[OPE-L:5992] media and the state

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sat Sep 22 2001 - 11:48:43 EDT

In Jerry's thought-provoking post, he noted: 

 Indeed, there has even been an
open call by some (including a 'talk radio' host) for racial

yes i have not paid any attention to talk radio but i hear one of the big shock 
jocks in the bay area ron owens is coming off across as a passionate racist and 
rabid dog. 


The recent talk
about 'sleeper' terrorists is intended to heighten this fear
of neighbors (this was also something done in the McCarthy
period when the public was told that 'the enemy' could
be living next door). 


yes, this will prove to be a very disconcerting problem in the years to come. 

Both of these messages have a purpose. On the one hand,
the first message is necessary for diplomatic reasons
primarily. I.e. in order to win support from other nations,
state policy has to be put forward in this way.

i also think there is concern about domestic protest being organized by muslims 
and arabs, and the fbi wants their full cooperation in ratting out the 
terrorists who have infiltrated the US. So the message of tolerance is 
motivated by domestic concerns as well. 

yet the message of tolerance is belied to me by the way in which the rise of 
attacks is being reported. the list of attacks is probably much longer than 
even most of us know; the empathy extended to the victims in television 
coverage--interviews with family, life histories of the victim, the violent 
nastiness of the things said, the money lost in burned shops and vandalized 
cars, the disorientation suffered, etc--seems to me quite limited. 

i have no doubt that most americans feel that there has been enough coverage of 
the rise of attacks already. in fact i fear that most americans are becoming 
bothered by the "politically correct" official reminders not to profile. this 
frustration is probably being expressed on talk radio more than anywhere else. 
we brown skinned people are not safe--not even in the sf bay area.


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