It is impressive that the US mass media has managed to conduct round-the-clock coverage of the uprising in Egypt given how little resources and few reporters they have on the ground, the few who are there had been parachuted in late last week, lacking context, perspective, and often facts. But that never stopped US mass media. Aside from the oft-errant reporting, there are a few mistakes the US media seems to insist on making, not sure if the motive is sensationalism, ignorance, or just pure manipulation of public opinion by distracting from important stories, or manufacturing ones to fit the established narrative:
1- Social media did not play a major role in the uprising. Sorry CNN, I know I’m dissing your only source for international news, but you keep trying to create a story where there is none. CNN anchors even made the assertion that the net is playing such a huge role in the uprising, especially when compared with the uprising in Iran last year. Really? If i remember correctly, the whole world was in touch with Iran via social media, and many activists in the west, some paid by governments, where setting up hack patches and relocating IP addresses to throw off the Iranian regime. I don’t see any of that in Egypt’s case. The internet was shut off on Thursday, a day before the large demonstration, it’s true the organizers used the internet to disseminate announcement, and bloggers have been fomenting the uprising towards regime change for some eight years. But for the context-less mass media who thinks this uprising was delivered by a stork on Friday morning, Google analytics shows that internet activity in Egypt is virtually zero since then. So yes, this great western invention helped a little with the uprising, but to put it in perspective, this uprising movements is over 10 years old, that’s roughly twice the age of Facebook or Twitter.
2- Mohammed Elbaradei is not the leading opposition figure. He’s a great and honest individual, and perhaps makes a good president, but there are many others who actually led the opposition to the regime and the demands for freedom and democracy for many years and enjoy far more credibility and street credentials. Those include Mohammed Badii, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and more prominently, Ayman Noor, founder and leader of the progressive Ghad Part and the Kifaya (Enough) movement. Noor challenged Mubarak, ran against him in elections. He was jailed by Mubarak for five years on drummed up charges of forged signatures on the petition to register the party. So please media, stop appointing leaders for Egypt that suit you.
3- Mubarak regime is not moderate. Just because it’s somewhat “westernized”, allows alcohol and bikinis on beaches, and no Taliban-style street floggings, does not mean the regime is not a brutal, oppressive dictatorship. It allows virtually no freedom of speech, no equality under the law. It tortures in its prisons and on behalf of the CIA in black sites, it has rampant corruption and concentration of wealth and country resources in the hand of the elite few. The country’s economic independence has retarded greatly so that the land of the Nile is not hostage to wheat shortages due to insects in the US or floods in Australia.
4- Looting is not being carried out by protesters, so stop highlighting in an attempt to discredit the uprising. Reports came out on Thursday that thug gangs loyal to Mubarak security forces have been unleashed onto the streets and began reeking havoc to spread fear and lawlessness. At the very least, the government intentionally pulled police from areas where they should have been kept to preserve order and prevent looting like the National Museum and some banks, hoping some thugs would take advantage of the situation, and ultimately reflect badly on the protesters.
5- Asking the 30 year old dog to learn the new reform trick is naïve at best, and insulting to the entire people’s intelligence at worst. I believe it is the view of those protesters that anything short of complete departure of the Mubarak and all his insiders is too little to late. Too much blood has been spilled to settle for status quo. The important thing here is that the protestors remain vigilant and do not allow consolidation of power in the hands of army generals and regime insiders. Omar Suleiman, the new VP, is no better than Mubarak, if anything, he has served as his Rottweiler for many years, and he has worse bite. Elements of the current regime will renege on change promises if they are kept in for the transition period.Filed Under american politics, Arab politics, Egypt, Fayyad, media