NARRATIVE CONTROLLED

Ramzy Baroud offers a concise explanation of the Mother Sheehan phenomenon:

Unlike the disapproving, yet largely hushed, or perhaps overlooked millions, the 48-year-old mother, Sheehan, hauled anguish beyond words and camped near Bush’s Texas ranch. Initially, the White House completely ignored her pleas, simply devising alternative routes so that Bush wouldn’t run into ‘Camp Casey.’ When Sheehan finally forced her story on to the media, Bush took notice, dispatching some of his officials to pacify the devastated mother with yet more empty rhetoric. She refused to leave. Her insistence drew nationwide attention, quickly crossing the line dividing the alternative media from that of the mainstream. Right-wing apologists swiftly inundated the media, desperately trying to control a narrative, so instinctively woven by an ordinary woman so incessant on challenging the meaning, or lack thereof, in her son’s death.

While the clichéd understanding of the media’s role in the US is that it is an open, unhindered and evenly representative forum, the sad, albeit unsurprising truth is that the US mainstream media has always been a one-sided, drum-beating, chest-pounding, war-mongering medium where self-serving politicians and businessmen often come together in sinful matrimony. It has, however, so unfairly, tainted the image of the American people, as irrational minds, blindly ‘marching in support’ behind the president, the troops, American Ideals’ and so forth, as if the appalling values that molded the thinking of Bush’s ideologues has also influenced the aspirations of ordinary Americans everywhere.

The author, a “veteran Arab American journalist”, teaches mass communication at Australia’s Curtin University of Technology (Malaysia).

Posted by Tim B. on 09/26/2005 at 01:01 AM
    1. well he’s indulging in something starting with ‘mas’

      Posted by Nic on 09/26 at 01:20 AM • permalink

 

    1. I’m not sure, but I think he’s been smoking some *really* bad stuff.

      Either that, or the sky in his world is a very different color from that of this one.

      Posted by steveH on 09/26 at 01:30 AM • permalink

 

    1. It’s when i read comments like that, I wonder what on earth mainstream media publications/outlets people like these watch.

      And so, according to knobs like this chap, it’s OK for left wing apologists to organise and publicise these protests and inundate the media with their narratives but if a few right-wing talking heads pop up its all part of a conspiracy.

      Posted by Francis H on 09/26 at 01:43 AM • permalink

 

    1. Matrimony isn’t sinful (unless you have more than one wife).

      This sort of cliched rubbish is the product of a third rate education. I blame Curtin University, doing its best to lower educational standards in developing countries. This guy must rank with Dr Ivan Milat Molloy of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

      Posted by mr magoo on 09/26 at 01:46 AM • permalink

 

    1. So that’s what it looks like when ideology completed overwhelms journalistic integrity.

      Thank you, Tim, for bringing us this sterling example.

      Posted by blandwagon on 09/26 at 01:50 AM • permalink

 

    1. There’s a Curtin campus in Malaysia? I only thought Monash and Nottingham (UK) was stupid/clever enough…

      Posted by Rajan R on 09/26 at 01:59 AM • permalink

 

    1. hauled anguish beyond words

      Can Curtin offer this guy some remedial English classes?  And if he marries into Alan Ramsey’s family, will he be Ramzy Ramsey?

      Posted by cuckoo on 09/26 at 02:03 AM • permalink

 

    1. mr magoo: If you thought what is taught in Australian campuses in third-world countries appalling… how about their local universities? Relatively, they are saner and, thus, better… At the very least, its benefiting the local economy of Miri, Sarawak… socialist gweilos spend a lot.

      Back to that article, if the matrimony of media and business is sinful, what about higher education and profits? Certainly there is a greater reason than philantrophy increasingly cash-strapped Australian universities are opening campuses off-shore, ehh?

      Posted by Rajan R on 09/26 at 02:14 AM • permalink

 

    1. Perhaps slightly o/t (but if so only just), I was in Kuala Lumpur 2 weeks ago and had a look through a large bookshop directly across the road from the hotel in which I was staying (The Coliseum Cafe & Hotel, built 1920s and nothing altered since, regarded as ‘affordable and eccentric’).  The big table you walked into immediately upon entering the store had lots of stuff by and about former PM Mahathir, which is quite understandable.  More surprisingly however were the other books on this table:- three 911 conspiracy numbers (one suggested the CIA inflamed and funded a well-intentioned Islamic self-help group to carry it out, in order to obtain greater funding from Congress and greater powers to do bad things).  Another book was Henry Ford’s long-neglected classic ‘The International Jew’ [or perhaps it was The Universal Jew] written in the 1920s.  In fact it was ‘The Complete International Jew’ because it also contained the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, another supressed classic.  Anyway, if crap like this is prominently displayed in a major bookstore in the capital city, this might explain why many Malaysians, particuarly those Islamically-inspired, hold whacko views?

