Friday, September 03, 2010

A quintessential example of why I despise Nancy Grace and CNN HLN so very, very much

I randomly turned to CNN HLN twice today. The first time I was informed by this "news" network something or another about Kat Von D (a reality show tatoo artist) hanging out with Jesse James (a reality show mechanic) ... I'm not sure exactly what important information the network had about the two as I tried to turn the channel as quickly as possible to avoid mental contamination.

The second time I flipped by the network I was confronted by an angry, scowling Nancy Grace (this is apparently her default facial posture for television) in her most serious and grave, indignant and outraged demeanor, covering the "BREAKING NEWS" that a nanny was caught on tape physically abusing an infant. The child's parents fired the nanny and turned the tape over to police, so what exactly is the news significance of this tragedy to a national audience?

On the other hand, I also flipped once randomly to NPR, and this is what I heard

Melissa Block speaks with Miel Hendrickson, regional coordinator for International Medical Corps in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hendrickson's team has treated more than 200 women who were raped in rebel attacks a month ago. The area is known for its gold and mineral deposits, and attacks on villages in the area is frequent.
While CNN HLN and Nancy Grace are trading on celebrity gossip and individual personal tragedy for profit, there actually is relevant news with important significance out there that goes generally unnoticed.

One can google the topic for more information about the systematic raping of women (and abuse of children) that is occurring in the Congo, but here is one that kind of puts in perspective the fraud that is CNN HLN

Cassiterite, wolframite, coltan: they might be the spoiled offspring of celebrity parents, or characters from an unfamiliar fairytale. The truth is much more prosaic. They are the minerals on which laptops and mobiles and even the tin of tomatoes in the cupboard depend. Cassiterite is the main component of tin oxide. Wolframite is a source of tungsten, used in many electrical applications. Coltan makes mobile phones work.

There are two reasons why it is necessary to know about these otherwise apparently esoteric minerals. First, the rich world has a capacious appetite for them, and second, it is fuelling conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The rape of more than 150 [Note - now confirmed at 240] women and children earlier this month in Luvungi, North Kivu, in the DRC's mineral heartland is probably (it is not yet proven) directly connected with the exploitation of the mines from which these minerals come.

Despite the enormity of the crime – and even though it apparently took place over several nights – news of the rapes travelled only slowly into the western media. Even the UN's Monusco stabilisation force, based less than 20kms from the village, claims to have heard nothing. The force, due to leave in a year, has long been accused of spending too long in barracks, failing to patrol on foot, and making too little attempt to listen to the concerns of the people it is supposed to be there to protect. Partly because of its failings, Kivu, geographically and politically remote from Kinshasa, has become the killing field in what is being called Africa's world war. Proportionally, it is a conflict that dwarfs any British war: it has already claimed 5 million lives and cruelly disrupted millions more. Yesterday, a leaked report from the UN accused neighbouring Rwanda of a genocidal spree as its Tutsi-controlled army hunted down Hutu refugees in the late 1990s. Then soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army, pushed out of Uganda, launched a series of deadly raids.
Oh, and this, too.

3 September 2010 – More than two dozen children were among the hundreds of civilians recently raped by members of armed groups active in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations reported today.


The UN said today that 27 minors, including one boy, were among those assaulted, with one attempted rape reported as well.
You see, this is actually breaking news. It's been breaking for more than a god damned decade.

Here's a bit from the latest report on the Democratic Republic of the Congo from the International Rescue Committee:

"It was not uncommon to hear accounts of armed groups seizing young women from farms or water points and enslaving them and raping them for one to three months," says [IRC D. R. Congo Gender Based Violence team coordinator Sarah] Mosely. "Now women in North Kivu talk to me more about gunmen breaking into their homes and brutally raping them in front of their families."

She says the attacks have become so frequent that families in the north cross into Uganda at night to sleep in the forest. It's safer than staying at home.
That was written in 2007.

I'll close my little rant with the same question the above author asked 3 years ago: "Wonder when Nancy Grace will get around to those women."

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