Megalomedia - Wake up to your news

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Megalomedia - Deals with the devil since 1980

So I went to a screening of the really kick ass doc Control Room last night. There was a QnA afterwards with Sammer Khadar, the al Jazeera producer featured in the doc, as well as the founder of Reporters Without Borders and a really interesting French journalist whose name escapes me. Anyway, it started half-an-hour late, and before things got rolling, the various federal government sponsors had to blab for 20 minutes about how happy they were to be involved. Nothing saps the wind from the sails of a really engaging evening like having to rush through interesting debates in order to clear out of the room by 10 p.m. Lesson of the evening: All media are biased, and government agencies shouldn't sponsor shit. Jacko trumps Darfur, Joe feigns shock Last evening, I read on the BBC website that NATO officials agreed to consider a request from the African Union for support for their mission in Darfur. I did a happy jig, thinking that maybe, just maybe, something would be done to end the genocide. Then I wondered aloud if any Canadian papers would get the story. Before I answer that, let's put this in (here it comes again) context. NATO has never before authorized a mission in Africa. The UN says more than 180,000 people have been killed in the two-year old "conflict" Two million people have fled their homes. Canada is a member of NATO. Okay, now guess which papers ran this story? If you said the Calgary Sun, Kingston Whig-Standard, Windsor Star and Montreal Gazette, you win a cookie. That's it. That's every paper in Canada that reported that NATO, a military alliance of which Canada is a member, agreed to consider sending its first mission to Africa to help stop a genocide that has killed more than 180,000 people. For comparsion, about 20 papers reported on the latest developments at the Michael Jackson trial, including the Ottawa Citizen, Winnipeg Free Press, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald and the Toronto Star. And in the spirit of my Control Room adventure last night, it's worth pointing out that al Jazeera, Rumsfeld's enemy of freedom, got the story. For those who want to read the details, check out the NATO statement, the BBC story or if you feel like being added to a CSIS watchlist, the al Jazeera story. There's probably a lot more to get into today, but frankly, this Darfur thing has me really bummed. When is the Western world going to clue in to this? An admittedly unscientific search of the international press (Google News) came up with a New York Times article, a comment in the Washington Post and a handful of European stories, but on the whole, not much coverage. Hotel Rwanda and Shake Hands with the Devil got a tonne of coverage of the past couple years. Everyone swore that never again would we turn our backs on genocide in Africa. Well, the first test of that theory is proving to be a dismal failure. It's a shame. A fucking shame.

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