World is Being Blogged
Media Coverage of Davos vs. Porto Alegre Shows Elitist Bias
More News from the World Social Forum
100,000 Activists Gather to Build Another World:
fjfjfMajor Media Ignore Story
February 7, 2005
Defending Sergeant Benderman
FRANCISCO (2:00 PM PST)--War
is over if you want it: US Army Sergeant Kevin Benderman is a living
embodiment of that principle.
epiphany came on the Bush Administration's very different road to
Damascus. On his first tour of duty in Iraq, he saw the reality
of war unfiltered by major media and the Pentagon press office--he
saw the hell of war itself. As
Benderman puts it, "I have learned from first hand experience
that war is the destroyer of everything that is good in the world."
This fundamental reality of war tends to be obscured in all the
talk--on all sides--about missing WMDs and the "spread of freedom."
much introspection, Benderman is not just refusing to return to
a second tour of duty in Iraq, he is refusing war itself. He is
rejecting the idea that killing and maiming people and destroying
their homes and communities is a road to a better future--for them
or for us.
has enlisted himself in the ranks of those who are building a different
kind of world, and he has found the duty of civil disobedience.
He is now facing court martial charges
dear friend Carl Rogers, a co-founder of Vietnam Veterans Against
the War (and soon of "Peace Central" on this site), heard
of Kevin's case in the media, and contacted him to see what he could
do to help. One of the things Kevin--and his passionately devoted
wife Monica--needed was some support in setting up a presence on
the internet, and Carl suggested hosting it on the topia site.
then, is the Kevin Benderman Defense
Committee website, which involves the collaboration of Carl
Rogers, computer consultant/activist Aaron Mood--and Kevin and Monica
February 1, 2005
Coverage of Davos vs. Porto Alegre Shows Elitist Bias--(4:00
reports now suggest that more than 120,000 people from 120 countries
attended the World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Brazil, during
the last several days. Yet, major American news organizations have
given it scant attention, especially compared to the World Economic
Forum (WEF), in Davos, Switzerland, a international gathering of
2,000 government and corporate leaders.
Many news outlets
simply chose to ignore the WSF altogether (see below, January 28).
Others made mention of it, but gave the story far less prominence
that than the WEF. Newsweek,
for example, provides a major
multi-article feature section on Davos, but nothing on
Porto Alegre. Most other major news organizations (see below) followed
One has to go to sources such as the Free New Mexican to find the
Associated Press' story on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's January
30 address to the Forum; it's not on the MSNBC, Fox, or CNN
reports that the Davos Forum for the first time focused significant
attention on issues of ethics and global poverty, perhaps in a nod
to the WSF. French President Jacques Chirac,
the magazine reported, called in a speech for a new global "war
World Social Forum 2005: Click on the image for a fuller view. The
WSF website has a photo
exhibit of highlights from the event (the WSF website, where
the link to this picture is located, is sometimes very slow to open,
and sometimes fails to open).
in the alternative press (see below for more) included Democracy
Now's Amy Goodman's
interview with Njoki Njoroge Njehu of the 50 Years is Enough network.
A good post-Forum evaluation of the event by Mario Osava of Inter
Press Service was posted on Common
Dreams, including mention of the controversy generated by the
issuance of the Porto Alegre Manifesto by 19 progressive luminaries
in attendance at the conference (for more on the Manifesto, see
page on the Inter Press News Service website).
provided fairly consistent coverage of the WSF, estimating that
"more than 100,000" people had participated in the event--unlike
most American outlets, which considetnly used the term "tens
of thousands" to describe the numbers of participants.
Press (AP) provided some balance with this
story (found in the Detroit Free Press) comparing both
forums, noting that both had focused on the theme of global social
justice. The AP was one of many American news sources to use the
"tens of thousands" estimate. The Los Angeles Times,
which had its own reporters at the event, was a notable exception
to the pack, reporting
the "more than 100,000" figure.
is the official website of the World
Social Forum. Please note that the website
opens in Portugese; for the English language version, click on "English"
at the top of the page. The World Economic Forum official website
Friday, January 28, 2005
News from the World Social Forum--(12:21
has its own reporter at the Forum, Samuel Loewenberg, whose first
from the Anti-Davos" ran today. Common Dreams' new
article from Inter Press Service focuses on the same theme,
contrasting the Social Forum with the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Activists Gather to Build Another World: Major Media Ignore Story--(1:54
think that 100,000 people gathering from 120 countries in one place
at one time for anything would be a major news story. Yet, as of
this writing, if you click on the Washington
CNN, or the
homepages, you'll find nothing on the World Social Forum, taking
place this week from January 26-31 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The
goal of the Forum is to envision and build an "international
democratic order" based on demilitarization, diversity and
To find coverage
of the Forum, check out the BBC
(British Broadcasting Corporation) website, here.
Forbes.com provides the AP
story on the opening of the forum, and CommonDreams provides
from Inter Press Service.
York Times has a reporter, Todd Benson, at the forum, and
you can find his story not on today's Times home page, but
buried in the "Americas" section of the "International"
news page of the Times (no link provided here: you need a
free subscription to get to that page of the Times).
Here is the
official website of the World
Social Forum. The Forum website opens in Portugese; for the
English language version, click on "English" at the top
of the page.