Our media coverage is often dominated by one big story that crowds out most everything else. As an antidote, every week, Nation interns try to cut through the echo chamber and choose one good article in their area of interest that they feel should receive more attention. Please check out their favorite stories below, watch for this feature each week, and please use the comments section below to alert us to any important articles you feel warrant broader attention.
Laura focuses on human rights and revolution.
“Cairo Dispatch,” by Max Strasser. n+1, December 23, 2011.
This is a piece about the philosophy and practicality of revolution in an increasingly connected world. While many articles have drawn connections between the participants and ideals of protestors in Tahrir Square and at Occupy Wall Street, Max Strasser examines the idea of what it means for foreigners abroad when borders are more than "occupied"—they are transcended.
Zoë focuses on the intersection of economics, health and the environment.
“Nigeria’s Oil Disasters are Met by Silence,” by Michael Keating. The Guardian, January 9, 2012.
The media loves a story of violence and disaster, but only when it’s sudden and close to home. In this opinion piece, Michael Keating draws attention to the slower-paced, geographically-distant disasters caused by the oil industry in West Africa, comparing media silence on the issue to the uproar that followed the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Umar focuses on the worldwide movement for democracy.
“How Bahrain Works Washington,” by Ken Silverstein. Salon, December 8, 2011.
This great investigative piece, written by a former Nation intern, actually covers several Arab countries, detailing how massive PR firms are being paid millions to employ former US officials to lobby for oil companies and repressive governments in covering up human rights violations abroad.
Loren focuses on peace, power, and political culture.
“Democracy, Democratisation and Peace: Lessons from Recent Experience,” by Dan Smith. Working Group on Peace and Development, via Human Security Report Project, November 28, 2011.
International Alert’s Dan Smith draws important lessons from recent experience to inform our understanding of political culture. He argues that democratization and peacebuilding are not requirements of one another as means of approaching conflict, but that they do share a common principle: “What matters is the legitimacy of the process of self-transformation that a country goes through—legitimacy for its citizens.”
Connor focuses on racism and race relations.
“Mrs Obama: Some Give Her ‘Angry Black Woman’ Image.” Associated Press, January 11, 2012.
It’s appalling that simply because Michelle Obama is a woman, and black, whatever agency and self-advocacy she expresses can be cast in racist stereotypes. I haven’t read the book to which this article refers, and therefore can’t speak to its actual portrayal of Mrs. Obama, but the fact that whatever depictions it contains have shifted discussions to revolve around whether or not she is an "angry black woman" is disturbing, to say the least.
Ebtihal focuses on human rights.
“Saudi Arabia: Renewed Protests Defy Ban.” Human Rights Watch, December 30, 2011.
American mainstream media often fails to report on what’s really happening in Saudi Arabia. The news of more than 100 women defying a government ban on peaceful protests, boldly demonstrating after Friday prayers demanding the release of long-term detainees, deserves more attention.
Hannah will focus on sex and gender.
“Court Allows Texas Law on Ultrasound Before Abortion.” Global Post, January 11, 2012.
This article is particularly relevant right now because, while the GOP primaries take over the media, the broad arguments surrounding abortion and contraception policies are consistently reported, but the smaller, local steps toward reducing reproductive freedoms are easier to overlook—to our detriment. While the Texas decision certainly does not ban abortion, it is one, successful step toward the psychological attack on women seeking the procedure.
James focuses on migration in the 21stcentury.
“Role Reversal: An Ex-Colony May Be Getting the Better, in Economic Terms, of its Old Master.”The Economist, September 3, 2011.
This article spans two of my interest areas: colonization and migration. It also has ironic qualities. In a throwback to the colonial era, the Portuguese are once again setting sail to Angola. This time, however, it is their home nation that has fallen upon hard times, while the African nation is a shining light on a continent threatening to rise. It highlights the upended nature of migration and world order in the early part of the 21st century.
Erin focuses on health and environmental politics.
“Senate Holds First Hearing on Genetically Engineered Fish.” Center for Food Safety, December 15, 2011.
In the first hearing of its kind, experts testified before Congress about the environmental risks associated with genetically engineered fish. Should the FDA approve the proposal, salmon will be the first type of genetically engineered animal declared fit for human consumption in the United States. The only problem—and it isn’t a small one, either—is that no one knows for certain what effects genetically engineered fish might have on wild fish stocks, aquatic ecosystems or the spread of parasites and disease.
Elizabeth focuses on the Syrian uprising, its implications and the wildly varied domestic and international reactions.
“Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Chooses the Qaddafi Model,” by Max Fisher. The Atlantic, January 10, 2012.
This post by Max Fisher demonstrates the confusion of the MSM as it attempts to draw parallels and make sense of what has happened not only in Syria but also more broadly throughout the Middle East over the past year. Fisher argues that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is following the model of former Libyan dictator Qaddafi, but that very analysis underscores the tendency, for better or for worse, of the media to compare situations horizontally rather than delving vertically into a country’s unique politics and history.