Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Proxy Servant

Hey one and all, latest fall-down bad job by the much-maligned (by me, at least) US media.

I've been slightly suspicous of our Ukraine election coverage, particularly because Yushchenko's better-for-democracy-ness has been chiefly "proven" in the media with simple mention of the fact that he is more "pro-western". I haven't heard anything like "and he supports more transparency and politics responsive to the average and less well-off citizens" or, I don't know, he insists on a larger role of women in Ukrainian politics (this is a random example of something I would consider "pro-democracy", though for all I know, the Ukriane could have amazing gender equity). The point here is that the story crafted by our media was already somewhat suspect to me -- if nothing else, it was ever-so-superficial; can any of you tell me WHY Yushchenko is better for democracy than Yanukovich? No? You, in the back there, with your hand up? Oh, you were stretching? What about proof of election fraud? Yes, over there -- no? No clue?

What this is leading up to is this article recommended by J-friend and advisor John. Don't let the fact that it's on Al-Jazeera frighten you. Not that I expect anyone reading my page to be uncritical enough to dismiss something simply cuz it's on Al-Jazeera (see: Control Room. No seriously, see it. It's really good. Much better, convincing movie than Fahrenheit 9/11, in my opinion). Basically, one guy seems more under Putin's thumb, one more under our thumb -- and guess which one our unbiased media portrays as the democratic underdog? (Though I have to admit, the possibility that Yushchenko was possibly poisoned with dioxin does compel some sympathy -- though perhaps it should be no more sympathy than would be due your average Roman Senate-esque wheeler/dealer.) Nonetheless, the point isn't whether or not Yush is the great, er, whiter hope, but rather what the real political landscape is. Who wants to bet that what we're going is a good, sophisticated analysis of that? (Though to be fair, NYT did have the conventional "on the other hand" article a little while ago.)

In other news, speaking of gender equity in government (a paragraph or two ago), check out the Human Development report from this year. US: 14% women in "parliament" (congress); around 30% in Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and Australia; 36% in Cuba; 10% in Brasil; 20% in Nicaragua, to go through some other countries I'm familiar with. So, we're not on the bottom at all -- but let's see, women are only about 14% of the populace right now, right? Riiiiiight. Sexism. Thing of the past. Well, that's a relief.)

That's all folks,


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