Majorly Blinkered Mainstream Media does Mali

Should I still be surprised when journalism doesn’t do the job it’s supposedly meant to do? When articles in the most important newspapers in the world are riddled with massive blind spots, coming off as either shockingly naive or else blatantly misleading to anyone who has done a bit of further reading?  Should I still be unnerved when headline stories take powerful governments at their word, digging no deeper, just regurgitating what has been said at press conferences?

I know I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s nothing new.  These are symptoms of the disease that has afflicted American mainstream journalism for a very long time (has it always been this way?). No I can’t say it surprises me exactly – but it still disappoints, saddens, frustrates, and angers me.  I am angry at editors with an agenda, at journalists without enough backbone or imagination and at readers/viewers for being spoon-fed crap and not demanding better.

***

The New York Times is one of the most respected newspapers in the world – and I DO love some of their op-ed columnists (Nicholas Kristof! Yes I love you!). Occasionally they have talented stringers that break great stories, and have spots of quality investigative journalism or features.

But.

But….

The New York Times (like most mainstream news coming out of the US) is frighteningly America-centric; a lot of their justifications, arguments and explanations look tremendously sloppy for the lack of global or marginal perspective.  I have long found that when it comes to reporting on global breaking news, they tend to stick to the obvious, conventional American wisdom about geopolitics; they rarely challenge the typical government storyline about why the US does the things it does, or question the dynamics of power and how politics shapes these narratives about other peoples and places.

A tremendous example of the NYT’s frequently lazy or one could even say misleading approach to complicated issues is the latest reporting on Mali.

I read the NYT front page articles on Thursday about French military intervention in Mali, US expert perspective on Mali threat, and the related attack in Algeria, and I was quite struck by the NYT angle on these stories.

The thing I noticed most was how single-focused all the articles were on Islamists and terrorism, as though that was explanation enough for everything that was happening – French intervention, US promises to help the French, the many years of US covert involvement in the region, and the tragic hostage situation in Algeria. They tell us there are dangerous militants in Mali threatening to take over so OF COURSE France has sent in its military, and of COURSE the US will help!  What other explanation is necessary?

Wait what?  Why? Slow down…what’s happening?  In particularly why were the French so quick to jump into a very volatile situation?  Do they have the military and the money to spare or something?  Then why not Syria? What exactly is going on here? Why aren’t you asking why?

I’m not saying you should have all the answers – but you are journalists…why aren’t you asking why?

***

If I knew absolutely nothing about what has been happening in Mali and I were to read yesterday’s headlining NYT piece on the French fighting there, I would understand the following:   1) The French are now at war in Mali 2) The President of France, François Hollande, is determined to kill terrorists, 3) The International Criminal Court is very upset about human rights abuses in Mali.  From the information supplied by the article, the conclusion I would probably have to come to is that France, righteous country that it is, is at war in Mali against terrorists, to protect Europe from attacks and innocent Malians from human rights abuses.

Would I be close enough to understanding the situation, as close as one could expect from a simple news piece?  Is the NYT pointing me in the right direction, helping me to understand?  Or are they leading me to false or at least only fractionally true conclusions?

***

The NYT left out some rather important pieces of information that might give a slightly more nuanced context to the situation. For example, neither France’s relationship to Mali historically (Mali having been a French colony not all that long ago) nor its relationship economically (France is quite dependent on the region for a lot of important natural resources) were alluded to once.

Mali has vast natural resources, and many companies from many countries really want Mali to be safe and accessible.  Mali is a traditional mining country, and Africa’s 3rd largest producer of gold, with seven important gold mines in operation, and exploration for more ongoing.  Mali has potential for diamond exploration as well as garnet.  Mali has  calcareous rock deposits, and iron ore, bauxite, copper, marble, gypsum, kaolin, phosphate, lead, zinc, lithium, bitumen schist, lignite, rock salt, and diatomite reserves, among other things.

