Thursday, July 28, 2005

Kristof Rightfully Slams Everyone for Ignoring Darfur

The genocide in Darfur continues. People are still dying. More than two million have been killed or displaced.

Here in the so-called Free World, we largely still don't give a damn.

But there are glimmers of hope that at least a few people have at last been shamed into saying or - gasp! - doing something. Nicolas Kristof's editorial in the New York Times yesterday about the deliberate choice of the media and celebrities visiting Africa to ignore the suffering and murder in Darfur was blistering:

All Ears On Tom Cruise, All Eyes on Brad Pitt

The money quote:

. . .[T]o sustain the idealism in journalism - and to rebut the widespread perception that journalists are just irresponsible gossips - we need to show more interest in the first genocide of the 21st century than in the "runaway bride."

The underlying data Kristof references about television coverage should result in everyone from Rupert Murdoch to Dan Rather being forced to go out in the public streets of Darfur wearing hairshirts and praying for forgiveness. Just one shocking comparison should convince anyone how utterly irresponsible the television media has been in terms of covering this years-long genocide and the murder/displacement of what is now estimated at 400,000 dead and 2.4 million displaced:

In 2004, network television news minutes about Martha Stewart: 130 minutes
In 2004, network television news minutes about genocide in Darfur: 23 minutes

Despite these shameful stats, and even despite outrage finally being expressed by a handful of MSM pundits, our political leadership is STILL allowing this genocide to proceed unabated without any meaningful intervention. Where is the Leader of the Free World? His Handmaiden, the so-called Black woman Condoleeza Rice? Oh, I know - whinging about how her press crew got roughed up when it went to Africa with her and demanding apologies.

(Hey Condi, how about an apology for the fact that you are the most powerful woman of African descent anywhere in the world yet it has taken you TWO YEARS to even bother to show up? Have you forgotten from whence you came?)

The good news is that the blogosphere appears to be stepping up. A new campaign to shame the media into doing their job of reporting on Darfur was announced yesterday on Huffington Post by its creator:

Be a Witness

If the juxtaposition of Runaway Bride footage with footage of the dead in Darfur doesn't shake folks into action, I don't know if anything can. Because, as the creator of Be a Witness makes clear:

Genocide is News.


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