Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Convention Coverage
As Close as Lips and Teeth

There was a media flap about al-Jazeera at the Democratic National Convention.  From the Road to Boston blog:

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Al Jazeera and a DNC Bias?
It's one thing to be seen and not heard, it's quite another to be the opposite - and al Jazeera is finding that out courtesy of the Democratic National Convention.
     The Qatar-based networked, dubbed the CNN of the Arab world, made a bit of a splash when it arrived at the FleetCenter - especially when reporters noticed the al Jazeera banner alongside NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN. (One of whom emailed me here, thank you very much).
     Some complained, noting the network is often a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden and his ilk. It apparently worked - the Democratic National Convention Committee pulled down the network's banner on Sunday, with no explanation, network officials said. The network, which is credentialed to cover the White House and both campaigns, said they've also been denied access to Democrats for interviews.
     Peggy Wilhide, spokeswoman for the DNCC, said politics had nothing to do with the sign moving. She said al Jazeera didn't have a built-in sign like CNN, it was using one of the electronic signs along the side of the FleetCenter. Wilhide said officials decided to use the sign for DNC purposes and took it back - as they did with Comcast today, she said.
     "There's just not enough room," Wilhide told us. More importantly, she noted al Jazeera is one of 5,000 media outlets covering the convention and one of only 33 given a skybox.
     Given that the Herald has twice as many reporters covering the event than al Jazeera and we didn't get a skybox, I'm siding with the DNC on this one.
     Should al Jazeera get its logo up in the FleetCenter - or even a skybox? Let me know what you think by emailing me at dguarino@bostonherald.com or just click on my name below.
     » posted by David R. Guarino at 21:02:09
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So what does al-Jazeera have to say from the Convention?

Kennedy rallies party behind Kerry

Wednesday 28 July 2004, 14:02 Makka Time, 11:02 GMT

Democratic stalwart Edward Kennedy is looking to pull off his last hurrah by putting protege John Kerry in the
White House.

Kennedy took the podium at the Democratic convention in his Boston stronghold on Tuesday to herald his junior Senate colleague as the country's saviour after four years of Republican rule.

"Our struggle is with the politics of fear and favouritism in our own time, in our own country," he told 5000 delegates. "Our struggle is with those who put their own narrow interest ahead of the public interest."

Making a passionate plea for traditional Democratic values protecting the poor and the afflicted, Kennedy drew a sharp contrast between his party and a Bush administration he said had burned its bridges with the rest of the world. [...]

The entire article is fairly bland.  Certainly, they do repeat several sharp criticizms of President Bush.  One might hypothesize that al-Jazeera has an agenda: they want to portray Bush in a negative light.  On the other hand, perhaps they simply are reporting what they see and hear at the convention. 

They have one other article about the Convention on the English-language version of their website:

Democratic speakers slam Bush

Tuesday 27 July 2004, 6:37 Makka Time, 3:37 GMT

The four-day US Democratic national convention has opened in Boston amid praises  showered on John Kerry punctuated only by jibes at George Bush.

Calling Kerry - the Democratic challenger to President Bush in the November presidential election - a "good man, a great senator, a visionary leader", former US President Bill Clinton said only he could show Americans the way to a safer, more prosperous world.

At the convention, meant to confirm Kerry's nomination as the Democratic candidate for the November elections, Clinton on Monday capped a star line-up of speakers that also included former President Jimmy Carter and ex-vice president Al Gore.

"Tonight I speak as a citizen, eager to join you here in Boston as a foot soldier in the fight for our future, as we nominate a true New England patriot for president," Clinton said.

Bush bashing

Though frail, the 80-year-old Carter was vocal in criticising President Bush.

"Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but our credibility has been shattered and we are left increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile world," Carter said.

"Without truth, without trust, America cannot flourish."

Bush's decision to launch a war in Iraq came in for a special roasting. Carter said the United States "cannot lead if our leaders mislead" and said Bush's agenda had polarised the country.

"You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next, depending on the latest polls," Carter said. [...]

The rest of the article contains a brief recapitulation of the contested 2000 presidential election. 

In contrast, look a the subtitles from the Convention coverage of two American newspapers: the Detroit Freep Press (liberal) and the Detroit News (conservative):




Jobs top Democrats' platform
Kilpatrick's star rises in Boston
Dems set aside squabbles
MSU student soaks up Boston
Networks skip Day 2 of rally

The Detroit News also includes the text of serveral of the speeches. 

I notice that, indeed, there is little emphasis on the criticisms leveled against President Bush.  The American newspapers seem reluctant to say much that is negative about our Dear Leader.  Perhaps they are as close as lips and teeth.  The news outlets are the lips; the Administation, the teeth.

(Note: The Rest of the Story/Corpus Callosum has moved. Visit the new site here.)
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