ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘The Media

The Guardian’s Oxbridge Elite, Press TV And The Kirk.

with 8 comments

Firstly, thanks to Engage for pointing me towards Ben Gidley’s piece at Dissent, The Politics of Defining Racism: The Case of Anti-Semitism in the University and College Union. Clearly, Dr. Gidley is very knowledgeable on this topic and a pleasure to read, here’s a snippet:

“Racism is mercurial. It mutates over time. Pseudoscientific racial theories are now spouted only by marginal cranks. Notions that different races are different species have come and gone; eugenics has come and gone; words like “Aryan” and “Semitic” are starting to sound quaint. The period since the 1980s has seen the rise of cultural racism, or racism that focuses on cultural differences rather than biological ones.”

In class related matters, the Guardian asked its staff, who’d been educated at Oxbridge and had it helped them in their career. Hmm, not a hard question to answer. Next, they’ll be saying old Etonians dominate the British establishment.

The New York Times on Ratko Mladić, chocolates and genocide. I expect that Ed Herman and Diana Johnstone will be up in arms shortly. Balkan Witness has a good page on Herman and other’s denial. NPR is worth a read.

Time has an informative piece on the psychology of dictators, and I suspect that its findings apply more broadly than many would care to admit.

Political Betting looks at political leadership and finds that Ed Miliband has a lower rating than William Hague (when he was Tory leader, briefly), good graph.
Read the rest of this entry »

Bickering, Assange And Wikleaks.

leave a comment »

I hadn’t realised it but apparently there is a lot of bickering behind the recent leaks on Gitmo:

“The fight over who had what when, and was supposed to use it how, is leading to some especially hard feelings, including between folks who once got along. The gist seemed to be, “Is there no decency anymore?” Over here we have Wikileaks (presumably Julian Assange), tweeting annoyance over former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s alleged sneakiness.
“Domschiet, NYT, Guardian, attempted Gitmo spoiler against our 8 group coalition,” tweeted the Wikileaks account. “We had intel on them and published first.” And over there we have Pentagon press secretary and former NBC correspondent Geoff Morrell complaining about the New York Times’ Easter offensive. “Thx to Wikileaks we spent Easter weekend dealing w/NYT & other news orgs publishing leaked classified GTMO docs,” Morrell tweeted earlier today.

That Wikileaks earns the sarcastic thanks in Morrell’s account, considering that Times executive editor Bill Keller says in Calderone’s piece that “WikiLeaks is not our source.” But I guess it’s still a bit easier and less relationship damaging for the Pentagon to go after Assange and company than Keller and his team. “

Michael Calderone at HuffPost covers it too.

TPM LiveWire seems to get to the nub of the issue:

“Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's reputation as a fighter for transparency and destroyer of secrets ought to be thoroughly demolished by today’s spectacle of the New York Times literally forcing him to give up the Guantanamo Bay files he’d been hoarding for months.

Assange has been sitting on the 700-plus Gitmo detainee files since at least May of last year, when accused Wikileaker Bradley Manning confessed in a chat session to passing them to Wikileaks along with a plethora of classified military reports and diplomatic cables. They were the final sizable arrow in Assange’s anti-government quiver, and for months we’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting for their inevitable release. But Assange kept holding back.

They were published last night, at long last, only because the New York Times finagled its own copy–presumably from Wikileaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg–and shared it with NPR and the Guardian. Wikileaks, which had been working with the Washington Post and other papers on the Gitmo papers but was still keeping the information embargoed, scrambled to get its own version up. “

Update 1: Lest I forget, the NY times a good piece, a History of the Detainee Population.

Julian Assange at Kensingston Town Hall.

with one comment

The New Statesman failed to organise Live Streaming of their recent event with Julian Assange and couldn’t even get themselves organise to put it on YouTube.

Still, someone has done the job for them.

The clip below is just Assange, more might turn up later, but it is funny that the British media go on and on about ‘new media’ ‘Internet 2.0’, Twitter, and other buzz words they clearly don’t understand, yet they don’t have the wherewithal to upload a simple video to YouTube, how useless.

Update 1: Read more of the New Statesman’s self congratulatory guff at:

This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place: Part I

This house believes whistleblowers make the world a safer place: Part II

Words Matter.

with 2 comments

Thanks to Bob for directing me towards a piece on the JC by Jennifer Lipman, here’s the concluding bit:

“Why cause a fuss.

Here’s why. Let’s look at where Mr Greenslade made the comment – in a blogpost condemning the intolerance and bigotry of the EDL.

