Term Paper: Political Activism in Iraq

Term Paper: Political Activism in Iraq

However, Haifa Zangana, an Iraqi novelist, argues differently.  Her documentary City of Widows depicted how the position of Iraqi women has actually deteriorated after the invasion as opposed to before. She discusses the history of Iraq as a country riddled with war and political activism which has not really been allowed to grow on its own and build from within its own cultural and social identities. According to her, as a woman who was born in Iraq and has seen it all first hand, the invasion actually made matters worse with women going from one of the most liberated in the Middle East to those who find themselves losing their loved ones and going through life with children but no one to provide for them (Zangana). A feeling of helplessness enshrouds the women of Iraq as they battle through life within a semi-calm civil war like situation where their husbands may get kidnapped from their very homes with no trace whatsoever. It is estimated that 22,000 Iraqis have gone missing ever since the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (Zangana). Such cases are usually ransom oriented and with ransoms ranging from a few thousand dollars to more than a million, the documentary dubs it as a lucrative business. Women have limited certainty of life and security with the police often unable to help or even register a case against the culprits responsible. Apart from the civilian suicide attacks and racial violence this is another matter plaguing the women of Iraq. If a kidnapping does occur or a family member goes missing, the women are forced to do their own search, travelling from police station to police station, looking up hospital registries and Missing Person centers. This scenario is very effective in stripping the women of their rights to enjoy life and live peacefully (Zangana).

What can thus be seen is a war situation similar to the Vietnam scene as the U.S seems to have stepped into a marsh where from it is not only finding it difficult to extract success out of but

3 thoughts on “Term Paper: Political Activism in Iraq”

  1. 38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Book the New York Times Doesn�t Want You to Read, July 19, 2003
    By 
    Nicholas Stix (New York City/Queens) –

    This review is from: Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism (Paperback)

    If you want to know how a Jayson Blair could have happened, this is the book for you.
    Although Coloring the News was published in 2001, author William McGowan shows how Blair, far from being the fluke he has been portrayed as by the mainstream media, was inevitable. McGowan chronicles how – following the lead of New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. – major mainstream, daily newspapers, and TV news operations all over America, gave up on telling the truth as the goal of the news business. And he names names.
    Sulzberger & Co. replaced truth with “diversity” (radicalized affirmative action aka multiculturalism aka political correctness), which involves not only hiring as reporters and editors black and Hispanic (also gay and feminist) applicants with inferior qualifications, but also imposing the multicultural/pc “script” on the reporting of events, which means that often there is no reporting at all, or only fraudulent reporting, in which certain parties are quoted and certain research cited, no matter how dishonest the former and no matter how discredited the latter is.
    McGowan demonstrates how many media organizations, particularly the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, CBS News and NPR, have botched story after story after story. He does his best work skewering the New York Times, which over the past ten years, has become a self-caricature of a great metropolitan daily. I know what a good job McGowan does on the Times, because I’ve covered many of the stories he discusses, and have caught the Times misrepresenting many stories he doesn’t discuss.
    The author argues that in seeking to be cheerleaders for certain groups, the media have hurt them, by suppressing unpleasant truths which must be faced, in order to help the groups.
    Examining dozens of stories focusing on race, sex (feminism and homosexuality) and immigration, McGowan shows how in each case the mainstream media engaged in deliberate misrepresentation, ignored salient facts that contradicted their “script,” or killed the story outright. For instance, he contrasts coverage of the Matthew Shepard murder with coverage of the murder of Jesse Dirkhising.
    In the first month after two thugs robbed and murdered openly gay, Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard, over 3,000 stories were devoted to the case, which was exploited, in order to get hate crime legislation passed that treated the murder of gays as more of a crime than the murder of heterosexuals. Meanwhile, the murder of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising by two gay pedophiles in Arkansas, was “killed,” with only 46 stories appearing the first month after the murder. The New York Times alone ran 195 stories on the Shepard case, but NONE on Jesse Dirkhising, including during the March, 2001 trial of one of his killers (he was convicted; the other later pleaded guilty). The reason was simple: Covering the Shepard case cast gays in the role of victims; covering the Dirkhising case cast gays as the villains, which political correctness forbids.
    Another group of botched big stories McGowan which dissects concern female Air Force and Navy officers who, though incompetent and/or guilty of flouting service rules, were pushed along the path to pilot, because the Pentagon had adopted illegal quotas for women pilots. As McGowan shows, any number of major media outlets (CBS News, the Times, NPR) insisted on presenting these stories, the facts be damned, as cases of heroic women battling an oppressive patriarchy.
    And McGowan shows how the corruption of the Washington Post, via diversity, harmed the District of Columbia during the years-long political control of Mayor Marion Barry, a corrupt, drug-addled, megalomaniac. Instead of exposing Barry, black Post reporters and editors protected him, and harassed white reporters out of doing serious work on his corrupt administration. The black staffers engaged in openly racist harassment, “spiking stories,” or causing them to die the death of a thousand cuts, through constant demands for more information.
    Considering the author’s restrained tone, it is a minor miracle that this book was published at all. Consider the review from Publisher’s Weekly posted at the amazon.com web site, whose author called McGowan’s book “inflammatory.” The critic didn’t come up with a single example of “inflammatory” writing, because none exists. What the writer really meant was, ‘How dare he show up my politics for the soft totalitarianism that it is!’
    Similarly, Library Journal reviewer Susan M. Colowick calls McGowan’s evidence “impressive” and “anecdotal” in the same sentence, and attacks him for “refer[ring] to the ‘outdated paradigm of white oppression’ and repeatedly us[ing] the value-laden term illegitimacy for out-of-wedlock births.”
    In a review for Washington Monthly, McGowan’s old stomping grounds, Seth Mnookin attacked McGowan for laying into a New York Times writer who had described mass murderer Roland…

