In case you missed it, Salvadorans voting in Sunday's election put Mauricio Funes of the FMLN, the former rebel party, in control for the first time, ending two decades of right wing Arena party rule.
The US media didn't highlight the story, and it figures. The U.S. should be ashamed of its history with the tiny Central American country. The U.S. isn't very good at finishing things (Afghanistan, Iraq, V...) but it sure jumps into bed with plenty of nasty people for expediency sake.
Jennifer Anniston, or the CIA secretly torturing prisoners at "black sites"
According to CNN ("Leftists Claim El Salvador Presidency," a nice value-laden header):
"Mauricio Funes, a member of a political party that waged guerrilla war against the government 17 years ago, claimed the presidency of El Salvador on Sunday night." It goes on, almost in passing. "The FMLN, which is the Spanish acronym for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, was formed in late 1980 as an umbrella group for five leftist guerrilla organizations fighting a U.S.-backed military dictatorship. The guerrillas and the government signed a peace pact in 1992 and the FMLN became a legitimate political party. By some estimates, 75,000 Salvadorans died during the war."
Mauricio Funes, or the cast of "Friends"
Bury that below the fold. A newsreader might stumble upon the phrase "U.S.-backed military dictatorship" in a country where "75,000 Salvadorans died." It's kind of messy and requires explanation, and we Americans (Norteamericanos, that is) are so busy, go, go, go. We don't have time for the follow-up story. Or the backstory, for that matter. Or history in general.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, or thousands of "disappeared" dissidents
Dictatorships are depressing, and our attention span is short. News crews need to cover more important things, such as the ongoing love story of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and poor jilted Jennifer Aniston. Or the woman with octuplets. Or anything that affects our pocketbooks, and jostles our Comfort Zone. Besides, news needs to be flashy to compete with "America's Most Idle" and "Big Fat Loser." A few important stories slide.
Don't get me wrong. The El Salvador story is out there. But not nearly as prominently displayed as one would think considering our history propping up this quasi-fascist police state for so many years. I'm not naive; I don't expect the news to trumpet shameful episodes of our past, but I expect some sense of recognition and historical responsibility, especially regarding conditions we've helped create. We can be a force for great good, or we can continue to support convenient bullies, and we won't know the difference without a truly independent news media asking tough questions.
Julia Roberts or nameless Salvadoran exercising democracy
Jack Kennedy once said that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. In this rare instance, the revolution was peaceful and that should be celebrated.