An informed reader might well have recognised the wider point – that Jewish people, given the history of the last century, should be at the frontline in the fight against fascism.

It’s an important and logical argument. But here’s the thing. As the famous quote goes: “Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.”

History teaches us as Jews not only to stand up in the battle against bigotry, but also that bigots don’t always read newspaper articles in an informed way.

The generations of ordinary people who hated the Jews did so not least because of the ugly and cheap stereotypes peddled by respected writers and commentators.

They learnt intolerance from the politicians – in Tsarist Russia to Nazi Germany and beyond – who blamed public woes on Jewish conspiracies, from the caricaturists who saw in Jews an easy target, and from journalists who didn’t recognize, or didn’t care to recognise, the power of their words.

Words matter. As Greenslade knows (and blogs about regularly), especially online they have a life beyond themselves.

A throwaway headline in the Daily Star can become another tool in the EDL’s war-chest, regardless of what the story actually was.

A news article about a “Muslim’s” actions – when religion is of little relevance to the story – is fodder for the bigot’s cause.

And an unnecessary line about Jews having “negative views” about Muslims, from an informed and respected writer, is yet another piece of evidence for the antisemitic extremist as to why he hates Jews.
Words always matter. “

Written by modernityblog

11/02/2011 at 21:23

Nation Or Government?

with 8 comments

Colin Shindler’s letter in the Guardian highlights some of the dodgy thinking behind the Guardian editorial which uses the phrase:

“Both events in London and Washington are the marks of an arrogant nation that has overreached itself. “

Arrogant nation?

Not as Shindler points out Government or administration (if we were discussing North America), but the Guardian editorial writer chose to use the words “arrogant nation”

That says to me that he or she has wider problems with the very notion of Israel, and not the actions of a particular administration.

The Guardian editorial will have been the product of much discussion within that newspaper, and the writer will have been a highly educated individual, lucid, experienced and in command of his or her words, so the choice of “arrogant nation” is particularly revealing of their underlying psychology, or should that be complex.

Written by modernityblog

25/03/2010 at 11:56

World Conflicts.

with one comment

I remember last year watching a small video which discussed some of the 300+ conflicts in the world, now Bob scours the Web with greater skill than me and points us to Open Democracy’s discussion of forgotten conflicts.

I think, for anyone with an internationalist prospective, it is an interesting question to ask why the West is so focused on certain conflicts but not others.

Here’s Noah Bernstein:

“The Western media’s fascination with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long overshadowed death and oppression in other parts of the world. Gilad Shalit and the Qassam rocket are known to many; the death of 5.9 million in the eight-nation Second Congo War is not. Recent Israeli and Palestinian elections were covered worldwide in real-time, while images of genocide in Rwanda and Sudan did not surface until it was too late. Countless articles argue media bias in favour of Israel or the Palestinians, yet few address the media bias towards the conflict itself.

The disproportionate media coverage raises several uncomfortable questions: why were the deaths of Congolese civilians at the hands of the LRA deemed less newsworthy than, in the first instance, crumbling cease-fire talks and, later, the deaths of Palestinian civilians? More generally, why is the west so consumed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what are the consequences of underreporting other conflicts? Finally, can anything be done to redress the media balance so that the rights of all humans – regardless of colour, ethnicity, and geography – are given equal weight?”

[My emphasis].

Written by modernityblog

23/03/2010 at 03:11

The Torygraph And Racism.

with 2 comments

It seems almost obligatory amongst the quality, or broadsheet newspapers in Britain that their comments threads are taken over by anti-Jewish racists or neo-Nazis on certain topics.

The Guardian seems to lead in this area, the Independent has a problem too and now the Torygraph. Readers can plough through the racist filth if they wish after the post by Julian Kossoff on Adolf Eichmann and the Pope, which makes some surprisingly good points:

“Germany is fighting to keep sealed the Adolf Eichmann files detailing the years the Holocaust chief logistical organiser spent on the run before he was captured by Mossad agents.

Those hoping to have a 50-year secrecy order overturned believe the government is embarrassed by details within that may prove German and Vatican officials colluded in his escape and freedom.

Senior members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy – marinaded in virulent Judeophobia and obsessed by Bolshevism – organised the escape of thousands of the most debauched, cruel monsters to a peaceful, prosperous retirement in Catholic South America.

The question that’s salient today, as Pope Pius XII heads for canonization, is how much did he know of this most shameful episode in the 20th century history of the Vatican?

If he truly is a saint, his supporters must surely have nothing to fear from the publication of the contents of the Eichmann dossier.”

Written by modernityblog

18/03/2010 at 04:05