OT: Arab "news" lies

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Robert Siegel, Mar 29, 2003.

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  1. Read the following by an Egyptian journalist about the Arab propaganda that the anti-war extremists
    apparently love to believe:

    ***

    The Arab world has experienced (distortion by Arab news media) before. In 1967, Egyptian reporter
    Ahmed Said announced that Arab guns were bringing Israeli planes down like flies. A week later
    Arabs woke up to the fact that their armies had been roundly defeated. With that, Arab media lost
    credibility and audiences turned to foreign stations. It would take almost 25 years for the Arab
    media to regain some credibility. Their coverage of this war could well cause them to lose it
    once more.

    washingtonpost.com Perceptions: Where Al-Jazeera & Co. Are Coming From

    By Mamoun Fandy

    Sunday, March 30, 2003; Page B01

    The recent airing of gruesome pictures of American casualties and POWs has again set the American
    media talking about the unbridled nature of Arab television, particularly the Qatar-owned al-Jazeera
    network. Indeed, the Arabs are watching a different war than we are here.

    Their war is presented for television consumption using the templates of the recent past: the
    Palestinian intifada, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the 1956 Suez War. The imagery of the past infuses
    the interpretation of the current war with familiar meaning -- and makes coverage easy.

    The formats used by the growing number of 24-hour, satellite-based Arab news channels would be
    familiar to American viewers. There is a mix of news talk shows, press briefings, anchors reading
    headlines and then turning to video footage of the war. But the messages are uniformly
    anti-American: Americans are barbaric, and here are the pictures to prove it. We Arabs are heroic,
    and here are images of us downing their planes. Shots of Iraqi civilian casualties are a highlight
    of the coverage, as are those that show the "invading" forces suffering routs and setbacks.

    Some American commentators have dismissively attributed the violence of Arab television coverage to
    the nature of the culture. The truth, of course, is more complicated. To understand the coverage,
    one must take into account the narratives that have shaped the Arab worldview. As an Egyptian who
    has lived in this country for 18 years, and as a media critic with an eye on both worlds, I
    recognize the references that shape the Arab coverage of this war. They span historical events from
    the Crusades to the Mongol invasions of Baghdad to the colonial experience and the recent
    Arab-Israeli wars.

    These elements are also found in the speeches of Saddam Hussein and interviews with his foreign
    minister, Tariq Aziz. Quite simply, this is the frame of reference for the Iraqi wartime message,
    and no Arab network questions that.

    Here in the United States, we tend to think of images only in terms of cameras and television:
    Photography is separate from narrative. In the Arab world, language is full of images, which cannot
    be separated from narrative. Arabic is a metaphorical language, rich in shades of meaning.

    The image-based style of the Arabic language acts as an excellent interface with pictures. Thus
    television is terribly important. Consider the effect achieved, for example, when Majid Abdul Hadi,
    an al-Jazeera reporter in Baghdad, shows a picture of a coalition bomb landing while referring to
    Baghdad as the pulsing heart of the Muslim caliphate, a pulsing heart engulfed in flame.

    What appears in this country as rantings and ravings by Hussein can seem coherent to people who are
    not bothered by his manner of stitching together disparate or historical images with current events.
    Recall that in his latest videotaped speech, he called for descendants of the Iraqi tribes who had
    defeated the Mongols at the walls of Baghdad to defeat the Americans in the same way. The overall
    impression is like being at a slide show. What Americans have seen in the POW pictures is thus just
    one moment in an ongoing spectacle. More is yet to come.

    Among the templates being used -- not just on al-Jazeera, but on almost all Arab TV stations -- is
    the Palestinian struggle against Israel, an analogy that Hussein has also used to advantage.
    Consider his use, only since the start of the war, of the term "fedayeen Saddam" to describe his
    protective force. "Fedayeen" has been used for years to refer to the PLO fighters of the 1960s and
    '70s. By appropriating it, Hussein is attempting to blur the lines between the Palestinian cause
    and his own.

