What a difference the media can make

Posted by Jennifer - July 11, 2003 (entry 67)

Today, I had the chance to hear two very different views of the US and Africa. Early this morning, I heard a commentary on "Morning Edition" regarding Bush in Africa. The commentator, (whose name escapes me, I believe it was Armstrong)insisted GW was not only good for Africa, but he was better then Clinton. The primary basis of this arguement is that GW has a plan to be more supportive (i.e. give more money) to democracies in Africa, and most importantly, GW was going to give more to fight AIDS in one fell swoop then Clinton did in eight years.

I am NOT about suggesting Clinton did much worth celebrating in Africa but this argument is hard to take. First of all, Uganda is not a democracy, and has been heavily involved in a very destructive way in the Congo, and GW's comments regarding Zimbabwe left a lot to be desired. As for AIDS, even had he wanted, it's unlikely Clinton could have gotton a major AIDS package through a Republican congress. GW's Republican congress has already cut 1/3 of GW's AIDS package for the first year, it's hard to imagine GW pressuring Republican members of congress the same way he did for his tax cut. And it's worth mentioning that the AIDS package the White House is pushing is heavy on abstinence, short on drugs, and unlikely to make much of an impact. The White House could make a far larger impact (and not spend a dime) by simply pressuring drug companies to relax patent laws in African countries. Finally, in a goodwill gesture to the right, money for the UN population fund was cut, which has had a devestating impact for the Global South.

About an hour later, Democracy Now!, ran its awarding-winning documentary "Drilling and Killing" regarding Nigeria, Chevron, and the oppression/killing of activists. While Nigeria's brutal dictatorhip is gone, the oil companies which profited from it are still active and very supportive of GW. "Condy" Rice, everybody's favorite national security advisor since Kissinger, was on Chevron's board at the that time and was so appreciated an oil tanker was named after her. I can think of no better example of the difference between the "mainstream media" and the "alternative media". More often then not, the past actions of public figures are simply lost down the "memory hole". Part of the service alternative media provides is to rescue these histories, and help us understand what's really going on.

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