Tuesday, August 23, 2005

An Open Letter to FOX, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC

While the major news media here in the United States continues its almost total blackout of stories about the genocide and starvation of millions of people in the Darfur region of the Sudan, the blogosphere continues to be both a source of information and hope.

Making the news today was a curious alignment of two opposing political blogs to create a unified voice about the ongoing tragedy in Darfur. The story of how a Northern liberal and a Southern conservative engaging in a war of words over judicial nominations eventually found common ground is profiled today in
The Sudan Tribune.

Last March the two political rivals joined with many other bloggers to form the
Coalition for Darfur. Today that blog is one of the most valuable resources for information on the genocide in the Sudan.

Through the Coalition for Darfur website, I've become acquainted with another great web resource, "Be A Witness." This organization carefully monitors the coverage of the crisis in Darfur by the major US Televison networks. As I stated above, that coverage is nearly nonexistent.

Using the wonderful services of "Be A Witness" http://www.beawitness.org/ I have written a letter to each of the major US news networks. Using a form on their website you can send one letter to each network automatically. They even have a template you can follow if you wish.

Here is my "open letter to FOX, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC. It follows closely the letter I have sent to the networks through the "Be A Witness" website.

I am writing concerning your coverage of the horror in the Darfur region of Sudan.
While many world leaders have called the killing, rape and starvation in Darfur "genocide," we see almost no coverage of the events in any of your news broadcasts.

Genocide is the ultimate crime against humanity. Why are you missing in action?

The tragic story of Natalee Holloway has captured the attention of all news anchors and newsroom editors. CNN, FOXNews, NBC/MSNBC, ABC, and CBS have devoted entire shows to the missing teen. On one recent night I personally watched over 5 hours devoted to Natalee. But there wasn't even a mention of the genocide in Darfur. Not one word!

On that night there was not one single new piece of evidence or news out of Aruba. None the less, we still got 5 mind numbing hours of coverage. Two networks actually hosted their shows from Aruba.

That same day it's estimated that over 300 people died in Darfur. That's 300 women, children, teenagers, mothers, fathers, and babies. Couldn't you have devoted 30 seconds to their deaths?

Many in the world hate Americans. One of the reasons (and there are many) is we are so self centered. Your news programs reflect this aspect of America at its very worst. Your coverage clearly shows the world that we believe that one missing Alabama teenager is much more important than the lives of 300 Africans. The world can see America has her priorities straight.

Today, your coverage is watched around the world. And most Americans rely on cable television as their primary source of information. For many, if an event is not reported on television, it does not happen.

Just a small increase in the amount of time you devote to what is arguably the most important story in the entire world today could spur the action required to stop this devastating crime against humanity.

At the very lease, increased coverage will raise public awareness and put pressure on our government to help accelerate the deployment of the African Union forces to the region. There is no doubt that increased television coverage of the genocide in Darfur will save thousands of lives.

Next time you decide to send a reporter to Aruba, please consider redirecting those resources into Darfur. Of course that assignment won't be as much fun. There are no hotels, no casinos, no nightclubs and no legal prostitution.

But you will be reporting the biggest and most important story of our time.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.

I respectfully ask that each of you join me is writing your own letter. I will post any replies I receive in this column.

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