Tuesday, July 25, 2006

American News

I wrote a post a few month ago about the type of news reporting on offer by the US networks. Here is another more authoritative view point by the Director of The New Media Certer at Amercian University in Cairo. Given all the time and effort spent by network news in gathering and reporting, there seems to be a moron filter applied immediately before broadcast. It's almost like we can't handle the truth.

Laurence Pintak spent some time on vaction in California but was astounded at the lack of depth and base knowledge given to some of the reportage of the current Lebanese crisis. For example:
"At times, the coverage has seemed as much a fantasy as Disney's Space Mountain, and the level of Middle East knowledge on the part of some television anchors
only a few notches higher than that of the tattooed biker couple waiting in line
for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride".
He goes on further to address the lack of basic geographic knowledge and the rush to salaciousness in the declaration of "World War Three". Given the proliferation of news channels and reporting it is bizarre that so little time is given to each story no matter how important. (Although if you are pretty, blond and dead you might get more coverage). Just last night on the BBC news at 7pm, fifteen full minutes was given over to the Lebanese situation - interestingly from a Southern Lebanese view point. Nothing like the coverage on NBC that evening.
It is however great that we have The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to keep us all grounded. On the brink of war? it was Jon Stewart (here from Youtube) who told us he was scared as crap about the events and quite stark in his explanation. It is Steven Colbert who routinely makes fun of other reporters inability to correctly pronounce the names of foreign leaders, lack of basic knowledge and general yypocrisy. Here he is on World War 3 or 4.
It is not too surprising that generally speaking, as Laurence Pintak points out the US public really lacks an understanding of the issues at hand in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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