World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Scoop Link: Debunking The Elian Myth

DEBUNKING THE ELIAN MYTH: There's More at Stake than Just Elian
Propagating Myths Can Lead to Disaster. Remember Waco?

Jeff Elliott is the editor of the Albion Monitor.

Sometime before dawn on November 20, thirteen adults and two children clambered aboard a boat hidden in a Cuban mangrove swamp. It was generous to call it a boat at all; it was a homemade job soldered together from aluminum pipes, and powered by an old fifty horse-power outboard. Almost immediately, the engine failed. After rowing the boat back to shore for repair, the mother of one child had second thoughts and took her little girl to stay with a relative. The mother of Elian Gonzalez decided to keep her five year-old with her as the boat was launched again two days later.

Even if you have closely followed the Elian story, there are almost certainly details in the above paragraph that you didn't know. Fewer than one percent of the newspaper reports even mentioned that his journey began on a boat, not an inner tube; only two lone stories have noted how the deathtrap was cobbled together from irrigation pipes.

According to the Center for Media and Public Affairs' Newswatch, 360 Elian stories aired on network evening news in five months. If this continues, his will be the first story to surpass the O.J. Simpson record (431 reports in a little over six months of 1994). But despite this massive news coverage, aspects of the story have been widely ignored. Some appeared in the Florida press only; others appeared in a single national paper or wire service, but weren't picked up by the media at large. As a result, distortions and untruths are added without challenge.

It is particularly important to have rigorous accuracy in this story because the tale has become a powerful myth, and myths can be dangerous things. Not so long ago, there was an overarching myth about the "New World Order." Parts of it had grains of truth; federal agents at places like Ruby Ridge and Waco made mistakes that killed innocents. Thrown into the mix were other elements that weren't true at all -- government plans to confiscate guns, hovering black helicopters, and the whole conspiratorial mess. The result was the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Timothy McVeigh didn't kill those innocent people because he was a Branch Davidian seeking revenge; he murdered because he was waging battle against a myth.

The Elian story has generated exactly that sort of emotion. Since authorities took the boy from his Miami relatives, death threats were received by a deputy police chief who was merely seen in a car with INS and border patrol agents. Cuban-American jurors told a Miami judge that they could not consider giving prosecutors a fair hearing. The impact zone extends far beyond the community of Cuban ex-pats to any conservatives that have made Elian a Cause. On San Francisco Bay Area hate-radio station KSFO, for example, there is rarely a Hispanic voice heard, but still non-stop howling about the actions of federal agents in Little Havana.

To see more of this article click here.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news