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VIDEO: Jon Stewart on Race (& Ferguson in the Media)

6:13 pm in Uncategorized by Kit OConnell

 

Jon Stewart returned from a brief hiatus with a brilliant take down of the racially charged Ferguson coverage in the media, primarily on FOX News.

Not that they are the only offenders:

But there’s no denying Fox’s work is especially egregious, as called out by Salon in Joan Walsh’s recent piece “Ferguson’s booming white grievance industry: Fox News, Darren Wilson and friends:”

Why, besides racism, are Wilson’s supporters so convinced of his innocence? Well, any good grift will involve a hoax or two, to gin up the sense of outrage. First there was ‘Josie,’ a purported friend of Wilson’s who called in to a radio show helmed by gun-loving wingnut Dana Loesch to tell Wilson’s side of the story. ‘Josie’ insisted that Brown attacked Wilson, grabbed his gun, and the terrified cop shot only in self-defense. The problem? The details were almost identical to those shared on a fake Facebook page set up to look like Wilson’s own. But before the tale could be debunked, not only Fox but CNN had reported on ‘Josie’s’ tale with some credulity. As karoli notes over at Crooks and Liars, it’s not clear whether Loesch was punked, or was in on the punking.

Then we saw right-wing blogger Jim Hoft, named ‘the dumbest man on the Internet’ by Media Matters, peddling a phony X-ray or CT scan purporting to show that Wilson suffered a fractured eye socket scuffling with Brown. Unfortunately, a little sleuthing revealed the image in question came from a facility at the University of Iowa and had nothing to do with the Ferguson case. Oops. Of course Fox ran with the story, but ABC News also reported that Wilson had suffered a ‘serious facial injury,’ claiming its own local source.

Of course Ferguson’s white grievance industry is getting major help from Fox News, the grievance industry’s biggest grifters. It’s funny, a couple of weeks ago Attorney General Eric Holder spent a few days as Fox’s favorite administration figure, with Bill O’Reilly and the crew at ‘The Five‘ piously instructing Ferguson protesters to trust the attorney general, who had taken over the inquiry into Mike Brown’s shooting. No more. On Friday’s ‘Five’ Andrea Tantaros declared that Holder ‘runs that DOJ like the Black Panthers would,’ while the whole team endorsed her claim that the attorney general is ‘race-baiting.’

Fox has peddled every allegation of wrongdoing by Mike Brown from the beginning of the story. On Fox and Friends Monday morning, Linda Chavez argued that the media should stop calling the teenager ‘unarmed’ because ‘we’re talking about an 18-year-old man who is 6-foot-4 and weighs almost 300 pounds, who is videotaped just moments before the confrontation with a police officer strong-arming an employee and robbing a convenience store.’ So Mike Brown can’t be considered unarmed because … he had arms?

Street Art shows a silhoutte of a man in an American flag throwing teargas back on police against a background that says FILM THE POLICE

But only independent and citizen journalists told the real story.

And Dex Digital, writing for Medium, offered the provocative “Face it, blacks. Michael Brown let you down:”

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#BringBackOurGirls Brings Back the Blowback?

1:23 pm in Uncategorized by Kit OConnell

Will a well-meaning social media campaign to rescue kidnapped girls result in military action and, as a result, more blowback against the United States? Could our intervention in Nigeria make Boko Haram stronger?

A man in a webcam photo holds a sign reading #BringBackOurGirls

Could a social media campaign inadvertently strengthen Boko Haram?

In recent days, Americans have become aware of the 276 kidnapped Muslim schoolgirls, taken at gunpoint from their classroom in Nigeria by the militant Boko Haram movement. Though there were several real world demonstrations, many more are taking part in online activism through the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. Since the kidnapping, the United States and many other countries sent teams of experts or offered assistance to the Nigerian government — at their request.

But Boko Haram has also stepped up its violence, slaughtering over 300 in the town of Gamboru Ngala in northeastern Nigeria. From the New York Times:

The latest attack, on Monday, followed a classic Boko Haram pattern: Dozens of militants wearing fatigues and wielding AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers descended on the town of Gamboru Ngala, chanting ‘Allahu akbar,’ firing indiscriminately and torching houses. When it was over, at least 336 people had been killed and hundreds of houses and cars had been set on fire, said Waziri Hassan, who lives there, and Senator Ahmed Zanna.

The missing schoolgirls have grabbed the world’s attention, and more offers of help poured in to the Nigerian government on Wednesday from Britain, China and France. But Boko Haram’s deadly attack on Gamboru Ngala was similar to many others in the past several years that drew little or no notice beyond Nigeria. Bodies still lay in the street on Wednesday night, said Mr. Hassan, a cement salesman.

Likewise, Amnesty International officials told RT that Nigerian officials had warning of the kidnapping and did not or could not act:

According to a number of sources interviewed by Amnesty local civilian patrols in Gagilam, a village neighboring Chibok where the girls were abducted, were the first to alert the authorities.The patrols are known as vigilantes and were set up by military and local authorities to counter Boko Haram.

A vigilante patrol in Gaiglam raised the alarm when a group of armed men entered the village on motorbikes and said they were on their way to Chibok. Locals immediately phoned a number of officials to warn them including the Borno State Governor and senior military commanders based in the regional capital Maiduguri.

[...]At about 11:45 the convoy of Boko Harem fighters which by this time consisted of about 200 men on motorbikes and in trucks entered Chibok and a gunfight broke out with the small garrison of 17 police and soldiers who were based in the town. Outnumbered and outgunned the small security force eventually fled the town in the small hours leaving the Boko Haram fighters free to proceed to the girl’s secondary school where they abducted 270 school girls.

Two senior officers in the Nigerian military confirmed to Amnesty that they were aware of the attack even before the phone calls from local officials but were unable to mobilize reinforcements. One officer told the rights group that his soldiers were fearful of engaging the militants who were often better equipped.

It seems, once again, Team America: World Police are preparing to intervene in a complex local situation which we’re ill-equipped to understand or handle. Indeed, while all agree the fate of the kidnapped women is utter tragedy, many of the more sober writers online are beginning to question the wisdom of American involvement. Writing for Medium, Turkish writer Zeynep Tufekci notes, “this is but one step in a story that started long before the hashtag, and will not end when the global attention ends.”

After describing how her grandmother narrowly escaped a fate similar to the kidnapped students, she asks “why am I wary of the urge to ‘do something’ about Boko Haram’s kidnapping of these girls? Do they not deserve my grandmother’s small miracle? They do, a hundred thousand times over.” But she warns that there is a crucial difference between internal versus external attention and intervention:

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