Friday, August 7, 2009

Press TV

I wonder if one can disown the Left of one’s own country?…uh, but wait a second, I am an American and there is no Left from which to disown myself. Ouch.

You may be wondering if decades ago they were killed off and imprisoned and tortured as they were in Morocco, Argentina, Indonesia…hmm…not exactly. Months ago, at around the time of the US presidential elections, I tried to explain to a Moroccan friend why the elections were an extravaganza, a spectacular show, with Obama a mere character of the showmasters. And he asked me, “But where is the Left?” I stumbled, in Arabic and in dismay. Ah, well, you see, uh, there really isn’t a democratic system and people have two options and not really and the corporate media is dominant and people want to believe their nation isn’t racist and there is trauma and demonization of Bush and, well, uh…

And for a moment I felt so alone.

When we found Press TV on our tely, I was intrigued. Another picking from the measly English news channels BBC, Aljazeera, CNN. When my mind is strained from trying to comprehend OTV and Mehwar and other 3mmeya-based channels, I turn to see what is being fed that day in the mainstream. Moving on quickly enough I then stop on Press TV.

One of the first programs I watched on Press TV was a brilliant documentary on peasants struggling against landlords and for land reform in the Philippines. I later found there are programs run by George Galloway, Yvonne Ridley and Tariq Ramadan, all personalities with whom I am familiar.

I was even more intrigued when we discovered that the channel was Iranian and funded by the Iranian government. And even more intriguing that it is mired in controversy! Press TV has been criticized for being anti-semitic, biased, a handler for the Iranian government. The list goes on.

And quickly enough I have grown bored. Maybe that is because when I turn to watch it more often than not I happen to turn to the program “The American Dream” (by timing not interest, of course). And the Americans on this program and most of the other news/social commentary programs I have seen seem to be, well, if not straight from the mainstream, then the non-left Left.

To illustrate this point, a week or so ago the show was devoted to the current US imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The discussion being devoted mostly to the military logistics of the war. One of the guest call-ins, a publisher, presented herself as a peace activist, against both wars, and said with exacerbation something like, “The Afghanistan War is going to be Obama’s Vietnam. And that is really sad for Obama.”

Huh, say it again? You are sad about the war for Obama’s sake? How about being outraged about a war that has killed thousands, has disrupted the lives of thousands, disturbed thousands of villages, violently carved out an eco-landscape, destabilized a region – and will continue to do so?

About a week ago on another program based in Beirut (perhaps “Middle East Today”), the program was devoted to Palestine-Israel under the Obama administration and the guest speaker was an American journalist based in Beirut. The guest speaker acknowledged that any improvement in relations, any steps toward a two-state solution, look bleak. The Israeli government under Netanyahu is not going to make the concessions it needs to. The Press TV correspondent asks him about the Obama Administration. The American journalist responds that the administration perhaps made a mistake by focusing on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as this issue is not that important to Israelis. (And on and on.) But really given how much Obama has on his hands, he is doing what he can. You know, he really has his hands full –

yeah, and we know of what.

No comments:

Post a Comment