Tsunami relief, and the news
Arthur has the news round-up.
Following up on yesterday’s post on France2 news, yesterday evening’s broadcast (look in right sidebar and click under Editions du JT: 11/01/2005 – JT 20h; go 16 minutes into the broadcast) also showed the Americans bringing in supplies by helicopter, and by amphibian craft. The France2 newsbroadcasts have, all through this week, shown a lot of the good work the American servicemen have been doing, and how effective the Americans have been by working around the clock.
One could argue whether there’s a political agenda — to shame the Chirac government’s deadly inefficiency. For instance, David Pujadas (this week’s anchor), who has been doing a great job, clearly asked pointed questions whose answers directly contradict the official party line “the field hospital is ready”. Bernard Coq, the reporter in Aceh, started by saying, “while clearly one won’t contradict Mrs Defense Minister”, the field hospital is obviously not ready since at least half the supplies and nearly half the staff have no means of getting to the disaster area. The helicopter the French government sent is yet to be assembled.
What is clear, however, is that France2 news has presented a factual, and objective, record of what the USA has done well. France2 has also done an excellent job reporting the daily travails of the survivors, and the tsunami itself. If you have the time, it’s worth watching the entire broadcast even if you don’t understand the language.
Compare that with the Beeb: ‘Don’t mention the navy’ is the BBC’s line:
Last week we were subjected to one of the most extraordinary examples of one-sided news management of modern times, as most of our media, led by the BBC, studiously ignored what was by far the most effective and dramatic response to Asia’s tsunami disaster. A mighty task force of more than 20 US Navy ships, led by a vast nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln, and equipped with nearly 90 helicopters, landing craft and hovercraft, were carrying out a round-the-clock relief operation, providing food, water and medical supplies to hundreds of thousands of survivors.
The BBC went out of its way not to report this. Only when one BBC reporter, Ben Brown, hitched a lift from one of the Abraham Lincoln’s Sea Hawk helicopters to report from the Sumatran coast was there the faintest hint of the part that the Americans, aided by the Australian navy, were playing
The other evening all that was mentioned about the Americans’ work started with a line (delivered in a BBC-monotonous, ominous tone) that verged on the snarky: “The soldiers, detoured on their way to Iraq . . .”