      Posted by IanMc on 09/26 at 02:21 AM • permalink

 

    1. IanMc: “Anyway, if crap like this is prominently displayed in a major bookstore in the capital city, this might explain why many Malaysians, particuarly those Islamically-inspired, hold whacko views?”

      Hey!

      Posted by Rajan R on 09/26 at 02:25 AM • permalink

 

    1. Anyway, if crap like this is prominently displayed in a major bookstore in the capital city, this might explain why many Malaysians, particuarly those Islamically-inspired, hold whacko views?

      Yes. Yes it does.

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 09/26 at 02:26 AM • permalink

 

    1. Rajan

      My impression of expatriate academics working in SE Asian universities is that if in Australia, they’d be lucky to get a job even at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

      The English-language newspapers in Thailand are full of whingeing letters from expatriates, who, when they can be prised out of the bars and brothels of Patpong Road, seem to do minimal work; make no attempt to understand the language and culture of their adopted country; live luxurious, minimally-taxed, servant-supported lifestyles; and snipe vigorously at John Howard, George Bush, etc from behind the hands of the masters who feed them. These are the ugly Aussies that Allison Broinowski should be drawing attention to.

      Posted by mr magoo on 09/26 at 02:42 AM • permalink

 

    1. was also the Editor-in-Chief of The Palestine Chronicle.

      Surprise, Suprise.

      Posted by JamesP on 09/26 at 02:44 AM • permalink

 

    1. Woops, quotes didnt seem to work.

      Add “ before ‘was’ and “ after ‘Chronicle.’

      Posted by JamesP on 09/26 at 02:46 AM • permalink

 

    1. Way O/T but…someone by the name of Ray Nagin has been posting over at Webdairy.
      “Hi Margo! Good to see you back on line and speaking ‘truth to power’! all the best to you and your team in your new venture. Regards.Posted by: Ray Nagin | 25/09/2005 7:16:18 PM”
      Could Ray be Margo’s new sugar-daddy? he’s certainly cashed up with Bu$h’ relief funds…

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 09/26 at 03:10 AM • permalink

 

    1. Hey Deo,
      I like some of the new commenters on Margo’s site…— Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 09/26 at 03:23 AM • permalink

 

    1. Tim, there is a good solid MSM feature here. WNo disrespect to the blog – far from it! – but what about a major piece for the Bulletin?

      Posted by Susan Norton on 09/26 at 03:42 AM • permalink

 

    1. Methinks readers of this venerable site are responsible for more than a few comments over at Margo Kingston’s Webdiary. Ed Hamish is clearly losing the battle…

      Back to Ramzy. Curtin University – which narrowly missed out on being named Curtin University of New Technology in its upgrade from an institute of technology – has been in Malaysia for ages. I doubt if there’s a single Australian university that doesn’t have some venture in the country (either through twinning arrangements or an actual campus).

      Ramzy seems par for the course in Australia, so it would be false advertising to have someone sensible in Malaysia, wouldn’t it?

      Posted by Hanyu on 09/26 at 03:57 AM • permalink

 

    1. Yeah and I bet those Yanks fire rifles in the air and blow themselves up at Hootenannys….

      Posted by crash on 09/26 at 04:01 AM • permalink

 

    1. Ramzay is par for the course at Curtin uni if it is anything like the parent uni in W.A. It’s students were investigated for being too heavy handed at religiously brainwashing others on campus…

      Posted by crash on 09/26 at 04:05 AM • permalink

 

    1. That last sentence… whew. Break out the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, because we got some tangles here.

      Posted by Jim Treacher on 09/26 at 04:13 AM • permalink

 

    1. Yeah, so many commas, so little time…

      Posted by Deo Vindice on 09/26 at 05:02 AM • permalink

 

    1. He’s the village explainer.

      Posted by rhhardin on 09/26 at 05:04 AM • permalink

 

    1. You can’t say cliché without saying Ché.

      Clenched fist salutes all round.

      Posted by Rob Read on 09/26 at 05:21 AM • permalink

 

    1. This “veteran Arab American journalist” sounds more like a “veteran of the psychic wars”…..with 100% disability.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 09/26 at 06:32 AM • permalink

 

    1. Why do Uni’s employ people like that? This is beyond the joke. Take a look at his staff profile!

      “In 2002, Ramzy Baroud had his first book published in the USA, entitled Searching Jenin, Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion (Cune Press, Seattle, Washington). This book was a best-seller for several months on Amazon.com’s modern history section. He is currently working on his third book entitled Writings on the Second Palestinian Uprising (to be published by Pluto Press, London).”

