Washington Post Journalists Repeat Israeli Claims as Fact

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 1, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

In the June 1st edition of the Washington Post, journalists Scott Wilson and Laura Blumenfeld uncritically repeat Israeli claims regarding the Gaza aid flotilla as fact. Wilson and Blumenfeld should recognize that Israeli officials have a vested interest in discrediting the activists who challenged Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Instead, the reporters wrote a piece in which they presumed to know what Israeli officials were thinking — not just what they were doing.

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Lack of Coverage on Transgendered Pakistanis Shows Bias in U.S. Media

The Huffington Post
Posted: August 19, 2009 03:44 PM
By Sanjeev Bery

It probably wasn’t the first time that someone had organized an Independence Day cricket match in Pakistan. But it almost certainly was the first time that such a match occurred between a team of professional cricket players and a team of transgendered Pakistanis.

As the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, the transgendered team won.

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The Sovietologist Speaks

DD_image_communismA good book review is a platform for a skilled sweep of history and society.

Andrew O’Hehir’s Salon.com review of The Rise and Fall of Communism by Archie Brown rises to this standard.  The focus of O’Hehir’s write-up is the recent work of a retired Oxford Sovietologist and former informal adviser to Margaret Thatcher.

Despite having been affiliated with one of the biggest anti-communists of them all, Brown has some unorthodox views.  The review is worth a read, and the book probably is too.

Pirates, Propaganda, and CNN

“Heroes and villians” — it is standard rhetorical fare for elected officials, media outlets, and the general public.  We all want our uplifting stories of freedom, set against the backdrop of immorality and danger.

somalia_sm_2007The story of the Somali pirates is no exception.  This is not to say many of the pirates are in fact anything other than bandits.  When someone points a gun at someone else and take them hostage, the range of scenarios in which the gun-toter  could be considered anything but a criminal start to narrow greatly.

But the dominant narrative has obscured other realities on the ground.  Somalis are apparently quite angry at European ships, and with good reason.  In a widely circulated essay on The Huffington Post, Independent (UK) newspaper journalist Johann Hari spells out the gruesome details:

In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed … As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken…People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Continue reading

The Nonprofit Newspaper?

Good reporting on U.S. foreign policy requires good reporting, period.  As newspapers shrink and reporters get laid off, accurate American discourse about our actions in the world becomes less likely.

newspapers3

The best (worst) example is Iraq.  Even before the Obama Administration began, flagging public interest intersected with shrinking media budgets to result in Baghdad reporting cutbacks.

In less expensive parts of the world, we can expect more of the same. As newspapers go belly-up, the pool of funds available to hire foreign correspondents is declining as well.  Citizens of  the Superpower who depend on mainstream media are going to have even less information about America’s global footprint.

But instead of watching our for-profit media institutions go out of business, maybe we should stop thinking of them in business terms.   Liberal media critic Eric Alterman just published a fine column on a topic getting increasing play in some circles:  the nonprofit newspaper.

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