Friday, January 9, 2009

The Media and the Middle East

I think most analysts would agree that the American media is one of the largest obstacles to a reasonable US foreign policy in the Middle East. The conflicts (Palestinian-Israeli, Lebanese-Israeli, Iraq, the Kurdish question, etc) and national governments (notably overly sympathetic coverage of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) are portrayed so differently to Americans that it is nearly impossible for citizens to make informed decisions or judgments on Middle East issues.

It's shameful that in a such a wealthy country, with a well-educated population, people should still be denied the basic tools necessary to make their own informed decisions - and even worse that the majority of them will never know that this has been denied them in the first place. It's impossible for US citizens to demand more comprehensive coverage of international issues if they don't know what comprehensive coverage looks like in the first place. Just one day of live streams from Al Jazeera or even a European station such as France 24, would change the way most Americans understand global affairs.

Here's some recent articles on media and the Middle East:

The Atlantic's Goldberg on why Al Jazeera shouldn't show pictures of dead Palestinians

Israel's leftist media under fire

Why Al Jazeera viewers get better coverage of conflict

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