Tuesday, March 30, 2004

As you know. US Middle East propaganda media, such as Radio Sawa and Hurra TV, are not allowed to broadcast to American audiences here in the US. So I have not yet had a chance to watch Al-Hurra programming. But an international news station, which is interviewing me for a program dealing with Middle East media, has sent me tapes of Al-Hurra TV. I am astonished at the low level of the quality of news broadcasts and programming, perhaps because the quality of Middle East satellite media has in comparison substantially improved. Al-Hurra is like old-style government-owned TV, and is as boring. One male anchorperson on Al-Hurra could not pronounce Arabic words properly, and the preponderance of Lebanese among its staff is quite noticeable, which brings in a very bad command of Arabic and a very strong right-wing Lebanese partisan perspective on the news. There was one report about demonstrations by some tens of supporters of kooky Gen. `Awn in Beirut: and the reporter did not even include a token interview with an "opposite point of view." AlJazeera or Abu Dhabi or Al-Arabiyya would never do that. The enunciation of Arabic is almost uniformly bad, and many of the reporters come from the defunct Lebanese right-wing MTV. In one segment about Bush's meeting with "women from around the world, the Washington, DC correspondent was asked by the anchorman about the status of women in the Arab world. He mentioned how horrible the treatment of women was under Taliban and Saddam, but did not mention a single other Arab country. Saudi Arabia was, as usual, forgiven. In one segment, a Libyan dissident who was just released from jail (his crime was that he dared to call for political liberalization in the country) was being interviewed live. He was asked about his status and the plight of Libyan dissidents. And when the fellow started blasting the recent US honeymoon with Libya, and its bad impact on human rights, he was immediately cut off. Just like that. I, of course, do not mind realizing how silly and ineffective this propaganda outlet is. Give us more, I say.