Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Media Fallacy

Many of us have been raised to blindly accept anything that's reported on the news as truthful, honest, and transparent. But when you actually start learning more about the mechanisms of media and the driving force behind most media outlets (namely, sales), you quickly start to lose that feeling of transparency and objectivity when watching / reading news stories. This is particularly evident when you yourself have experienced a situation that's being reported on, such as what's going on in Egypt these days (or indeed back in the days of the 2011 revolution).

One of the media outlets that continues to get flack for their biased reporting is Al-Jazeera channel. In July, an estimated 22 reporters working for the network left their posts objecting to what they described a blatant bias in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood. One reporter who walked out was former Al Jazeera Arabic anchor Karem Mahmoud, who in an interview with Cairo Scene said: "The coverage over the last few weeks was the tipping point – especially the airing of extreme speeches over the last few days, which have added to the crisis Egypt is seeing right now. There has been a strong insistence of airing unacceptable statements by some parties, as well giving much more space and air time to one group over another.
“Al Jazeera has long been perceived as being close to the Muslim Brotherhood, and whether the accusations of bias are true or not, it appears to be severely hurting the network’s ability to report on the crisis in Egypt. At a military-organized news conference earlier today, reporters from the network were kicked out, the Associated Press reports, while Reuters reports that some of the station’s offices were raided by the military (though it remains on-air).”
I have been watching Al-Jazeera over the past few days, interspersed with marathon news reading sessions and channel surfing. The blatant bias displayed on numerous channels has me begging the question: Are they seeing a different Egypt than we are? The number of times I have heard "peaceful protesters" in the past few days astounds me. Now I'm not claiming I believe one side more than the other, but I cannot readily accept that Al-Jazeera and a host of other channels have simply chosen to ignore the reports of armed protesters, and ignore the plethora of videos depicting armed individuals (be they protesters, thugs, whomever) roaming throughout Cairo. It astounds me, and leaves me fully sympathetic with many Egyptians who feel their stories are being overlooked by the often very one-sided reporting we are seeing. It was evident last night when listening to Al-Jazeera interview a Doctor via the telephone who was allegedly trapped inside the al-Fath mosque in Cairo claim while on the phone that there was live fire shooting from outside. Yet what he obviously failed to realise was that at that very moment, live coverage of the front of the mosque was being shown, with one crucial element missing: Live fire. Even the reporter questioned it, but then quickly moved on. 
It would appear that I am not the only one who has picked up on these many discrepancies, and I wish I could take credit for having grabbed my phone and snapped this video last night, but here is just one example of the questionable reporting by Al-Jazeera during these tense times. You'll note the blood on this man's shirt (and this video was looped repeatedly last night as 'proof' of the injured protesters) as the individual examining him lifts his shirt up in search of the wound that this blood is seeping from...and there is nothing there. O.o So what's really going on here? 

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