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Saturday, June 13, 2009


CNN and Al Jazeera

Could there be a better contrast? This morning over breakfast I turned on CNN. They were talking about "Obama date night." I opened up my computer and brought up Al Jazeera. There, David Frost was interviewing Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt about the election in Lebanon (it was actually a repeat from a couple days earlier). Shortly thereafter, Al Jazeera had extensive features on the Iranian election, the upcoming election in Afghanistan, and the continuing appalling state of affairs in Gaza. CNN did go with a brief segment of Christiane Amanpour in Tehran, featuring a view of the election entirely from the point of view of the opposition, before quickly getting back to the important news - Sarah Palin's criticism of David Letterman.

Incidentally, the interview with Jumblatt was rather telling as well. Every other sentence out of his mouth was about the Israeli settlements, about how they had to be brought to a halt immediately, and ultimately dismantled, before there would be any real change in the Middle East situation. He decried the view of the elections there as a victory for a "Western-backed alliance" (of which he is part), and said the Israelis should "go to hell" if they thought this election meant anything positive for them.

Later, when they turned to Iran, Al Jazeera's interviewee was an Iranian professor from the University of Tehran (most of the Iranians seen on CNN and other Western channels have been expatriate Iranians). He was actually a supporter of Moussavi, but explained how the election result wasn't that huge a surprise, and how the view of the Iranian electorate in the Western media is totally distorted by their focus on the upper middle class, and how they never actually even visit, much less talk to, the working people of the country.

Just like here.

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