I am not a TV fan and frankly I didn’t have a clear idea on how the recent events in Iran are represented in the international MSM.
It was quite an experience for me to spend the most part of yesterday at a friend’s in front of the TV. We watched mainly CNN where the Iran coverage constituted almost 70% of the program.
Various far-from-interesting-guests-and-experts would explain in length their difficulties to get information out of the country and what were the limitations imposed recently on foreign journalists. Footage of Iran consisted mainly of whatever they found on the net and guests would explain that they weren’t sure of the date and location. You had those who thought that President Obama was doing the “right thing” etc. My friend and I laughed at the “art” of talking and talking and not having much to say.
The only thing we learned about this lengthy Iran program with not much substance was the following: For some reason CNN was willing to invest a lot of its valuable air time to Iran despite the lack of facts, figures or in depth analysis.
No need to say that all my sympathies are toward the brave Iranian youth. Still this program was sort of ridiculous if you think that the Afghan, Iraqi or Palestinian people are systematically deprived of such an interest.
Now I understand As’ad AbuKhalil’s frustration when he speaks precisely of the CNN coverage:
“[…] But the hypocrisy is quite stunning. They are admiring the dare of the population when the Palestinian population shows more dare. They are outraged at the level of repressive crackdown by the regime when Israeli crackdowns on demonstrations are far more brutal and savage? They are admiring the participation of women in a national movement, when Palestinian women led the struggle from as far back as the 1930s (see the private papers of Akram Zu`aytir). They are outraged that the Iranian government is repressing media coverage, when the Israeli government is far more strict: when it was perpetrating slaughter in Gaza few months ago, the Western press was not allowed any freedom of movement except the hill of death where Michael Oren led reporters to watch Israeli brutal assault on the Palestinian civilian population from a distance. The media coverage in the US and UK prove beyond a doubt that increasingly the Western press has been serving as a tool for the various Western government. If the government cheers, the media cheer, if the government condemns, the media condemns, etc. […]
And here is Doug Darkworld’s take of the coverage where he distinguishes three types of reporting (1,2,3 are added):
“[…] Basically, there’s always people rioting and demonstrating about something somewhere. We can’t rely on the media to tell us what they are rioting about, but the coverage of such events is revealing. To wit:
- If foreign demonstrations get extensive media coverage and are portrayed as popular “pro-democracy” movements, this means the government in question has told the USA to fuck-off and they aren’t about to let the UN and the IMF run their countries to expedite western looting of their resources. This of course would be the case in Iran.
- If the demonstrators are opposing a US backed today government, they will get zero mainstream media coverage. This would be the case in Georgia or Thailand.
- And if the demonstrators are actually opposing the hyper concentration of wealth and power that epitomizes the modern era, such as the protesters at the recent G20 conference, they will be portrayed as radical anarchist thugs.
See, one can learn something from the mainstream media, one just as to know how to interpret it.[…]”
Canadian journalist Paul Jay, former executive producer of CBC, is the founder of Independent World Television – The Real News , a project to establish an independent news and current affairs network without government or corporate funding. The network will be supported by its viewers.
The Real News youtube page
Link via Iran Coverage
Thanks (again) to Throw away your telescreen I came across the Alternate Focus: Broadcasting the other side of the story.
Who are they? The three founding directors, a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim, are working together for peace and justice by offering the American public media which shows another side of Middle Eastern issues.
Video of the week: Iraq the bases are loaded
“Will the U.S. ever leave Iraq? Official policy promises an eventual departure, while warning of the dire consequences of a “premature” withdrawal. But while Washington equivocates, facts on the ground tell another story. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, and author Chalmers Johnson, are discovering that military bases in Iraq are being consolidated from over a hundred to a handful of “megabases” with lavish amenities. Much of what is taking place is obscured by denials and quibbles over the definition of “permanent.” The Bases Are Loaded covers a wide range of topics. Gary Hart, James Goldsborough, Nadia Keilani, Raed Jarrar, Bruce Finley, Kam Zarrabi and Mark Rudd all add their observations about the extent and purpose of the bases in Iraq.”
The war has been going on now for just over a week. Many people have died on both sides, though of course primarily on the Iraqi side. […] The initial euphoria has worn off, the talk of “shock and awe,” and now the self-magnifying chatter of the media has turned to concerns about overreaching […] It will now be a long, bloody, messy war, we are told, in which we could be stuck for months. Meanwhile the protests, too, have cooled off […] History is being written with guns and missiles, with the blood and sweat of young soldiers, and we are in the very first weeks of a new “Anglo-American alliance” which appears set to dominate the world stage for the next century, if it can. As far as I can tell, so far the American people seem to be responding to the costs of conflict with a sort of stoic pride: we are not really as soft or as scared of “body count” as all the pundits assumed. But there is also concern that things are not going as smoothly as we were initially led to believe […]
What makes us so passive, I want to know? What makes us so certain that history is written by others, scripted by Hollywood perhaps […] Perhaps we have been conditioned to this passivity? Perhaps it is a product of the media sphere in which we live, in which targeted marketing has replaced tradition, thoughtfully providing us with models for our every move […] Those people are professionals, and with their focus groups and demographic profiles, they know us better than we know ourselves. The smart thing to do is simply to go along with it, settle in and enjoy the ride.
