Sunday, June 21, 2009

Western media coverage

As I am still on the road (returning tomorrow night), I have not been able to comment on the developments as much as I have wanted. But I did manage to see some CNN coverage this morning at my hotel. What do you expect from a network that relies on Octavia Nasr as "the senior Middle East" expert for the network? 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 assualt 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 would the Western media ever be as unrestrained in its glamorization and glorfication of demonstrators and demonstrations in Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Jordan as they are now? There are no claims of even covering a story anymore: it is merely how can we best help the beautiful demonstrators who are not bearded and whose women are more loosely veiled. This is not to say that the Iranian regime is not repressive and needs to be overthrown: far from that. But it is to say that the Iranian regime is as bad (in fact Saudi Arabia and Egypt are probably worse) and as unjust as the various Middle East governments that are supported by the Western governments and Western media. When Western media sit with Saudi and Egyptian leaders, it is as if they are sitting with a friend. And notice that just as in Western media coverage of Lebanon, only one side of the demonstrations are being covered. Yesterday, the Ahmadinajad side mustered tens of thousands in a show of force, yet the three thousands who demonstrated for Khomeini groupie, Mousavi, received far more coverage. It is the bearded demonstrator rule: bearded ones don't deserve coverage and they don't coung. Pro-Saudi media was ecstatic at first but now I sense that they are getting a bit nervous for reasons that I have no time to get into.