Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tabloid television: A new circus in town

Tabloid television: A new circus in town

While attempting to portray border agents as heroes, the media exposes buffoons

By Brenda Norrell
Photo: Border patrol costume sold online for children

TUCSON -- The human rights activists on the US/Mexico border have done their work well. Their labors of love have brought new attention to the xenophobia and profiteering behind the border migration hysteria. They have put human faces on the hundreds who die each year in the Sonoran desert, including women and children, as the US criminalizes giving a cup of water or aid to the dying.

Activists on the border have exposed the murders, rapes, beatings and drug running of the US Border Patrol and other border agents. Activists have also exposed the billion dollar profiteering on the border from imprisoning migrants, including women and children, in private prisons and the Apartheid security produced by the same company, Elbit Systems, on the border of Palestine. Activists have brought attention to the drones, unmanned aircraft, above which are also used in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US for rogue assassinations and the killing of civilians.

In light of all this, it is nauseating to watch the new tabloid TV journalism which attempts to portray border agents as heroes and grand trackers. In the sensationalized coverage of narco trafficking at the border, both television and print media, including the New York Times, fail to investigate deeper. They fail to expose the crimes of the border agents and the US clandestine role in the ongoing drug smuggling at the border. They fail to report the murders, rapes, beatings and drug smuggling by border agents and the US military. They fail to expose the fact that the deadliest of the narco traffickers, the Zetas, now controlling the drug war in northern Mexico, were trained by US special forces of the US military.

Sadly, while trying to perpetuate the hype of grand border trackers, the TV media exposes the fact that most of these trackers can't even follow basic tracks and are too out-of-shape to climb a hill or even chase a suspect. It is obvious that what they spend most of their time doing is riding around in air-conditioned vehicles or on off road vehicles that tear up the desert.

Some of the media now attempt to give voice to the oppression that the Tohono O'odham people live with, the militarization of their land and the corruption of their elected tribal government. Still, it is more often than not tokenism, a little splash of truth without taking the risk to investigate deeper into the root causes. The media takes the safe route, focuses on drug trafficking, without examining who is doing it and how and why they are getting away with it.

There is little mention of the displacement and homelessness, assassinations and terror, caused by US and Canadian mining and energy companies in Mexico, Central and South America. As more Indigenous Peoples are made homeless by the US reign of terror -- the US and Canadian governments working in concert with corporations -- more come on foot in search of survival. Many, including women and children, die in the Sonoran Desert or are imprisoned in private prisons where they are abused and voiceless.

The borderzone is Indigenous territory. Even with the tribal governments coopted by Homeland Security, it is Indian land. They were the original occupants. Non-native border agents are johnny come latelies, white immigrants descending from the oppressors of Indigenous peoples.


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