Tag Archives: CNN

CNN praises a dictator

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 23, 2009
By Sanjeev Bery

It has barely been a day since my last blog post criticizing a CNN commentator’s Iran analysis. But somehow, CNN has already managed to outdo itself.

In a new article linked to its home page as of Monday, CNN.com heavily quotes the son of a former Iranian dictator without once telling the reader about his father’s role in ending Iranian democracy.

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CNN’s Navarrette gets Iran wrong

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 22, 2009
By Sanjeev Bery

Ruben Navarrette

CNN.com columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. is the latest to join the chorus of voices calling on President Obama to get tougher with the Iranian government. While tempting, the CNN commentator’s words fail to consider the legacy of 25 years of U.S. intervention against Iranian democracy.

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Failed State Fetish

The news is certainly troubling.  Taliban fighters get a “peace” treaty from the national Pakistani government, and then expand from Swat to neighboring Buner.  A vast national military seems unable or unwilling to respond, and everyone scratches their heads wondering what is next.

But does this really mean that Pakistan is on the verge of falling to the Taliban?  If you look at the details, it is a notion deserving of skepticism.

In a column for CNN, New America Foundation fellow Peter Bergen puts the current bad news in the context of Pakistan’s historic challenges:

bergen1The present crisis with the Taliban is not nearly as severe as the genuinely existential crises that Pakistan has faced and weathered in the past. Pakistan has fought three major wars with India and has lost each encounter, including the 1971 war in which one half of the country seceded to become Bangladesh.  Pakistan’s key leaders have succumbed to the assassin’s bullet or bomb or the hangman’s noose, and the country has seen four military coups since its birth in 1947. Yet the Pakistani polity has limped on.

When looking for reasons why the Taliban don’t pose a nation-destroying threat, this history of “hard knocks” isn’t exactly what one has in mind.  But it does put the current border insurgency in its proper context.  Pakistan has experienced far greater challenges in the past, and Pakistan still exists as a nation.

Indeed, one can even look to India for additional context.  Many think of India as a simple example of democracy rising, but you could easily string together a series of anecdotes to paint a more nuanced picture:  two Indian states currently under military control (Kashmir and Manipur), two more states with ongoing Maoist insurrections (Chhattisghar and Jharkhand), past and present separatist movements elsewhere.  Continue reading

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Pirates, Propaganda, and CNN

“Heroes and villians” — it is standard rhetorical fare for elected officials, media outlets, and the general public.  We all want our uplifting stories of freedom, set against the backdrop of immorality and danger.

somalia_sm_2007The story of the Somali pirates is no exception.  This is not to say many of the pirates are in fact anything other than bandits.  When someone points a gun at someone else and take them hostage, the range of scenarios in which the gun-toter  could be considered anything but a criminal start to narrow greatly.

But the dominant narrative has obscured other realities on the ground.  Somalis are apparently quite angry at European ships, and with good reason.  In a widely circulated essay on The Huffington Post, Independent (UK) newspaper journalist Johann Hari spells out the gruesome details:

In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed … As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken…People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Continue reading

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