Media coverage of the tragedy in Central African Republic is taking on a slanted, agenda-laded bias worthy of American media in a U.S. presidential race.
(I have been sitting on this post for months. Think it is time to post.)
Shouldn’t be necessary, but I suppose it is necessary to say I denounce the destruction of religious houses of worship, especially when such facilities are targeted because they are houses of worship. I also denounce violence targeted against people because of the way they worship.
Let me know if you think the following articles are talking about the same country.
3/22 – AP in New York Times – Villager: Muslim Fighters Kill 11 in Central African Attacks – Some Muslim villagers noticed some of their cattle were missing. The herders realized it was obviously the fault of certain people living in neighboring villages and concluded the proportionate response was to ransack the villages. They were helped by heavily armed fighters. Article implies but doesn’t say it was the Seleka militia (that would be fighters who assert they are Muslims). Reports are at least 11 people were killed by the raiders/looters. Even worse, nine villages have been cleared of inhabitants.
Typically, clearing out villages or local areas because the residents are members of a particular tribe, race, religion, or ethnic group is called ethnic cleansing. That is now considered a war crime and sometimes even draws punishment.
So, we have reporting from which you may logically conclude a group of Muslims engaged in ethnic cleansing of multiple villages for no reason other than they think some missing cattle were maybe rustled by neighboring Christians.
Makes you angry, huh?
Bias here? Oh yeah.
No hint in the article that any Christians in the country have done anything worse that maybe, just maybe, rustle a few head of cattle. Even if they did, that is really no big deal. Just a few cows.
No mention that brutal tit-for-tat retaliatory raids have been pervasive in the country. No mention of what happened before this incident.
3/18 – AP in Deccan Chronicle – 436 mosques destroyed in Central African Republic – US ambassador to the UN said that 417 of the 436 mosques in the country have been destroyed in sectarian fighting. One million people in the country of 4.5 million are displaced with many of the displaced being Muslims. Armed groups continue to roam the country.
Bias? Slant? Propaganda points?
Oh yeah. Too much even to inventory. Here is a start:
- Headline of this article says 436 mosques have been destroyed, which would be 100%. A few of the other articles visible by a search say “all” mosques have been destroyed.
- Photo accompanying this article has a two-story house in the foreground with a high explosive detonating behind the house with a blast cloud about seven stories high. Nothing in the photo has any religious implications, but you are led to the obvious conclusion about western powers deliberately targeting mosques with airplane dropped bombs.
- The article contains only inferred comment that there might even be some Christians that have been displaced. No hint of whether the displaced Christians are a few, some, many, or most of the 1M displaced total.
- There is absolutely no hint that any Muslims have done anything wrong.
- No hint how the violence started or that Seleka even exists.
- Most sentences infer there is an anti-muslim pogrom in progress.
So, you can take your pick on what’s going on in CAR. Either:
- a deliberate unprovoked anti-Muslim pogrom just because some people are Muslims or
- a deliberate unprovoked anti-Christian pogrom just because some people are Christians.
No hint in either AP article of context, or how the civil unrest got started, or that every incident in the last few year is excused as retaliation for the previous incident, or that every incident will be used as justification for the next counter-retaliation.
No hint in either article that the Muslim militias are waging war on Christian militias at the same time as the Christian militias are waging war on Muslim militias.
I was clued in to these articles by one commentator who was not quite able to contain his glee in discussing the AP article about the mosques. He was able to avoid the use of the word pogrom. Visible hatred was dripping from most sentences at that site, so I won’t be mentioning it further. It is obvious from that site’s tone that the author believes a deliberate, unprovoked, anti-Muslim pogrom is underway.
A few of my previous posts on CAR.
I retract my opening comment. American political coverage is gracious, kind, and polite compared to these two articles.
Lessons for me? Many. For starters, consider what bias and prejudice is hidden inside anything you read from any media source.