The American media's lack of self-awareness
The NY Times had an above-the-fold article recently titled Hunger Strike Creates Unwanted Backdrop for Russia During World Cup.
A praised Ukrainian film director imprisoned in Russia has been turning down food for a month, attracting international support and creating an unwanted backdrop for Moscow as the World Cup is underway.
“Time is running out,” the writer Stephen King tweeted in an appeal for the director on Friday, “and he may die for his views.”
The director, Oleg Sentsov, is waging the hunger strike to protest the detention of his fellow Ukrainians.
Yes, that does have bad optics for Russia.
But do you want to know something else that the NY Times didn't write a single word about that also has bad optics?
Nearly 30,000 inmates in California prisons refused meals for the second day Tuesday in protest of solitary confinement conditions for inmates at Pelican Bay and Corcoran state prisons, according to corrections officials.
Both are maximum security prisons, which are reserved for the most dangerous and violent criminals who have committed crimes such as murder, kidnapping or robbery.
Officials do not yet have numbers on Wednesday's protests, but advocates say the strike - the third of its kind in two years - was planned far in advance and could go for weeks. Talks between inmates and corrections officials over changes to solitary confinement conditions broke down last month.
"It's fundamentally light years different than what happened in 2011 with the first round of strikes. There is so much more support this time," says Denise Mewbourne at the San Francisco-based Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. "People are saying: 'I'm willing to die,' because the conditions they are living in are so bad."
So one guy in a Russian prison goes on a hunger strike and the American news media can't get enough of it.
But THIRTY THOUSAND American prisoners go on a hunger strike and I dare you to find it in the American news media. The real kicker to this is that this keeps happening.
The meals were refused on Monday and Tuesday as inmates announced what they said would be the third extended hunger strike in two years protesting conditions for the more than 4,500 gang members, gang associates and serious offenders held in the security housing units. Many of those inmates are kept in solitary confinement, sometimes for decades.
The protest is the latest disruption for a prison system already facing legal and logistical challenges. Officials are struggling to move about 2,600 inmates from two Central Valley prisons because they are considered especially vulnerable to a potentially fatal airborne fungus. They also are appealing a separate court order requiring the state to release nearly 10,000 inmates by year's end to reduce prison crowding as the best way to improve conditions for sick and mentally ill inmates.
Now which one of these two prison systems sounds like a gulag?