And Mali also quite possibly has exploitable uranium and oil.  Uranium exploration is currently being carried out by several companies, with clear indications of deposits.  The Taoudeni Basin in Northern Mali, extending far into Mauritania, and somewhat into Algeria, is thought to be the location of significant reserves of oil.

While French companies are not necessarily deeply invested in Mali, not enough to justify military involvement per se, the stability of region as a whole is of vital strategic interest to France.  Given that France has 58 nuclear reactors that supply 75% of the country’s electricity, and also generate enough surplus to earn France EUR 3 billion annually (making them the world’s top exporter of electricity) the continued well-being of their uranium supplies is of great importance to the French economy and energy security.   France gets more than 1/3 of its uranium from Niger, to Mali’s east, the world’s 4th largest producer of uranium.   Niger’s two main uranium mines are owned and operated by French nuclear giant Areva, Niger’s biggest investor. If all goes according to plan Areva hopes to boost Niger’s uranium output to 5,000 tons per year by 2013 or 2014, making it the world’s second-largest exporter of the nuclear fuel.  If all goes according to plan…

The French oil major Total has prospects not only in Mali, but also in neighboring Mauritania, Algeria, and Cote d’Ivoire, and nearby Nigeria and Ghana. Stability of the region therefore is crucial to French mineral and energy prospects, and to French energy stability.

***

Control of resources is an important element of most global military decisions.  To ignore that is to ignore one of the driving forcing of human history.  This is an important part of the picture that somehow the NYT never even ALLUDED to. How could they fail to even MENTION these things in an article about a European power taking military action in Africa?

Well I wanted to give the NYT a fighting chance, the benefit of the doubt – after all, the situation this week in Mali has been complicated, and constantly evolving.  I thought maybe the NYT’s coverage failed to mention France’s complex relationship to the region in TODAY’S piece, because they were focusing on the details of the actual military operation instead.  Maybe they’d gone deeper in past articles?

SO – I read every single NYT article I could find about Mali from the last week (since France began military action there) as well a vast number of articles about Mali from the past year.  All told I read over 30 articles.  I also ran searches on the NYT website for keywords “France Mali economic”, “France Mali gold”, “France Mali uranium”, “France Mali oil,” “France Mali colony,”  “France Mali ex-colony,” etc. to see if I could find some buried articles that might make reference to France’s vested interests in this particular African nation.

I couldn’t find any relatively recent articles (from the last year or two) that discuss France’s economic interests in Mali and bordering countries.  There was almost no mention of Mali as an important producer of gold in any of the articles I read.  There was no mention at all of how the regions uranium might affect the situation (in fact there wasn’t much mentioning of France’s interest in uranium during the Niger coup d’état in 2010 either!).  There was minimal mention of oil.  It was only a handful of mentions that Mali is France’s ex-colony.

***

I’m not saying the NYT has to come out blazing, accusing France of covering up their true motives.   But I also don’t think the NYT should take the French government’s motives at face value and refuse to complicate them by adding salient details about France’s history in this region and France’s stakes in the resources there.  This information IS relevant and the NYT avoidance of it is negligence at BEST.

Out of all the articles I read the only motives ever given for French military action in Mali were short statements like:  1)”France, plagued by kidnappings of its citizens… and fearful of a radical enclave so close to the Mediterranean, has been the most vocal about kicking out the Islamists. 2)”Mr. Hollande said that the capture of the northern half of the country by Islamic radicals posed a clear and present terrorist danger to France and to Europe.” 3) “Responding to an urgent plea for help from the Malian government, French troops carried out airstrikes against Islamist fighters, blunting an advance by hundreds of heavily armed extremists.”  4) “President François Hollande of France has been blunt about his overall intentions, however. “What do we plan to do with the terrorists?” he said on Tuesday. “Destroy them. Capture them, if possible, and make sure that they can do no harm in the future.”

