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August 2013

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Western Media Misunderstanding Egypt
By Abdallah Schleifer, FPRI Senior Fellow
http://www.fpri.org/news/2013/08/western-media-misunderstands-egypt
Reviewed by James L. Abrahamson, contributing editor

Professor Schliefer, professor emeritus of journalism at the American University in Cairo, writes from Egypt to expresses shock at the “shallow way the Western media has [sic] covered the political situation in Cairo since the coup against former President Mursi.” Reporters from The New York Times and other major news organizations, he finds, seem unaware “that the Egyptian armed forces had moved against a political movement attempting to impose an authoritarian regime on the country.”

Nor is that all that the reporters have kept from their audiences: Residents of the Adawiya protest camp sought not democracy, as the press reported, but martyrdom. Only polling, not the press, revealed that the majority of Egyptians oppose the Muslim Brother­­hood and its economically destructive sit-ins and marches. Nor have journalists told readers that the Egyptian army “is a symbol of Egyptian independence” and al-Azhar, not the Brotherhood, is the country’s “top Islamic institution.” Nor did Western media adequately inform their publics that the Mursi government had undermined the freedom of the Egyptian press.

Attempting to account for the shortcomings of Western media, Schliefer points to media bias against armed forces and their values, derived perhaps from criticism of the wars in Viet­nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Nor have most journalists ever worn their nation’s uniform or been taught how military violence brought down Germany’s Nazis. This reviewer would add to the list the manner in which many Western governments have made criticism of Islam in any form the equivalent of hate speech. Safer to tell editors, readers, and listeners what they want or expect to hear.bluestar

 
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