If the MSNM were to report accurately what was going on… a lot would change: Interview with me at AIS

In addition to the talk that I gave, Scott Jacobsen also recorded an interview with me on the news coverage in the Middle East. I think I’ve given better interviews, but not ones that are up on Youtube, so if you’re interested, here are some his questions and my answers:

8 Responses to If the MSNM were to report accurately what was going on… a lot would change: Interview with me at AIS

  1. Cynic says:

    Maybe you should haver stressed that the manner in which the MSM keeps the public misinformed on events in the ME has become “second nature” and has spilled over onto the local stage depriving the public of the ability to free and independent analysis of local and national issues.
    The MSM is basically agenda driven, kowtowing to many ideological fads. It is not “naive” nor “ignorant” but comes down to being complicit in the substance presented to the “proletariat”.

  2. Cynic says:

    Just came across the following from Israel Hayom


    Al-Jazeera staff members in Egypt resign to protest ‘biased coverage’
    “. Staff members from the Qatari-owned network’s Egypt offices resigned Monday after allegedly being instructed to slant their coverage of the recent Cairo riots to favor Muslim Brotherhood • Staffers say order was out of sync with realities on the ground. “

    • Richard Landes says:

      thanks for posting this. i’ve been following the story and meant to blog it. like suicide terror, the technique of lethal journalism and pallywood get perfected on the israelis and then spread further victims.

  3. w.w.wygart says:

    I think Prof. Landes did pretty well with this interview under the circumstances. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been keeping on track with such a fidgety cameraman in the background and a lack luster interviewer.

    The bit that caught my attention was the subject of the intimidation of Western reporters at about minute 11:00 when he said:

    …on the one hand there is strong intimidation that is so successful that by and large there is no more need for violence, but there has been serious violence particularly back in the civil war in Lebanon. Reporters getting killed by various groups…

    The carry-over effect of previous violence and the aura of intimidation can linger for years, even generations, and can become part of the operational culture.

    I am reminded of the situation in the Jim Crow south of the 1940’s and 50’s. At that time there was a pervasive culture of intimidation that enforced the segregationist ‘rules’ based upon the dread of the consequences of ‘acting uppity’ do to the perceived threat of violence or lynching at that hands of the Ku Klux Klan.

    If you were to ask almost anyone alive at that time: black, white, northerner or southerner you would probably be informed that the risk of lynching was grave if one ‘broke the rules’. People behaved accordingly because they ‘knew what the rules were’ and that they were enforced with an ‘or else’.

    In fact though, by the 1950’s the institution of lynching in the US was almost extinct, but almost nobody at the time recognized that fact and continued to ‘act accordingly’. Crime statistics, however, show that in the decade of the 1950’s only 7 people were lynched in the US – white and black – where as in the decade between 1890 and 1899, 1111 blacks were lynched with an absolute peak of 161 blacks lynched in 1892 [69 whites were lynched that year as well].† The actual rate of lynching declined significantly after the turn of the century and rather precipitously after 1920. Still, people continued to believe that the situation was more dangerous than it really was and the culture of intimidation lived on for generations. The intimidating effect carried on long after the greatest real violence was past.

    So, I see the situation that Prof. Landes describes with the Italian news team after the ‘Ramallah lynching’: “We would never do that because we follow the rules of coverage in the Palestinian territories,” and then continues himself: “And the rules are: you don’t say anything negative about the Palestinians, and you report their lethal narratives about the Israelis as news.” OR ELSE

    How much more frightening considering the unpredictable and savage furry that the ‘Arab street’ can unleash when angered, and the fact that one of the homicidaly motivated faithful might follow a freshly minted fatwa to your own home in the western world – it has happened.

    Gives us pause.



    • Richard Landes says:

      this is excellent. intimidation is a major player. i think like the magnets under the table. the filings line up above the table as “Pn-David vs. Israeli Goliath” (advocacy journalism), but without the magnets it would not have anything like that shape.

      Paul Berman has an excellent review of a book about intimidation in the Muslim world.

      this is a major area that needs to be researched.

    • Rich Rostrom says:

      This is an excellent analogy, but not perfect.

      The cult of lynching and other violent intimidation in the South dated back to before the Civil War, when anti-slavery speech and then Union speech was silenced.

      It should be noted that lynching was acknowledged and condemned by the national community, even though nothing substantive was done to stop it. Under this criticism, Southerners eventually gave up lynching.

      But I disagree that the intimidation continued unabated. The end of lynching also saw the beginning of overt protests and agitation against the Jim Crow regime, a movement which eventually succeeded.

      In the Middle East today, there is no similar move toward progress. Outsiders conceal, deny, and excuse Arab intimidation.

  4. Joanne says:

    Richard, I thought it was an excellent interview.

    You made your points cogently and convincingly. I’m definitely going to look into that movie you recommended, The Grand Deception, and the Middle East Quarterly Review.

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