Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Monday, March 08, 2004

For anyone who can't come to terms with the idea that the corporate media in the U.S. is no longer (if it ever was) a "watchdog" and in fact functions more as a mouthpiece for power politicians, please follow the Haiti coverage as closely as you can.

I had personally begun to think that things weren't that bad, since the press has started to go after Bush a little more, but the Haiti story has opened my eyes. The press is turning on Bush because he looks weak, not for any other reason.

Anyway, here's the article that pissed me off today.

To understand, why, you'll need the background from this article, published yesterday:

OK, hang on, because I'm about to go way out there. Let me state first of all that I am just about as close to a total pacifist as you can get. I've never considered owning a gun (though I have no love for so-called "gun control") and I happen to take seriously the ancient teaching that the proper response to being struck is to turn the other cheek. Just as Aristide has, I call upon all people to use nonviolent means to achieve their ends.

However, there's a few things in these articles I want to take issue with. I'll number them to avoid a rambling, rant sort of feel.

1) NOTE TO JOURNALISTS - If you ever find yourself writing a phrase like "opposition supporters," ask yourself "What the fuck am I talking about?" You've gone way down the rabbit hole when you write something like that. The "opposition" in Haiti has overthrown the government and is now running things at the point of a gun. They don't get to be the opposition anymore. Which is why now they are "supporters," but what are they supporting, exactly? Might be a good topic for a news article. But don't hold your breath.

2) I read the article published yesterday yesterday, and it struck me as a little weird. First, that they are still calling the anti-Aristide people the "opposition." That seems to admit that Aristide is still the real President. But we've already covered that. Second, the foreign troops are only protecting the opposition protesters. The pro-Aristide folks don't seem to get a detachment of Marines and a bunch of machine-gun mounted Humvees. How come? Two possibilities I can see - one, we are blatantly choosing sides, or two, the pro-Aristide demo is way, way, way, way more people than the "opposition" march. Of course, the article doesn't tell us which it is.

3) Now, on to the problems that arise between the two articles. First, the article published today says that the foreign troops "quickly sent" a reaction force to the scene of the shooting. According to the article published yesterday, weren't they already there? I don't think there's anything sinister in that, but it seems like something the second article would mention - a quick sentence about why there was no escort at this particular march. Just shows the general sloppiness of the reporting on this Haiti crisis.

4) You gotta love Guy Phillippe. If it weren't such a fucking tragedy you'd be tempted to envision him in a late-night sketch, using everything that happens during the day as a reason why the rebels can't disarm. Sun goes down? It's dark! We need our guns. Can someone in the U.S. media please take a position on this guy, by the way? Practically every pundit in the U.S. has called Aristide a "thug," usually citing no evidence, sometimes referring to actions of security forces only nominally under his control. Meanwhile Guy Phillippe, an actual bona fide mass murderer, is rolling around town with a machine gun, and no one feels the need to call him a thug. The Marines don't tell him he's gotta resign.

5) Here's the shocker. I thought I'd butter you up a little first. I'm not 100% sure this shooting really has anything to do with pro-Aristide vs. anti-Aristide. I think you've just got a civil war brewing, and we happen to have backed the side with the most money, which is like 3% of the population. So it's going to get ugly. That said, I got an image for anybody who thinks that these shootings are evidence of, well, evidence of anything. Try this experiment. Get together a big army of foreign terrorists and, say, Russian special ops people. Invade the United States, depose the President, and then organize a big demonstration where all the people in country who helped you overthrow the U.S. government march around with all the Russian jeeps and Russian weapons they used in the coup. Do you think if you did that maybe, oh, I don't know, you might get SHOT AT if you did that? Again, I'm not condoning it. I'm just saying.

BTW, since I've blasted John Kerry a few times, here and on DU, I should say I think it's really a very good, brave thing John Kerry is sticking up for Aristide. I once was feeling ambivalent about voting for the guy, but not anymore. Give me John Kerry any day.

Also, to be really cynical about it for a moment, JFK's backing of Aristide is really going to help black turnout at the polls. Black people are more pissed than I am about this shit, and if the decline in the quality of my writing is any indication, I am very, very pissed.


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