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American Empire and the Media’s Failings

Over at Antiwar, John Glaser rightly points out the inherent hypocrisy of the media’s fixation on truly disheartening anecdotal stories of those negatively effected by the economic downturn when compared to the suffering of those at the hands of the American empire:

But while the media often work to make these hardships a reality for Americans, broadcasting the worst of things is out of the question. Sharon Tatra is made human for us. The victims of our empire are kept nameless, faceless, and quiet.

Take Indochina, for example. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos were virtually destroyed by the time the war ended over 30 years ago. From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance over Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years. Over 20,000 Laotians have been killed or injured since the end of the war because of the over 75 million units of unexploded ordnance in Laos left behind. This past June, Mr. Seng (25) and Mr. Thon (20)were walking together on a plantation they keep to support themselves when Mr. Thon stepped on an unexploded grenade. Mr. Thon died of his injuries and Mr. Seng was left with severe arm, leg, and back injuries. How about something on the nightly news about how this already poor family, struck with this undeserving violence, will sustain themselves? Will they starve? Do they have any available tears for the camera? Do Americans have any notion that the leftovers of American Empire are still murdering innocent people? Are there any lessons Americans might benefit from by broadcasting this anecdote alongside Sharon Tatra’s?

Clearly, out of sight, out of mind.

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