Sunday, June 10, 2007

Media News Roundup- Sunday May 27th to Sat June 2nd



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

Media notes AIDS pledge at G8 but not massive cut of important medicare to those infected. Five stories of actual importance buried by the media's shameful Paris Hilton-mania. Bright spot of the week: Sam Seder show, taking cue from Media Matters report, shows what diversity in news media can look like.


Media Reports G8 AIDS Pledge; Misses Important Cut to Medicare of Infected

As noted by Democracy Now on June 7, while there was much publicizing of the G8 AIDS pledge, little coverage was given to deep medicare cuts for HIV/AIDS patients promised just two years prior. The Financial Times reported that under pressure from the U.S., the G8 has backtracked on a two-year old pledge to fund universal access to medical care AIDS sufferers. In 2005 at Gleneagles the leaders of the summit had agreed to reach ten million AIDS patients. However internal documents now show the G8 has proposed to cut that number by half--to five million. The lowered goal was introduced by U.S. negotiators, just one week after President Bush cited AIDS funding as a major priority. A senior G8 official called the proposal “a huge backward step.”

5 News Stories Buried by the U.S. Media's Shameful Paris Hilton-mania.

In a week that highlighted the shameless trend of the U.S. corporate news media to cover celebrity gossip in a chase for profits rather than conducting investigative journalism, several news stories of profound impact were woefully underreported or missed completely:

(1) Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded U.S. forces during the first year of the Iraq war, this week derided the idea of a military "victory" and stated that the best outcome America can hope for is to "stave off defeat."

(2) Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for lying to a grand jury and the FBI during the investigation into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson who challenged the White House on claims of Saddam Hussein-WMD ties to Niger during the lead up to the Iraq War.

(3) The Senate Judiciary Committee passed an important bill to restore habeas corpus, the fundamental right to challenge government detention in court. Last year Constitutional rights activists were stunned when the Military Commissions Act, passed by a GOP led Congress, revoked habeas corpus—an act that was widely criticized as unconstitutional and un-American.

(4) In back-to-back rulings, military judges threw out all charges against Canadian Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni national, who are detainees at the now infamous Guantánamo Bay prison. Khadr has been held there since he was 15; Hamdan has been fingered as the alleged chauffeur of Osama bin Laden. In a move that highlights weaknesses in the Bush administration’s unlawful definition of “enemy combatants,” the judges claimed the cases could not go on because the U.S. government had failed to “establish jurisdiction.”

(5) Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey told the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in written remarks this past Wednesday, that Vice President Dick Cheney blocked the promotion of a top Justice Department lawyer after the official called into question the legality of the White House's secret domestic spying program. Relatedly, this was the fourth week in which the wire-tapping hospital drama involving Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, White House Chief-of-staff Andrew Card and a gravely ill John Ashcroft went underreported in the mainstream press. As cited previously in this forum, James Comey's May 15 congressional testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the matter was like a bizarre tale out of an Oliver Stone film.


Bright Spot of the Week

Sam Seder Show’s Diverse Political Roundtable

A recent report by Media Matters highlighted the manner in which women and people of color are all but shut out of most political news discussions. So it was a breath of fresh air this past weekend to hear the political roundtable on the Sam Seder Show on Air America Radio. Featured were not only media critics like Glenn Greenwald and a voice for women through FireDogLake blogger Christy Hardin Smith, but also Ron Daniels the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and President for the Institute on the Black World 21st Century. Daniels was not simply invited on to discuss pertinent "African-American" specific issues, but was given the rare opportunity to voice his thoughts on political topics as diverse as the Iraq War, American foreign policy and more. Kudos to Sam Seder for recognizing that people of color have opinions on large topics that are not always bound to topics of race, something of which most mainstream media Sunday shows seem wholly unaware.


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