Out of DOZENS of articles about Mali, this is the closest the NYT got to explaining why the French would RASHLY begin military engagement there.  It’s so upsetting to have a “trusted” news source go for the most simplistic reasoning for all actions by all players when it comes to geopolitics.  Their explanations seem lazy and frighteningly specious. To try to convince readers that this is all about battling terrorism is irresponsible and manipulative, not to mention plays right into the government’s line, their catchall reason since 9/11 for letting them do whatever they want abroad and increasingly at home:  “Terrorism: Global Enemy #1.”

***

If France is in Mali just to fight extremism, why isn’t France in every other country threatened by jihadists? Most people that understand a little bit about governments, military, and economics should realize IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE!  So why do prestigious papers like the New York Times keep stuffing terrorism down our throats as the obvious reason for everything?

To be fair – I did a much quicker skim of a selection of articles from the Washington Post, the LA Times and other important newspapers, as well as articles written by television news sources, and the results were the same.  US mass market media nearly across the board is discussing Mali from the sole vantage of TERRORISM.  ISLAMIST THREAT. JIHADISTS. Etc.  (My other favorite explanation was that France was getting involved in order to protect its 5 or 6,000 citizens that live in Mali.  Right.  Protect them…by invading the country they live in, making them an immediate target by making their nationality an even more obvious count against them. Protect them…right…) This is an epidemic of specious reasoning.

I understand why the government would be crying terrorism left and right – it’s a very powerful idea, even more effective in a sense than demonizing communism was back in the day – because terrorists could be anywhere, and it is almost impossible for US citizens to be able to clearly see whether or not the target justifies the fuss.  Threat of terrorists is this wonderful blank card that can be played at almost any time and in any place justifying military involvement there.  The government doesn’t want to give that up.  I get that.

But why is the media involved in emphasizing terrorism?

It’s interesting to note that this is not necessarily a global media trend.  I haven’t thoroughly checked out other english-speaking countries’ news outlets – but I can tell you that the French press has no problems asking whether the government’s actions have more to do with economics than terrorism or humanitarianism.

For example French conservative newspaper Le Figaro openly discusses France’s economic interests in Mali and the surrounding region in this piece, immediately broaching the subject of oil and uranium: Les intérêts économiques limités de la France au Mali.  This article claims the interests in Mali itself aren’t large, but the government’s interest in maintaining stability in the region as a whole is obvious.

Or French national TV channel TF1 on the same subject: Mali : la France a-t-elle un intérêt économique à intervenir ?  which reached similar conclusions – Mali itself may not be a key economic partner, but the destabilization of Mali would affect the entire region, which would be problematic strategically for France.

***

I searched only for seconds before finding these kinds of analyses in mainstream French news – because it turns out its not that hard OR that controversial in France for journalists to dig a little bit under the surface.  These are obvious questions to ask, and the French media is doing its job by asking them.

So what’s up with American media?  Do they believe their jingoism themselves?  Are they that naive, or does terrorism sell better than more complex reasoning?  Is the US in such an information bubble that the media as a whole completely believes in the narrative of “hunting terrorists” as a reason for all military involvement everywhere?  Have they been selling terrorism for so long that they no longer even ask themselves if it’s true?    Or do they have a specific an agenda?  Are they pawns or are they players?

Why have they stopped asking why?

***

If you liked this post you might also enjoy the following by The Annotated Zoetrope:

~ by zoetropic on January 18, 2013.

36 Responses to “Majorly Blinkered Mainstream Media does Mali”

  1. Very thought provoking post! I have questioned American media for awhile now but many take it as it is. Many people in this country are too distracted with the many shows on TV and celebrity news they do not seem to even notice, or sadly do not care, how the media is reporting news stories. We need people to be more involved. They need to think for themselves and question what is reported. Thanks for writing this post.

