Saturday, July 11, 2009

In other News

The wall-to-wall news coverage of Monuc's botched operation in eastern DRC, which has resulted in hundreds of reprisal rapes, thousands of deaths, and hundreds of thousands of refugees, has properly generated global concern. Wolf Blitzer's breakdown of the mai-mai leadership's complex allegiances, the View's dissection of the region's economic potential, and Bill O'Reilly's spirited defense of Alan Doss remind us all of the mainstream media's continuing relevance. Yet it would be a shame if this coverage had the unfortunate effect of eclipsing other developments, perhaps less historic, yet no less human in their significance.

Among these, the death of Michael Jackson may not seem like the most important. Yet we ought to pause, at least for a moment, to remember Jackson's outsize accomplishments. To be sure, the development of the "moonwalk" may not rival the pillage of Walikali; nor do Jackson's Grammy awards justify breaking away from coverage of the Security Council briefing on sexual violence in North Kivu, as a few bug-eyed bloggers suggested the networks do. But Jackson was a man, after all--a gifted, albeit troubled man--and it behooves us to give him a moment of consideration even as we return our attention to the grievous developments in Africa. It would be a real tragedy if we allowed historic developments there to diminish our collective response to the American songster's passing. 

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