Archive for the 'Channel 4' Category

Jon Snow- FAIL!

Channel 4 has probably the most respected evening TV news programme in the UK. It’s an hour long, with very short ad breaks. Its key presenter, Jon Snow, is almost a cult liberal figure with his stripey ties and socks. Its main headline tonight was the tragedy in Haiti, to which it returned to twice. Here is a transcript of Snow’s unacceptably piss poor effort to give viewers some background on Haiti’s desperation:

Along with its experience of natural disasters and its desperate poverty, Haiti has also suffered from years of political turmoil.

This sounds informative. What is the nature of Haiti’s political turmoil? According to Snow:

Hopes were high in 1986 when Jean Claude Duvalier, better known as Baby Doc was forced from power. During his rule thousands of Haitians were murdered and tortured. 4 years after Baby Doc fled to France, former Catholic priest Jean Bertrand Aristide was elected. But in just a matter of months the army had seized power and thousands tried to escape to the United States on makeshift rafts. Aristide was returned to power again but was forced out for a second time in 2004 and UN peacekeepers have been there ever since, their leaders killed in todays earthquake. Under the present President Rene Preval there have been improvements, less violence and more tourism but once again a natural disaster has shattered Haiti’s fragile progress.

Right. So no mention of how the indigenous population were wiped out when the Europeans first landed. No mention of how the French then took control, importing vast amounts of slaves to produce cash crops for massive French profit. No mention of France’s endless brutality. Nor the crippling indemnity demanded by France for their lost property when Haitian’s had fought for their freedom. Nor slave owner George Washington’s support for the white planters resisting revolution.
Ok- maybe I’m expecting too much. Perhaps a brief mention of Haiti’s uniquely brutal roots in slavery and Western (um..our) imperialism is unrealistic. But what about the twentieth century? The US occupation under Woodrow Wilson, on behalf of the bankers, lasting nearly twenty years? No mention of how the refugees in their “makeshift rafts” were treated by the US. How the US was consistently opposed to the “Catholic priest”, funding and organising his elite opponents both before and after his initial election triumph. What about the CIA’s admission in 1993 that they had fabricated hostile propaganda on Aristide? Or how the “international community” cut aid prior to the 2004 ouster of Aristide or the evidence to say the West were deeply involved in the coup itself?

Snow then poses a few questions to a Nick Caistor (some BBC hack) from Norwich (where Alan Partridge lives):

what is it about Haiti?…we’re conscious of voodoo, the Tonton Macoute, strong Catholicism. Is there something in the spirit?

At least Snow is good enough to admit he doesn’t have a fucking clue. But what the hell is he saying here? That Voodoo and Catholicism have cursed the natives, who are ultimately responsible for their own suffering? That Haitian mythology was responsible for Duvalier’s militia? Really, what are you trying to say here Jon?

Caistor disagrees with Snow, saying that Haiti’s problem is not voodoo but the Duvalier dictatorship that “destroyed hopes of proper democracy” and “the scrabble for power after they’d gone.” Again, little Haiti exists in a bubble, the crucial role of outside forces completely erased from memory. But Snow continues in this manner with his next question:

The peoples of influence are the French, the Americans, the United Nations. Is there some possibility that out of this terrible suffering and devastation perhaps the bars of the worlds cage will be rattled and someone will at last do something?.

“The peoples of influence”. What a way to put it. It’s not inaccurate when you take a brief look at Haiti’s history as victim of imperialism. But Jon Snow doesn’t think for a minute that “the peoples of influence” might be part of the problem. It is the peoples of influence who will come to save Haitians from themselves.