Professor Juan Cole put out another of his intriguing pieces over on Informed Comment. This one outlines key differences between the mainstream media in the western world and that of the middle east.
Cole starts by describing the sad state of affairs in the US:
Americans live in a late capitalist society where the rich have gotten many times richer and the middle class has gotten poorer, where Wall Street bankers have stolen us blind and blamed us for living above our means, where persistent unemployment is worse than in the Great Depression, where most politicians and some judges have been bought by corporations or special interests, where authorities actively conspire to keep people from voting, where the government spies on citizens assiduously without warrant or probable cause, and where the minds of the sheep are kept off their fleecing by substituting celebrity gossip, sex scandals, and half-disguised bigotry for genuine news.
Professor Cole goes on to compare which stories dominate the headlines:
Our news is about Sarah Palin not knowing fifth grade American history. Their news is about killing 5 US soldiers in Iraq with rocket fire.
Our news is about a rich old French banker charged with assaulting a poor young Muslim maid in a New York hotel. Their news is about armed rebels setting an ambush and killing 120 members of the Syrian security forces.
Our news is about a six-term US congressman from New York who has been sexting. Their news is that Yemen is on a knife edge, with civil war looming.
Our news is about an American politician accused of misusing campaign contributions to hide his mistress. Their news is that Free Libya forces have used light arms and sheer guts to fight off Qaddafi’s tanks.
Cole does an excellent job detailing the striking differences between the Western and Arab worlds, but his work ends there. Never does he mention the mechanism behind the madness, detailing the way nonsense stories are used to intentionally to keep the majority of the Western population distracted and misinformed.
Still, it’s a well documented article worth exploring.