A common technique the media employs when covering news is the “feeding frenzy.” Thedictionary defines feeding frenzy as “a period of intense excitement over or interest in a person or thing: the media erupt into a feeding frenzy.” The Bill Clinton sex scandal of the late 90’s is one example. Other classic cases from the 1950’s to the 1990’s are highlighted by the Washington Post—which has not updated the section since the 1990’s. Had they done so, they might have included many recent cases highlighted here and here.
The media is at it again, but this time the subject of the frenzy is the Confederate flag of South Carolina and other Confederate emblems used by Southern states. Not only has the Confederate flag media frenzy diluted the issue of white supremacy and racism surrounding the Charleston shooting, the coverage has also taken over the airwaves and crowded out other stories that are equally deserving of discussion. So below are ten of the top stories that the media has missed during this frenzy:
1. The think tank New America issued a report showing that more Americans died from right wing extremist violence than deadly Jihadist attacks since 9/11. The U.S. media, government, and Islamophobic pundits have exaggerated the threat of Islamic extremism in the U.S. to such an extent that it is accepted as fact without the need of any proof. Not only that, Glenn Greenwald reports that Americans are more likely to be killed by a car, bees/wasps/hornets, lightening, or crushed by their own furniture than be killed by Islamic extremists.
2. The Taliban launched a daring attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul while it was in session. If the Taliban is making such daring attacks while the U.S. troops are still stationed in the country, what will they do when the American presence is further scaled back? If the capital city is not secure and safe from Taliban attacks, then nowhere else in Afghanistan is safe. This means that as soon as the U.S. pulls its last soldier from the country—which is inevitable—the current Afghan government will likely fall, the Taliban will seize power, and the United States’ fourteen year presence in Afghanistan will have been futile.
3. A study released by the Pew Research Center this week found that the majority of the global public opposes torture (harsh interrogation techniques)—except for the American public. According to the report,
“A median of 50% across 40 nations surveyed say they oppose these practices, which were detailed in a widely publicized U.S. Senate report in December 2014. Only 35% believe they were justified. Americans disagree – nearly six-in-ten (58%) say they were justified.”
Though this story is worthy of attention, the media shies away from exposing the American public as nationalist flag-waving aggressors they have been propagated into by—you guessed it—the media.
4. The Pentagon released its new “Law of War Manual.” In it there is a chilling finding. As reported by Anti-Media,
“One change in terminology directly targets journalists, stating, ‘in general, journalists are civilians. However, journalists may be members of the armed forces […] or unprivileged belligerents.’ Apparently, reporters have joined the ranks of al-Qaeda in this new “unprivileged belligerent” designation, which replaces the Bush-era term, ‘unlawful combatants.’ What future repercussions this categorization could bring are left to the imagination…”
One would think that the media would be ‘shouting this from roof tops,’ in the interest of their self-preservation should they get killed while covering a story. It is not far fetched for the U.S. military to target journalists and kill them. They have done it during the invasion phase of the Iraq war. Now that the policy is codified into law, the question should be asked: Is the U.S. military going to target journalists in future wars? Alas, the media is too obsessed with a piece of cloth to ask this serious question.
5. At a time when Detroit is recovering from bankruptcy and water to its residents is cut, Israel is asking the U.S. for more money in FMF (Foreign Military Financing). Since the early 1970s, the U.S. has given Israel $3.1 billion in FMF on a yearly basis. Beginning in 2007, the U.S. aid package to Israel was negotiated on a 10 year basis. Now, Israel wants the aid package increased to $4.5 billion per year. The money is delivered up front, at the beginning of each year, so Israel can invest said money in U.S. treasury bonds and earn more money from the interest charged to the U.S. taxpayer. Apparently, the Confederate flag is more important for the mainstream media than the fleecing of the U.S. taxpayer by an alleged ally that spies on the U.S. and refuses to stop illegal settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
6. Wikileaks is at it again. On June 23, Wikileaks released NSA documents implicating the agency in spying on France—specifically current and former French presidents and members of the French cabinet. According to the cables, “The top secret documents derive from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of French Presidents Francois Hollande (2012–present), Nicolas Sarkozy (2007–2012), and Jacques Chirac (1995–2007), as well as French cabinet ministers and the French Ambassador to the United States.” This is part of a broader pattern of spying that the NSA has engaged in for years. Thanks to Edward Snowden and Wikileaks, we now know that the NSA was not only spying on Americans, but on up to 35 foreign countries, as well as the Vatican.
7. According to a study this week, Earth has entered its sixth mass extinction. Making conservative assumptions, scientists believe that species are disappearing at a rate not seen since the disappearance of the dinosaurs: “…even using this background rate and the most conservative species loss estimates, the researchers found that animals are still being wiped out around 15 to 100 times faster than they should be – in fact, the rate of species loss hasn’t been this high since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.” Moreover, the culprit responsible for such mass extinction is none other than humans. Human action, it seems, is leading the planet to its demise, but the media is content to talk about a flag from the 19th century.
8. It is no secret that the American media loves the “War on Drugs.” So when a news story about the value of cannabis oil in the treatment of autism comes around, it has to be ignored since it does not fit the narrative that marijuana is a gateway drug (that too is wrong). As Anti-Media reported “Through a fundraising program, they were able to receive a tiny bottle of the oil. Kalel was given oral doses twice a day. Within just two days, he was finally able to speak…Soon after, he began using consonants, too, speaking like his parents never thought possible.”
9. The mainstream media is usually fond of natural disasters, but this escaped its attention. After five days of hot weather and humidity in Karachi, Pakistan, more than 950 people have died. That is an average of 150 people per day. I do not mean to downplay the murder of the 9 people at the church in downtown Charleston, but 150 people dying per day should require more coverage when compared to the wall-to-wall coverage of the mass shooting in Charleston. To its credit, Mashable presented detailed photographic coverage of the humanitarian crisis.
10. While the country was talking about a red, white and blue cloth, the Senate approved fast track trade promotion authority (TPA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), also known as Obamatrade. The deal has been called “NAFTA on steroids” and has far reaching implications across every aspect of American life. Critics of the TPP say it will crush American jobs, exploit oppressed foreign labor, suppress internet freedom, make healthcare more costly, void national and local sovereignty, and hand total control of 40% of the world’s economy to corporate tribunals. The Senate handed Obama a clear defeat on the TPP recently, but Congress took advantage of the media frenzy over the Confederate flag to renew the push to give Obama full authority to negotiate the ever-secret deal on his own without public debate. There is now little time left for the public, which has passionately expressed its disapproval of the TPP, to try to convince lawmakers that it’s a bad deal for everyday Americans.