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04

Apr

For American media, Pakistan only exists in the context of security concerns: the Taliban, terrorism, fundamentalist Islam, and the war in Afghanistan. Outside of this context, there is no Pakistan.

By comparison, consider how the U.S. media reported on related developments in India. When the Delhi High Court threw out an Indian law banning gay sex, American newspapers trumpeted the news. As the New York Times reported, “In a landmark ruling Thursday that could usher in an era of greater freedom for gay men and lesbians in India, New Delhi’s highest court decriminalized homosexuality. ” Plenty of other U.S. media outlets sounded off too.

But the heavy U.S. coverage of the Indian Supreme Court’s decision also fits into a pre-existing Western narrative of India. As the story goes, India is a growing democracy and a rising economic power. In that context, the story of the expansion of Indian equality easily resonates in the American mind. Not only is the U.S. simultaneously addressing similar challenges faced by gay and lesbian Americans, but there is a strong underlying belief that democracies perfect themselves over time through an expansion of liberty across society.

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s story of expanding equality for transgendered citizens doesn’t quite fit the pre-written American narrative. After all, Pakistan was supposed to be on the verge of becoming a “failed Islamic state.” How can the same country possibly have a Supreme Court that bars discrimination against a sexual minority?

You can imagine the cognitive fit that such a news story might induce in the mainstream U.S. media. How can an Islamic jurist advocate for transgender communities? Why weren’t there Pakistani riots when the decision came down?

None of this, of course, fits within the dominant U.S. narrative on Pakistan. First of all, transgender equality in Pakistan isn’t a security issue. Second, Muslim jurists and courts aren’t expected to advocate for the rights of sexual minorities. Third, it carries the subtle implication that U.S. support for Musharraf actually delayed the pursuit of equality for an aggrieved community.

No wonder the mainstream U.S. media couldn’t find space for this story. It just doesn’t fit.

Sanjeev Berry

Best part? This happened in 2009 but obviously it didn’t cater to the standard American comprehension of scary, evil Pakistan. Most of you are probably reading about this for the first time.

(via mehreenkasana)

theatlantic:

In Focus: Afghanistan Seen Through the Lens of Anja Niedringhaus

Niedringhaus, a photographer with the Associated Press, was shot and killed by an Afghan policeman. Fellow reporter Kathy Gannon was also wounded.

12

Mar

Look, Bill O’Reilly is used to saying kind of stupid things to get attention. There’s not much of a difference between the president appearing on Between Two Ferns and appearing on The O’Reilly Factor. The difference is that we admit we’re a comedy show.
Between Two Ferns director Scott Aukerman fires back at Bill O’Reilly. (via mediaite)

05

Mar

"I’m very lucky to have grown up here in the United States. I’m the daughter of a veteran; my partner is a physician at a military base where he sees every day the first-hand accounts of the ultimate prices that people pay for this country. And that is why personally I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning."

— RT anchor Liz Wahl resigned live on air in protest of what she called the “whitewashing” of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine by the state-owned TV network.

(Source: theverge.com)

04

Mar

Daily Show.

Jim DeMint:
A lot of people get their news from you, Jon.
Jon Stewart:
That is the saddest thing I've ever heard.

26

Feb

The press still thinks [global warming] is controversial. So they find the 1% of the scientists and put them up as if they’re 50% of the research results. You in the public would have no idea that this is basically a done deal and that we’re on to other problems, because the journalists are trying to give it a 50/50 story. It’s not a 50/50 story. It’s not. Period.
Neil deGrasse Tysonpodcast interview (via we-are-star-stuff)

(Source: fourteendrawings)

20

Feb

Just read a CNN story answering some FAQ about the ongoing situation in Venezuela and the last question was, “What happened to Hugo Chavez?” Looks like CNN has a lot of confidence in its readership’s knowledge of the world.

What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting. People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street. And that’s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitants has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook “block” campaign.

What we saw were not “street clashes”, what we saw is a state-hatched offensive to suppress and terrorize its opponents.

After the major crackdown on the streets of major (and minor) Venezuelan cities last night, I expected some kind of response in the major international news outlets this morning. I understand that with an even bigger and more photogenic freakout ongoing in an even more strategically important country, we weren’t going to be front-page-above-the-fold, but I’m staggered this morning to wake up, scan the press and find…

Nothing.

12

Feb

The more the national media talks about Texas in response to popular political figures like Wendy Davis and Ted Cruz the more it becomes evident that no one outside of Texas understands Texas. At all.

06

Feb

No, CBO did not say Obamacare will kill 2 million jobs

bspolitics:

The GOP has taken this report and ran with it. I snipped the bit out of the article that shows all the erroneous headlines for the sake of post length, but you can view them at the link.

What has been particularly maddening about this is the fact that everywhere I’ve seen this pointed out to conservative commentators, they still want to spin it as something horrible and and replying with things like, “Well, I don’t want my tax dollars paying a subsidy for someone who decides not to work.”

What they are not understanding is this will actually open up jobs for other people who want them. The reduction is on the supply side (workers) not the demand side (employers).