Tibet Trumps IraqMarch 24th, 2008

For the esteemed newsmen of the embedded mass media of the USA to lecture the Chinese on human rights, they must turn their collective back on conditions in Iraq.

In Tibet, monks are roughed up by the police for the eager cameramen. In Iraq, dead bodies litter the streets, and the cameras stay away. In Tibet, there’s martial law, and hundreds have been killed or are in jail, as the reporters tell us. In Iraq, city streets are made impassable with concrete barriers, soldiers toss peoples’ houses in the middle of the night while holding their kids at gunpoint, a fourth of the population is homeless, tens of thousands are imprisoned, the dead are too numerous to count, and the reporters tell us next to nothing. Can we believe that the commercial media are really concerned about human rights in Tibet when they so assiduously avoid the subject in their coverage of Iraq?

Media critics estimate that Iraq today receives a fraction of the news coverage that it got a year ago. Thousands of American soldiers have died, and tens of thousands have permanent injuries, but the people don’t know that, because the soldiers’ stories are suppressed. Every Iraqi child knows what’s going on there–the schools are closed and it’s too dangerous for them to go out–but US news-consumers are denied access to real-life conditions by their “free press.”

When we bring this occupation home, as we must, I hope we will hold accountable the private war profiteers in the media who helped spark the violence, who made money on it while it was popular, and who turned the cameras away when the audience got offended. The purge of irresponsible commentators and other venal celebrities mustn’t stop with Don Imus.