The mainstream media has maintained a uniformly constant voice when
the topic of Haiti arises, which admittedly is not very often in these frantic
post-Katrina, post-Rita days. But constant it is and even with the
spectrum of information available to them, the media, as if by rote, continue
the party line regarding the treatment of the poor and destitute inhabitants
of that stricken island nation. At this point, it seems borne more out of laziness
than any real conspiracy; most people just don't care what goes on there and
neither do the media. Media agents appear to be simply reprinting State
Department and UN press releases. Even when they do send
a reporter or two to the country, they are taken on the tour by their ruthless
yet accomodating government hosts, shielded from a reality that the junta has
made all too well known to many of Haiti's inhabitants.
Not surprisingly, the favourable tone of the media as regards Haiti's government
actions is evident at the Voice of America as it reports that Condolezza Rice
has ventured to
Haiti for one day and will meet with the murderous interim "government"
and the so-called UN peacekeepers. VOA benignly describes the goal of Rice's
visit as one that will "support efforts aimed at making November elections
there free and fair." Now, if by "fair" VOA means that the largest
political party of the country, Fanmi Lavalas, may very well be denied participation,
then I guess that would be correct. But that obviously isn't free or fair to
anyone except those who have no idea what has gone on in Haiti or to the Secretary
of State. And she knows perfectly well just what has gone on there.
The interim government -- something that would be described as a military
junta most other places -- has been conducting an aggressive and bloodyminded
campaign to suppress both Lavalas candidates and supporters from participation
in the upcoming elections. VOA cautiously makes no mention of the recent
and terrible massacres
that have occurred under the auspices or directly by the hands of UN peacekeepers,
something the NY Times also failed
to mention recently.
Instead, VOA talks of how this administration, under the good and noble wisdom
of the Bush administration, wants to guide Haiti in free and fair elections
after having orchestrated the military overthrow of a democratically elected
and popular leader. The behaviour of the current government -- though I am loathe
to use the word in this context -- is described in the VOA blurb:
The interim government has struggled to contain violence since former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted early last year.
How this should actually read would follow more along these lines
The military junta, which comprises convicted murderers and drug traffickers
also involved in the 1991 overthrow of the first democratically elected Aristide
government, stuggles to contain civilian demonstrations sponsored and organised
by Fanmi Lavalas with state sponsored violence that has included several massacres,
the most recent of which occurred at a
soccer field in Gran Ravin-Martissant that saw some 50 people hacked to
death with machetes.
Of course, we don't expect to see a report like that in the mainstream media
anytime soon. But one wonders if it will ever happen. The salient point of that
question is this: just what is it the mainstream press finds so appealing about
the conditions the US would wish to exact in Haiti that would cause them to
utterly ignore the atrocities that have occurred there? With all the other dreadful
things happening in the world writ large, is it simply disinterest? Finite foreign
correspondent resources? What? Please, at this point, we're all keen to know.