So how do we bring about change in 2018? It may seem like I’m doing advertising for MSNBC with today’s video, but I assure you I’m not. It’s about trying to take a chunk of media that serves a purpose and put it in front of more people. This may seem petty and small, but I really don’t think it is. In fact, I think it’s this kind of “media hacking” that can actually bring about change in the modern day.
It’s common for people to be hopeless about the way things are going. “Whatever, we’re all screwed!” is often the prevailing attitude. We’re all at the mercy of insane government institutions and the media that gave us our reality TV president. One of the central messages of this channel is that that approach is nuts. In fact, we’re in a better place than we have ever been. In the United States at least, we’ve got a 230 year old system that provides all the tools we need to change things for the better. The weird social media / news / politics ecosystem that is evolving now is tremendously disconcerting, but it also provides new opportunities. We wouldn’t have ended up with Trump without the internet. But would we have ended up with the speedy adoption of marijuana legalization, gay marriage, or the (painfully slow) fall of mass incarceration without the internet? It’s not all disaster.
If we do solve the problem of the US forever war, it’s going to be by using these new social media tools in combination with the older tools of the US political system. I have no idea what that’s going to look like. But I think the experiment that is today’s video is worth trying. Last March, when the senate was debating a resolution that could have ended the war on Yemen, I urged people to call their congresspeople. This is just another approach to the same goal.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there. Last week US bombs rained down on a school bus in Yemen, killing at least 50 people, including dozens of children. The US forever war is filled with horror, but this one is worth focusing on, because it’s so, so pointless. We’re not fighting ISIS here, we are supporting the invasion of Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It’s just US supported murder, pure and simple. For no good reason. The Saudis and Emiratis are reliant on the US for intelligence, aerial refueling, and all the military technology they are using. We could stop this immediately, possibly saving millions of lives.
The Horrors of Yemen are especially frustrating because they are so easy to fix. Much of the US forever war is justified as an attempt to fight terrorists like Al Qaeda and ISIS. As an in-depth report from the Associated Press underlined last week, in Yemen, the United States is directly allied with Al Qaeda. As far as I can see, that makes this war illegal. In Yemen, the United States is acting as a state sponsor of Al Qaeda, the organization that brought down the twin towers on 9/11.
Though they wouldn’t put it in those terms, a bipartisan group of US legislators has been trying to end this illegal, horrific war. This March I hopefully documented the efforts of three US Senators to end the war. This effort failed. To add to the frustration, it failed quite narrowly. Because nobody paid attention.
Unlike many issues, it wasn’t the US congress that failed here. It was us. The American people, and the people of the world, failed the US congress. It’s easy to blame the media. The war in Yemen is barely covered, and when it is, the stories often fall for the “It’s all About Iran” lie that the US and Saudi governments are selling. But I think there’s more to it than that.
Our cable news channels are a business. They cover what we want them to cover. And unfortunately what we want them to cover today is Donald Trump. It’s pointless to hope for anything worthwhile from the two Trump channels. They are now making more money than ever, and they’re not going to risk that by covering some boring war that makes the US look bad.
But I think people are right to expect more from MSNBC. It sells itself as the “progressive” news channel. Historically, back before the days of the Russia panic, Progressive used to mean anti-war. But MSNBC is failing as well. They almost never mention US participation in Yemen. Last month Adam Johnson, a left-wing Journalist, found a clever way to make people aware of this. He used a Stripper.
He pointed out that as of July 2nd a full year had passed without MSNBC covering the US participation in the war on Yemen. Over the same period they had run 455 segments talking about the stripper Stormy Daniels. Trump cheated on his wife with Daniels, and his botched attempt to pay her off has been a big part of the media’s Trump bonanza over the past year. Johnson’s insertion of Yemen into the main money-making story was a great success. The story was picked up everywhere and was very embarrassing to MSNBC. It worked.
5 days ago, prompted by that embarrassment, and horror at the school bus bombing, Chris Hayes of MSNBC ran a powerful two minute segment on the US War on Yemen. I’ve linked it here, and I suggest you watch it. Seriously, press pause, click the link up here to my left and watch it. I’ll wait.
He’s right. Our government, our public dollars are paying to kill Yemeni children. And it’s our government, and our representatives that can stop it.
See what I mean? Great stuff. Emotional, moving, great production values. Those two minutes should be worth more than the hours of amateurish YouTube videos I’ve put together on Yemen over the past year. Or at least they should be. But they’re not. Because we are failing MSNBC just as badly as we failed those heroic senators back in March.
MSNBC has posted this video on YouTube. And it hasn’t done much better than my videos on Yemen do. Of the 26 videos that MSNBC posted on YouTube on August 9th, the Yemen video is the worst performing, by a lot. At a little over 10,000 views it underperformed a video about Wookies. Four videos that covered the Trump Russia investigation all broke 100,000 views, and the video that included the crucial key words Mueller, Russia and Julian Assange broke 300,000 views. With results like this, how many more Yemen segments do you honestly expect MSNBC is going to produce?
Congress is trying to do the right thing here. Even the US media is occasionally trying to do the right thing with Yemen. We just aren’t paying attention. But we can fix this. As I said at the beginning, Yemen is the easiest problem in the world to fix. All the pieces are in place. More people just need to know about it. Because to know the war in Yemen is to oppose it. So please, take that great MSNBC clip on Yemen and share it. Share it right now. You don’t have to be from the United States to make a difference here. If MSNBC gets a spike of views on this clip, I assure you they will take notice.
And If you want to take the next step, and educate yourself on what’s actually going on in Yemen, I suggest you watch my first five videos on Yemen’s disaster, that are now front and center on this channel’s main page. They are probably the best thing I’ve ever done. If you take the half hour to watch those videos you will know more about Yemen than 99% of Americans. You’ll have the tools necessary to make a difference to solve this surprisingly easy problem.
Thanks for watching, please subscribe, and please, please share that MSNBC clip on Yemen. It really could make a difference. Thanks.