After reading El-Nawawy this week, I have come to question my own background in journalism. A part of me wants to believe that journalism is altruistic, and the vehicle through which knowledge transfer occurs. But another part of me, call in cynical if you will, knows that profits and page-views are becoming the catalyst for what is reported on, and how it is reported. I thought that El-Nawawy’s arguments about global media being less about telling a story from all sides, but rather about stories and news reporting being an extension of our respective cultural beliefs, was an excellent assessment. I think that to truly appreciate what El-Nawawy was saying, it’s best to look at how two different international media outlets report on the same topic.
I also think that what news we watch is attached to a cultural value set. People associate different belief systems and values with a particular news outlet.
Now, just because I like to have a little fun when I’m reading, I’d like to share with you some comments I found on a thread about the differences between Aljazeera English and CNNI, which can be found here. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=104×2704101
My personal favorites are:
- “A: CNN shows the cruise missles taking off.
Al-Jazeera shows them landing.”
- “CNN shows them landing with a wide angle, from far away.
Al-Jazeera shows what happens when they land.
Don’t forget, Americans like to see things blow up.
We just don’t like to know that bad things happen when things blow up.”
And as much as I appreciate Candy Crowley’s commentary, this did catch my attention.
- “Al-Jazeera doesn’t have to purchase Candy Crowley’s wardrobe at the DC tent and awning company or have to provide her a box of krispy kreme donuts per hour.”
So, to me, it seems as though those in the international community see CNNI as an extension of our American values and belief systems… and, according to one commenter, our dietary habits.
But the thing that struck me in El-Nawawy’s paper was this quote he takes from an executive at Aljazeera English.
“We were in Myanmar exclusively during the tensions last year. We covered Gaza from within Gaza by Gazan correspondents. We looked into why Gazans are united behind Hamas despite the suffering. These kinds of stories are not easily covered by other media. It’s not an accusation [against other media]. It’s about the elements of perceiving the knowledge, the know-how when it comes to covering the story and producing it. It’s not there in Western media, but we have invested in people by bringing more than 40 ethnic backgrounds and nationalities represented in the staff.”