      Apparantly Chomsky wrote the introduction. Take a look at the review

      I dont think i’ll bother reading it, especially because i’ll have to pay for it.

      Posted by anthony27 on 09/26 at 07:23 AM • permalink

 

    1. this might explain why many Malaysians, particuarly those Islamically-inspired, hold whacko views?

      I stand to be corrected but my understanding is that anti-semitism is enshrined in the Malaysian constitution. Malaysians probably get an earful right through school. Not only are they beyond the pale, they’re beyond help.

      Could well account for why all of the Malaysians I went through post-grad with were obsessesed with obtaining permanent resident status and leaving Malaysia behind.

      Posted by walterplinge on 09/26 at 07:40 AM • permalink

 

    1. walterplinge: Officially, hardly anything in the national syllabus about “anti-Zionism” or anti-Semitism. If mentioned at all, it is just the usual lame excuses why Malaysia doesn’t have diplomatic and trade relations with Israel.

      However informally… well, that’s a different matter altogether :-). As a Malaysian living in Malaysia all my life, I can say this with great certaincy – most Malaysians know squat about Israel, Judaism, Jews and the likes and couldn’t give two toots about it.

      On the books in the bookstore, well, considering books reading stastistics in Malaysia, I guess only a fringe portion of Malaysia reads books, no less go to bookstores.

      As for PR… uhm, I doubt they do that because of the anti-semitism.

      Posted by Rajan R on 09/26 at 07:52 AM • permalink

 

    1. What a beautiful explanation, untainted by actual knowledge of the events and people involved.

      Posted by Mike G on 09/26 at 08:27 AM • permalink

 

    1. Anthony 27 you just gave all the reasons why unis employ people like that.His resume would have been irresistable to the Australia hating Curtin uni…..
      People like that are hired in our name and the joke is,we get to fork out the funds for it as well.We taxpayers that is.

      Posted by crash on 09/26 at 08:38 AM • permalink

 

    1. …as if the appalling values that molded the thinking of Bush’s ideologues has also influenced the aspirations of ordinary Americans everywhere.

      Translation: “Nooooo, Bushitler can’t possibly be representative of the U.S. population! He stole the election! People didn’t really vote for him! Waahhhhh!”

      Posted by PW on 09/26 at 09:30 AM • permalink

 

    1. quite a few tedious chaps from malaysia studying in melbourne have explained to me that jews be baaaaaaaad, & that that the policy of excluding many chinese malaysians from uni under a quota system, forcing them to come to australia for an education, is fine & dandy – & they call us racist

      perhaps rajan lives in the sunlit uplands of tolerance, & i have unluckily only met rogue islamofascist nutjobs from KL

      Posted by KK on 09/26 at 09:39 AM • permalink

 

    1. I believe Baroud holds the Goebbel’s chair in mass communications (Dang! I think I just violated Godwin’s Rule).

      Posted by paco on 09/26 at 11:09 AM • permalink

 

    1. Unlike the disapproving, yet largely hushed, or perhaps overlooked millions

      Where are these millions, I’d like to know?  Obviously Mr. Baroud has never attended a NASCAR rally, a baseball game, or a freakin’ mall opening if he thinks Americans let themselves be “hushed” or “overlooked” about anything.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 09/26 at 02:39 PM • permalink

 

    1. What the hell did he say?

      It looks like English….

      Posted by Barbara Skolaut on 09/26 at 03:05 PM • permalink

 

    1. I can prove Ramzy Baroud’s little theory is wrong with three words. New. York. Times.

      Posted by Jeremy on 09/26 at 09:10 PM • permalink

 

    1. However informally… well, that’s a different matter altogether :-). As a Malaysian living in Malaysia all my life, I can say this with Rajan sayz:

      great certaincy – most Malaysians know squat about Israel, Judaism, Jews and the likes and couldn’t give two toots about it.

      On the books in the bookstore, well, considering books reading stastistics in Malaysia, I guess only a fringe portion of Malaysia reads books, no less go to bookstores.

      It’s great to know that in an illiterate country, the folks who can and do read prefer books on wild conspiracy theories and jew-hating.  Not much different from the self proclaimed elite of western society.

      Fortunately, this type of compound stupidity also limits their ability to do any real damage beyond their own dung-filled nests.

      Posted by Howard on 09/26 at 10:25 PM • permalink

 

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