In the last few days I have written several essays on BNN, but there is a common theme in them: that objectivity means honesty, and means that to evaluate anything honestly, you need to have some knowledge of history and philosophy and be aware of how bias can distort your findings.
That is why I pointed out that the feminist rewriting of the Hippocratic oath distorted the idea of a doctor.
Similarly, my report about election observers pointed out that seeing the Philippines elections as evil capitalist government who kills wonderful leftist agitators ignores not only the complexity of the left here, but ignores the private armies of local clans.
When watching CNNInternational, I am amazed that the only Philippines they see are the JI’s bombs, not the slow and steady progress against Alqaeda here, and especially not the ongoing peace process and development that is undermining their radicalism, as reported in this fine report hidden below the fold and the subject of a single CNN report last week.
Oleg Atbashian has a report HERE about Russia and Yeltsin that dissects how the American and European press completely missed what was going on in Russia: a resurgence of marxist paranoia that was both anti semetic and anti Western.
Atbashian sees a lot of similarities about how the press misreports the war in Iraq, emphasizing the killing of civilians to prove the murders are winning rather than condemning the killing of the innocent, failing to see that neutrality between murderous terrorists and those trying to stop them is essentially allowing the bad guys deeds moral equivalence. Perhaps they should be reminded of Camus: To always chose the patient over the disease. Of course, the press often goes furthur: They overemphasize the few mistakes as malice and the few crimes of US soldiers as if these atrocities were normal and common, while playing down the evil of the real atrocities. In this, they should be reminded of a sharp tongued J.C.: They strain out the gnat but swallow the camel.
Nor is this bias found only in Iraq, as Colombia is finding out. LINK
(Bias note: I had a distant relation who fought for FARC and later were killed by hit squads. On the other hand, I have no sympathy for FARC and their ilk, who kill priests, kidnap churchgoers, bomb airliners and intimidate peasants who refuse to grow drugs).
This same style of “left wing good right wing bad” reporting is alas often present in major US newspapers and networks when reporting on the Philippines. Mass graves of the NPA are ignored, politicians killed for not bribing the NPA are ignored, and of course the presence of private armies and the clannish nature of many political killings are never recognized, but “extrajudicial killings” are trumpeted, partly to criticize the Arroyo government, but mainly to pressure the US into stopping helping Arroyo from getting rid of foriegn extremists who are klling Pinoys.
If I had the ability to influence these elitists, I would encourage them to check the reality of what is happening on StrategyPage. I recommend it not because it is right or left, but because I find it is accurate. And in Colombia, as in the Philippines, the story not being discussed on CNN is this:
In Colombia’s case, there is also the fact that for a number of people on the left, FARC and ELN are seen as the good guys and victims…Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have often criticized the Colombian government for ties to paramilitary forces (who helped bring down the drug lords there)…
The result from this fuss? For the United States, it will not be good. Future allies with checkered pasts will be much less willing to help out â€“ noting that sooner or later, they will be turned on due to pressure from a media that often runs claims from human rights groups. Terrorist groups will be more determined to hold on â€“ because they know that if they hold out long enough, the political landscape in DC will become more favorable.
A similar good/bad style is continuing here in the Philippines. One would think that the Cory Revolution against Marcos proved that Pinoys didn’t believe in that left good right bad template. If there was to be a communist revolution, that would have been the time, when the NPA was still strong and many priests and nuns (many from the US) taught liberation theology and played at revolution. Luckily, the Pinoy was no longer an obedient younger brown brother, and did their own thing, and reestablished Democracy…and went on to join the local Baptist church (but that’s another story).
The Philippines does not fit the left/right template, and any reporter worth their salt would notice the real story in the Philippines was not the possibility of the dying NPA winning but our OFW (overseas foreign workers) and the up and coming middle class. The Christian Science Monitor’s background stories are usually accurate and sympathetic. And even the NYTIMES MAGAZINE (not the regular paper) covered the problems of the OFW, but ignored that often these OFW pay to educate their relatives, who then go on to start businesses or emigrate to Canada or the US as nurses. That’s the story of our family, and thousands of other Pinoy families who do not belong to the small elite class.
Another part of the last story of the influence of the growing and mainly Protestant middle class and it’s growing economic clout. By promoting honesty and hard work and by encouraging employment of fellow church members instead of relatives, it breaks the rigid template of the still very feudal culture, where bribery, nepotism and bribery/stealing are linked in a template of clan relationships.
Presumably for ordinary Americans, they don’t care. But one expects the US Congress and the elitists who vent the stories for the MSM to at least have a little clue about the reality on the ground in the stories they cover.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket