Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tehran vs Gaza in the American Media

It is not news that the quality of American journalism had sunk to new lows during the Bush years. The fall to the bottom continues especially in TV and cable news with the obsession to be the first, the penchant to sensationalize even bits of unsubstantiated news and to over analyze everything. Witness the week-old feeding frenzy on Iran where, blurred pixilated cellphone videos are over interpreted by "experts" for the naive viewers and recycled endlessly as real news. These uninterpretable videos were accompanied by emotive language that was, most of time, not justified by the facts or the images shown thus exposing the broadcasters intrinsic biases.

To be clear, I never liked Ahmadinejad and fully sympathize with the demonstrators in Tehran. What bothers me is the stark difference between the media’s coverage of the Tehran demonstrations and the way the massacre in Gaza earlier this year was covered. As heart wrenching as the story and images of Neda Agha Soltan are, there were hundreds of Nedas in Gaza. These stories went largely unnoticed by the American media despite the presence of easily checked facts and very crisp videos documenting the unfolding horror. Just as the Iranina government did in Tehran, Israel limited journalists' access to the war zone. But whereas in Tehran the media shunned suspect government generated information in favor of citizen journalists, in Gaza information coming from Palestinians was treated as suspect and they relied on the drivel generated by the Israeli army as hard facts.

For the Arab observer, the disconnect does not stop there. In the absence of reliable news coming from Iran, the airwaves were jammed with -often ignorant- talking heads pontificating about the situation in Iran. Most outrageous was an interview with Netanyahu who exclaimed, without a hint of irony, that he is in favor of freedom for the people of Iran!!! Needless to say, the double standard extends to the politicians. Whereas Congress swiftly condemned the Iranian government's crackdown, during the war on Gaza they passed a resolution in support of Israel. Obama, wisely, kept quiet. Today, however, with mounting political pressure, he declared himself "appalled and horrified" at the loss of innocent lives in Tehran; but neither he nor his predecessor were moved by the hundreds of innocent men, women and children murdered in cold blood in Gaza.

12 comments:

programmer craig said...

What bothers me is the stark difference between the media’s coverage of the Tehran demonstrations and the way the massacre in Gaza earlier this year was covered.

There's no similarity at all between the two. With language like that, perhaps it is you who has the bias? Why would you expect the American media to reflect your biased views?

As heart wrenching as the story and images of Neda Agha Soltan are, there were hundreds of Nedas in Gaza.

And yet even though that is a message Gazans would really like to get out for the world to see, and even though video cellphones are just as common in Gaza as they are in Iran, nobody in Gaza was able to deliver any evidence that Israelis murdered anyone in cold blood. Does it make sense to you?

On the other hand, I've seen video on YouTube of HAMAS thugs victimizing Gazans in much the same way that the Basij has been victimizing people in Iran. Why no comparison there, where it is merited? Again, I question your objectivity.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

My God, your comments are so true.
What I notice, is that it is the Republicans who are so gungho about "freeing" Iran.. They are hell bent on a war, and getting those "Nukes" out of Ahmadinejad's hands.. Let's be real.. Republicans are not known for their "social awareness" when it comes to suffering and despair, so why the stress about 1 man dying in a protest in Iran? Hmmm, hidden agenda maybe??

If McCain were president they would be creating an exact duplicate of Iraq, this time in Iran.. I am thankful Obama is the leader, and for once we have someone with a rational approach.. Does Iran meddle in our politics when there are protests in New York or DC?? So why do Republicans think we should get involved in Irans business? If they are going to have a revolution, so be it.. That is the people of Iran's choice, not ours..

It is true, the hypocrisy when showing the media coverage of Iran compared to the coverage of Gaza. Noone was screaming to stop Israel from oppressing Gaza, but now all of a sudden people are screaming about Iran's "Injustices???"????

What a tragedy.

programmer craig said...

So why do Republicans think we should get involved in Irans business?

Why do leftists think we should get involved in Israel's business?

I'm totally loving the way hypocrites are throwing the word "hypocrite" around so casually lol.

Republicans are not known for their "social awareness" when it comes to suffering and despair...

And leftists are? Seems to me that you guys have a lot more to answer for in that regard than the right does.

BTW, why do you hate Iranians so much? Or is it just that you hate the US so much that you will always take the contrary view, regardless of who suffers as a result?

Abu Kareem said...

Programmer craig,
I am certainly biased when it comes to Palestinians shaking off the yoke of Israeli occupation. I am not asking the American media to be biased, just fair. By the way, you dug up the Hamas video on You Tube but failed to find a single one of hundreds that show the devastation brought on by the Israeli army. I question YOUR objectivity.

Sarah,
Thank you for your comment.

programmer craig said...

I am certainly biased...

I am not asking the American media to be biased, just fair.

What would seem "fair" to somebody who admits to being biased? :o

By the way, you dug up the Hamas video on You Tube but failed to find a single one of hundreds that show the devastation brought on by the Israeli army.

Again, I point out that I'm not aware of any video that shows Israelis murdering Palestinians in cold blood. I have seen videos of HAMAS goons murdering Palestinians in cold blood. The violence in Iran is Iranian vs Iranian. So it seems to me that if you want to make a direct comparison to something that's happening in Gaza (or the West Bank) you should be talking about those videos that show Palestinians victimizing other Palestinians - and there area LOT of them - but you aren't. Instead, you talk about Israelis and unfair US media coverage.

I question YOUR objectivity.

OK. Have fun with that :)

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Craig,

Actually, I want the U.S. to stay out of Israel's business also. If we weren't in bed with them and supplying them with arms and bowing to the Jewish lobby, maybe other countries would feel confident enough to sanction Israel for it's occupation and furthering of settlements.

There is a difference between supporting human rights, and supporting invasion of another country.. I assume you fail to see that difference.

No one is objective, it is nearly impossible, we all carry our bias, the wisdom comes in knowing what our bias is.. Throwing around accusations of bias is ridiculous.

We either fight for the oppressed, or we are the oppressor...

It's really very simple Craig, don't get so caught up in complexities.

programmer craig said...

Actually, I want the U.S. to stay out of Israel's business also. If we weren't in bed with them and supplying them with arms and bowing to the Jewish lobby, maybe other countries would feel confident enough to sanction Israel for it's occupation and furthering of settlements.

So, you want other countries to get into Israel's business? You don't see the hypocrisy of your contradictory statements at all? Really?

There is a difference between supporting human rights...

I'm guessing you don't spend much time protesting human rights abuses in Cuba and Venezuela, though, do you? And probably not in Brazil, either. How about Syria? Lebanon? Saudi Arabia... maybe, because it's very PC for leftists to attack the US for supporting KSA. What about Afghanistan? Pakistan? You care about their human rights? China, perhaps?

...and supporting invasion of another country..

Not sure what you are on about there, but are you aware that Iranians are reporting that Hezbollah and HAMAS thugs have been brought into Iran to beat Iranian protesters? How do you feel about that, if it turns out to be true?

I assume you fail to see that difference.

I fail to understand the context of what you were saying.

No one is objective, it is nearly impossible, we all carry our bias, the wisdom comes in knowing what our bias is..

Maybe there is some wisdom to be had when people point out the obvious contradictions in your own statements? You seem to be so agenda-driven that you are oblivious to how you are coming across.

Throwing around accusations of bias is ridiculous.

We all have bias. That much is true. But some of us are consumed by it, and some of us aren't.

We either fight for the oppressed, or we are the oppressor...

That seems like some kind of leftist absurdity. Weren't you just saying that the US should mind its own business? Now you want us to fight for the oppressed in other countries? On what planet would that qualify as "minding our own business"?

It's really very simple Craig, don't get so caught up in complexities.

Mind boggling. You've not only permanently installed the blinders on yourself, you recommend other people should close their minds too.

Rime said...

Very well put Abu Kareem. So good, in fact, that it's brought out the obligatory hasbara, now so over-stretched that they have to resort to just one propagandist over many blogs.

Also nice to read Sarah Elizabeth's comments.

programmer craig said...

...it's brought out the obligatory hasbara...

I had to look that up, and I'm still not sure what it means! Did you just call me a Jew? lol.

How original, Rime. I commented on your blog a few years ago once or twice, but gave up when you stuck refused to veer off of your prefab talking points, regardless of whatever challenges people through your way. You are a college prof, right? You should stick to that and stop blogging. It isn't as easy to indoctrinate adults, especially in an environment where they don't have to worry about what grade you are going to give them.

Nice of you to call me a propagandist, though! You're friends with Joshua Landis, right? Have you no shame at all, to be a close associate of somebody who seems to be on Assad's payroll and refer to other people as propandists, Rime?

Sarah, you see what kind of people praise your opinions? This woman Rime acts as a mouthpiece for the Syrian dictatorship. Do you want to take the opportunity to complain to her about Syria's human rights record? Or are you saving yourself for Israel? :o

Abu Kareem said...

Craig,
You have overstayed your welcome, your long tirades are becoming repetitious. You have had your say, so please move on.

Rime said...

You're hilarious Craig, and still pretty clueless about common media terms and current events. So you think one has to be Jewish to be involved in hasbara? What about chutzpah? Or if I say schadenfreude, would you think I was calling you German?

Your misinformation has taken drastic dimensions. I am neither a college professor, nor an associate of Josh, nor a mouthpiece of any entity, unlike you.

Enjoy your work, it was fun running into you again.

And my apologies to Abu Kareem for abusing of his hospitality.

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