Aug 1 2006

Invisible Violence

Ignoring murder in post-coup Haiti

In an eight-minute report (6/5/05) in which she rode in a U.N. armored personnel carrier and extolled the bravery of U.N. soldiers, NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro cited “human rights organizations” as saying that “things have improved since the Aristide days.” The NPR report interviewed two members of the U.N. force, one U.S. police trainer, one Haitian police official and Gérard Latortue, the head of Haiti’s unelected interim government. It neglected to quote any victims of the violence perpetrated by the Latortue regime or any human rights organizations critical of the governmental-sponsored violence—perhaps because they might have pointed out that such […]

Aug 1 2006

Sidebar: The Internet Problem

[Note: this piece is a sidebar to Move Over—Over and Over: Media’s rightward push for Democrats] Political reporters looking to identify a new obstacle standing in the way of Democratic electoral success often find it online, where party activists and progressives congregate around liberal blogs and websites. Writing under the headline “Blogs Attack From Left as Democrats Reach for the Center” (1/29/06), Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei reported that “Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest […]

Aug 1 2006

Subverting, Not Preserving, Democracy

Marginalizing vote fraud 'conspiracy theories'

As the 2006 mid-term elections near, it is worth looking at the way the press handled the important claims of vote fraud in the last election. Extra! examined the 2004 post-election coverage of major news outlets, focusing on the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today, along with network TV news coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC. Extra! looked at this coverage in light of allegations detailed in Rep. John Conyers’ report, “Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio.” On January 5, 2005, the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee, led by Conyers of Michigan, issued a report […]

Aug 1 2006

Sidebar: ‘They Didn’t Even Know This Was Mardi Gras’

[Note: this piece is a sidebar to Katrina’s Vanishing Victims] CNN’s Anderson Cooper was the first journalist to be made into a star by Hurricane Katrina: The image of Gloria Vanderbilt’s son leaning into gale-force winds had barely faded from the nation’s screens when he was elevated to replace Aaron Brown as CNN’s top news anchor (11/8/05). And Cooper returned the favor, spending as much time revisiting the Gulf Coast and reporting on Katrina’s aftermath as any other national journalist. From the start, Cooper staked his ground as a critic of the dysfunctional bureaucratic response to the disaster. As the […]

Aug 1 2006

Katrina’s Vanishing Victims

Media forget the 'rediscovered' poor

New Orleans' post-Katrina flooding (photo: Gary Nichols/US Navy)

It happened on the afternoon of September 1, three days after Hurricane Katrina pushed a wall of water onto the city of New Orleans. CNN had been airing just-received videos of tens of thousands of people trapped at the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center, without food or supplies-scenes of elderly residents left to die by the roadside, of children chanting, “We want help!” Anchor Wolf Blitzer turned to CNN commentator Jack Cafferty to ask how it could be that, with all the advance warnings of disaster bearing down on the city, so many people had still been left […]

Aug 1 2006

Sidebar: ‘Can’t We Give This a Rest?’

[Note: this piece is a sidebar to Katrina’s Vanishing Victims] Of the broadcast network news anchors, NBC’s Brian Williams distinguished himself for taking the plight of New Orleans’ poor residents to heart. Shortly after NBC’s Bob Faw (9/1/05) declared that “disasters do not treat everyone alike” and called Katrina “a catastrophe shedding light on class, on race and misery,” Williams told St. Petersburg Times media columnist Eric Deggans (3/1/06), “If this does not spark a national discussion on class, race, the environment, oil, Iraq, infrastructure and urban planning, I think we’ve failed.” If Williams didn’t quite live up to his […]

Aug 1 2006

The ‘Cheat Sheets’

[Note: This piece is a sidebar to “Subverting, Not Preserving, Democracy.”]   One of the many issues raised in Rep. John Conyers’ report on the 2004 Ohio election but not tackled in the press was the accusation that the electronic voting company Triad had provided a “cheat sheet” for election officials participating in the Ohio recount, with the intent of artificially jibing results to avoid further scrutiny. In a sworn affidavit, Sherole Eaton, who in 2004 was the deputy director of the Board of Elections in Hocking County, Ohio, claimed that a representative from Triad had come to assist her […]

Jul 1 2006

The Morales Moral

Defy neoliberalism, face media wrath

To several observers in the U.S. media, Latin America’s leftward shift is the misguided product of a naïve populace that can’t understand economics and demagogic leaders who need to be scolded back into line. So when the recently elected president of Bolivia, populist Evo Morales, announced that he would be re-nationalizing the country’s natural gas reserves, the media response was swift and firm. A Newsday editorial (5/3/06) called Morales’ move “obtuse economics” and admonished, “Nationalization of major industries has proved to be a road to economic ruin in an era of globalization.” The paper noted the Bolivian people’s “steady drop […]