    • Thanks Amy! And I think you are absolutely right – we need to be more involved. That is why it was important for me to write this post – even if it meant controversially taking on one of the most famous and respected newspapers in the world, not to mention taking on the currently beloved theme of “kill the terrorists” as a solution for all geopolitical conflict! What’s important for us all to remember is that tv channels and newspapers are businesses – yes their job is “news” – but their primary objective is making money. Like most businesses they are trying to maximize profits – so if reality TV and fear-mongering sells best, that is what they will produce. It is up to us as consumers of media to do our homework, to challenge the narrative, and to demand better. We need to be aware of what we are taking into ourselves and how it affects us. It’s parallel, for example, to deciding whether or not we want to make intelligent, conscious choices about what we are eating by reading the labels on our food, demanding to know the source of the things we are putting in our bodies, being clued into marketing gimmicks, and forcing companies to listen to what we ACTUALLY want via the choices we make as we shop. For example IF you want junk food, no problem, go for it, but don’t let yourself be convinced it’s healthy just because the marketing says so (recent example of this of course is the Vitamin Water case: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/the-dark-side-of-vitaminw_b_669716.html). We have a choice to blindly be moved by marketing or to analyze it. We can make better choices, and make companies reflect what we truly WANT to consume more, if we better understand the marketing techniques that are being used on us – both in terms of tangible products like food, cosmetics, alcohol etc, but also IDEAS and NARRATIVES that are sold to us by the media. It’s another form of responsible consumerism :)

  2. Much of the “respectable” media outlets are compromised and act as proxy PR for the State Department and multinational corporations. To find the real truths, people will have to be willing to become much less passive in their media consumption and seek out the journalists, bloggers and activists who are risking their lives and freedoms to bring the real stories to the light of day. The questions you pose are a good starting point.

    • I absolutely agree with you. Thankfully we have the internet – and while it’s more full of garbage than anything else, it makes it possible for the average person to be informed if they so choose. I think part of the main problem is that everyone feels short on time, and so even if they know their news channel or the paper they usually read is somewhat biased, it seems like too much effort and time to get the real story. I hope we see a shift in that somehow as more people gain awareness about how they are being shaped by what they consume.

      I think this is especially a problem when it comes to international stories – in the US everywhere else seems SO far away – and every story we read is told from the vantage of what it means for us. It gives a TREMENDOUSLY slanted picture of the world and what is happening in it – which can be terribly dangerous when we as a country are making important decisions – particularly, how and where to utilize our military.

  3. Australian media is no better. I am constantly frustrated and bored by what they call journalism. Most of the time I just shake my head – recently after the Sydney Hobart yacht race had been won, a young female journalist asked the owner of the boat whether the wind had anything to do with their record breaking time. I’m surprised the owner even bothered to answer her question “the wind has everything to do with it love” – like really????

    • Wow that is a hilarious story…and so sad at the same time. I think that the reason people put up with that kind of crap is that, more than anything, certainly more than being truly informed, people want to escape from their lives, and to be distracted. They don’t want to make choices on their off time. They want to be fed and to be numbed, to have their daily anxieties and frustrations muted for awhile. Vacuous news, celebrity obsession, reality shows, all these things help people tune out, rather than tune in…which is so much easier than being present and accountable.

      The problem with a news outlet like the NY Times it that people know it’s not supposed to be vacuous…it presents itself in a very different way, and a lot of people trust it to be more impartial and more probing. But even supposedly quality papers are dancing to the tune of the narratives of power, regurgitating what they are supposed to regurgitate.

      • I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that the media feel that they need to have something to say all the time – after all the internet is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. So they fill the “pages” without any thought for what we really want, which is quality and not quantity, facts and not regurgitated advetorials for products, politicians, big companies, minority groups and all the other people that have hidden agendas. The media should definitely be impartial!

        As I live in Australia, I don’t read the NY Times, but it certainly has a reputation of being a reliable source. There will be more than meets the eye as to why they have shifted their editorial policy!

  4. There’s no such thing, really, as balanced reporting, You don’t even need to dig too deep to realise that everyone has an agenda. People just find the bit of rhetoric that suits them. So, I ask, why pick on the US, just because it can and does take it?

