Media coverage of any subject is as good as the people behind it. When those people are propagandists, sectarian and deliberately skew or drum up their own facts, then the outcome, predictably, becomes a gross mispresenting of reality.
This becomes more urgent when the media coverage pertains to the Middle East, a region that is undergoing a massive upheaval, where violence has grown dramatically in degree and dimension, and where the parties – enemies and allies – are in constant flux.
Indeed, the conflicts inspiring this unprecedented violence are compound, and at times confusing even for those who are familiar with the region and its history. Those with scant knowledge of the Middle East, its old and new wars, must therefore feel lost, despite their efforts to digest the rapidly-moving events.
Mainstream Western media is constantly linking acts of violence in Western countries to the Middle East, to Islamic groups and even to Islam itself. However, it refuses to exercise a minimum degree of integrity regarding how the story is told. Almost always absent from news contexts is the Iraq war, Western military interventions and the backing of corrupt leaders, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the massive shipments of Western weapons constantly dumped in a warring region.
Meanwhile, journalists in the Middle East are blindly following government diktats, praising friends and demonizing enemies, as instructed.
The space for free, independent thinking and bold reading of events is shrinking daily. Those wishing to follow even the minimal standards of journalistic integrity while reporting on the Middle East often find themselves outcast, demonized or marginalized.
But the stakes are too high for good journalism to fail.
I insist, however, that journalism has not failed. We did! We are the ones still unable to appreciate the gravity of what has befallen our region and, by extension, the world at large. We are the ones still singing the praises of the elites and defending the interests of the few.Dr. Ramzy Baroud