Letters to the editor Feb. 19
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 00:02
CNN article in the Feb. 18 Barometer
Offensive news article
I am writing to voice my frustration and opposition to The Daily Barometers decision to insert the CNN article “Lebanese women take on Muslim judges who call rape a ‘marital right’” on the back page of today’s issue. Fist of all, CNN’s parent company, Time Warner is the largest media conglomerate in the world. Their pro-Western and Zionist agenda are clear and well-known. I don’t need to remind you about CNN’s refusal to air the documentary on Bahrain made by their very own journalist, Amber Lyon. Their reason was obvious: “The US Military has its 5th Fleet in Bahrain and the Al-Khalifa family are ‘our’ old time ‘buddies’ ... we can’t afford to burn bridges for the sake of democracy or justice.”
Another failure to provide adequate context and sourcing from western media, case in point CNN, involves Israel’s relentless drive to build more settlements on Palestinian lands under Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak while firmly refusing Palestinians a right of return. This is one of the most essential and yet misunderstood pieces of the puzzle for understanding Israeli-Palestinian relations. Yet such important historical factors are largely devoid from CNN and other western media coverage of the Gaza tragedy.
CNN (and its western media croony) have an agenda to portray Muslim countries (Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine ) in the Middle East as barbaric and uncivilized nations governed by “Sharia” law. This is not the case. Some of the first civilizations in the word were established under Islamic leadership. Furthermore, Islam upholds and sanctifies the rights of women regardless of whether “they” belong to the faith or not. The stalled law in Lebanon that would protect the women from domestic violence has nothing to do with Islam and the title of that article is unfair, insulting and defaming.
When house Republicans made a bid to overturn federal law requiring employer (and religious institutions) to provide female employees with free health insurance coverage for contraceptives, neither CNN nor The Barometer dared to publish an article titled “Christians Conservative Oppose the Rights of a Women to gain contraceptive Insurance”. When Paul Ryan dismissed rape as just another form of conception, and defended his staunch anti-choice position on reproductive rights issues, neither CNN nor The Barometer published an article titled “Christian congressman says ‘Rape is part of God’s will and another form of Conception.’” Why? Because such a title would be defaming and insulting to the entire Christian religious following denomination. Why aren’t those same standards being held when it comes to Muslims?
If “we” have nothing better to print on The Daily Barometer but bogus CNN news articles, at-least put some thought into which articles do get inserted, and the title given to those articles. Show some courtesy and respect towards the desperate student population on campus. This is a university that should pride itself on striving to break hate messages and defaming propaganda towards any race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
A public apology seems warranted!
Water resources engineering
Response to letter printed in the Barometer
Let’s get our facts straight
I am deeply troubled not only by Steven McLain’s Feb. 14 and Harry Mallory’s Feb. 18 responses to the Feb 13 guest column “Broaden the conversation about sexual violence,” but also by the poor judgment of the Barometer editorial staff to print these incendiary, misogynistic diatribes.
McLain’s letter evidences ignorance when he dismisses the empirically established social reality of rape culture and insists that language is divorced from perception and attitude. His letter displays malice when he displaces rape as the problem that merits discussion and makes a concerted effort to belittle the original column by employing fallacious arguments to respond to straw-person arguments. Let’s get this straight: rape culture exists. The term is not “bandied about,” it is substantiated by peer-reviewed research conducted in the fields of sociology, psychology, communication studies, history and anthropology, among others. Culture, furthermore, is not the “conscious transmission of values.” This understanding of culture, which can be attributed to 19th century literary critic Matthew Arnold, has been considered incomplete and therefore antiquated for more than 75 years precisely because it does not account for the sometimes subtle role of symbol systems. Twentieth century literary scholar Kenneth Burke explains that one function of symbols is to communicate and legitimate attitudes, for instance, by decontextualizing rape (e.g. “that test just raped me”) so that it is tolerated and its gravity diminished in the original context of sexual violence. Another function of symbols that Burke outlines is to selectively represent reality, and in so doing deflect from other aspects of reality. For instance, by consciously expressing approval of sexist jokes we unconsciously express disapproval of equal respect for persons regardless of sex. Or, by prioritizing the “struggles to legitimize and acknowledge the sovereignty of the individual over the integrity of their person,” as McLain advocates, we diminish the struggle to end sexual violence.