    • I can’t say that I agree with you. Speaking as a journalist, I think there can be something that comes at least close to balanced reporting. Yes, everyone has an “agenda” in a way – but there are plenty of people out there whose “agendas” are to be as fair as possible and to help start dialogues that increase our depth of understanding and capacity to contextualize and help us each decide for ourselves what we really think. No one is unbiased of course – but I don’t believe that that means everyone is out there pushing their perspective. I don’t think journalism need be merely rhetoric. Part of doing a good job as a journalist is trying to see things from as many angles as possible – specifically not pushing an agenda or relying on rhetoric. But how much a journalist is able to do this depends very much on who they are writing for, and whether being as balanced as possible IS their agenda or not.

      Besides sometimes a totally biased perspective makes for GREAT journalism – just so long as it is being honest about that bias.

      I think governments and organizations are more likely to be defined by their agendas than individual people who can fight to balance their own biases.

      Your question – why pick on the US agenda – is a fair one. I have several answers to that. The simplest and most obvious is that I am American – so I am most familiar with US newspapers and channels, and I know what they are purported to be (liberal, conservative, intellectual, progressive, popular, whatever) and so I am better equipped to compare what people expect them to be, versus what they are. And as a regular (though often disappointed) reader of the NY times I also want to be a careful reader, and understand their weak spots.

      Secondly, and far more importantly – why is it important to dissect US mainstream media more than other English speaking press? The US is the most powerful country in the world with the biggest military. How the media informs the public about what is happening in the world and why is VERY IMPORTANT. If we the mainstream US media had not been pandering to the government, we probably would not have had so many confused people that believed for example that Iraq was responsible for 9/11 and that they were an immediate danger that needed to be invaded. It was people’s willingness to believe this, and the medias willingness to imply it that encouraged support for a war. For a war.

      A war. This is important.

      As some readers have pointed out – mainstream media in many other countries is tremendously misleading as well. But it matters SO much in the US because this is life and death we end up dealing out – both to the innocent people in the countries we invade, and the members of our military who die or are horribly wounded in service. As Americans we need to know what we are buying, what we are being sold, and why.

      Obviously this is not only important for Americans, but all people – to understand the motivations of their governments and to understand the history, and get a sense of context in politics. In this particular case for example it is important to understand what the French narrative is and how they justify intervention in Libya and Mali but not Syria etc.

  5. The mainstream media of the United States has been grossly biased toward certain political leanings for a long time, so why are you surprised that they no longer balance their reporting? I was once a local reporter and, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have strongly held personal opinions AND report the news in a balanced way. The New York Times hasn’t done that since before the Pentagon Papers, so … it is the bell-weather of the entire US news industry, so it’s no surprise that that huge government-leaning stance is prevalent throughout all media that emulates the NYT.

    • If you read what I actually wrote, you will see that we are in agreement. I started this piece asking “Should I still be surprised when journalism doesn’t do the job it’s supposedly meant to do?”

      And then I continued to say, “I know I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s nothing new. These are symptoms of the disease that has afflicted American mainstream journalism for a very long time… No I can’t say it surprises me exactly – but it still disappoints, saddens, frustrates, and angers me.”

      So…I can’t really answer your questions “so why are you surprised?” because as I said in the piece, I am not surprised…just disappointed.

      And although it doesn’t surprise me, I don’t need for something to be surprising for me to feel strongly about it. So I remain disappointed and frustrated, despite not being surprised, because I am not apathetic. I hope this answers your question!

  6. [...] Majorly Blinkered Mainstream Media does Mali. [...]

  7. Great post. Thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to your future blogging. Genuinely the first print I’ve read that’s discussed the subject of natural resources. Staggering. Thank goodness for the Internet!

  8. Reblogged this on Tom Traveler.

  9. Excellent article thanks. MSM in New Zealand is no better unfortunately. “Journalism” these days seems to consist of re-printing a press release.

  10. I can’t comment on the intentions of mainstream media except that they probably think along the same lines as the French – their own economic benefit. But, I did enjoy the perspective and timeliness of your article, as I know people (and recently posted about them) who live in Mali. Thanks for taking the time to research and post!

