One of corporate journalism's bad habits is framing international stories on the premise that news is what happens to the US. There is no better recent example of this than the story of tens of thousands of children fleeing Central America.
The new Oliver Stone documentary South of the Border israisingawareness of the often shabby U.S. media treatment of Latin America. A recent example is a June 24L.A. Times piece by Alex Renderos headlined "El Salvador President Under Fire." The president is former FMLN leader Mauricio Funes, who waselected last year. According to the Times, things are going poorly for him: Crime and corruption are still problems, he is facing an"avalanche of criticism," and "Salvadorans are growing impatient." The paperadds: Funes' failures have hit the poor and working class especially hard. After two decades of one-party right-wing rule, they greeted the […]
Kudos to the New York Times for publishing a front-page article (10/8/09) about the U.S. advisers and lobbyists who have been working (in one form or another) on behalf of the coup government in Honduras. But the piece glosses over the U.S. history in the region. Reporters Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon write that the coup government "has also drawn support from several former high-ranking officials who were responsible for setting United States policy in Central America in the 1980s and '90s, when the region was struggling to break with the military dictatorships and guerrilla insurgencies that defined the cold […]
Proving that the Washington Post is not the only purportedly "liberal" outlet interested in whitewashing the dark history of U.S. involvement in Latin America, Mytwords (NPR Check, 3/23/09) has blogged NPR's March 21 episode of Weekend Edition Saturday, in which the show returned to the scene of the crimes of El Salvador's 1980s bloodbath–a U.S.-nurtured extreme-right orgy of torture and murder against organized labor, the poor, church leaders and leftists (and their families, friends, associates or potential associates). There were a few problems with the report. Jason Beaubien's reporting isn't great; he does a little plastic surgery on history, claiming […]
The Washington Post editorial page produced a remarkable editorial on Saturday (3/21/09) headlined "Victory in El Salvador." It's not surprising that the Post would try to argue that the victory of left-wing FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes was not another sign that the region's politics are shifting to the left. No, in fact it was a blow to folks like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "El Salvador's election was also a triumph for a system that Mr. Chavez has disregarded: liberal democracy." The Post didn't elaborate on that idea. They did, unfortunately, attempt to recast U.S. involvement in El Salvador's bloody […]