Thursday, January 08, 2009

Controversies, crises greet 2009

And so the "Alabang Boys" case continues to sizzle, and rightly so.

Since December, I have been looking at the press reports on the controversy and watching the House investigations aired over ANC.

Of course, other issues that are equally important have been continuing as well. One story is the alleged mauling incident involving the sons of Agrarian Reform Secretary and peace negotiator Nasser Pangandaman Sr.

Five days ago, journalist Caloy Conde raised an important point regarding the Pangandaman controversy and the power of blogging.

A Challenge to Bambee dela Paz and Other Bloggers
By Carlos H. Conde
January 3, 2009

Bloggers who benefited from the power of blogging to correct the injustice done to them have a duty to pay society back. And the only way I can think of is for them to raise hell, too, about the injustice done to other people.

Read more here.

The war in Gaza continues, and might even worsen. From Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, the Gaza fighting between Israel and Hamas became the top news staple in the U.S. press, accounting for 21% of the newshole, according to the weekly News Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

PEJ News Coverage Index: December 29, 2008 - January 4, 2009
War in Gaza Casts Shadow over Transition
Source: Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism

A bloody new chapter in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians dramatically shifted the news agenda from domestic to foreign crises, dominating media attention in an otherwise crowded week of news.

The Gaza fighting between Israel and Hamas, which escalated from aerial warfare to fierce ground fighting, accounted for 21% of the newshole from Dec. 29-Jan. 4, according to the weekly News Coverage Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Other than the Iraq war, that made Gaza the second-biggest overseas story for any week during the past two years. Only the brief and one-sided conflict between Georgia and Russia, which filled 26% of the newshole from Aug. 11-17 2008, generated more coverage.

The new spasm of Mideast violence attracted significantly more coverage than the No. 2 story, the economic crisis, which filled 14% of the newshole. Although it had been widely believed that new President Barack Obama’s first priority would be working to mitigate that meltdown, last week’s events raised the possibility that the Gaza bloodshed could pose his most immediate challenge instead.

Indeed, Obama’s response to that conflict—which has thus far been muted—was the biggest theme of the Presidential transition (the week’s No. 4 story at 8% of the newshole).

Sandwiched in between was a political sideshow that presented yet another headache for the President-elect. The fallout from the scandal involving Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, which last week focused on his controversial selection of unlikely candidate Roland Burris to replace Obama in the Senate, accounted for 10% of the coverage.

It was a week in which those top four stories all generated significant media attention and accounted for more than half the overall newshole.

Click here for more. PDF copy of the report here.

Here's an article from The New York Times on the Israeli government's ban against the media entering Gaza in order to control the message and narrative in its favor.

Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza

By Ethan Bronner
Source: The New York Times
January 6, 2009

Like all wars, this one is partly about public relations. But unlike any war in Israel’s history, in this one the government is seeking to entirely control the message and narrative for reasons both of politics and military strategy.

Read more here.

Interesting reads: ("The Gaza crisis and the perspective of permanent revolution" and "Israeli atrocities in Gaza: a political impasse and moral collapse" from the World Socialist Web Site)

And a funny 2008 year-end review from the famous Uncle Jay. With over 6.5 million views already on Youtube and more than 1,500 comments, Uncle Jay sings the major news items in 2008 within three and a half minutes. This video has become among the most popular Youtube clips so far this year.

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