Inexcusable. Newsweek leads the pack with shallow, ill-informed Haiti journalism. Another media is possible.

Update 11/15: Thanks to everyone spreading the word. The author of the articles in question, Steve Tuttle, can be reached at steve.tuttle@newsweek.com. Also don’t miss this petition directed at the editors that you can sign here. Tuttle emailed me defending the piece a “first-person column,” thanking me for the “thoughtful criticism,” but saying next to nothing of substance. He has not responded to my last message.

Newsweek’s article yesterday, “Haiti in a Time of Cholera,” is not worth reading. Unless you happen to be curious, more than anything, about how alien and depressing Haiti is to Steven Tuttle, the magazine’s staff reporter. He was sent here on a short trip to cover the cholera outbreak.

He followed my satirical guide for journalists parachuting in to Haiti absurdly well.

For him, Haiti’s street traffic “defies all rules of logic and physics.”

For him, UN peacekeepers who appeared to have run over an unnamed Haitian woman, killing her and attempting to hide what happened, don’t merit further investigation or explanation.

More interesting is the young boy who walks by the scene of the accident – an example of “the defining characteristic of Haitians.” They are the “most resilient people on the planet.”

His previous article concludes comparing the Haitian people to a gnarled tree. “That’s what Haitians are like. . .Beautiful and tough.”

But for Newsweek, Haitians are also scary.

Tuttle bravely ventures beyond his hotel, where he broke down in tears one night, to an area called Truitier. He’s frightened by a man he describes as “screaming.”

“I was really glad I didn’t understand Creole because I don’t think I want to know what he said.” He didn’t think to ask his translator, who was driving the vehicle. “I decided I would not get out of the car. This was because I was scared to death.”

I went to Truitier last week by tap-tap and found myself chatting with a group of young men and women. They explained how they postponed their demonstration against waste-dumping because of Hurricane Tomas. We laughed about how unusual it is for blan (foreigners) to be walking on foot. In an earlier trip to Truitier, I followed and talked with people scouring the dump pile itself, looking for things they could sell (see Al Jazeera English’s report yesterday for video of their protest).

I won’t rehash the rest of Tuttle’s sadly predictable yet highly sensational piece. Needless to say, between his two Haiti reports, not a single on-the-street Haitian is quoted.

Take action and write to Newsweek’s editors. Twittering your outrage or complaining to friends is not enough.

I happen to have email addresses for Newsweek’s editors. Andrew Bast is the articles editor: Andrew.Bast@newsweek.com, while Samuel Lennox is the web editor: lennox.samuels@newsweek.com. Continue Reading…

What Can Radicals Learn from the Young Lords Party, 40 Years Later?

On Sunday leading former members of the Young Lords Party, a militant Puerto Rican community organization active from 1969 to 1971, gathered at the First Spanish Methodist Church in East Harlem to reflect on the impact of the group. The New York Young Lords took over the church the first time in 1969 an attempt to use it as a base for community food and health programs. Months later they occupied it again, this time brandishing weapons, in protest of the hanging of Julio Roldan, a Young Lords member who was found dead in his cell after a police raid.

It’s unfortunate that the Young Lords are not as well known among the broader public as the Black Panthers. The group was arguably more progressive for its time. Patriarchy and other oppressions within the Young Lords started to break down quickly when members challenged those hierarchies inherited from society. The Lords had deep roots in and support from the “El Barrio” community.

Which makes the New York Lords’ sudden and swift decline all the more puzzling. Why did the group fall apart after just two years of success? What can radicals learn from the Young Lords?

I cannot find any audio or video from Sunday’s forum online, oddly, to help answer those questions. You can hear Democracy Now co-host and Lords co-founder Juan Gonzalez speak on his experience in this interview.

I attempted to answer the question posed above myself last year in a paper for a ‘Radical Social Movements’ class. I’m posting it online now, to share it with y’all and Google’s indexer. The paper is entitled “The Young Lords: Examining Its Deficit of Democracy and Decline. Read it here →

An opening summary paragraph is below, but consider reading the paper itself. It analyzes the Lords’ rise and fall in some detail. Continue Reading…

Podcast: Another Fort Hood Afghanistan War Resister Sentenced and Jailed

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Travis Bishop is led away from Fort Hood in shackles. Image from video shot by Bishop’s lawyer.

