. "America has major strategic and economic interests in the Middle East that are dictated by the region's vast energy supplies," he wrote two years ago in The National Interest. "Not only does America benefit economically from the relatively low costs of Middle Eastern oil, but America's security role in the region gives it indirect but politically critical leverage on the European and Asian economies that are also dependent on energy exports from the region."
And how is Sudan related to this long-term US strategy? We have it from no less a figure than the official hero of Kosovo, Wesley Clark: "As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan."

Instead of a discussion, what we get are marching orders. Way to inform, independent media, way to inform.

With very few exceptions, independent media tanked this summer. Now, as it hops on the Modern Day Carrie Nations Brigade and marches lockstep with the Bully Boy (the same one who gave us war in Iraq, remember?), it seems as if it's bound and determined to prove that their only exception to the ruling press is that independent media wants to cry. It doesn't care for what. Anything will do. Give it something to tear up for. And while it can wring tears out of that subject, it's on it. It's there.

Then it's time to pack up and move on to the next heart tugging drama.

Exactly who's being served by that? Probably the same ones who didn't notice that independent media dropped Iraq this summer. But when you have no interest in informing, try to work up the tears, go for the big emotions, and maybe someone will buy that you're actually in the news business.
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