by Yule Heibel on April 27, 2003

It’s probably real and not a CIA plot (see my blog yesterday about Documents), and I shouldn’t be so paranoid myself. But if it’s not a plot, here’s what it actually is: rankism. Yesterday, the Toronto Star had a story that their reporter, Mitch Potter, found the documents indicating an al Qaeda-Saddam Hussein link. It wasn’t on google.news, it wasn’t on the UP or AP ticker tapes. Today, it’s on google.news, but when I follow the links, I get to The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia for an article by Inigo Gilmore, a reporter for the Daily Telegraph in London. He had worked with Potter, but didn’t find the documents himself. In his article, he says, “Papers found by a journalist….” He doesn’t say, “found by me” (and might I point out that passive voice troubles me). The other links, however, including BBC, all stated that Gilmore found the documents, and nowhere in these articles is Potter even mentioned. On the Canadian side of the press room, the story is different: Potter found them, Gilmore was tagging along. For Potter’s full account, see today’s Toronto Star article.

I had a similar “grrr” moment when the UBC scientists at the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver broke the SARS riddle, while it was non-news in the US media until the CDC in Atlanta caught up. I always thought I was being so petty, but now I have a name for this: rankism, which coincidentally I had just read about in an AlterNet article called, “The Somebody Mystique and the Rise of the Uppity Nobody.” It’s an interview with Robert Fuller, author of Somebodies and Nobodies; Overcoming the Abuse of Rank. Modelling his analysis somewhat on Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, Fuller identifies rankism, which is an ism akin to racism, classism, etc., as giving birth to a counter-force he calls the dignitarian movement. It’s appealing, like the Second Superpower idea, and here in Canada we finally have a name for the daily BS we put up with from the US. Yes, I know that the American media haven’t had anything to do with this particular story development, but the Brits — Sunday Heralds, Sunday Telegraphs, Daily Telegraphs, and so on — also know a thing or two, particularly in the guise of colonialism, about rankism.

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