Please read this column in the following context. Shortly after I wrote it, but before sending it in, I received word that the sponsors of H,Res. 106 were delaying bringing it to a vote. All this does is change the timing of our efforts, not the substance. In fact, it gives us time to do the very things I recommend below. Nor does the concluding paragraph require amendment.
I think we might all be getting a sense of what it must’ve been like being subjected to a torture device favored by the late Shah’s SAVAK (secret police). Evidently, it was a head-enveloping helmet that caused the victim’s screams to echo, thus “enhancing” the suffering.
The American media is the helmet. The screams are “It’ll never pass,” “106’s supporters are jumping ship,” “Give up, it’s hopeless.” In particular, the right wingnut radio and TV operation has been engaged to beat us and the Resolution’s Congressional supporters down. No less an “eminence” than Rush Limbaugh weighed in with his bulk and blather. Fox News was going against us full force. Not that the remainder of the media was much better, but at least they weren’t caustic in their criticism.
The ironic result is that we might actually benefit. Some 5000 articles have appeared about the Resolution in the run-up to the committee vote and since. That’s a lot of Genocide awareness being created. I’d bet we didn’t get this much exposure while our ancestors were being killed off by the Turks. Very little of this coverage questions the verity of the Genocide, just the timing of the Resolution relative to the Iraq war effort’s need for Turkish land and air space.
Once again, we should thank the Turkish government for helping us do our job by spending their millions and using up chits with their U.S. minions.
BUT, this doesn’t mean the news is all good. We must counteract this media attack or our efforts on the political front will be damaged. In fact, according to one of our media operatives, that’s EXACTLY the strategy our opponents have adopted. They’ve opened up a new front where they know we’re not as strong. They saw they were losing politically, we had the votes, so they shifted to the media echo/torture chamber.
What are we to do? While still calling members of the House of Representatives, we must also start pressuring the media. Before going on, let me tell a VERY illuminating story from the days when the (Azeri) Turks were massacring us in Baku.
At the time, I was the ANC-WR Executive Director. Coverage by the LATimes had been undesirable. I called to pursue improvement and spoke to Simon Li, then the foreign desk editor. He agreed to meet with us. We were all pleasantly surprised. But what is most telling about this incident is what he said to us. He asked if we knew why he agreed to meet with us. Of course we did not. He told us my call was the first where the caller was calm and rational.
The moral of the story is clear. Good cop, bad cop. Any time you see bad coverage, start calling the outlet- newspaper, radio or television station, blog- in question. Get your friends, relatives, and neighbors to call. Drive them nuts. Here, if you use e-mail or snail mail, it’s good. But MUCH better is the personal impact of a call. Think of how easy it is to ignore text- electronic or ink- versus someone screaming in your ear. But be sure to let your local or regional ANC know. You’re creating the entry. Then let someone who’s media savvy go in. You can go to the various ANC websites (especially the ANCA’s that promptly reports developmen’s), or call the regional offices for local references– Eastern Region- 617/926-3974, Western Region- 818/500-1918.
In your calls or other contact, hit them with facts, press them for corrections, demand space for op-ed pieces that tell our side of the Resolution story– not the Turkish/Administration/Defense lobby’s spin and lies. The resolution has more cosponsors, even now, than 90 percent of the bills in Congress, and, at its peak, barely a handful had more. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is still committed to bringing the Resolution to a vote– when has she ever said otherwise? Turkey, no one else, is endangering the lives of American soldiers by threatening to close its transport routes. Turkey is threatening to destabilize the entire Middle East by invading Iraqi-Kurdistan. Why should American values and history (going back to the relief provided in the immediate aftermath of the Genocide) be sacrificed so Turkey can continue its denial? Who else but a guilty party would go to such extremes to avert passage of an otherwise minor piece of legislation?
We’re winning. Now would be a very bad time to give up. Pick up another battering ram, and this time, go for the media.