Friday, January 28, 2011

The Arabs Are Revolting--and Al That Jaz

Al Jazeera--it's not just reporting the news, it's making it. From the New York Times:
The protests rocking the Arab world this week have one thread uniting them: Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite channel whose aggressive coverage has helped propel insurgent emotions from one capital to the next.
Al Jazeera has been widely hailed for helping enable the revolt in Tunisia with its galvanizing early reports, even as Western-aligned political factions in Lebanon and the West Bank attacked and burned the channel’s offices and vans this week, accusing it of incitement against them.

In many ways, it is Al Jazeera’s moment — not only because of the role it has played, but also because the channel has helped to shape a narrative of popular rage against oppressive American-backed Arab governments (and against Israel) ever since its founding 15 years ago. That narrative has long been implicit in the channel’s heavy emphasis on Arab suffering and political crisis, its screaming-match talk shows, even its sensational news banners and swelling orchestral accompaniments.

“The notion that there is a common struggle across the Arab world is something Al Jazeera helped create,” said Marc Lynch, a professor of Middle East Studies at George Washington University who has written extensively on the Arab news media. “They did not cause these events, but it’s almost impossible to imagine all this happening without Al Jazeera.” ...
Time to give this one another spin, I think:

Come on, babe, why don’t we paint the news?
And Al that Jaz.
We’re gonna praise some ‘rabs
And then we’ll slam some Jews
And Al that Jaz.
Start your day with scenes with lots of gore
It’s sure to stir the blood and leave you wantin’ more.
But then we’ll say again
We're just like CNN
And Al that Jaz.

Slick despair
And Arab victimhood
And Al that Jaz.

It's what we have to sell,
It's like our Hollywood.
And Al that Jaz.
Who’s to blame?
You know it’s hard to tell
If it’s America or if it’s Is-ra-el.
We like to stir the pot
And keep things very hot
And Al that Jaz...

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