by Dave Zirin
When 50,000 people -- many young, many poor, overwhelmingly African-American -- marched in Jena, La., last Thursday, the political impact was felt around the country. Marching on behalf of six young men known as the Jena 6, who face prison time for a schoolyard fight, the case held an echo of past civil rights movements. At the center of it all is Dr. John Carlos.
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Abe Lincoln understood this great land.
"Speak softly and carry a big stick."
Teddy Roosevelt didn't lay it on thick.
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
Human Rights Campaign
"Gen. Pace's job is to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, not to use his own personal feelings to decide what is morally acceptable or not," said HRC President Joe Solmonese
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
DNC Calls on Rudy Giuliani to Come Clean on Ties to Right-Wing Power Grab Initiative in California
Rudy Has Yet To Disavow Ties to Shady Financial Backers of Front Group
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Danny Schechter
Mike Wallace was not in the best shape. He was wheezing and his eyes looked like saucers as he accepted his umpteenth Emmy award at the TV Academy dinner in New York on Monday night for his "60 Minutes" interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an almost unpronounceable name to most Americans.
"Before that interview," he boasted. "None of us knew who this man was or what he believed." There was incredulity in his voice as if he was some modern explorer who went into the wilds and brought back the elusive monster Bigfoot. The audience of nearly 1,000 TV journalists applauded as if he had accomplished a daring feat by getting a big bad guy on camera.
Sitting at my table in the Sheraton ballroom, three producers from overseas marveled at all the international stories that were winning recognition as if to say "you Americans are lucky to get so much coverage of the world." They of course didn't know that most of the networks have long closed most of their foreign bureaus, cut back on documentaries, and were deeply complicit in uncritically doing more selling than telling in the run-up to the Iraq war.
They didn't know that PBS, which swept the awards, won honors for a few programs that have been on the air for 25 years, not for their news, and that they don't have a big audience relative to the commercial channels. They don't know that, in fact, analytical and investigative reporting is at an all time low. Surveys show most Americans know little about the world despite TV's theoretical global reach.
They also don't know that many bloggers and progressive activists spend more time bashing right-wing outlets such as Fox (e.g., all the hype around Bill O'Reilly's convoluted comments about dining in Harlem) than in supporting independent media (such as Mediachannel or Link TV's Mosaic program). Like the commercial channels, they focus on backing celebrity politicians and partisan attacks on conservative talk show polarizers.
The UN General Assembly is meeting in New York. A high-powered conference on global climate change with the top scientists in the world rated almost no coverage. But the presence of the Iranian president became THE story because of the controversy his visit generated and the chance to show the monster in their midst.
Broadcasting & Cable uses a military metaphor in describing how local news "deployed" for his visit. "Despite the limited access, stations are deploying heavily around the city. WNBC senior vice president of news Dan Forman said the channel has put 30% more bodies on the street, thanks to the Iranian's presence, than it typically would for the United Nations assembly.
"Getting close to the controversial leader isn't feasible, so the stations are relying on pool footage while deploying reporters to where he's speaking for standups, commentary from protestors and passers-by, and brief glimpses at his passing car."
But of course this "passing car" reportage is not about reporting the visit in a thoughtful way, or assessing developments but, rather, inflaming public opinion. More darkly, it's a case of demonization -- a process that Ahmadinejad participates in happily for his own reasons -- and is being used just like all the Saddam Hitler bashing several years ago to prepare public opinion for war.
The more outrageous his comments appear, whether they are or not, the more public his smiling and taunting appears, the more the Bush Administration wins over public opinion. Any efforts he makes to show another image -- as in wanting to visit Ground Zero -- is, of course, forbidden.
The tabloids set the inflammatory tone in New York: "Wipe That Smirk Off Your Evil Face" chastises the Daily News, which calls him a "madman" and worse. Not to be outdone Rupert's New York Post slams him as a "petty, cruel dictator" and writes about "Mad-Moud's Wacky World." His talk at Columbia University is headlined "Cuckoo at Columbia." Fox News's Greg Gutfeld opens up both barrels, saying, "so the foul-smelling fruitbat Ahmadinejad spoke at that crack-house known as Columbia University today." No language is off-limits, no ridicule out of bounds.
This suits the Iranian leader whom TIME has called "a dark genius at mobilizing Iranian public opinion." Now he is the victim of a rude college president and an even ruder press. Down in the polls at home, the U.S. media coverage has played right into his hands with the effect of also keeping the U.S. public ever more ignorant about the country we may be the next to bomb.
Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post also scolds the self-styled responsible press for giving more exposure to neo-con know-nothings and less visibility for people who we can learn from.
It's like Tony Soprano warning Johnny Sack
After was he arrested & feeling cursed,
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Mike Ferner
Interrupting the Empire 30 seconds at a time. . .
The massive U.S. Capitol Building is situated to dominate Washington, D.C. from every angle. Its brightly lit facade dominates the night skyline even more.
BARBARA'S DAILY BUZZFLASH MINUTE
At long last more people are finally beginning to realize what’s happening right before our very eyes!! A Coup Has Occurred" By Daniel Ellsberg. Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007 -- "I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state." Key words here being "a police state"!