    Unfortunately, the Pentagon and some of the media initially took his bait. "Fedayeen" has been
    translated here as "martyrs," giving it a religious connotation. But the word in fact means "someone
    who is willing to sacrifice himself" -- in this case, for Saddam. If the Pentagon had wanted to use
    "fedayeen" to advantage, it would have translated it as "killers for Saddam."

    The Palestinian template has been useful in other ways, particularly in emphasizing the asymmetry of
    the opposing forces. Like its coverage of the intifada, al-Jazeera's reporting on the war in Iraq
    depicts a relatively unarmed populace facing down a trained army. Palestinians fielded the al-Aqsa
    Martyrs Brigade against the Israeli army, for instance. And now the Iraqi leader, too, has an
    al-Aqsa brigade, which, like his fedayeen, is fighting a battle that eerily echoes the Palestinian
    one. His deliberate borrowing of terms is clearly manipulative. The same parallel pervades
    television coverage. For instance, on al-Jazeera and some other networks, the Americans are
    described as an "invading" or "occupying" force. The Iraqi military is the "resistance." Al-Jazeera
    and Abu Dhabi TV have shown dead Iraqis being paraded through the streets by crowds shouting "Allahu
    Akbar" -- intifada-style. Broadcasters and viewers alike speak of Hussein using the language
    developed for speaking of Arafat: Both are corrupt dictators, but the issue now is that America and
    Israel are occupying Arab land.

    Thus, although Israel is not participating in this war, it looms large in the meta-story. It
    provides an important model of a dominating and unjust force. But this is not the only model that is
    driving news coverage in the Arab world.

    Other dominant models evoke Arab pride. One recurring television image is that of an Iraqi farmer
    standing with his gun next to a downed Apache helicopter. This iconic picture -- the simple peasant
    defeating Western invaders -- is taken directly from the popular imagery of the Suez War, when
    Israel, Britain and France attacked Egypt. Although in reality the United States saved the day and
    ordered the invading forces out, in the Egyptian popular imagination it was the local resistance
    that drove out the occupying forces. Pictures of men shooting at planes and of farmers and workers
    resisting the mighty powers is what Nasser fed Egyptians and exported all over the Arab world.

    Why do the Arab TV networks accept the Iraqi narrative lock, stock and barrel? State-owned satellite
    news channels such as al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV are very recent creations. Al-Jazeera, the oldest
    such channel in the Gulf, did not exist during the first Persian Gulf War. Based in Qatar, it was
    established in 1996. Al-Arabiya, based in Dubai, is only three months old. The people who work at
    these stations were by and large recruited from state-owned television networks throughout the Arab
    world. Thus, they are reacting to their own past. While they were working in state TV they no doubt
    felt oppressed; now they have somewhat more freedom. But they are pushing the envelope, as are their
    colleagues at entertainment channels such as Lebanon's al-Mustaqbal and LBC TV, which have added
    some war coverage to their schedule. Before the war, Future and LBC competed over whose
    belly-dancers showed more skin. Now it's about who will show the most Iraqi civilian blood and
    American casualties. Now, as Egyptian TV producer Jamal Enyat told me, "it is political nudity," or
    what some call "political porno," that is dominating their screens.

    Beneath the Arab modes of visual representation, the West is also present. Indeed, Arab coverage
    often copies the CNN and Fox News formats. Today, just like CNN, every one of the 10 Arab channels I
    watch, or appear on as a commentator, has a "war room" staffed with retired generals discussing the
    progress of the war and freely advising the Iraqis how to conduct it. In this way, these veterans of
    Arab wars are compensating for past defeat with on-air political speeches.

    The tone of many reporters in Baghdad is much the same. The image drives the story. For example, an
    al-Jazeera reporter in the Iraqi capital falsely told his viewers on the first day of the air
    campaign, "Here in Baghdad, a city accused of hiding weapons of mass destruction is being hit by
    weapons of mass destruction." This kind of repetition is the stuff that has made Arabic poetry so
    justly admired. Here, the rhythm and sonority of the language act to encourage audience disregard
    for the true definitions of the words being used.

