[OPE-L:5993] RE: media and the state

From: mongiovg (mongiovg@stjohns.edu)
Date: Sat Sep 22 2001 - 14:12:36 EDT

I've been reading the papers of course, and listening to the radio; but I 
don't own a TV.  So my impression of media coverage etc. may be a little 

I am struck by two things.  First, while I acknowledge and approve the 
statements by politicians and talking-heads warning against anti-Arab & 
anti-Islam backlash, I think these statements have by-and-large been 
insufficiently forceful.  The attacks by Americans against their dark-skinned 
neighbors are so repugnant to the democratic values Bush et al. claim to be 
defending that they deserve coverage at least comparable to the treatment that 
the most heinous hate-crimes get in more normal times -- page one, 
above-the-fold; lead story on the nightly news, etc.  Indeed, in the present 
circumstances such stories deserve even more prominent treatment.

Most of the focus is now on the nitty-gritty of the military response.  In my 
fantasy world of wise leaders, Bush would have OPENED his Wednesday night 
address with a powerful condemnation of these racist attacks: that would have 
signaled a willingness to reach out to the world's Arab and Islamic people, 
and an openness to rethinking past US policies, in a way that could not be 
construed as "negotiating with terrorists."

The other thing that strikes me is the willingness of Congress and the media 
to give Shrub a free ride on the response and on all the other policy issues 
confronting the US people.  The airlines just got a tremendous bailout 
package, with no conditions that I can see.  Will they be required to hire 
back a substantial portion of the people they sacked?  When Chrysler was 
bailed out in the 1980s the US government got a stake in Chrysler shares and 
made a pretty good bundle on them.  Democrats are backing away from their 
opposiiton to SDI for fear of seeming unpatriotic; everyone else is being 
urged to get back to work as a way of showing collective solidarity; but 
members of congress somehow are expected to collect a paycheck and keep their 
mouths shut.  Me, I'd rather see them do their jobs, which in my reckoning 
involes opposing lame legislation.

On the ideological front, maybe the most interesting development concerns the 
shift in statements about the economy.  It looks like (i) hey, we CAN have 
deficits without wrecking the economy's long-run prospects; and (ii) the best 
way to get the economy back on track is to stimulate demand through increased 
government spending.  My girlfriend, Marge, who does own a TV, tells me that 
the other night some pundits on the Newshour said Keynesianism is back.



>===== Original Message From Rakesh Bhandari <rakeshb@stanford.edu> =====
>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 
>jocks in the bay area ron owens is coming off across as a passionate racist 
>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 
>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 
>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 
>we brown skinned people are not safe--not even in the sf bay area.

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