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Media coverage - the way it sometimes works

20 October 2005

An UNPFA-backed workshop in Bucharest the day before yesterday, called for gender-awareness to be retained and incorporated into military and political thinking so that recent lessons from many war-ravaged communities were not lost. This was picked up by Lesley Abdela at Shevolution – but received no major coverage.

On the other hand, a report by Sarah Martin and the Washington-based advocacy group, Refugees International to the effect that sexual abuse persists in being committed by UN peacekeepers or ‘blue helmets’ where a ‘hyper-masculine culture’ has created ‘tolerance of extreme behaviour’ was covered the next day in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Sydney Morning Herald – see our Daily Links today for the report and some coverage.

The timing on the peacekeeper abuse report is intriguing and it will be interesting to see how the story runs over the next few days as a powerful disincentive for anyone to look to the UN on matters of Women, Peace and Security. Of course it is important that this abuse gets coverage, but one good example of how such a story can be misused may be found on a website which I came across as a result of a 20-second google. This was the website of Aim – to quote their mission statement:

‘Accuracy In Media is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.’

The article in question was by Cliff Kincaid – editor of something called the AiM Report.

If you have any doubts about his article’s accuracy, you probably will not be reassured by some aspects of Kincaid’s biography on the website’s front page – freedom of information is a wonderful thing...

Kincaid, we are told:

‘Through his America's Survival, Inc., organization ...has been an advocate on behalf of the families of victims of terrorism and has published reports and held conferences critical of the United Nations. ... He was an editorial writer and newsletter editor for former National Security Council staffer Oliver North at his Freedom Alliance educational foundation. He has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.’

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