Monday, July 28, 2014

Canadians are starved for geopolitical news coverage including in depth interviews and debates by our national news networks

Geopolitical turbulence and western media coverage....
Just when the world seems to be imploding, in so many hot spots, the western media, especially the Canadian media, including both CBC and CTV, are providing almost no background analysis, from those experts who could shed some intelligent light on these highly murky circumstances.
A press conference with John Kerry, followed or preceded by another with Ban Ki-Moon, followed by an "on-the-spot" report from Paul Hunter may satisfy some news room editors, and some audience demographers, but this method certainly does not satisfy anyone interested in more than a 'hot headline'....
Yesterday, by comparison, Charlie Rose, of both PBS and CBS networks, hosted and aired an interview with the leader of the Hamas terrorist movement, from Doha Quatar. Highly provocative, the Hamas spokesman demonstrated his groups determination never to live in harmony with the State of Israel, while all the while proclaiming his groups' support of people from all religious persuasions.
We will not live in harmony with "occupiers".....was his screaming headline.
Nevertheless, Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on practically all network talk shows in the United States yesterday morning, declaring his country's determination to disarm Hamas, and to render inoperable the dozens of tunnels constructed allegedly from the concrete that has been brought into Gaza for the purpose of building schools, hospitals and supportive infrastructure for the people. Hiding Iranian missiles in United Nations safe havens, in hospitals, in schools and in residences, thereby using Palestinian people as human shields is a sure-fire method of achieving mounting death tolls, designed to enrage public opinion in all the major capitals of the world, as it did over this past weekend.
Bob Shieffer, quoting former Israeli Prime Minsiter, Golda Meir, on CBC's Face the Nation, declared, "We can forgive you (the Palestinians) for killing our children, but we can never forgive you for making it necessary for us to kill your children!"
The media's addiction to some kind of horse race, "who is winning today?" and/or "which side is losing today?" renders those very important public voices emasculated by their own design. It is not about the daily death count; it is not about the hundreds of missiles or rockets that have been fired. It is about the existential threat to Israel posed by Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab.
Late last week, News One, from New Zealand reported on what is happening under ISIS in Mosul. According to those reports, the terrorist forces are painting letters on each house in the city, designating those Muslims who support ISIS, those who are not in support of the Sunni radical interpretations of Islam, and thirdly, those who are Christians or atheists. For the latter two groups, ISIS has issued directives that including: pay a fine, convert to Sunni Islam, leave the country or face death. If these reports are reliable, then we in the west need to know more about these tactics. While Mosul is in northern Iraq, and may seem to many to be far distant from our homes, Norway is already investigating live and responsible reports that Norwegian nationalists who have been trained in the terrorist camps are about to return home to inflict their devastating vengeance Norway delivering a public speech on the dangers of the threat which could obviously be coming to a strip mall, a subway train, or a train or airplane near each one of us.
It was Mike Rogers, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives who, when also speaking to Bob Shieffer on Face the Nation, pointedly remarked, "While Sunni and Shia Muslims do not agree on everything; there is one thing on which they are absolutely agreed, and that is the destruction of Israel.
Christians, too, as well as atheists, agnostics and "wrong-believing' Muslims cannot and will not be tolerated in the world dominated by Sunni Islamic terrorists, determined to wreak their havoc on that part of the world that does not subscribe to their ideology. And it clearly is an ideology and not a faith!
We need to hear from the Peter Bergen's and the Canadian international relations scholars from many universities, as more a regular fare on the menu of our national broadcasting networks. We need to have an op-ed piece in every daily and weekly across the land, dedicated to geopolitics, and we need to have a blizzard of letters to the editors of all media outlets, including television's deployment of viewer opinion that has not been squeezed into 140 characters, as a political burp, while the CBC declares there are no longer any "outsiders" in the political debate, because we have the capacity to join through the social media. Sorry, to the copy writers and the editors and the marketers who conceived such a simplistic does not meet the smell test of reality.
The At Issue Panel, too, while competent and articulate, is not focused on international affairs, and while Janice Stein, and one or two colleagues from the Monk School of International Affairs, do appear intermittently on CBC News Network, Canada is suffering from an unfilled appetite for foreign affairs coverage, including a variety of insightful opinions, backgrounders and debates, of the kind presented weekly by Fareed Zakaria on CNN's GPS.
Is is long past time for our national broadcasting networks to pull their collective heads out of the sand and to accept their responsibility for more in depth and more analytical and more informed coverage of the history, the background and the connections between these aspects of international developments and the headlines.

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