Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1240, (2 - 8 April 2015)
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1240, (2 - 8 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Ignore the Western media

Time and again, the world’s press appears to have it in for Egyptians and Egypt, writes Ahmad Marei

Al-Ahram Weekly

I worked with international media for over a decade, as a client, and so am quite aware of what happens behind the scenes with most of these organisations. Almost all of them do have an editorial policy or leanings in one direction or another.

Still, I was still truly astonished that CNN’s first coverage of the recently held Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) consisted of a short 30-second clip: “The economic conference opened today in Sharm El-Sheikh, blah, blah ... aimed at economic development, blah, blah … attended by … blah, blah …” All fairly standard coverage.

It was then immediately followed with: “Egypt hosts this conference amidst an almost daily deluge of explosions in most major cities including Cairo and Alexandria, and amidst regular terrorist attacks in Sinai ...”

This, as the viewer is shown a brief video collage of all the major explosions that have taken place all over Egypt during the past 12 months, showing wreckage, gruesome injuries, terrorist groups training in camps with guns and flags, etc.

This was not the first time CNN covered Egyptian news in such a manner. They also recently ran a story about President Vladimir Putin’s state visit to Egypt with the headline: “Egypt welcomes Putin with mangled Russian anthem”!

Now, while we did indeed (somewhat) mangle the Russian national anthem, this should hardly be the opening line or the very title of the story. Other news sources, even our own local ones, covered the musical faux pas, but in passing (and after first mentioning that this visit seeks to broaden joint cooperation, better investment, possible arms and energy deals between the two nations, etc).
On what planet does this kind of laughable reporting represent fair and respected “Western media”?

One can just imagine if these news organisations applied the same logic to other countries as well. Imagine if CNN ran a news story about an investment conference (or even a routine EU assembly) in France and reported it as follows: “And today, EU leaders assembled in Paris, France, to discuss a joint response to the Ukrainian crisis.

“This comes only months after a fatal terrorist attack in the very centre of Paris, against the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, that left more than a dozen killed and injured,” with the corresponding photographs and video footage of the attack and the victims, etc.

Of course, this would never happen ¾ it only happens with us, or when reporting on Egypt in particular. One could give some of these organisations the benefit of the doubt (and attribute their editorial positions to a lack of, or poor, information) in the few short months immediately after 30 June 2013, where many around the world truly misunderstood exactly what had transpired in Egypt.

But now, almost 21 months after the fact, one can no longer attribute this blatant bias to misinformation, but rather only to a conscious and clandestine objective.

If this type of reporting does now represent the “tone” of reporting on Egypt by some Western media, then it should represent a sharp wake-up call to us all.

Namely, that some “Western media” have completely lost credibility, and as such should really not be given so much credence and weight in any of our strategic decisions going forward.

I find that we often refrain ¾ or at best, severely delay ¾ from taking certain key decisions out of fretting and worrying about how Western media will react (air strikes in Libya being one clear exception, however).

The CNN example, and tens of others like it from both sides of the pond, clearly exposes the media’s abject ineptitude and abject bias (and agenda).
Either way, best ignored completely.

Besides, if the past four years have shown anything at all, it’s that we Egyptians have been moving far too fast for any media to follow any way. Even if they earnestly wanted to do so!

Let’s see, in just 48 short months we’ve had two revolutions, five leaders, five regimes, six governments, two constitutions, one war (on terror), one new global waterway begun, one new capital city announced and some brand-new global alliances ¾ to name but a few developments.

I won’t even go into our own “Spiderman”, our clandestine operative “stuffed woman doll”, or our medical invention that could cure the ails of the entire galaxy.

It’s like we were comatose for 32 long years and then suddenly exploded into action, high on steroids.
So let’s enjoy the well-earned success of the EEDC. Let’s implement things at our end. And let’s all get to work and continue to move forward in our typically unpredictable Egyptian pace and way of doing things.

And above all, let’s please ignore what anyone else says or thinks about our dreams and our vision. Particularly, the shameful Western media.

The writer is a political analyst.

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