23 April 2011

The hyprocrisy of America or Why the journal sentinel doesn't deserve to be capitalized

Milwaukee's most expensive local newspaper today decided that the contract extension signed by Ryan Braun was the biggest story of the day.  It's hard to deny that it's a not big story since we're all still paying for the stadium.  But is it the biggest story of the day?  Earlier in the week, the editors decided that self-praise was more important than any other news item of the day; they also decided that no real reporting would go on and simply relied on reporting that had already been done; they plastered the announcement of five j.s. reporters winning the Pulitzer Prize on the front page.  Obviously well done reporting but kind of tacky to praise it - sort of like basking in your own glory, boasting a little over-zealously.  This daily journal has taken the news out of newspaper.

Other than the nonsense of trying decipher what the real news is in the j.s., there are some international wire reports and A.P. reports, it's interesting trying to pick out stories that ought to have been fleshed out more.  Today the paper printed two highly juxtaposed but related stories.

The first featured a large printed headline at the bottom of the second page: Pakistani Supreme Court frees 5 accused of gang rape.  The story is about Mukhtar Mai who in 2002 was raped as reparation for her brother's "relationship" with a woman from a wealthier family.   A lower court had originally found 6 of the 14 suspects guilty.  The Supreme Court overturned the convictions of 5 of the accused rapists.  The story clearly illustrates the atrocities and obstacles we face every day around the world.  Many readers will see this story and the knee jerk reaction will be the curse Pakistan as backward, barbaric savages.

The second story was hidden in the Nation/World Briefing section.  It's the story about Recy Taylor who was gang raped in 1944 in Alabama.  According to the story in the j.s. paper, the Alabama Legislature has officially apologized.   Ms. Taylor, now 91, said, "I think that's nice."  And the article ends.

The story leads us to believe that in the US everything can get eased, paved is more like it, over because of our greatly superior political system. While in Pakistan, they live as barbarians, but they're improving.  But that isn't the whole story at all.  The real story, digging a little deeper, about two minutes on the web, the whole story of Recy Taylor and Mukhtar Mai become eerily similar.

For Recy Taylor and her family there has not been a satisfying resolution.  Her rapists never served prison time, painted her as a prostitute, and denied the heinous criminal assault ever happened.  Seems like it's not all hunky dory.

The stories have more in common than is clearly related in the paper.  The idea that the apology from Alabama resolves the problem only indicates the perceived superiority of legislative affairs in the US.  But this is hardly true.  The Capitalist and Television effect have taken over our newspapers, which leads to cheap consumerism news.  The dumbed down nature of reporting lessens any risks of uprisings and as conflict subsides into obscurity, the status quo presides, and people meekly acquiesce to the will of the plutonomy.     

The hypocrisy of America is in the idea that the US is the greatest country, that we have all the solutions to the world's problems.  The case could be argued that the US causes most of the problems, which might be why the US should have the solutions (see sarah palin as a good example). 

As this blog continues to try to point out, the US has not really been the model superpower.  And for us news hungry citizens, we have limited paper resources in Wisconsin because the largest state paper is arguably worth much less than the paper it's printed on.  The stories about Recy Taylor, Mukhtar Mai and the main sheadline about Ryan Braun are indicative of the frivolous and irresponsible nature of reporting in the j.s.

What do you think?  Is the journal sentinel deserving of capital letters?  If it is not a source of news, what is it?  A tabloid?

Welcome to the brave new world.
Read more about Recy Taylor: http://www.thegrio.com/black-history/why-1944-rape-case-still-reverberates-for-blacks.php


Read more about the incredible work that Mukhtar Mai is doing:



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