Still thinking about… how events become news, and influence our thoughts.
LIBYa, Islam and perceptions
Libya’s population has recently emerged from the shadows of rule under Colonel Giddafi, and the people are struggling to establish self-rule – with all its ambiguities and imperfections. The “9/11” attacks on the US embassy in Benghazi resulted in the death of 4 people, including the Ambassador. All who are aware of the attacks would also be aware of the simultaneous protests sweeping the Muslim world. These protests are a reaction to the dissemination of the movie, “Innocence of Muslims”. Radical Muslims everywhere have taken this opportunity to push their particular version of a holy battle. And their violent declarations and ridiculous statements are disseminated far and wide. All of this simply plays to the aims of the misguided fools who put the video together in the first place. Youtube confirms how many people have since watched this parody.
Even a cursory glance confirms that the movie is setting out to portray Islam and its followers, in a poor light.
Emphasis is a statement in itself
It has now been 12 days since the attack on the US embassy. In that time period politicians in the United States have focussed on any number of aspects of this event but the impression is that the impact on domestic politics is more important than the event itself.
Why is this something to think about?
Being exposed only to Western media and the focus point it highlights from moment to moment, it would be easy to come away with the idea that Libya, and Benghazi in particular, is awash with anti-Western and anti-American sentiment. The early reporting struggled to delineate the attack on the embassy from protests over the anti-Muslim film. Perhaps that is fair enough, as news outlets struggle to gain up-to-date reports from the ground. And yet that reporting quite definitely adds to the weight of evidence that suggests the Muslim world itself is too radical, and too prone to flaring up in bloodshed at the slightest provocation.
Is there an overt or subliminal bias?
All reporting has a bias, even if it is nothing more than a different focus – much like the existentialist concept of multiple perspectives of the same scenario. News stories come and go. Most will be forgotten, yet our minds will store each new piece of data in its respective “box”, and it is in this way that impressions are built, reinforced or negated. What will be remembered about the incidents in Benghazi?
People of Benghazi continue the revolution
How much attention will be given to the most recent protesters in Benghazi? The ones who marched unarmed against militia compounds, demanding that these militia be disbanded? Unarmed! How will this be portrayed?
What impression will news media seek to deliver in presenting this development? What weight will be attached to it? Will it be sufficient to negate the impression put forward from previous reporting on the attack on the US embassy?
Probably not. And so acts of bravery and public good will NOT embed themselves into the psyche of the average watcher of Western mainstream media. The actions of CNN editorial staff certainly do not engender optimism.
This is the Libya so recently in turmoil as it’s people fought for a say in the running of their country. And how can you not be inspired by a country capable of bringing us a picture such as this one…