    With few exceptions, ethical constraints are rarely discussed in the Arab media, where the notion of
    editorial judgment sounds to many like censorship. Several have said it reminds them of what they
    had to do while they were working for state-owned broadcasters. Reporters and producers know what
    their viewers want to see: images of empowerment and resistance because of past defeats. They also
    want to see what Hussein's information minister, Muhammed Said al-Sahaf, calls teaching the
    Americans a lesson. "We are no less than the Vietnamese. Just make it costly in body bags and the
    Americans will run," said a general who comments regularly on al-Jazeera. Some Arab journalists say
    they have little choice but to go along. "The cost of speaking out now -- even to simply say that
    Saddam is partially responsible for what is taking place -- is very high. It could cost you your job
    and could even cause you physical harm," said one.

    The Arab world has experienced that before. In 1967, Egyptian reporter Ahmed Said announced that
    Arab guns were bringing Israeli planes down like flies. A week later Arabs woke up to the fact that
    their armies had been roundly defeated. With that, Arab media lost credibility and audiences turned
    to foreign stations. It would take almost 25 years for the Arab media to regain some credibility.
    Their coverage of this war could well cause them to lose it once more.

    Mamoun Fandy, a columnist for the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, teaches a media and
    politics course at Georgetown University.

    © 2003 The Washington Post Company

    Gator Bob Siegel in Gainesville FL

    --
    Gator Bob Siegel EasyRacers Ti Rush
     
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  2. Wolverbob

    Wolverbob Guest

    Gee, I'm a veteran and against the war. Does that make me an "extremist"?

    And by the way, let me be the first to say it. Lets keep political talk on some other forum of your
    own choosing, just not this one. Lots of us come to the recumbent forum as a break from the troubles
    of the world.

    Bob Krzewinski
     
  3. "Wolverbob" skrev

    > And by the way, let me be the first to say it. Lets keep political talk on some other forum of
    > your own choosing, just not this one. Lots of us come to the recumbent forum as a break from the
    > troubles of the world.

    We could start a Yahoo-club for these things. Make it so you don't have to be a member to post. The
    hard part is to get people to move their discussions over there. But maybe it could be used for
    major OT subjects like the WTC-attack and the war etc. I'm not holding my breath though as some
    people will argue that they want to discuss OT stuff here too. (Like they did when I asked if 18
    separate threads on the WTC-thing wasn't a bit extreme)

    Filtering and clear OT labelling is probably the most workable solution.

    Cheers Mikael
     
  4. I am new here.....what does OT stand for??
     
  5. OT it is Off Topic er it stands for Off Topic
    --------------------------
    "Peter M Spirito" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am new here.....what does OT stand for??
     
  6. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "Robert Siegel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Read the following by an Egyptian journalist about the Arab propaganda
    that
    > the anti-war extremists apparently love to believe:
    >

    All news sources lie or exaggerate. If you put Fox News and Al-Jazeera together you might reach a
    happy medium....
     
  7. I agree that Fox news is a cheerleader for this War. I rarely watch it. However, Al Jazeera
    deliberately portrays a one-sided, totally distorted view of everything emanating from the West and
    Israel. Worse, many U.S. and European opponents of the war mindlessly accept AlJazeera's bullsh*t,
    presumably because it serves their purpose to do so.

    --
    Gator Bob Siegel EasyRacers Ti Rush "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Robert Siegel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Read the following by an Egyptian journalist about the Arab propaganda
    > that
    > > the anti-war extremists apparently love to believe:
    > >
    >
    > All news sources lie or exaggerate. If you put Fox News and Al-Jazeera together you might reach a
    > happy medium....
     
  8. The meaning ranges from feisty to enraged, from provocative to confrontational and it sometimes even
    means amusing. It also means "Off Topic". For many of us ( sometimes including me, sometimes not) it
    means "skip this thread".
    --
    Gator Bob Siegel EasyRacers Ti Rush "Peter M Spirito" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am new here.....what does OT stand for??
     