  11. [...] Majorly Blinkered Mainstream Media does Mali. [...]

  12. Very well put. It isn’t difficult to find this information in the French press but not everyone speaks French. Journalists should do the research if reporting on international affairs.

  13. Excellent information. I hope you sent this off to the NYT OpEd desk or somebody over there. Don’t count on them to surf on over here to get some info.

    Keep up the good work.

  14. I completely agree with many of your points: the quality of mainstream media reporting has gone majorly downhill, journalists no longer feel the need to dig deeper, etc, etc. However, with respect to this issue in particular (and especially whilst comparing it to Syria), you’re missing several crucial points:

    1. France didn’t “rashly” intervene. French military advisers have been in Bamako and in neighboring Nouakchott for years, and have been actively involved in counterterrorism operations since at least the fall of 2011. This wasn’t publicized much because it was largely an off-the-record sort of operation.

    2. Uranium and other natural resources are, of course, important; however, for France, the entirety of francophone sub-Saharan Africa constitutes its traditionally defined Lebensraum. A key component of French foreign policy thought since at least 1945 has been the notion that without Africa, France is nothing (e.g., the concept of Françafrique). France will ALWAYS seek to promote stability at any cost in the region, which is why it’s been great at propping up abhorrent regimes in Chad, the CAR, and even places like Rwanda, which shouldn’t matter to grand French geostrategic interests. If anything, this is what the NYT should have been writing about, but I can see why they wouldn’t – I wrote a 125-page senior thesis on the subject and covered approximately 15% of what I should have in that space. It’s not a topic that lends itself easily to an A1 section in a newspaper.

    3. You can’t compare Mali to Syria for many reasons. In the case of the former, the secessionist government of a self-proclaimed republic breaks a chunk of land off a sovereign state and institutes a freak fundamentalist system; in the latter, an authoritarian regime crumbles in the face of armed opposition but tries to hang on to power at any cost. In Mali’s case, the only approval needed for intervention had to come from Bamako; in Syria, the elephant in the room that everyone seems to forget about is Russia, which will veto every single possible intervention plan set before the UNSC. There are many other differences between the two as well. It’s not as if no one tried to intervene in Syria, it’s just that the power politics at play are completely different.

    • Hi there! Thanks for commenting – I think actually we are mostly in agreement. Let me clarify.
      1). I use the words rashly intervene – because practically up until that week France was telling everyone, including the UN, that they did not intend to intervene militarily. When I refer to intervention I am specifically referring to sending troops to Mali to engage in fighting. This specific action they took was a surprise to the international community, and a rather spur of the moment decision by the French Government. Rash means, “displaying or proceeding from a lack of careful consideration of the possible consequences of an action” and the French government has already admitted that things have not gone quite as they expected, and that many analysts are suggesting the consequences will go far beyond what they had anticipated. I also was not suggesting that they were not involved in region prior to this – having military advisors in the region is not at all the same as having troops engaged in fighting. The US also has a massive covert operation in the region at the moment, but we do not consider them to be engaged militarily there. Semantics.
      2) My post is not arguing my opinion about the main reason for the French being in Mali – it is pointing out the type of information the mainstream media has completely failed to mention. I was not at all suggesting that the main reason for France engaging in the region was uranium or even resources – what I said was that these are important factors. I also mentioned that the history of French colonialism was an important factor that rarely gets mentioned. As you note, analyzing how this shapes French-African relations is complicated and not the stuff either for a newspaper article or a blogpost, which is why I did not go into it further. My point was not to explain why the French are in Mali, so much as point out that the NY Times has a narrative about why they are there that is deeply misleading.
      3) I think you can compare Mali to Syria specifically in context I was speaking to. I think you misunderstood my reference to Syria – You see I was not at all saying at any point that I think the situations are remotely similar. I am very well aware that the situation in these two countries is COMPLETELY different – and I was not suggesting for example, that the French might as well be in Syria. What I was pointing out was that the NYTimes only gives the following reasoning for French involvement in Mali: 1) terrorism 2) humanitarianism. Under that logic, if that were all it took for France to choose to engage militarily, there would be a MASSIVE list of places the French would be. My point is that terrorism and humanitarianism is OBVIOUSLY not reason enough – so I would expect a newspaper to at least direct their readers to something beyond that. The reasons you list above quite succinctly as for why the French are in Mali but not in Syria are precisely the sort of thing they could be mentioning. They do not however. I chose Syria merely because it is a current reference that readers can relate to – but in the place of Syria one could really put any region of the world where there are extremists and human rights issues – a very long list indeed. My point is in fact that Mali and Syria are SO DIFFERENT – but the logic for intervention that the NY Times uses fails to even explain to its readers why the French would be in one place and not another.

