Two teenage American flag-burners recently took their dislike for George W. Bush a little too far. Full marks to their political awareness, however.
Writing in the Chicago Defender, George E. Curry, head of BlackPressUSA.com and regular media commentator, offers the Times a few home truths:
“Black publishers freely concede that anyone has the right to start a newspaper. That is not the issue. What is so galling is that White-owned media companies that have done such an embarrassingly poor job of accurately portraying people of colour on their pages and broadcast outlets are now seeking to supplant the only legitimate Black media voices that have performed that task admirably for more than a century. It is arrogant and ridiculous to think that newspapers that primarily portray African-Americans as criminals, athletes and entertainers will suddenly be able or willing to present African-Americans in their full complexity.”
Curry says that that the main reason behind the move is financial due to declining newspaper circulation over the last decade. Furthermore, he writes:
“Equally culpable are companies that refuse to advertise in Black-owned media but are willing to place ads with White-owned publications, broadcasts and Internet outlets targeting African-Americans. They should be publicly exposed and boycotted. In fact, every Black newspaper should identify them each week so that African-Americans will be able to support only corporations that respect and support them.”
Gawker gives the thumbs-down to the proposal: “Forgive us, but it’s positively absurd to insinuate that the Times doesn’t accurately portray people of colour. Why, just today, the paper’s ‘black coverage’ included fraudulent leaders in Darfur, angry soldiers in Florida, and Bill Cosby’s infidelity.”
Dylan has been fighting his public image for more than four decades so what’s a mutually acceptable financial agreement with a chain selling average, frothy coffee?
Mike Marqusee writes in the Guardian: “With its corporate regimentation and single-minded dedication to maximising profit, Starbucks is diametrically opposed to the ethos of the Gaslight. In fact its cut-throat policies have pushed independent coffee houses out of business.” And yet it likes to portray itself as your one-stop-cosy-shop for all things hot.
Marquess says that, “it’s impossible not to marvel at the apparently limitless capacity of corporate behemoths to appropriate the trappings of their opponents – from images of Che Guevara to G8 protests.”
Perhaps Sir Bob was in need of some cash. After all, he featured in a 2004 ad for Victoria’s Secret lingerie.
The SMH’s David Marr put it best at the launch in Sydney yesterday: “The sharks were hoping for blood. A packed room of press had gathered on a Crows Nest rooftop expecting to hear Senator John Faulkner do what he’d never done in his long career: drop a bucket on his own party.”
Faulkner’s speech was actually very interesting, in a kind of picking over the carcass kind of way. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t too happy with the book, “Loner: Inside a Labor Tragedy”, but offered an honest appraisal of the Latham experiment: “Mark was a bold politician, passionate about the future Australia he imagined. Part of his tragedy is that he became leader of the Labor Party at a time when his boldness and his passion were not enough.” Faulkner also took aim at the factional system of the party, a constant albatross rejecting real progress.
The SMH’s Peter Hartcher, not one to ever see past the pure politics of the moment, writes that Latham has shown his true colours: “Everything Mark Latham has done since losing last year’s federal election has vindicated the electorate’s decision to reject him…In fact, his latest comments are so puerile and show such total lack of self-reflection that anyone reading them can only feel Australia dodged a bullet in deciding not to elect him prime minister.”
When Latham accuses the Labor of being “beyond repair, beyond reform”, who could seriously doubt his credentials? How relevant are the ALP in today’s Australia? And who can name any major policies released by the party in the last years that have had major impact?
Latham will be releasing his own diaries in early October (through my publisher, Melbourne University Publishing) so there is much more to come. If Labor ever gets back into power – according to the Australian’s Greg Sheridan, Beazley “stands an excellent chance of winning the next election. I’d rate him as just under even money against John Howard and just better than even money against Peter Costello” – what will they stand for? Who will they represent? And what kind of Australia will they shape? Many people may not wait around to find out.
TONY JONES: “Christopher Hitchens, a final question, if I can. Has your own faith – and I do suspect I know the answer to this, but has your own faith in the righteousness of this war been shaken at all by the way in which the US has handled the post-invasion phase?”
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: “Well, the two things don’t really relate to each other, do they? I mean, one can be absolutely convinced that it was both a just and necessary war, as I am, and be fairly voluble about the immense failures of post-war planning and the immense continuing risks. My support for it doesn’t depend on how well it’s going. I think it’s an inevitable confrontation that was put off too long. That’s partly the reason it’s going so badly now. But I’m on the other hand very heartened by the developments among Iraqis, by the extraordinary attachment to democracy and liberty that they show, by the way they refuse to turn on one another in spite of many provocations to do so, the way that predictions about fratricide haven’t been fulfilled, and I wouldn’t consider it decent even to suggest abandoning them to the sort of fate so that the so-called insurgents – who are in fact the secret police of the former regime allied with the scum of the earth from foreign jihadists – have in store for them.”
Hitchens lives in an ideological world completely divorced from reality. Sounds like somebody else we know.
– A Victorian Supreme Court judge orders the Royal Women’s Hospital to release the records of a woman’s late-term abortion. Patient privacy and confidentiality has been struck an ominous blow.
– Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz continues his campaign to stop the publishing of Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah. The Nation articles outlines the various ways the free-speech advocate has intimidated, threatened and provoked the University of California Press. Finkelstein’s thesis utterly destroys the intellectual underpinnings of Dershowitz, so his fear is understandable, though attempting to censor the work shows the man’s profound hypocrisy. It is still possible that the book will not be released, the latest release suggests. Lynne Withey, director of the University of California Press, puts it best: “To say that the book is anti-Semitic is to say that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic.”
He paints a devastating picture of growing insurgency, restricted journalistic access, restless citizens, lack of basic living essentials and sham democracy.
George W. Bush, during his televised address last night, asked Americans not to “forget the lessons of September 11” and support the Iraq war. Virtually nobody believes anymore that the conflict is making Americans safer and maintaining the current policy will work in bringing stability. “Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country,” he said.
Yet another nail in the coffin of objective journalism.
Now she’s caught up into another scandal. Miller and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine face up to 18 months in jail for declining to name the source (or sources) who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame to them. Miller never wrote about the story, but researched background information about it. Miller did cover the Plame case. Miller has launched a website to support her case.
Scepticism towards Miller is a natural reaction, however, it appears that her journalistic ethics are being threatened in this case. A reporter’s sources are sacred and should be protected. One can see why those in power would like these long-established norms to be challenged. Watch this space.