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  2. 14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Well documented and argued, August 20, 2004
    By 
    unger814 (Boston, MA) –

    This review is from: Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism (Paperback)
    In all of my readings on bias in the media, none of been as well documented and argued as McGowan’s Coloring the News. McGowan, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, believes that the media’s quest for ‘diversity’ shapes their perspective on how to present the news and what stories to cover. Part of the argument here is that, because news organizations want to ‘correct’ their historically white-male centered coverage, they are willing to shape stories about minority groups however the groups see fit. This includes not running pictures of accused criminals because it may cause racial backlash (more recently, in a protest at UC Berkeley), and using a quota system to make sure that at least a certain amount of “people around town” pictures that a newspaper runs are African-American.

    McGowan’s title may be a bit misleading, and potentially a bit controversial, if only for the “coloring” part of the title. McGowan does not single out media coverage of African-Americans, showing that the media also shape their coverage to not offend gays, lesbians and, more recently, Arab-Americans. Instances of these include coverage of gay adoption and racial profiling.

    This book is not an easy read. The paperback version is only 250-odd pages, but the text is small and there are few breaks in chapters. I was having difficulty reading it until I got towards the last 100 pages, when the stuff that McGowan documents just becomes so jaw-dropping that one can’t believe it is actually true. This includes a Vermont newspaper story that got a writer fired without the normal process of disputing the charges taking place because of a small backlash from an agitator in the community. The agitator was hired by the newspaper to help shape the paper’s coverage of the black community and, when an independent source verified that the original article was factually accurate, ended up with the editor’s resignation. The book reads a lot like a text book and less like a partisan attack (although at times McGowan is obviously arguing that one point of view is correct, but is still able to show why the coverage, nonetheless, is skewed).

    Whereas books like Bias and Spin Sisters rely upon first hand experience of the inner workings of the media, Coloring the News is all about research. Unfortunately, McGowan does not provide footnotes (he does provide notes at the end with descriptions of what he is citing), which, unless you take the time to read the notes at the end, makes it difficult to know exactly what is coming from where.

    If you are a member of the media, you must read this book. If you care about media bias, read this book. If you’re a casual reader, I can’t recommend it to you. The only problems with this book are the textbook-like nature and the lack of inline notes.

    My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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  3. 15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Eloquent and Very Well Researched!, December 16, 2003
    By 
    MJN76 (Illinois, USA) –

    This review is from: Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism (Paperback)
    William McGowan’s “Coloring the News” places the mainstream media under a microscope analyzing the claims that “diversity” in the newsroom will improve news coverage and inform the public to a greater degree. McGowan demonstrates that not only has news not improved, but reporters have deliberately avoided covering uncomfortable and inconvenient aspects of many stories for fear of “stereotyping” or “offending.” The result is a consistently sanitized and skewed version of events. McGowan makes clear “diversity” of viewpoint is significantly more important in a newsroom that skin color or gender, yet newsrooms, in employing more minorities and systematically excluding white males, and solidified the liberal ideological grip on news coverage. Ironically, in the quest for “diversity” there has been much less presentation of different viewpoints, especially conservative or Christian views. The unintended effect of all this has been a mass fleeing from the networks to other sources of news such as radio and the internet which atleast give some validity to the conservative viewpoint.
    Highly recommended.

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