Was it really Malaria Awareness Day???????

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looking at the pictures above, one would have thought that President Bush was entertaining government officials visiting the U.S. from some African country.  These pictures and images is what was shown on cable and local news shows throughout the evening.  But that was not the case……

Yesterday was the White House’s first annual Malaria Awareness Conference. 

So one would assume that since the White House decided to have their first Malaria Awareness Day Conference, that you would hear highlights of how the conference went.  One would assume that the media would have shown clips of the conference highlighting that:

  • More than 1 million people die each year from malaria
  • Malaria is the leading cause of death of African children under age 5
  • The saddest part about Malaria killing 1 million African people a year is easily preventable and curable.  By providing basic medication and some safety precautions.

But if you watched the news last night, and saw the video clip  of the President and the First Lady dancing with the West African Dance Troop, you would have no idea why the troop or any of those African people were at the White House!! 

The media focused so much attention on Bush’s attempt to dance, that Malaria took a back seat.  Every damn cable news network and local media outlet had discussions not about Malaria, but on how goofy Bush looked, or how Bush was “boggying down” or “getting jiggy with it”.   The media didn’t even have the insight to find out the name of the African dance that the West African Dance Troop was performing; it was not a jig or a boogy dance as most in the media have coined it. 

They showed not one video clip from the conference.  I saw not one health professional on any of the news shows discussing the seriousness of Malaria; Only panels of discussing Bush’s dance moves.   

When Mad Cow Disease hit (which only killed a handful of people) we were flooded with health experts from around the world on every media outlet.  When the recent pet food crisis happened, every segment of the news covered it as if it was the end of the world; But when it comes to Malaria (which killed 1 million Africans last year alone) , a disease that is easily curable and preventable,  the media decides that it would shift their coverage on President Bush’s dancing skills.

This is not an attack on President Bush, because print media clearly includes parts of the discussion from the conference which addressed what president Bush said about Malaria; This is an objective blast at the media networks, which have a history of underestimating, undervaluing and grossly marginalizing the images of black people.  Even with an issue as serious as Malaria and its affect on Africa, the media made a conscience decision to shift its coverage to the least important part of the conference to entertain the American people and the international news organizations. 

Am I reading too much into this?  I don’t think so.

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One Response

  1. I agree with you 100%. I’ve long ago given up on mainstream “american media”. If it’s not C-span, BBC, or MPT – I’m not watching. (Ok – why lie – I gotta have my sports too 🙂

    One of my favorite rap artists – Immortal Technique – has this powerful song about the american media called “Fourth Branch” where he posits that the media is just an extension and mouthpiece of the American government.

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