June 16, 1999, Carthage, Tennessee. Vice President Al Gore has just held his presidential campaign launch rally, and CNN goes live to on-scene reporter Jeanne Meserve, who begins: Bill, as you know, these political events are very carefully choreographed, and the Gore campaign cannot be happy about the fact that heckling broke out at the key moment in the speech just when the vice president was announcing he was running for the presidency. It was a group called AIDS Drugs for Africa. They were moderately loud. Gore supporters tried to counter them with chants for Al Gore. Eventually, they were […]
Press and politicians let rejectionists set debate
Establishment media claim to believe in democracy or "majority rule." Not in Northern Ireland, it seems. There, a minority of conservatives has been able to stymie progress and practically scuttle an international agreement and a popular vote, because politicians and the press permit an intransigent few to misrepresent the facts and call the shots. A year ago last May, voters in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic approved the so-called "Good Friday agreement." The agreement, long in coming, had been drafted by politicians who represented just about every constituency with a stake in Anglo-Irish peace. In the North, voters […]
PBS's National Desk enlists in the 'gender wars'
Throughout April, the PBS public affairs program National Desk presented a three-part series on "the gender wars" that sought to address "whether the advancement of women in virtually all areas of society can be achieved without a retreat, in some way, on the part of men." Asking the question that way is akin to answering it--with a resounding "No." Nevertheless, National Desk spent three hours attempting to convince PBS viewers that the series presented an honest, in-depth exploration of gender issues facing contemporary America. Impressive spin for a program that was in reality a wholesale attack against women’s efforts to […]
U.S. reports reverse chronology of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon
On June 24, Israeli air raids on Lebanon killed at least nine Lebanese civilians and destroyed major bridges and power plants, plunging much of the country into darkness. In retaliatory strikes by the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah against northern Israel, two Israeli civilians were also killed. This was by far the most intense violence between Israel and Lebanon since 1996. Coverage of these events in the American media avoided the main issues defining the conflict, distorted the facts and focused almost exclusively on the suffering and anxiety of Israelis. Even the most minimal context for this extraordinary bout of violence […]