A pause-for-thought speculation, delivered to Sunday’s Brooklyn Book Festival, courtesy of Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist and general scourge of the military contractor formerly known as Blackwater:
“There are more journalists embedded with Reverend Terry Jones—that bad-moustache wearing man—than talked to Iraqi civilians in the last nine years.” Emphasis his; Scahill was mad. Because whether or not this particular rhetorical guesstimate stacks up numerically, the general point about misplaced media priorities is hard to dispute.
Back in New York, the swarm of media around the planned downtown Manhattan Islamic cultural center (or in ill-informed and ill-informing media speak, “the ground zero mosque”—see Charlie Brooker for a fabulously surreal refutation of this fallacy), were truly pest-like, being at least in part responsible for the strength of the Islamophobic backlash; they focused on the story so relentlessly and covered it so appallingly (there are plenty of excellent critiques out there for your perusal, but for a likely overlooked perspective, check out this feminist analysis over at Mondoweiss).
Scahill had a long list of suggestions of stories deserving more column inches than presently allotted, including the unprecedented privatization of war and expansion of special operations forces—now in 75 countries—under Obama and the misleading “withdrawal” from Iraq.
But to which stories would you suggest some of last weekend’s New York media swarm descend, so that they may make themselves less detrimentally pest-like and more like—to borrow from the Society of Professional Journalists—beacons of public enlightenment, forerunners of justice, foundations of democracy? Post story suggestions—New York, American and international—below and share links to already written, but still under-read pieces.