Sunday, June 17, 2007

Media News Roundup- Sunday June 10th to Sat June 16th

Keeping an eye on the failing Fourth Estate and looking for some TRUTH in journalism.

Media plays disingenuous about roots of recent Palestinian conflict between Fatah and Hamas. MSNBC has day long discussion on immigration, featuring only conservatives. Bright spot of the week: Democracy Now's Amy Goodman Talks "Vulture Funds" with BBC Reporter.

Media Ignores Roots of Recent Palestinian Conflict Between Fatah and Hamas

The recent Civil War in Gaza has been widely reported by the mainstream media. However the story that is most often told is blatantly one-sided and lacking in any context. Since Hamas came to power through democratic elections in 2006, the U.S. and Israel have done all they could to, beat, starve and push the more militant Palestinian faction from power, going as far as to cut-off aid and shooting down any proposals for reconciliation with Fatah. The key reason given for this is the refusal of Hamas to disarm and recognize the state of Israel--a crime somehow far greater than Israel's 40-year occupation and an apartheid system that routinely destroys Palestinian infrastructure, cuts off water and electricity as a tactic of war, carries out extra-judicial assassinations and more. Following the White House administration line, the present conflict is presented by the mainstream press as the inevitable outcome of the "violence-prone" Hamas government. According to most U.S. news outlets there are definite "good" and "bad" guys here, with Fatah becoming America's allies and Hamas serving as intractable enemies. Yet As Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifadah stated on the June 15th Democracy Now, "What we've seen is really a direct result of the Bush doctrine. Since January 2006 when Hamas won the legislative election fair and square, the United States refused the election result and it has been arming several Palestinian militias, particularly those controlled by the Gaza warlord, Mohammed Declan." The arming of Fatah by the U.S. and Israel, noted as recently as this past May in major newspapers, has been all but buried in more recent news accounts--portraying the U.S. and Israel as disinterested observers rather than powerful state actors stirring the pot of conflict.

For Seven Hours, MSNBC Hosted Only Conservatives and Reporters to Discuss Immigration

The conservative bent towards the immigration debate in the mainstream media is now well known. On stations like FOX News, Bill O'Reilly opines that pro-immigrant activists "hate America, and they hate it because it's run primarily by white, Christian men." On the same channel Paul Gibson warned white Americans to "Make more babies" because in "[t]wenty-five years ... the majority of the population [will be] Hispanic." On the more mainstream CNN, host Lou Dobbs has made a name for himself through incessant attacks on "illegal immigrants," going as far as to say they will bring in leprosy. So it may not be too surprising that after the defeat of the flawed immigration bill, most mainstream news sources went straight to conservatives for opinions, with little or no time devoted to pro-immigrants rights activists or advocates. MSNBC proved to be a case in point:

From Media Matters:

During the seven hours of the June 11 edition of MSNBC Live (9 a.m.-4 p.m. ET), 15 segments aired about immigration or the Senate immigration bill, none of which featured a Democratic or progressive commentator. Indeed, in nine of the 15 segments, the anchor interviewed a conservative anti-immigration activist who had opposed the bill -- including six separate solo interviews with MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. The remaining six segments consisted of two panels with Buchanan and conservative activist and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Tamar Jacoby (who, alone among the guests, favored the recent immigration bill), an interview with Congressional Quarterly immigration reporter Michael Sandler, an interview with MSNBC terrorism analyst Joe Cantamessa, and two reports from MSNBC congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira.

With such biased media coverage perhaps it's little wonder then that the entire discussion on immigration has been caught up in nativist rantings and fearmongering, stalling the needed debate as quickly as the doomed bill.

Bright Spot of the Week

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman Talks "Vulture Funds" with BBC Reporter

As with most anything dealing with the negative effects of global financial institutions, trade agreements and neoliberal policies, the mainstream media has neglected a massively important story surrounding the aptly named "vulture funds." Riding the coat-tails of so-called "aid" promised by the G-8, “vulture funds” are companies which buy up third world debt at low prices (like your average collection agency) and then sue those countries for the full value and more. Democracy Now's Amy Goodman has been one of the few reporters to cover this important story, but can do so only through European journalists like the BBC's Greg Palast. Palast exposed the case of one vulture fund, Donegal International owned by US resident Michael Sheehan, which was forcing collection of $40 million from the African country Zambia after buying one of its debts for $4 million. The story was so explosive that when it reached the ears of Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the US House Judiciary, and Don Payne, head of the Africa Committee, who were listening to Democracy Now on the way to a White House meeting, they immediately pressed the matter with the President. Such incidents beg the question, would our politicians perform better if they were at least better informed by our news media?

For full story:

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman Talks "Vulture Funds" with BBC Reporter


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