  9. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "Robert Siegel" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I agree that Fox news is a cheerleader for this War. I rarely watch it. However, Al Jazeera
    > deliberately portrays a one-sided, totally distorted view of everything emanating from the West
    > and Israel. Worse, many U.S. and European opponents of the war mindlessly accept AlJazeera's
    > bullsh*t, presumably because it serves their purpose to do so.

    I don't know who to watch. That's why I watch 'em all, and read a lot of European papers' websites.
    Maybe I'll get the whole story. Fox does piss me off. You know what tears it for me, and it's really
    kind of trivial? Fox News' use of the term "homicide bomber" instead of "suicide bomber". Geez.
    Anybody who detonates a bomb which kills people is a "homicide bomber". The Unabomber was a
    "homicide bomber". People who strap on bombs and detonate them in crowds are suicide bombers. What
    kind of spin BS is this?
     
  10. Skip

    Skip Guest

    "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected].. <snip>. Fox does piss me
    > off. You know what tears it for me, and it's really kind of trivial? Fox News' use of the term
    > "homicide bomber" instead of "suicide bomber". Geez. Anybody who detonates a bomb which kills
    > people is a "homicide bomber".
    The
    > Unabomber was a "homicide bomber". People who strap on bombs and detonate them in crowds are
    > suicide bombers. What kind of spin BS is this?
    >

    You couldn't be talking about the No Spin Zone could you?

    When some one kills others and commits suicide our local papers call it a murder/suicide. So it
    seems to me the proper term would be "a murder/suicide bomber". If you don't have a semantic problem
    with this I would be pleased to email Fox news and suggest they start using the term because they
    are pissing you off with "homicide bomber".

    skip
     
  11. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "skip" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected].. <snip>. Fox does piss me
    > > off. You know what tears it for me, and it's really kind of trivial? Fox News' use of the term
    > > "homicide bomber" instead of "suicide bomber".
    Geez.
    > > Anybody who detonates a bomb which kills people is a "homicide bomber".
    > The
    > > Unabomber was a "homicide bomber". People who strap on bombs and
    detonate
    > > them in crowds are suicide bombers. What kind of spin BS is this?
    > >
    >
    > You couldn't be talking about the No Spin Zone could you?
    >
    > When some one kills others and commits suicide our local papers call it a murder/suicide. So it
    > seems to me the proper term would be "a murder/suicide bomber". If you don't have a semantic
    > problem with this I would be pleased to email Fox news and suggest they start using the term
    > because they are pissing you off with "homicide bomber".
    >
    > skip

    How about Kamikaze bomber?
     
  12. Skip

    Skip Guest

    "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:%[email protected]...
    >
    > How about Kamikaze bomber?
    >
    Wouldn't apply to the Palestinians. Kamikaze bombers went after military targets during a war, not
    civilians and school children. Plus I don't think our Japanese friends would approve of this
    particular version of "BS spin". And this isn't the best of times for us to intentionally annoy
    friends over trivial matters.

    skip
     
  13. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "skip" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:p[email protected]...
    >
    > "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:%[email protected]...
    > >
    > > How about Kamikaze bomber?
    > >
    > Wouldn't apply to the Palestinians. Kamikaze bombers went after military targets during a war, not
    > civilians and school children. Plus I don't
    think
    > our Japanese friends would approve of this particular version of "BS
    spin".
    > And this isn't the best of times for us to intentionally annoy friends
    over
    > trivial matters.
    >
    > skip
    >
    Wasn't the use of the term "homicide bomber" an edict issued by the government? Seems like Fox is
    the only network which uses it.
     
