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June 22, 2006
Where's The News?

Not on the idiot box. Watching television "news" last night, I was trying to imagine how any citizens who get the majority of their daily news digest via the tube see recent events.

The channel we were watching had surprisingly extensive (a couple of minutes, at least) coverage of two stories, side-by-side. USofA soldiers facing charges for murdering an Iraqi civilian, and the return of the bodies of two USofA soldiers who were killed, not by Iraqi insurgents, but by the Iraqi troops they were training. My roommate was impressed by how the channel presented the two stories side-by-side and discussed what's right or wrong in a war, and whether or not we're entitled to do whatever we need to, whatever we can, or whatever "they" do in the fight.

What didn't you learn from the television? That the bodies being returned were soldiers killed nearly two years ago. That this isn't the first time USofA soldiers have been investigated for murdering civilians in Iraq. That the majority of complaints by Iraqi citizens seem to disappear into a black hole, leaving nothing but the bodies of their loved ones behind.

No speculation that the return of these bodies and the "breaking" of this (old) news on the same day that the news was released about USofA soldiers facing murder charges might be politically motivated. No discussion of the implications of the attempted cover-up.

And another story. Illegal immigration. News about how "all across the country" cities are taking matters into their own hands, not waiting on Congress, but stepping up to "fight" the tidal wave of illegal immigrants. Highlighted - One story, one town where allegedly illegal immigrants allegedly committed a robbery, a murder, and were dealing drugs. Result?

These towns are passing laws to make it illegal to rent to or employ illegal immigrants. (Well, really, "undocumented workers." Because we don't know who's trying to "immigrate" and who's just here for a while for the work.) Even making "English" their official, legal language. When asked if this wasn't a bit racist, one man (Mayor? Councilman?) said that "illegal is illegal" and that "illegal" doesn't have a race.

All "illegal immigrants" mentioned in the story were specifically labeled "Mexican" and what few pictures of people we saw (meant clearly to be illegal immigrants, whether identified as such or not) were people who appeared to be Hispanic, and the only non-English language heard in the story was Spanish.

So. Yeah. Racist and bigoted.

And stupid, since there are plenty of legal USofA citizens who don't speak English as their primary language.

No mention of the fact that this country's economy will screech to an abrupt halt without these workers.

That's all I can remember at the moment (and my lunch break is over), but I'm sitting here hoping that most people don't listen to the "evening news" and assume they have a bead on anything important that happened in the world that day.

Posted by AnneZook at 01:00 PM


It seems to me that anyone nowadays who is serious about the following the news does so by reading blogs. The world increasingly divides into two parts: people who are informed, and people who are not informed. The people who are not informed either read or watch no news at all, or what news they get comes from the television.

Posted by: Lawrence Krubner at June 28, 2006 09:37 PM

At least, they do it by reading on-line, even if not mostly or always blogs.

BB (before blogging), I got so much of my daily news from NPR that I rarely thought of television "news" outside of the context of weather reports or the occasional interesting local story.

Sitting and listening to the "national news" that one evening, I was simply appalled. Not only that 60-90 seconds' coverage now sounded like an "in-depth" report, but by how careful the station was not to give offense, not to mention anything in either story that might cast doubt on whether all was as it appeared to be on the surface.

Posted by: Anne at June 29, 2006 03:07 PM