Sunday, June 19, 2005

Arab and Western Media Lies Revisited

Dr. Khaled Batarfi,

My last article “Arab Media: Our Faith, Their Lies” generated many enlightening responses. Most comments came from Western readers who saw similarities between our and their “perception manufacturing” industries. It is no consolation to Arabs that established democracies are doing it, though. By most standards we are very much atop the list of the worst offenders together with the likes of North Korea and Zimbabwe.

Here is a sample of the best responses.

(What will happen to the perception manufacturing industry with a change of existing rule? If the change is to a democracy like the US, it will expand greatly and grow in sophistication. Here we refer to it as “spin-doctoring”. I know the grass always looks greener but, in reality, it’s never as lush up close as from afar. — Mario)

(I think we all need to understand that no form of government has a monopoly on telling lies. The US, for example, has consistently lied about its illegal Iraq war. And in this case, 100,000 (give or take a few) people paid for these lies with their lives. And even though those lies were well known in late 2004, the liars were re-elected.

What I am saying is that even in a well developed democracy, the opportunity to throw out evil and corrupt politicians doesn’t mean they will be thrown out. The political systems under which people live have nothing to do with the social acceptance of lies, corruption and deceit. For so many years, Americans have access to the web, e-mail services, hundreds of satellite news sources and cell phones that reach around the world. The same applies in the UK and yet Tony Blair and G. Bush were re-elected.

The fact is that lies, bold enough, told often and loudly enough, become truth because people want to believe what they are told by “leaders”. Reality is just as subject to being ignored in the US as it is in North Korea.

Secondly, no form of government, democratic or autocratic, is immune from manipulation. In America, the constitutional form of central government guaranteeing specific rights was recently modified to ensure that persons maybe arrested and held without charges by the president’s orders. The reason for this is to make sure that lies and deceit are backed by police authority. So the form of government has nothing to do with the telling of lies or the acceptance of lies.

And in the final analysis, as Chairman Mao said, political power comes from the barrel of a gun. — Bob)

(Of course we are the ones that take things for granted but other than that your story of what the Arabs have gone through over the years sounds strikingly similar to our own lives in America. There is hardly ever a connection to reality when you really look into a lot of facts.

To be frank with you, it felt good in 1967 when I was 17 and Israel fought five Arab nations. Of course we had our news skewed as yours, but here’s what happened in our minds back then: Little tough guys stood up to many big bad guys in a very bad place. To us, then and now, it has always been a war between good Israelis and bad Arabs.

But then there was the USS Liberty and a gradual realization that there has never been an Israeli Air Force pilot stupid enough to attack the ship by mistake much less more than once and by more than one plane.

Yes the nation of Israel does have far too much power here for ages. The Democrats suck at dealing with this problem and the Republicans are even worse.

If you read the story do you think the sailors were hallucinating when they thought they saw a conning tower? I don’t believe this in the least. If there was one under the USS Pueblo what do you think would be also around the USS Liberty?

Our soldiers went there to do a clearly assigned job for the US government but when it turned into a real problem for it they were written off then and now. As the facts finally began to come out at inconvenient time, everybody just shut up on them. Wouldn’t it be true irony if it had something to do with the “Patriot Act”?

It’s not over yet! — Bob USNR)

Yes, Bob. It is not over yet! The people, ours and yours, will have the final say ... someday!

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