Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Reasonable columnist gets Foolish!

Miracles do happen: I agree with Nikolas Kristof of the New York Times for once! I even agree with his cheap shot at President Bush--because it isn't a cheap shot. The President has done many great things. Leadership on Darfur is not one of them. Allowing Sudan to use the treaty between Northern and Southern Sudan as a billy club is inexcusable. Remaining silent and abdicating a strong response to Khartoum's genocide against the Dafuris is shameful. But, as Mr. Kristof points out, the gallery of crickets chirping from MSM is even more damning. The Reasonable media found every angle of story and protest to utter about the Iraq War. They couldn't find a mouthful of outrage about the 21st century's first genocide? Mr. Kristof, as a reluctant prophet bearing the truth to his own, recites the damning facts:
Serious newspapers have done the best job of covering Darfur, and I take my hat off to Emily Wax of The Washington Post and to several colleagues at The Times for their reporting. Time magazine gets credit for putting Darfur on its cover - but the newsweeklies should be embarrassed that better magazine coverage of Darfur has often been in Christianity Today.

The real failure has been television's. According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year - and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings. NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes - about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks.

Incredibly, more than two years into the genocide, NBC, aside from covering official trips, has still not bothered to send one of its own correspondents into Darfur for independent reporting.
Even more embarrassingly, the NY Times columnist notes who has been successful at covering Darfur:
The BBC has shown that outstanding television coverage of Darfur is possible. And, incredibly, mtvU (the MTV channel aimed at universities) has covered Darfur more seriously than any network or cable station. When MTV dispatches a crew to cover genocide and NBC doesn't, then we in journalism need to hang our heads.

Editors of various MSM didn't take Mr. Kristof's smackdown for long. They offer their litany of excuses and righteous indignation:
James F. Smith, foreign editor of The Boston Globe and a former African correspondent, agrees that more Darfur attention could be given, but said that is the case for many foreign hot spots. "Nicholas Kristof may be very upset about Darfur, but there are other places that need attention," he said, noting a Globe two-page spread on life in the Congo that ran two weeks ago. "We felt the need to tell people about that, too. I have groups in here all the time -- from India, Venezuela -- who say we don't write enough about them, either."

Jim Willse, editor of The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. had the same explanation. "We don't have anywhere near as much as we'd like to have," he said of Darfur reporting. "Papers our size are constantly having to make choices on anything to cover. I agree Darfur is worth more attention than it is receiving. But we cannot be in all the places that are newsworthy."

Steve Butler, foreign editor of Knight Ridder, said he has been hampered by having no African correspondent since his last one left in December. "We have been keeping our Iraq coverage going and that is a more important story," he said. "It has U.S. soldiers there, people are very interested in it, and it lends itself better to breaking news."
Included in these inadequite protests is one particularly pathetic moan:
"If we don't cover the Michael Jacksons, that will be our demise," said John Yearwood, world editor of The Miami Herald.
Mr. Yearwood is damned honest about the bottom-line motivations of most MSM outlets. The ka-ching! rules the day.

That's a sign of how far off society's conscience has become.

Close to 2 million Dafuris have died. More deaths will come; the genocide in Darfur may take more lives than Rawanda's holecaust of 1994. The National Islamic Front of Sudan, the military-backed governing elite of the country that has already provoked one of Africa's longest and bloodies civil wars has perpetrated this horror. Sudan still sits on the UN human Rights panel. The first genocide of the 21st century goes on and on. Darfur still isn't story enough to send even one international correspondent? Exactly what has to happen in Darfur before the networks start to pay attention? Why is Christianity Today and MTVu out-scooping USA Today and CNN? Where is that solidarity with the poor and oppressed that the MSM has proudly associated itself with in the past?

Some of these editors have stooped so low as to blame their readers for "lack of interest":
Unfortunately, many editors also admit a lack of reader interest and understanding of the Darfur situation, a story that remains complicated and continues to evolve.
They're trying to say that the American people aren't interested in the continued occurance of a genocide? That Americans could care less if Dafuri men are murdered and women are raped? That Black Sudanese homes and lives are destroyed by hate-filled Arab militias supported by the Sudanese military? If they're truly that out of touch with the American people, then they should step aside immediately. Their outlet deserves leadership that will actually help the enterprise remain viable.

There is no excuse for the lack of coverage in Darfur. Comparisons between genocide in Darfur and other problems in Africa are ridiculous. There is no moral equivelency between mass murder and routine corruption. The sad and Reasonable world in which these MSM editors dwell may support such insanity. The real world does not. Mr. Kristof is right. The MSM has behaved as disgracefully as President Bush and the rest of the powers of Western Civilization. Let them stop running off excuses and start telling the story.