Sunday, January 17, 2010

Humanitarian Superpower

On page two of this weekend's "Süddeutsche Zeitung" the headline reads "Humanitäre Supermacht" ('Humantarian Superpower') and under this headline there follows an article by the "journalist" Christian Wernicke that is almost representative of a guild that has long since sold its soul for the company gold. We read that Joe Biden, "der ansonsten hartgesottene Vizepresident" ("the normally tough Vice-President") "kämpft mit den Tränen" ("fights the tears")  and that "eine bleiche Hillary Clinton" ("a pale looking Hillary Clinton") has interrupted her trip in Asia and flown back to Washington because of the earthquake in Haiti. This is mainstream journalism at its worst and the piffle which attempts to evoke pathos flattens out into pathetic platitudes.

However, if that were all we could simply allow ourselves a smile and a smirk and even laugh at the thought of a tough Joe Biden being moved to tears or of a pale Hillary Clinton interrupting her trip to Asia because Haiti is experiencing a "geradezu biblische Tragödie" ("...a disaster of almost biblical proportions") but there is more as Mr Wernicke goes on to tell us what a force for good Bill Clinton's administration was in Haiti and that it even facilitated Jean-Bertrand Aristride's return to power in 1994 before telling us that the ex-priest was to prove just as corrupt as his predecessor. We are not told that that was ten years later, we are not told anything about American policies in the area during those years, and we are not told that it was Clinton's successor, George W Bush that forced Aristride into exile. In fact, we are not really told very much.

Therefore, while we should be aware that American citizens raised 35 million dollars for Haiti within 48 hours, we should also be conscious of the fact that this represents 10 cents for every American citizen, that one million dollars alone came from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and that many of those who donated much more than 10 cents are Americans who originally came from Haiti. However, we should not belittle those Americans who have donated and especially the many who have donated when they can ill afford to do so. However, articles such as this in the mainstream press are not about praising those altruistic, generous souls and that is the point; Mr Wenicke's drivel is really indicative of that mainstream press that doesn't tell us very much or if it tells us anything it tells us that the "strong and vigorous public diplomacy effort to counter the negative propaganda certain to emanate from the Castro-Chavez camp", which I mentioned in friday's post,  is already underway.

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