(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Posts Tagged ‘media

Nonsense in the News

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I’d say about 60-70 percent of whats published in newspapers in Lebanon is politician or prominent figure quote stories. Things like Geagea said this or Aoun said that (speaking of which, Qifa Nabki sites two sources that say around 50 percent of Chrsitians are still down with Aoun ) Anyways of that 60-70 percent almost all of it is garbage that tells you absolutely nothing like this headline from An-Nahar :

Sources close to PM-designate Saad Hariri told An-Nahar yesterday evening that Hariri is “calmly completing the process of forming the government.”

Really An-Nahar? I’m so glad you told me that. And I’m really happy you used an anonymous source to tell me the PM is calmly completing government formation, I’m now so well informed. It’s a real shame. Stories like these don’t tell you anything, quotes make up over 70 percent of the story and it avoids the real journalism work that should be done.

Almost all the time the quotes are positive things like “the government formation is going well” “all guns are almost off the street” there should be no fighting”. People literally take quotes like that and turn them into front page huge headline stories. BUT, after sifting through dozens of these useless stories every day, there were two that did catch my eye.

Sfeir says ‘nothing going well’ in Lebanon

“Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir was pessimistic on Tuesday about the overall political situation in Lebanon. Sfeir told a delegation of residents from the Chouf town of Brih, that the Lebanese were “currently facing a difficult period.” “Nothing is going well,” he added”

and this one

General Michel Aoun: we don’t know who’s forming the cabinet anymore

“We no longer know who is forming the government amidst all of the diplomatic visits and the clear interventions (Syria-US-France)”

Positive quotes never tell you much, and those have been almost all of these quote stories since the election. But the fact that people are deviating from the reconciliation line in addition to the recent clashes, could be a sign this government formation is headed for rough waters.

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Written by stephenddockery

July 1, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Need help understanding the Lebanese elections?

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March 8 and March 14,  Hezbollah and Amal, Lebanese Forces and Kataeb. Lebanese politics is layered in history and can be very unapproachable. For anyone starting to figure it out Deen Sharp, a Beirut free lance journalist ,has some great resources, including background on Lebanon’s main political parties, an explanation of the parliament and a Lebanese media guide.. (Speaking of which my story on the independent youth media  outlet got pushed to tomorrow)

As a British business professor at AUB was explaining to me, politics here is  absurdly labyrinthine for a country with the population the size of Houston, TX. But what Houston is not, is a battleground country for the biggest players in the Middle East and  the world.

Written by stephenddockery

June 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm