Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dear Darrell

Dear Darrell,

Our point that no one's getting much attention from the media? We'd urge you to check small media over the next few days. We're sure that if Amy Goodman broadcasts footage of the DC rally on Democracy Now!, Bob Watada (father of Ehren Watada) will be included. But we're not talking about Goodman. We're talking about, specifically, the left media in print, specifically The Nation and The Progressive.

You know the importance press attention makes and you know Ehren Watada is facing a February 5th court-martial. You may not know that neither magazine mentioned him in print in 2006. (Ricky Clousing was covered in The Progressive's photo section spread. Putting The Progressive one up on The Nation.) In 2007, The Nation would finally mention Watada in print. He wasn't worthy of an article to those deciding, just a sidebar, a sidebar that appeared a page after he was called a coward in the main article. Now last week, the magazine did two of their 'online exclusives' that didn't focus on Ehren Watada but did focus on Save-Sarah-Olson!

A journalist facing a maximum of six months of jail, an Iraq war resister facing a maximum of six years in jail -- they elected to emphasize Sarah Olson.

We were at the DC rally. We were interviewing people. The most popular speech was Bob Watada's.

So watch The Nation and The Progressive over the next few days and see if the protests get covered. Then look at how they are covered. Is Bob Watada mentioned? (Matthew Rothschild has not covered Ehren Watada, he did cover Sarah Olson earlier this month, online, for The Progressive. John Nichols and Marc Cooper covered Sarah Olson last week, online, for The Nation.) Now you were still in Canada when Watada went public. At the Veterans for Peace conference, some participants met with you and other war resisters in Canada on the border between the two countries. You know Watada was news so you may be surprised to learn that he wasn't news to The Progressive or The Nation's print magazines. That is, however, the reality. Having offered two 'online exclusives' on Sarah Olson last week, will The Nation mention Bob Watada's speech? Will they use that to finally cover Ehren Watada as something more than an after thought? We doubt it. We're sure will get goo-ga-ga press on what the politicians said. The Nation can't tear itself from the crotch of Congress these days.

But Watada matters. You know he does. You support him. You went to Fort Lewis to show your support. You're also well aware that although Amy Goodman interviewed you (and others), the left mags didn't. You may not be aware of it but Ivan Brobeck didn't get interviewed or covered by the magazines. (Print or even online, for that matter.) Kyle Snyder is a name they can't bring themselves to type. Mark Wilkerson? Their response would be Mark who? Ditto Ricky Clousing, ditto, you know the drill.

But let's note Agustin Aguayo because his court-martial has been set for March 6th and not many even bothered to note that last week, did they?

But they've had time to jaw bone as though Sarah Olson was the most pressing issue in a February 5th court-martial. Watch and see who notes Bob Watada and who hides behind Congress. (Or at least kneels with their lips sealed to Congress' crotch.)

Now parents who lost children were at the DC rally (and at others around the country). Watch and see if they're taking up the coverage that could go to war resisters. They won't. They won't get covered. Congress members, that we're willing to bet gets covered.

The at least half a million attending won't matter either because they don't sit in Congress. They won't be covered.

If you're wondering about turn out and where is the word of the mouth, look to our not-so-brave independent media.

We believe you probably won't remember the daytime talk show Donahue. Those participating in the writing of this who are just a bit younger than you don't remember the program. Oprah had become the success story by the time you would have been a small child. But Phil Donahue decided to write about the February 5th court-martial . . . in terms of Sarah Olson.

We're not sure whether you know of the media critic Norman Solomon or not? His most recent book (which we praised) is War Made Easy. Last week he weighed in on the February 5th court-martial . . . in terms of what a tragedy it is for Sarah Olson.

Darrell, our readers don't give a damn about Sarah Olson. In fact, they use stronger words than "damn" in the e-mails they sent in this week.

Who's getting the coverage that should go to war resisters? Sarah Olson.

She's getting big and small media. Ehren Watada gets an editorial this month from The Seattle Times saying that he should be convicted. Sarah Olson gets a "Poor Sarah!" editorial from The Los Angeles Times. Readers are comparing Sarah Olson to the "missing blonde" that big media junks up the airwaves with while avoiding the real news. We see the comparison.

Not only is Watada's maximum sentence twelve times as long as Olson's, he is the story. He is at the center of the story. But independent media prefers to cover their own. (Much as big media preferred to cover Judith Miller, Matt Cooper and others while ignoring the crime that was the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.)

As you know, Bob Watada, his wife Rosa Sakanishi (Ehren's step-mother) and Carolyn Ho (Ehren's mother) are speaking out non-stop. All spoke out on Saturday. Carolyn Ho's about to begin another tour to try to raise awareness before the court-martial. You know how important that is and how much your mother, Anita Anderson, did to speak out for you. All three will reach people but see if they reach the two independent magazines with the largest circulation. See if, finally, they are moved to cover Watada.

The way the print schedule works for The Nation is that a new issue will come out at the end of this week. It won't make it into subscribers mail boxes for days nor will hit most magazine racks before Tuesday of next week at the earliest. Point?

Next Monday is February 5th. Even if The Nation finally found the guts to do a cover story or an editorial on Ehren Watada, it would come too late. Too damn late.

Who's hurting the movement, who's preventing war resisters from garnering the support and attention they deserve? We think we've offered quite a few names in this feature.

Best & peace,

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, me, Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot.

P.S. Darrell, features like this are really starting to piss off independent media. They don't bother to write this site. They write The Common Ills because C.I.'s policy is that your e-mail isn't quoted from unless you give permission. So they whine and gripe to C.I. Now Jess is working on a reply to one of the whiners. (Jess, Ava, Martha, Shirley and Eli help C.I. with the e-mails.) So the point is, independent media doesn't like these type of features. (They won't like Isaiah's comic when it goes up at The Common Ills today either.) Our attitude? Too damn bad. You want it to stop, start covering war resisters. Don't whine to us, don't gripe at us. That's our attitude. Want these type of features to stop? It's pretty damn easy, start covering war resisters. Until you do, expect a lot more of these features.
Darrell, as we understand, correct us if we're wrong, you are available for interviews. And you can also hook them up with other war resisters. Until the day comes when independent media stops play Democratic Party cheerleader, stops licking the crotches of Congress, and actually starts covering the war the way they should, these features will continue. That's the luxury of not having 'traded links' or being in debt to anyone -- we can speak our mind. We intend to continue doing that and calling people on their shit that prolongs the illegal war.
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