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2004-07-02

Juan Gonzalez on Media, Racism and the Role of Third World Journalists

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We hear a speech by Democracy Now! co-host and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Juan Gonzalez.

Perhaps more than any time in recent history, the media has become a power player in international and national politics. Media outlets like the New York Times, CNN and President Bush’s preferred news source FOX News have a dramatic impact on public opinion and ultimately what people believe to be true. Certainly in the case of the invasion and occupation of Iraq this has been true with reporters like Judith Miller and Michael Gordon of The New York Times printing what was essentially propaganda from the White House and so-called Iraqi defectors in an effort to convince the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Add to this also FOX News’s drumbeat reports and commentaries on Iraq and the so-called war on terror regularly passed off as objective news reporting.

In fact, a Washington Post poll taken last September found that 80% of those who watch Fox News believed at least one of three misconceptions: that WMD had been found in Iraq; that al Qaeda and Iraq were tied; or that the world had approved of US intervention in Iraq.

But that is here in the US. Internationally, journalists have painted a very different picture of the so-called war on terrorism. The rise of Arabic language broadcast outlets like al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya has played a major role in battling the US government propaganda campaign, particularly in the Arab World. Today, we are going to take a close look at the media with Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez. Juan is also the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. In February, he gave a major address in Dallas at a regional conference of the NAHJ on the theme of Media, Racism and the role of 3rd World Journalists.

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