Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday morning quick hits

Chinese quake continues to claim lives At precisely 2:28 p.m. on Monday, exactly one week after the quake struck, China observed three minutes of silence for the victims of last weeks 7.9 magnitude quake, it was announced that 158 additional victims has been claimed over the last three days, buried under landslide debris as they repaired roads in the hardest hit areas. The confirmed death toll stands at 34,000 but is expected to climb to 50,000. The national moment of silence was the start of three days of mourning. The Olympic torch relay has been suspended for three days, and broadcast outlets will suspend "entertainment" so the people can reflect on those whose lives were devastated one week ago.

The junta in Myanmar is opening up to the neighbors and will allow aid to start flowing in from ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states. Singapore’s foreign minister, George Yeo, was quoted as saying Myanmar had agreed that Asean nations would coordinate relief efforts, including the dispatch of medical teams and aid workers from member countries. His announcement at a news conference reinforced indications that, however cautiously, the attitude of the military leaders may be shifting. ASEAN will also be coordinating efforts with the United Nations to hold an ‘’international pledging conference” in Yangon, Myanmar’s main city, on Saturday.

Got propaganda? A sociological study has been conducted on the Pentagons "embed" program, and sociologist Andrew M. Lindner found that found that journalists embedded with American troops emphasized military successes more often than they covered consequences for Iraqi citizens. "The embedded program proved to be a Pentagon victory because it kept reporters focused on the horrors facing the troops, not the horrors of the civilian war experience," wrote Lindner, who is completing his doctoral dissertation at Penn State University. "The end result: a communications victory for an administration that hoped to build support for the war by depicting it as a successful mission with limited cost." Analyzing 742 articles penned by 156 journalists for English-language print media, Linder found that "With the vast majority of embedded coverage citing U.S. military sources, as long as the soldiers stayed positive, the story stayed positive," Lindner said. Baghdad-stationed reporters provided the most extensive coverage of the consequences of the invasion. Half of the news articles produced by these journalists reported on civilian fatalities, compared with just 12 percent of the articles by embedded reporters. While embedded reporters were most likely to tell the military's story, and local consequences were well represented by Baghdad-stationed reporters, independent reporters produced the most balanced coverage depicting both sides of the story.

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