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Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Palestine? Pakistan? Do "Liberal" Bloggers Know the Difference?

A letter, signed by twenty-four self-proclaimed "liberal" bloggers begins:

Members of The National Press Club,

We, the undersigned bloggers, are very concerned about how liberal political bloggers are being systematically under-represented and belittled in the mainstream media, academic settings and media forums. [not because we cover Israel-Palestine] By being intentionally excluded away from these venues, we are effectively pushed out of the discourse of opinion-leaders. The result is that the conventional wisdom about blogging, politics and journalism, as it concerns liberal blogs, becomes a feedback loop framed by the Conservatives and their media allies.[while you may differ with conservatives and their media allies on social security, Terry Schiavo, and the war, there's not any difference between you and them on the coverage of the Palestine-Israel conflict].

The letter continues in a very self-satisfied tone. It is signed by twenty-three bloggers and one news gathering service. I checked them all out today--went through the entire March archives for the twenty-three blogs and threw in Atrios, which posted nothing in March on Palestine/Israel, and which gets over one hundred thousand hits a day.

These blogs, which like to think of themselves as somehow providing a service that the mainstream media doesn't, don't even measure up to the mainstream media when it comes to providing pro-Palestinian coverage. At least in the mainstream one can find a favorable op-ed once in a great while.

At dailykos, which receives half a million hits a day, there were no posts in March on Israel-Palestine, but there was one link to the New York Times about the suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv Club. These were the remarks of one Armando who posted the story: "Shattering the hopeful ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a crowded Tel Aviv Club." Most of the story was then posted and Armando's incisive comments continued:"How significant is this? In human terms, obviously, as significant as life and death. But in terms of Israeli-Palestinian relations?"

From the other signatories there was scant coverage. annatopia.com had one item, but not in March. I found "A Letter from Ramallah," dating from April 2, 2002. That blog has a search engine and I found nothing since then. seetheforest had a reference to Golda Meir, to wit, "Golda Meir had it." What did she have? She was "macho," according to the blogger. crooksandliars, with an average 16,788 hits a day had a link today to the angry arab. That's hopeful even though crooksandliars didn't discover As'ad Abu Khalil until today. One of the stories to which he linked was in Arabic (a lot of good that will do) but the other story to which he linked was in English. It was about Israel's continued colonization of Palestinian lands.

Agonist had a story on Israeli terrorist impersonators, and another story that Syria ordered Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders out of the country. Agonist also has a little bar on the left, which I missed on my first visit. One may choose Israel-Palestine. There were a number of straight news stories from the mainstream press. One notable exception to the standard fare was an interview conducted via cell phone by one of Agonist's reporters, who annoyingly calls the Apartheid Wall, the security fence (see what I mean), with Mordchai Vanunu.

Out of the twenty-three liberal bloggers who are so upset that not one of them has been invited to participate in a National Press Club sponsored forum on journalism and blogging only two posted a story this month about the expansion of the Maale Adumim colony. The protest in which five thousand Palestinians engaged against the apartheid wall when Kofi Annan was in Ramallah, or the attempt on Palm Sunday of internationals and Palestinians to go through a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem wasn't covered nor was the visit to Congress by an Israeli refusenik covered. (It WAS covered by semitism.net and picked up by antiwar.com's blog).
This is what concerns "liberal" bloggers: Two of them, one of whom is a Zionist, are outraged that Jewish fundamentalists and Christian evangelicals are opposed to the International Gay Pride event scheduled in Jerusalem. The Zionist blogger, to commemorate International Women's Day, published every source MEMRI could provide on discussions of wife beating in Arab countries. One would think that MEMRI, which chooses the most denigrating stories about Arabs from the Arabic press to translate and circulate among westerners, was an affiliate of the National Organization of Women, and not a tool of the most reactionary elements of Israeli society. I am quite certain that the motivation of the educatedeclectic in printing this piece was not to further the rights of Arabic women. Check out the damnation of Hezbollah she provides on the same archived page linked to above. In addition, she cites Rana Husseini, a writer for the Jordan Times. Rana's story naturally concerns a sixteen year old Arabic girl raped and impregnated by one brother and murdered by another brother.

The "liberal" bloggers, many of whom reach thousands of readers a day are upset that the conservative writer cum male-prostitute Jeff Gannon has been invited by the National Press Club to participate in the conference and that none from their ranks has been invited. It's unfortunate that the "liberal" bloggers don't concern themselves about more pressing concerns.

postscript: These are the blogs that I checked out (I don't mean to come off like Campus Watch). More blogs have signed on to the letter in the meantime. I'll save them for tomorrow.

Sean-Paul Kelley, http://www.agonist.org
DCMediagirl, http://www.dcmediagirl.com
Ezra Klein, http://ezraklein.typepad.com
Echidne of the snakes, http://www.echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com
Amanda Marcotte, http://www.pandagon.net
Mark Karlin, Editor and Publisher, http://www.BuzzFlash.com
Matt Stoller, http://bopnews.com
Democratic Underground http://www.democraticunderground.com/
Lindsay Beyerstein http://majikthise.typepad.com
Shakespeare's Sister, http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com and http://www.bigbrassblog.comBob Brigham, http://www.SwingStateProject.com
Dave Johnson, http://www.Seeingtheforest.comMatt Singer, http://www.leftinthewest.com
Kos, http://www.dailykos.com
Kari Chisholm, http://www.blueoregon.com
Steve Gilliard, http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/
Crooks and Liars, http://www.crooksandliars.com/
Brian Balta, http://balta.blogspot.com
That Colored Fella, http://www.ThatColoredFellasweblog.bloghorn.com
Anna Brosovic http://annatopia.com/blog.html
skippy the bush kangaroo
David Neiwert Orcinus http://www.dneiwert.blogspot.com
Julien 's List http://www.educatedeclectic.blogspot.com

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