A pet project of the Instapundit (amongstotherbloggers) is to raise awareness what is going on in Darfur and they even have concrete suggestions about what to do. As I noted in February the UN decided it wasn't genocide and although there has been some coverage in the NY Times (e.g. Nicholas Kristof on Sunday) and by the BBC (see this piece on possible war crimes) Darfur seem to be ignored by most of the media (and many leftish bloggers, even feminists) who seem to be more concerned about the possible religious insults to a few hundred men in a prison in Cuba.
[On that note it is worth pointing out that the BBC article can't resist a slag off at the US about its dislike of the ICC which would seem to be rather less important than the actual crimes that are being investigated, said crimes not rating a mention in the article but I digress]
Then there is that blackhole called Zimbabwe. Again media interest has been spotty - the Torygraph has been pretty good, the BBC does OK and you see stories like this in the Grauniad - but the wall to wall coverage just isn't there. On the other hand quite a fewblogs have frequent in depth reports.
To put it bluntly it looks like the mainstream media is going for the easy stories. Iraq is an easy war to cover, so is Israel, non war stories such as Michaal Jackson or the EU constitution are even easier to cover and can be reported from places with nice comfortable hotels. The MSM claims that it is better than the blogosphere because it has the resources etc. to cover news properly but there is an entire continent where that is not the case. In much of Africa foreign journalists are severely hampered by the local governments and local journalists live in fear of being tortured or killed. Curiously in Iraq, despite the claims of Linda Foley etc., the MSM does not have a problem making its reports about the "insurgency". Maybe the MSM should start paying attention to the African sections of the reports of NGOs such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch and following up on them instead.
However we may be seeing a change in the air and if so then that will be due to the odd combination of Blair, Bush, Bono and Bob Geldof. Initially I was pretty sceptical about Live8, but Bob Geldof had a conferencecall with anumberofbloggers to explain what he is trying to do with Live8. My respect for Sir Bob rose when I read what he thought of the EU's CAP - "The EU is a protection racket that Al Capone would love. The trade cartels exist to protect domestic production." I wonder what Sir Bob thinks of the EU's DDT policy? I imagine he would consider it to be a classic illustration of his statement.
I find it interesting that the blogosphere was used to raise awareness of Live8 and that the resulting discussion is all about what sort of aid and assistence should be provided to Africa (see links above), because a Google news search shows headlines about the scramble for tickets, the lack of Parisian venues and so on rather than about the underlying reasons for the concerts.
However I reckon Sir Bob should have included Mark Steyn in his call, Steyn's column today is pretty much what I would have written if I hadn't read the blogosphere transcripts of the conference call (and if I had Steyn's gift of writing). He does however make some good points such as asking the question of why no one outsources things to Africa? and the way that Africa's leaders and the UN are unwilling to criticise other African leaders. He also nails the "progressive attitude"
After all, Kershaw's remedy for avoiding the "reinforcement" of "global perceptions" about Africa would surely reinforce the oldest stereotype of all - that say what you like about these darkies, but they've got the most marvellous sense of rhythm. [...]
As long as Western progressives are divided into those who wish to keep Africa in a backward subsistence agriculture economy and those who wish to keep Africa in a backward subsistence agriculture economy but if the rude fieldhands break into something catchy enough when Andy Kershaw's passing they'll be in with a shot as the warm-up to Bananarama at the next all-star charity gala, the do-gooders will have no useful contribution to make to Africa's future.
I don't think he quite goes far enough in nailing the damage that political correctness does to the cause of actually helping Africans. Just because they are black and dislike Bush, Blair etc. doesn't mean that we should not roundly condemn certain African regimes. Yet when you read the press comment about the G8 summit you get the impression that the problem with Africa is that Bush (and America) are too stingy.
I despise l'Escroc and Vile