  14. Skip

    Skip Guest

    "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "skip" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:p[email protected]...
    > >
    > > "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:%[email protected]...
    > > >
    > > > How about Kamikaze bomber?
    > > >
    > > Wouldn't apply to the Palestinians. Kamikaze bombers went after
    military
    > > targets during a war, not civilians and school children. Plus I don't
    > think
    > > our Japanese friends would approve of this particular version of "BS
    > spin".
    > > And this isn't the best of times for us to intentionally annoy friends
    > over
    > > trivial matters.
    > >
    > > skip
    > >
    > Wasn't the use of the term "homicide bomber" an edict issued by the government? Seems like Fox is
    > the only network which uses it.
    > >
    >
    I am not aware of an executive order to that effect. To a degree, I rely on Tom Sherman and Matt
    Drudge to keep me informed on such matters and I don't believe either has made mention of it.

    skip
     
  15. Bentjay

    Bentjay Guest

    Since this is an OT I'm going to ask you "experts" your opinion. Why does the Iraqi government make
    such blatently false statements i.e. the Americans are not within 100 miles of Bagdad and they are
    being routed in the desert, etc. etc. What is the point of such propoganda? I am certain that the
    "man in the street" knows the truth, so why? How does it serve SH?

    BentJay
     
  16. Skip

    Skip Guest

    "BentJay" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Since this is an OT I'm going to ask you "experts" your opinion. Why does the Iraqi government
    > make such blatently false statements i.e. the Americans are not within 100 miles of Bagdad and
    > they are being routed in the desert, etc. etc. What is the point of such propoganda? I am certain
    > that the "man in the street" knows the truth, so why? How does it serve SH?
    >
    > BentJay

    I'm only an expert while on Usenet.

    I'm thinking these inexplicable things are happening because SH is either dead, badly injured, or
    out of the country in some luxurious hideout (no cave dwelling for him) and the people under him are
    disconnected and aren't really very good at running things. I would think if Saddam were badly
    injured word would have gotten around by now. He doesn't seem to be providing any military
    leadership. Also, I think he would have chemed us by now if he were still around. So my expert guess
    is he's either dead or hiding out until we tired and leave so he can gather up some thugs and try to
    make a comeback at some opportune time. Probably dead though. Yes... That's my final expert
    answer.......Saddam is Dead and no longer in the Dictating business.

    skip
     
  17. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    skip wrote:
    >
    > I'm only an expert while on Usenet.
    >
    > I'm thinking these inexplicable things are happening because SH is either dead, badly injured, or
    > out of the country in some luxurious hideout (no cave dwelling for him) and the people under him
    > are disconnected and aren't really very good at running things. I would think if Saddam were badly
    > injured word would have gotten around by now. He doesn't seem to be providing any military
    > leadership. Also, I think he would have chemed us by now if he were still around. So my expert
    > guess is he's either dead or hiding out until we tired and leave so he can gather up some thugs
    > and try to make a comeback at some opportune time. Probably dead though. Yes... That's my final
    > expert answer.......Saddam is Dead and no longer in the Dictating business.

    WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Saddam Hussein is Elvis Presley's roommate in the cloaked alien spaceship
    orbiting the earth. Duh!

    Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  18. Skip

    Skip Guest

    "Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Saddam Hussein is Elvis Presley's roommate in the cloaked alien spaceship
    > orbiting the earth. Duh!
    >
    > Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)

    Tom must have bought groceries tonight and sneaked a peek at the Globe while he was waiting in line.
    By the way did they really claim the spaceship was wearing a cape?

    skip
     
  19. Fastnorman

    Fastnorman Guest

    > I'm thinking these inexplicable things are happening because SH is either dead, badly injured, or
    > out of the country in some luxurious hideout (no cave dwelling for him) and the people under him
    > are disconnected and aren't really very good at running things. I would think if Saddam were badly
    > injured word would have gotten around by now. He doesn't seem to be providing any military
    > leadership. Also, I think he would have chemed us by now if he were still around. So my expert
    > guess is he's either dead or hiding out until we tired and leave so he can gather up some thugs
    > and try to make a comeback at some opportune time. Probably dead though. Yes... That's my final
    > expert answer.......Saddam is Dead and no longer in the Dictating business.
    >
    > skip

    Another possible reason for Saddam's low profile is that he wants the world to think the war is
    against the Arab people, not him, in hopes that other Arab nations will get involved. All the lies
    on Arab tv and all the anti-Bush demonstrations, especially in this country, will certainly help him
    achive this.

    Fastnorman
     
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