  15. Great post! I am following you now. My name is Carlos, if you ever want to know about Ocean Paddling, follow us back! Cheers

  16. Every voice that speaks out against blind and easy consumption of propaganda (yes, you may not call it that , but I prefer propaganda) is important to our development as a species a global community. Thank you for your work!

    • Thank you! It’s interesting that you bring up the word propaganda…I often think about the history of that word – and wonder how its meaning gained different nuances in different languages. The word propaganda in Spanish usually means advertising or any kind or publicity. It’s in English that we give it the twist – where we know that it is meant to manipulate or cause the viewer/consumer to form certain opinions. But what’s interesting about the use in Spanish is that it shows the clear relationship between publicity and propaganda (in our sense of the word).

      • No, a ti!
        They’re one and the same, I think Latin American culture just has a more blasé attitude towards media manipulation in many ways. I like the Western use, because the connotation of insidious mind control, while perhaps a bit alarmist, is important – people need to wake up and start asking questions, as your article clearly shows. It’s not the NYT’s fault their readers demand less and less.

    • I like the meaning in English as well…it’s very useful! I have definitely been in situations while speaking Spanish where I want to use the meaning that we have for propaganda…and there isn’t really a direct translation! Very frustrating ;-)

  17. I think the cat has been pretty much out of the bag since 9/11 about the when and why of governments choosing to employ military intervention. Perhaps news outlets such as NYT feel like they would be stating the obvious if they pointed to France’s economic interests? They’d rather go for whatever angle will sell papers. Actually, your post is the first article of any kind that I’ve read about the situation in Mali, having only gotten the basic facts from snippets of broadcasts here and there, the reason being that I didn’t even for a second believe that terrorism was the real reason for the sudden fiasco. I’m not savvy when it comes to global politics, so if I know what’s up and I’m pretty sure most people do too. So maybe that’s why newspapers don’t bother anymore. They know that they are not news outlets so much as sensation-mongers and they’re fine with that.

  18. Reblogged this on Other News of Interest.

  19. Dig beneath the dirt and find the real dirt (actually gold in this case)….

  20. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  21. The American media have been manipulating and distorting the information flow for at least the past 60 years and show no signs of changing. This is partially political, as all of the major media are fed by the same journalism “schools.” The lack of depth is also a result of cultural changes. With the advent of the disjointed, kinetic videos fostered by MTV, the populace has developed a microscopic attention span. You did your homework and ferreted out all the facts. Most Americans are lazy and uninterested and will not do the legwork required to be truly informed. This is why the alternative media, the internet,and the blogosphere are so important. It is bloggers like you and I who are willing to dig deeper and spend a lot of time online that fill the information gap that the mainstream media like the NY Times refuses to fill.

  22. thank you

    http://www.kollshi.org

  23. [...] Majorly Blinkered Mainstream Media Does Mali [...]

  24. congratulations on featured in Freshly pressed.

  25. Hi Pacifica, Very well written post. For years US media has been fabricating news to their own benefit. From Iraq to Afghanistan, the purpose of the Wars was always skewed. For a country whose large part of economy has been dependent on arms and ammunition, any news that is pro civil wars will always find favours from main stream media.

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