Monday, July 31, 2006

Special Relationship: Media & Politics

As the Saccharinist has demonstrated repeatedly, one of the most significant -- if not THE most significant contributing factor to worldwide violence and unrest is the lack of information provided to the citizens of Western nations. People in Occupied Palestine, in Somalia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq and Iran and a long list of other countries are suffering the consequences of uninformed Western publics through the actions of the so-called elected leaders of those nations -- leaders who are elected and supported (though decreasingly so) by publics who are not informed of the violence and human rights violations which their governments perpetuate in their name.

Essentially, this is a highly significant issue pertaining to Western media bias -- which is itself a consequence of uninformed and affiliated (meaning they have relationships, both personal and business, with the people and entities they are meant to objectively cover in their news reports) journalists churning out disinformation and misinformation. A simple example of this is the fact that a majority of foreign correspondents (especially those in war-torn developing countries) for major Western media outlets do not even speak the language of the nation they are posted in. Truly unbelieveable.

Another contributing factor to the media bias is the close, personal relationship of politicians with media organizations -- something that basic journalistic principle discourages but which is so prevalent and at such a powerful level that there is even a long list of famous and less-than-famous "journalists" who are actually married to or in a relationship with a politician. For example, the infamous case of Christiane "I have an over-sized picture of my glorious self hanging in the window of my office at CNN" (doubts? go see for yourself.) Amanpour and her less-than-intelligent and clearly out of the loop husband, James Rubin.

Over the past weekend (and continuing through this week), this close, personal relationship was on full display at a conference organized by News Corp. in California. Yes, this is the very organization run by Rupert Murdoch whose news channels and publications are all very well known for their racist and highly biased "reporting," to say the very least. Guess who was in attendance? Tony Blair, Shimon Peres, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Lawrence Summers (remember this sexist?) and U2's own personal man of God: Bono.

Yes, it was a veritable list of self-righteous, sexist and religionist (if not outright racist) men -- whose value for human life and human rights is weighed on a scale of benefits to themselves and not to the millions of people who they are in a position to help. Case in point: Tony "Conservatives are my best friends forever" Blair. On the very day he was supposedly in the US to broker a ceasefire in war torn Lebanon and the Occupied Territories -- on the very day when Israelis illegally bombed a residential complex killing 54 civilians, 37 of whom were children -- Mr Blair was shamelessly enjoying the frivolities of Rupert Murdoch's luxurious Pebble Beach festivities. (Amazingly, there is not a single news story on BBC News Online which mentions Tony Blair's attendance at this conflict of interests event.) Clearly, nobody was doing anything to stop this war.

How can there be an improvement in the fairness of news reporting when politicians and powerful figures are in bed with each other? The answer is that there can't be. The world's only hope rests in finding a means of better, more accurately and more independently informing the majority of the public of the realities of violence, human rights violations and illegal wars which abound across the globe. One answer may very well be the growing number of unaffiliated journalists, commentators and observers found on the Internet.

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