Yet if one thing has remained constant in the last fifty years, it is that consumerism is still the social cancer it has always been. It cannot replace tradition because tradition develops the whole person, although perhaps in ways that are now obsolete, while the consumer mentality treats the person in material terms only, as if we were nothing but a set of conditioned reflexes susceptible to tweaking. Even though the visible, physical prosperity of our society is treated as a good in itself, indeed as something worth exporting to the entire world, it can never replace the confrontation each individual must make within herself […] what is needed is for rebellion and questing to be directed into more “productive” channels, meaning the purchase of new toys. If you are young and full of excess spirit, take up snowboarding.
It is this video-game view of reality that is now commonplace. And the media sphere conspires to keep us ensnared in it by providing us with endless variations on the themes of money, sex and power. As a result we find ourselves where we are now, in the midst of a war that is a bit more real than we’d intended.
The Iraqis, not having been raised in the media sphere, don’t know how to play. Rather than giving up quickly so we may shower them with merchandise, they are taking things literally and putting up a fight. Will someone please tell them this is not in the script?
Did you meet mathissee?
A few days ago Asia time online published a very interesting article by Eli Clifton, first published by the International Relations Center: Inside the neo-con echo chamber. This article identifies and describes the background and the mechanism of the present day “power house medias” – TV or newspapers.
Somewhere in this article, a senior writer is quoted describing the reasons of the increased popularity of the “Echo-chamber” press, such as Fox: “… they feed the rage. We bring the pain to the liberal media … We’ve created this cottage industry in which it pays to be un-objective. It pays to be subjective as much as possible. It’s a great way to have your cake and eat it too. Criticize other people for not being objective. Be as subjective as you want. It’s a great little racket. I’m glad we found it, actually.” … read the article here
The Media’s “Fog Facts” on Iran
The Empire of Fear & the Media
The Fanonite has by now some 64 posts tagged Media, you can browse them here. Few titles:
NYT does Carter, Jan 08-07
How the NYT misreports US foreign policy, Dec 14-06
Portrayal of Arab Muslims in the Media, Nov 25-06
Robert Fisk wrote: “… a bejewelled lady on Fox TV telling American viewers that if “we” left Iraq, the “jihadists” would come after us. “They want a Caliphate that will take over the world,” she shrieked about a report that two children had deliberately been placed in an Iraqi car bomb which then exploded. She ranted on about how Muslim “jihadists” had been doing this “since the 1970s in Lebanon”. It was tosh, of course. Children were never locked into car bombs in Beirut – and there weren’t any “jihadists” around in the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s. But fear had been sown … fear seems to drip off the trees in America.
Dr Michael Noll’s students at Valdosta … packed into the same lecture I had given in Egypt and seemed to share a lot of the same fears about Iraq. But a sullen seminar that same morning was a miserable affair in which a young woman seemed to break down in anger. If “we” left Iraq, she said in a quavering voice, the jihadists, the “terrorists”, could come here to America. They would attack us right here.
I sighed with frustration. I was listening to her voice but it was also the voice of the woman on Fox TV, the repeated, hopeless fantasy of Bush and Blair: that if we fail in Iraq, “they”, the monstrous enemy, will arrive on our shores. Every day in the American papers now, I read the same “fear” transformed into irrationality … And I realise that the girl in Dr Noll’s seminar isn’t spouting this stuff about “jihadists” travelling from Iraq to America because she supports Bush. She is just frightened. She is genuinely afraid of all the “terror” warnings, the supposed “jihadists” threats, the red “terror” alerts and the purple alerts and all the other colour-coded instruments of fear. She believes her president, and her president has done Osama bin Laden’s job for him: he has crushed this young woman’s spirit and courage.
But America is not at war. There are no electricity cuts on Valdosta’s warm green campus … There is no food rationing. There are no air-raid shelters or bombs or “jihadists” stalking these God-fearing folk. It is the US military that is at war, engaged in an Iraqi conflict that is doing damage of a far more subtle kind to America’s social fabric.” read the article
… Can the BBC tell the truth about UK government crimes in Iraq when its senior managers are appointed by the government? … Why did the British and American mass media fail to challenge even the most obvious government lies on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction before the invasion in March 2003? Why did the media ignore the claims of UN weapons inspectors that Iraq had been 90-95 per cent “fundamentally disarmed” as early as 1998?
Guardians of Power, the myth of liberal media
Update: Sophia‘s comment led me to a very interesting interview in 2003 with Barry Glassner, professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, the author of the 1999 bestseller “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things”.
… at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Rupert Murdoch sat on a panel where he lamented what he described as a “loss of power” due to the ascension of the Internet and other new media. The notion that this captain of one of the most dominant media conglomerates in the world is trembling in the shadow of bloggers is simply absurd … read more
A very well documented blog with many eye-opener articles. Last post:
What You Are Missing On The Iranian Nuclear Issue If You Don’t Read French
There is also a very interesting article furthering the subject of a post below, Critique of Diasporic Memoirs: The Disrepute of Reason II: Hirsi Ali, Cause Célèbre
I don’t quite get it 🙂 The aesthetic and videos are attractive, have a look.
“Our children grow up surrounded by butterflies and bunnyrabbits, sheltered from danger like young birds in a nest. But in order to fly high, little birds soon learn the basics of real world survival.
People aren’t birds, and we don’t always learn to confront the real world. Instead, in order to maintain the “happy life”, we close our eyes and minds to a deadlocked world built on deception. We are all accountable for keeping up the illusion — the ones who sell the lies and the ones who buy them, be it in advertisement, entertainment, politics or everyday life. Ignorance is bliss….”