Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The DECLINING Body Count in Darfur

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Is There A Press Conspiracy to Whitewash the Genocide in Darfur?

I read somewhere recently a pointed criticism of the press' citing of 'rising' body counts, noting that there can't be any such thing as a 'declining body count'. Well, it appears the mainstream media are out to disprove this...

I've been attentively reading media coverage of the genocide in Darfur being carried out against black animists by so-called Janjaweed (arab) militias backed by Sudan's Islamist regime. The first reports I had read were of millions of deaths. More recently, I had been reading estimates of the death count to be between 200,000 to 400,000. I thought that perhaps I had misread initial reports, because the later ones citing hundreds of thousands of dead also made mention of several million displaced.

Today, Time magazine arrived in the mail, and their coverage says that "tens of thousands are dead," and millions are displaced. I know I'm not hallucinating, and I don't do drugs.

How do I explain this?

Well, one possible conclusion is that the media thinks they may have initially got the story wrong, and cited inflated body counts. They are therefore making the opposite error in an attempt to be 'fair' to the Islamist regime in Khartoum. It's like when a referee in a sports game makes a bad call against one team - 9 times out of 10, he'll make it up to the affected team with his next call.

This might also explain the change in terminology the mainstream media (MSM) has undergone in its description of the conflict, moving from 'genocide' to 'war'.

I don't know to what extent there is a war going on; there was one going on against Southern black Christians that apparently ended recently in a peace agreement between the government and the Christian militias. It may be possible that there are rebels in Darfur, or that the reports by the media are of those same southern rebels, again in an effort to make it up to Khartoum for inflated initial body counts.

Another explanation comes from my recent reading on the Holocaust. While those in the West were in total denial of what was going on, those Jews interned in the Warsaw ghetto were in the same shocking denial as to where the Nazis cattle trains were carting their co-religionaries!
The point is that denial is a universal human instinct, that can be anyone's reaction (though not necessarily everyone), and so some Darfurians may be giving conflicting reports to the media. A majority of people in denial could explain that the media goes with the lower body count, though other factors may also explain this (the media's own denial, perhaps?). On a related note, you may care to read this series on denial.

Whatever the explanation, this is a particularly disturbing trend in the media. It's made all the more so coming from a usually respectable publication such as Time magazine. Has anyone else picked up on this?

On a related note, check out Students Taking Action Now Darfur, who are also co-founders of the Parliamentary Multi-Partisan Group to Save Darfur.

Related articles in the categories of: , , , , :

Mediocre Media 2
Terrorism Advocacy on Tape
Centrism Carnival and Save Darfur Links
Hezballah Terrorists are in Government - Count on the MSM not to tell you.

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