Monday, March 20, 2006

All The News That's Not Fit To Print But We'll Take Your Money Anyway

Sudan Latest Country to Print Reams of Investor Propaganda in New York Times

UPDATED 3/21/06
Lloyd Grove in the Daily News has a follow-up on the Sudan propaganda screed published in yesterday's Times, including word that the spread cost an estimated $929,000 to crank out.
Oh, and if you thought swords being turned into plowshares was the answer to all things that ailed Sudan, think again, says Human Rights Watch:

If you pick up The New York Times on Monday and feels a little thicker than usual, chances are it's because some third-world country has paid to make it that way.
Moldova, Kazakhstan and a few African nations are among those who've put out eight-page advertising supplements that, in effect, tell you how wonderful they are, please invest your money here and we'll make sure there's no coup that will nationalize your factories.
Rare is the person who actually reads these things, but that doesn't stop these countries and their PR machines from trying. The latest entry is Sudan, whose rendition is remarkable for spreading a little sunshine among the spin. But just a little.
To wit, this unintentionally amusing passage:

Ministers are frustrated that coverage of Sudan in the international media has focused almost exclusively on the fighting between rebels and Arab militias in the western province of Darfur.

You think?

Geez, you just hate it when facts get in the way of good propaganda.

You could see how Sudan would be cheesed off at the Fourth Estate for reporting on a genocide in Darfur that has claimed an estimated 200,000 lives, displaced nearly 2 million and forced 3 million people to rely on humanitarian assistance.
And, oh that pesky militia? They kind of, sort of have government backing, all the while raping and murdering villagers, and stealing their food and livestock after burning down what was already a sorry excuse for a home.
Isn't it enough that Sudan finally ended a 25-year civil war that killed more than 2 million people and actually has a functioning government (in your face, Somalia)?
Those darn journalists, always looking at the glass half-empty.

There's evidence that Sudan is hoping that all would be forgiven on pages 4-5 of the supplement, which boldly proclaims the opportunities to find new sources of OIL (their emphasis and color). Ah, now you got our attention, we who live in the land of $3-a-gallon-for-premium gasoline.

Alas, though, lest ExxonMobil and Halliburton start salivating, the supplement also has a headline that reads: "Huge projects required in road, rail and water infrastructure."
You see, Sudan is slightly larger than one-quarter of the U.S., it has but 2,250 miles of paved roads.
So, there is no road to the black gold. You have to build it yourself. And if you can feed a few thousand refugees along the way (after all, if you build it, they will come), well, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

No comments: