Jul
02
2004

Salih Booker on Sudan, Joanne Doroshow on Fahrenheit 9/11

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Once again media turn to a story in Africa only after it's become a devastating humanitarian crisis. The violence, killing and internal displacement in western Sudan is being called a genocide. What's the US role there and where is the press on this story? We'll hear from Salih Booker of Africa Action. Also on the show: Michael Moore's new film Fahrenheit 9/11 has garnered, along with big box office receipts, harsh criticism from mainstream journalists and the right, who accuse Moore and his film of everything from inaccuracy, to cheap shots, to having a […]

Jul
01
1994

As Rwanda Bled, Media Sat on Their Hands

As a genocide it ranks with the century's biggest--the Armenians, the Jews, the Cambodians. But this spring, as Western officials marked the 50th anniversary of the Nazi Holocaust, no one--least of all the U.S. government--lifted a finger to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans. And U.S. media coverage played along with the Clinton administration's policy of handwringing. Almost daily since the Rwandan genocide began on April 6, broadcast media have aired horrific accounts and the major papers have featured the story on their front pages. The media seldom wavered, however, from their habitual racist portrayal of African […]

Nov
01
1993

The Selling of Savimbi

Book Review

The Cold War Guerilla: Jonas Savimbi, the U.S. Media and the Angolan War By Elaine Windrich (Greenwood Press) Elaine Windrich dedicates her book to "the Angolan vic­tims of the Reagan Doc­trine," whose numbers con­tinue to escalate as "freedom fighter" Jonas Savimbi ravages the country after refusing to abide by the re­sults of a U.N.-organized election. Meanwhile the West looks the other way, after having armed him in the al­leged interest of "bringing the Angolan government to the bargaining table." The Cold War Guerilla is about the selling of Savimbi to the U.S. public from 1976 through 1990, a joint effort […]

Jul
01
1993

South Africa: Hani Killing Swells Black Anger, but Press Sees White Fears

White people kill black people--no big news. Black people threaten white people (or their property)--very big news indeed.

The assassination in April of African National Congress leader Chris Hani illustrated this truism yet again. While South African blacks reacted with rage and anguish to the killing of a popular and eloquent leader, U.S. media were more likely to respond: What will this mean for us white folks? For the murder of a major political fig­ure—Hani was the top vote-getter on the ANC's executive council, and widely considered a possible successor to Nelson Mandela—coverage was remark­ably fixated on the effect it would have on political negotiations between the ANC and the white government. "Death of Popular Figure Raises Fear […]

Mar
01
1993

Somalia: The L.A. Metaphor

The locale may have been on the other side of the world, but the media language was straight outta of South Central. From George Bush's warning about "armed gangs ripping off their own people" to media tales of a land of drug-crazed looters, we were urged to see the U.S. intervention in Somalia as a replay of the L.A. riots. Certainly, for all that the media repeated that this was a "humanitarian mission," there was a great deal of focus on the "enemy." Time magazine (12/14/92) head­lined its report "Taking on the Thugs," with a two-page photo of armed Somalis […]

Mar
01
1993

Tragedy Made Simple

Media on the Somalia intervention

The first question national media need to ask themselves about Somalia is: Where were we? In January 1991, six leading relief agencies warned that 20 million people in Africa faced starvation unless food aid was forthcoming--mainly in Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia. (See Hunger in Africa -- A Story Still Untold, Extra! September 1992) In the fall of 1991, U.N. officials estimated that 4.5 million Somalis faced grave food shortages. In all of 1991, Somalia got three minutes of attention on the three evening network news shows. From January to June 1992, Somalia got 11 minutes (Tyndall Report, cited in Inter […]

Mar
01
1990

CIA Role in Mandela’s Capture?

Nelson Mandela in prison. He was released in 1990, after being incarcerated for 27 years.  
http://www.dailyhistory.net

While the mass media devoted hours of broadcast time and scores of articles to Mandela’s release, they missed a key part of the story on how he got to prison in the first place--namely, the CIA’s reported role in luring Mandela to his capture. Mandela was arrested in August 1962, while traveling disguised as a chauffeur. According to 1986 reports in the South African press, Mandela had been on his way to a top secret meeting with the U.S. consul in Durban, South Africa--Donald Rickard, a diplomat reputed to be a CIA officer. Rickard, the reports said, had tipped off […]

Mar
01
1988

South Africa: Where Did the Story Go?

Children in a "resettlement" village in apartheid South Africa. (cc photo: UN)

Where has the apartheid story gone? Is it being covered less because less is happening? Has the international press packed up and moved on? Or has South Africa’s press ban been so successful that coverage has been effectively curtailed?