Thursday, June 01, 2006

Frontline: History of AIDS, part 2

I saw the second half and, try as I might to just accept it for what it is, I couldn't help noting the bias and lacunae.

* The religious Right is depicted as having been nothing more than an obstacle to progress in dealing with the disease, until Bono and Franklin Graham start twisting arms. I didn't see a single mention about all the in-the-trenches work the Catholic Church has done caring for victims, and nary a peep about the late pontiff. It's an ugly thought and one hate to loosely ascribe it to Frontline, but anti-Catholicism is one of the bigotries permissible on the Left.

* The U.S. black community is shown as being in denial of the reality of the plague in their midst. There should have been an accounting of the persistence of the rumor among blacks, that AIDS was cooked up by whites to kill them off. This is not a trivial phenomenon, nor is it confined to people of lower educational attainment. It's a sign of deep alienation. It is only very obliquely alluded to, in a soundbyte of a demo speaker with a bullhorn.

* Up until the Bush adminstration, Republicans are cast as Those Damn Conservatives. They don't appear onscreen without low, ominous, synth chords playing on the undertrack, to stoke your revulsion. And hey, maybe they deserve it, in the historical record. But at least take the time to make a case, eh?

* In one of the final segments, Richard Holbrooke issues a call to attack AIDS as it spreads, before it spreads. Well, as I blogged last time, the gay liberation "community" scotched all the efforts along those lines, in the early months of the crisis. Too late now, thanks to them! The show faults gay behavior for the spread of the disease in the last segment. We can't expect Frontline to sermonize, I suppose; so that will have to be as close to an assignment of blame as we'll get from them. Other than slamming Ronald Reagan for not putting condoms on bananas during one of his SOTU speeches, that is.

* China's tardy effort to deal with the crisis was represented as simply a condom handout campaign. The show mentioned China's notorious one child policy, so the producers must have known about the chi-coms' cruelty. But there is no reportage, speculation, or misgivings of any kind as to what might be happening to Chinese AIDS victims, far away from prying Western eyes. This is a regime which massacred its own young people live on internatinal television, remember. It never has valued and does not now value the lives of its citizens.

OTOH, I was more than mildly surprised to see them call the UN's efforts a flop and waste of money. That was sort of like seeing the Democratic Party denouncing Michael Moore as a phony and a seditionist would be.

Good parts? The bits on Uganda, South Africa, Brazil, and India. These countries are represented as having something on the ball, and it was a somewhat heartening way to end the show, with a roundup of their prospects.

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