Al Jazeera’s media show The Listening Post on how 24×7 media is dangerously inflaming passions against US President Barack Obama with lies, untruths, rhetoric—a little like the way a newspaper advertisement greeted John F. Kennedy the day he arrived in Dallas in 1963.
Al Jazeera‘s media show The Listening Post on how the mainstream media reacted—and over-reacted—to the H1N1 virus, secure in the knowledge that no one would ever accuse them of overkill. And how the digital purveyors of the rumours on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc, were themselves victims.
Blogs, internet chats, Jaago Re, Jai Ho!, Lead India, microsites, rock concerts, TV commercials… The 2009 general election has not been short of media noise. But has it really spurred youngsters to shut up and vote? Or is it all blather and brand building with an embedded social message?
Also read: Sashi Kumar on media in the melting pot
It’s not just authoritarian governments that are preventing citizens and activists from accessing news and views that they would not like them to lay their eyes and ers on. Transnational corporations that supply the technology to make access possible in the first place are playing a hand, according to Al Jazeera‘s media show, The Listening Post.
Simon Ostrovsky reveals that giant companies like the San Francisco-based Cisco (“The Human Network”) which supply the hardware for internet networks often also supply the commercial software, and cooperate more closely with regimes than previously imagined. Cisco, of course, denies the charge.
Sri Lanka is on the verge of winning the war against the Tamil Tigers in the North, but will it ever win the peace? Thousands of civilians are missing, and efforts to trace them are weak.
Nine journalists have died at work in the last three years, and the number may be even higher. Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reports on the dangers facing those in Sri Lankan media who speak out.
Also read: SRI LANKA, THE KILLING FIELDS OF JOURNALISTS
“Over two days, newspapers around the world published 1.2 million articles. Over one 24-hour period, the global radio and television coverage combined added up to 20 million minutes; to watch it all it would have taken a human being 38 years,” reports Richard Gizbert of Al Jazeera English on the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.
“Despite its ancient roots the ceremony provides news networks with a perfect piece of television an historic event, and a central figure whose every move the world will be watching. But did the media get the story right? Does the dominant narrative of change and the start of a new era square with the facts? And what will an Obama administration mean for the media in the United States?”
Israel’s land, sea and air attack on Gaza to smoke out Hamas men firing daily rockets on the Jewish homeland, has been remarkable for the near-complete blackout of information from inside Gaza City. Journalists are barred from reporting from inside Gaza City for “operational reasons”.
Result: As the relentless bombardment continues, no one knows what’s happening to the human beings—men, women, children—who have nothing to do with Hamas or the rockets.
Taghreed El-Khodary, a 39-year-old journalist, lives in the centre of Gaza City. She says everything—the parliament building, the police station, everything—stands destroyed. Up for attack next is a mosque close to where she is, although there is no indication that Hamas fighters are holed in there.
In a telephonic interview with Shihab Rattansi of Al Jazeera English, she says:
“You don’t know what’s the target any more. You don’t know who is in your neighbourhood. You don’t know who is your neighbour any more. You don’t know who is in the military wing…. This is the first time they [Israel] have succeeded in terrorising every single person in Gaza. It’s kind of punishing every individual. You feel like it’s in your house.”
Also view: Israel’s media management
The strange thing about the so-called Global Village is that it has turned us all provincial. We relate to, are interested in, connect with, and remember news events with an insularity that would befuddle Marshall McLuhan. And in the process, we forget that stuff happens outside of the bubble we inhabit.
The Listening Post, the world-class media show on Al Jazeera English hosted by Richard Gizbert, has compiled the stories and personalities that dominated the global media in 2008, in association with Influence Communications, the Canadian media analysts who look at more than a billion TV items from 160 countries.
And the winner? The US presidential election which occupied a grand total of 6.5 million minutes of airtime around the world. On election November 8, and the day after, an average of 21 television news items per second were aired worldwide. The full list is as under:
1) US presidential elections
2) War in Iraq
3) Global economic meltdown
4) The Beijing Olympics
5) War in Afghanistan
6) Oil prices and climate change
7) Nicholas Sarkozy and Carlo Bruni
8) Tibet during the Olympic torch relay
9) Conflict over South Ossetia betwen Russia and Georgia
10) Pakistan after Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf
11) 60th anniversary of Israel’s creation
12) European football championships
13) Iran’s nuclear programme
14) Zimbabwe’s political and economic troubles
15) Earthquake in western China
The cynicism of the public in the media is a global sunrise industry. Fed by politicians, businessmen, sportsmen, celebrities and other newsmakers who feel the wrong end of it, or no longer have any use for it, news consumers can never resist the temptation to run it down.
Video: courtesy Al Jazeera
Who’s to blame for the mounting crude oil prices? Oil producing countries? India and China for their voracious appetite? Speculators wanting to make a quick buck or ten?
In the latest episode of its media showThe Listening Post, hosted by Richard Gizbert, Al Jazeera English throws light on how the global media has failed to come to grips with a difficult but important issue.