More brilliant Middle East press coverage

I never cease to be amazed at how poorly the mainstream media in the US, and even Europe, cover the Middle East.

Usually, this results from ignorance of Middle Eastern cultures, religions, political realities, etc. Other times, it just results from far more basic incompetence.

For example, consider the newspaper coverage of the "National Salvation Front", a group of Syrian dissidents led by former Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam, which met in London yesterday and today.

Newspapers around the world said the following this morning, quoting from United Press International (UPI):
"Abdel Halim Khaddam fell out of favor with President Hafez Assad after Syria refused democratic reform, the Times of London reported."
However, what the Times really said was:
"He fell out with the President last year after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, and after the ruling Baath Party failed to accept democratic reform."
Clearly, the context refers to the current President Bashar Assad, in a temporally correct fashion. How could such a blatant error, confusing a man who died 6 years ago with his son, occur? Very poor journalism.

London-based Syrian commentator Rime Allaf recently discussed some other blood-boiling ignorant statements in the press when concerning Syria.

Anyway, Khaddam & co. are in for a rude awakening. This was just their first public launch, and already the basic facts underlying their goal (let alone their opinions) have been twisted. At this point, the water's still cold. Wait until it heats up. The sloppiness will only increase.


Anonymous said...

At least things are improving George. Years ago Khaddam's name used to appear as a simplified "Abdul Khaddam" in the western press.

Anonymous said...

From Umm Kamel:

**** The Alawite Kingdom of Syria ****

*Ruled since 2000 by Princess Bushra Assad (she inherited her father's genius but not his charm or fine balancing acts)

*Almost all second-generation members of the royal family and their cousins hold banana republic passports (not that they feel insecure, you understand. The passports are useful for trotting around the globe and discreetly enrolling at nice private schools and universities)

*The family has apun a spider's web of offshore companies to launder their cash and turn it into legitimate business ventures worldwide. They overpay for assets to appease foreign like-minded rulers and their offspring

*Princess Asma (Emma) Assad does not tour rural Syria in disguise any more. She's seen it all..its disgusting compared with Buckingham palace

*Bashar's eyes, bluer than robin's eggs as they say, but a bit too close to each other for a wiley King. He really needs to fold his ears in half to project more charisma to the populace

*Bushra's husband, Shawkat: A true mountain goat with evil eyes and sharp daggers around his waist and in every pocket. He looks rather awkward in a Western suit and uses too much black shoe polish and Brylcreem

...more soon

Umm Kamel

Fares said...

George, Check out my new posts, I want your opinion and comments, I am sure you'll have a lot to say
Why Christians in Syria support the Current Regime? or do they?
My Comments Regarding the Syrian Opposition

George Ajjan said...

I guess they're not improving that much, anonymous.

Today, the Washington Post referred to the Syrian President as "Bashir al-Assad".