Tag Archives: news coverage

WikiLeaks and the Afghanistan war logs

For excellent comprehensive coverage of both the content of WikiLeak’s “Afghanistan war logs” and the story about their release and reception, check out Afghanistan: The war logs | World news | guardian.co.uk.

As usual, The Guardian shows why it is really the online paper of record – all the news that’s fit for bits – particularly for intelligent and progressive readers.

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Read, damn it!

Doonesbury@Slate – Daily Dose.

Timely Critique of Bad News: xkcd: Public Opinion

This seemed weirdly timely, given my recent complaint about the news fail in coverage of responses to BP…

xkcd: Public Opinion.

Hey Public Radio – Africa is a Big Continent

I love that the World Cup is bringing attention not only to football (soccer), but also to Africa in general and to South Africa in particular – attention that is not just on some massacre or famine, which seem to be the dominant tropes of news coverage, showing just how much Africa is still “the dark continent” when it comes to awareness and attention in the United States.

But I was dismayed to hear a news report on the World Cup in South Africa on public radio this afternoon illustrated with some music from Mali. Sure it’s on the same continent, but actually it would be almost impossible for it to be further away and still be in sub-Saharan Africa. And, sure, Malian music is terrific, really terrific, but South Africa has terrific music of its own. Remember all that excitement over Paul Simon’s Graceland?

You can see how this would happen – some intern grabs a CD from the “Africa” section and queues up a nice, upbeat instrumental track. But, you know, the fact that it’s plausible to assume there is an “Africa” section speaks to the problem. We are never going to get to grips with the situation there if we keep collapsing the whole continent into one undifferentiated mass.

BP – More Arrogance, Less Accountability

It was interesting to listen to the radio coverage – on NPR and PRI – of BP CEO Tony Hayward’s appearances in Washington, DC as I drove around the city running errands (not on BP gas, though it hardly makes a difference).

The BP CEO talked about how sorry he was for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and about making it right, but the language seemed to me very, very careful – and in particular careful not to say something like “we fucked up.” You can imagine why: to say they did things wrong, cut corners in an attempt to boost profits, short-changed safety, etc., would be to admit to a probably criminal and actionable level of negligence.

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Greece at the Brink of the Abyss

Everybody gets so much information all day long
that they lose their common sense.
~ Gertrude Stein

A roundup of news articles and blog posts on the situation in Greece…

Lots of attention to the protests, but also an increasing sense that the bailout so far approved will not be enough for Greece, and that the financial problems may yet extend to other countries in the eurozone. Meanwhile, it is still difficult to find serious, indepth discussions of the austerity measures from the perspective of the average Greek.

A story has also been circulating that the country’s financial problems could be substantially ameliorated by getting tax evaders to pony up their fair share – such as 1000s of swimming pool owners in Athens. But other articles dispute the value of this as a solution.

Regarding the protests, there are the usual responses in the news media – some decrying the violence of anarchists and young people, others dismissing the protests as insignificant. But when the protesters are farmers, civil servants and school teachers, it is clear that this is not just a case of student radicals always ready to leap to the barricades, that something significant is indeed going on. Particularly when the President of the country describes it as “at the brink of the abyss.” But his abyss might be your threshold, a path to a different future.

Hopefully, we will soon see articles from more mainstream but progressive news outlets gaining traction with stories about what is really going on – both with the protests, and with the attempts to rescue the Greek economy. In the meantime…

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May 3 is World Press Freedom Day

So read some daring news or check out a news site you wouldn’t normally visit…

And while you’re at it, take a look at these

World Press Freedom Day reminds us that information is democracy’s oxygen | Agnès Callamard: “Many journalists pay a high price for the public’s right to know

Today is World Press Freedom Day and there is much to celebrate in a world where affordable and fast technologies enable journalists to break news and report from all the corners of the world in real time.

There is also much to be concerned about, as journalists, photographers, bloggers and other writers face increasing risks to their personal safety in many parts of the globe where illegitimate regimes and criminal cartels push back against the brave efforts of media workers to report human rights abuses, corruption, environmental degradation and criminal activity.”

(via Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.)

Reporters Sans Frontières – Forty predators of press freedom: “There are 40 names on this year’s list of Predators of Press Freedom – 40 politicians, government officials, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.”

Razing Arizona / American Apartheid

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Anger – even fury – over Arizona’s new immigration law has been spreading through the United States, with President Obama, a number of Congressmen, and various state and local officials and public figures issuing stern denunciations.

A movement to enact a boycott of the state – as was done before, when Arizona rejected the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday – is also spreading, with city officials in San Francisco now banned from travel to the state (except for law enforcement and public health matters).

I’m still waiting for a comprehensive boycott site to appear – a web site listing products and services from Arizona, to facilitate individuals and companies who want to participate in the boycott.

Meanwhile, another reaction to Arizona’s move is also spreading. Officials in other states are expressing concern that they will be flooded with undocumented immigrants fleeing Arizona in the wake of the new law, and are suggesting that they may be forced to enact similar laws to prevent such an outcome. This seems pretty bizarre and craven to me – and unlikely.

How many undocumented immigrants really stay in Arizona anyway, rather than just transiting through it to farms?

I feel a particularly personal connection to this issue, as for most of my childhood I was an undocumented immigrant – an illegal alien – in the United States, and living in a neighborhood that was predominantly Hispanic. But of course I’m white and a native English speaker, so I never had to worry about la migra.

It would be great to see a demonstration, protest, march in the Arizona capital of thousands, 10s of thousands of similar illegals – white, English-speaking sin papeles standing up against the law. Of course, they’d likely all get arrested and deported so I’m not going to hold my breath, but it would highlight the racist dimension of Arizona’s law – since I doubt any of them would be asked for their papers on the way to the demo – and would also draw attention to the fact that undocumented immigrants are not just Hispanic.

Below is a roundup of recent news item and blog entries from around the web on the situation…

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Sorrow, Tears and Blood: Hundreds killed in Nigeria clashes

“Sorrow, Tears and Blood”

Violence erupted near the city of Jos in central Nigeria over the weekend as groups of machete-wielding men rampaged through villages killing 100s of mostly women and children. The attacks were apparently retaliation for similar violence less than two months ago that left about 300 dead.

The first reports on the violence putting the number of dead at 8 were quickly shown to be sadly optimistic. The government has reported that up to 500 were killed, while sources in the area have provided various figures, generally around 200 or 300 dead. All seem to agree, however, that the majority of the victims were women and children, including pregnant women and infants, many of them beheaded.

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Critical Media Literacy: Watching the Reporters II

Perhaps the biggest news story today – unless you are a huge David Carradine fan (in which case, my sympathies go out to you) – is President Obama’s “much-anticipated” speech in Cairo. Here are the headlines, subheads and leads for the story from a few key news sources: Continue reading

Critical Media Literacy: Watching the Reporters

(with apologies to Elvis Costello)

In a couple of recent posts, I’ve contrasted the coverage of a story in The New York Times with that of The Guardian (UK).

Comparing the different ways that the same story is presented in different newspapers is a good way to develop a critical media literacy approach to the news. (You can do it with news in any media, or across media – for instance comparing newspaper coverage with that of the TV news – but obviously it is easiest to do with online versions of newspapers. In the discussion that follows, I will stick to that for simplicity’s sake.) Continue reading