Thursday, May 09, 2002

Not Necessarily the News - Our local news rags, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune recently buried two local news stories deep within the bowels of their papers. What upsets me is that both events occured near my house, one of them only three blocks away. I only found out about them because I car pool every morning and this past Tuesday, I struck up a conversation with the driver during the commute.

Over the weekend, some tried to burn down the local synagogue down the street by pouring gasoline at the base of the building and lighting it. Luckily, there is a fire house only two blocks away from the synagogue, and the Oakland Fire Department put out the fire within minutes. One does not have to be Sherlock Holmes to link this crime to recent events in the Middle East between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But aside from a tiny article in the local paper, I have not heard a single local politician or editorial writer speak out against this apparent anti-Jewish violence. Of course, the Chronicle and the Tribune would merely be following the lead of many national papers--such as the New York Times and Los Angeles Times--that have been accused of playing down violence against Israelis and favoring the Palestinians in their coverage of the Middle East conflict.

The other news item was really a series of separate and distinct events: six homicides that occurred in Oakland within a 48 hour period over the weekend, setting a city record. On Monday, the Chronicle printed a really nice graphic that mapped out the six slayings on a map of Oakland. If you connect the dots, you can see a nearly straight line that runs along Route 580 across Oakland. My house is almost exactly in the middle, between murders #3 and #6. However, if you read the Oakland Tribune or watch the local news, this story was buried behind the Cinco de Mayo parade and mass transit fare hike stories.

Did I mention that both newspapers had the teacher's union-sponsored "Education Rally" in Sacramento splashed across their front pages on Monday morning?


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