This started out as a story for Free Speech Radio News but didn’t make it into today’s newscast. I’ve heard of the Flash player not working for a few folks. Listen to the MP3 if that’s the case for you. Cross-posted to Houston Indymedia, now featured on Indymedia.us.

A Fort Hood soldier faced a military trial today for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan, one week after another member of his unit was sentenced to 30 days in jail for refusing to go to war. Sergeant Travis Bishop was convicted on all charges and sentenced to one year in prison, loss of pay, and reduction in rank. Continue Reading…

Exclusive Podcast: Korean Metal Workers Union member speaks out

To my knowledge this is the only interview with a member of the Korean Metal Workers Union recorded in the United States. Last night I spoke by phone with Jung Sik Hwa, a 20-year member of the union whose Ssangyong branch occupied their factory for 77 days. He was outside the Pyeontaek factory last week protesting the police assault in solidarity with the Ssangyong workers. Transcript and more to come soon. This podcast and the interview with Mr. Goldner will air on KVRX 91.7 FM here in Austin. Feel free to share and re-broadcast.

MP3. Cross-posted to Radio Indymedia.

Podcast: S. Korea workers’ 77-day factory occupation broken by violent police assault

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Image from the Hankyoreh

Yesterday the 10-week-long occupation of the Ssangyong automotive plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, by striking workers was broken by a final, violent police assault. When Ssangyong went bankrupt and announced the firings of thousands of assembly-line workers, they armed and barricaded themselves inside the plant. I spoke with Loren Goldner, an author writing a book on the Korean working class who visited the factory in June, on Friday about the situation. The workers’ struggle has received stunningly little attention in the US corporate and alternative press. He was speaking to me from New York City. Please share and re-broadcast.

MP3. Cross-posted to Radio Indymedia and libcom.

Update: The podcast does not convey the “epic,” in the BBC’s words, nature of the final four-day fight the workers put up against the police. Below are pictures and videos collected from Youtube and libcom.org. Continue Reading…

Podcast (now with pictures): Austin Marchers Demand Justice for Iran

Protests coordinated by United4Iran were held in over 150 cities yesterday around the world in solidarity with the movement against the Khameini and Ahmadinejad government.

Update: Thanks again to Pouya (Flickr) for sharing his photos of the event. I’ve packaged some of Pouya’s pictures together with my audio report in the video above .

MP3. Feel free to share and re-broadcast. Transcript with links and more information below the jump. Continue Reading…

Eruption of mass protest in Iran a non-story for corporate media

iranprotest
Photo from eshare’s photostream

2000: A tight presidential election is decided by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, cutting short a ballot recount process in Florida. The winner of the popular vote and probable winner in Florida, Al Gore, promptly concedes.

2004: In Ohio the Secretary of State chairs the state campaign of the incumbent President Bush. Lower-income communities and people of color complain of long lines in polling stations. Kerry quickly concedes. Karl Rove denied having anything to do with the death by plane crash of Michael Connell, a Republican “tech guru,” before his scheduled testimony about alleged manipulation of electronic voting machines in Ohio. His family wants the truth..

But hey, no election is perfect. The United States is the greatest democracy in the world, after all. No big deal.

Unlike, say, that country over there we didn’t invade. That fundamentalist theocracy run by that crazy guy who wants to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ (actually a mistranslation) with nukes, Iran (say ‘eee-ron’ not ‘I-ran’). When an American journalist was recently jailed by the Iranian regime on bogus charges for weeks, big media were all over the story.

Now the incumbent Ahmadinejad has claimed victory in Iran’s presidential election, but supporters of the opposition candidate have alleged electoral fraud.

See, in a mature democracy like ours, we’d agree to put an end to the bitter election season. The opposition concedes, and America moves on.

But Iran is so backward and authoritarian. The opposition candidate is still contesting the results! Even the U.S. government is concerned with the integrity of the election.

Oh, and Iranians – women, men, young and old – are taking to the streets in huge numbers in mostly non-violent protest. As you can see in this video, Iran is severely lacking in modern democracy.

Thankfully, the corporate media isn’t showing much of this trivial news. There’s nothing for us to learn from or about Iran. Even as a close follower of the press, I didn’t grasp the scope of these protests until today. Darn those blogs and alternative news outlets.

Previously on Mediahacker: Media oblivious to police attack on Iraq vets. Because veterans come home to be honored with rhetoric, not to protest and be heard.

Update: Cartoonist Matt Bors nails it below. Continue Reading…