Thursday, February 7, 2008

Media: Pumping up the Hate

Please compare and contrast:

“Sonia Verma, February 7, 2008 - A 37-year-old American businesswoman and married mother of three is seeking justice after she was thrown in jail by Saudi Arabia's religious police for sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in Riyadh.” The Times

“Raid Qusti, February 5, 2008 — A Saudi mother of three, who works as a business partner and financial consultant for a reputable company in Jeddah, didn’t expect that a trip to the capital to open the company’s new branch office would have her thrown behind bars by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
Yara, a petite 40-year-old woman, was in tears yesterday after she narrated to Arab News her encounter with a commission member that ended in high drama.” Arab News

Is it just me, or has the news become all about cultivating anger by producing “audience specific” stories? Tell the Arabs the woman is Saudi. Tell the Westerners the woman is American. Pump up the already irritated crowd. Make the gap greater. Make the hate stronger. Who cares, as long as their hate will make more news. News will make more money.

Fun!

Please read on...

9 comments:

Abu Daoud said...

With all due respect Aisha, your charge that the journalists are stirring up hate is unfair. It is valid to criticize them for incomplete reporting, but that's all.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Aysha said...

No, it is not the journalists. It is how the media industry is driven now a days abu daoud. Call it modern news telling, but it is that, communicating audience specific info, so it strikes them harder, and thus causes them to react louder...

Dotsson said...

She is Saudi/American so you can technically call her anything.

And your country has a major problem with treating women and foreigners like shit. Instead of talking about something as insignificant as her dual nationality why don't you talk about human rights in Saudi Arabia?

Aysha said...

Dotsson,

I wouldn't want to, because of three things:
1- I have been out of Saudi Arabia for over 2 years.
2- I am using this blog to question and reflect on things that touch me "personally", in hope to mature more, understand more, and doubt more. This is specifically what the blog title is.
3- I do not trust the intentions of news, so I cannot use it as reference when discussing local issues of a country I am not in. This is the very intention of this post. My view on media. I believe international news in particular to be serving specific agendas, and I hate to ever be part of somebody's agenda. Not me.

Saudi Arabia is certainly in need for change, a lot of people are doing their share of "cry outs" for change and rights. You are doing so yourself. Great. But if society is all hung up on the very same issue, society is dead.

Aafke said...

I think the main intention of the media is to sell as much as possible. They talk about news, but their business is money.
At least the atrocities of the muttawa are getting some airing on Saudi media, which in itself seems a step forwards to me.

Dotsson said...

Sorry if I came across a little harsh. Guess my first impression of you wasn't so great.

But if they want to get change, and by "they" I mean Saudis, they need to push the government on these issues. The implications of staying quite are very grave.
I don't understand what you mean by "but if society is all hung up on the very same issue, society is dead."

Thanks to the policies of the late King Fahd (post Makkah invasion policies), the Wahhabis are ruining your country. Have you ever been to a Saudi public school? Have you seen the stuff they are teaching the youth of this country? Saudi society in many ways is already dead... people need to speak out and demand change. That is the only way change will come about.

Aysha said...

aafke,
I agree. Once the local media, controlled as it is, is focused on an issue I know it is a matter of testing/taming the public opinion about an "issue" that needs to be dealt with. Five years ago, it was impossible to discuss Mutawa's in the news as questionable.

dotsson,
I mean that society needs to always be diverse. Discussing different issues, tackling different aspects to the very same issue. Using various layouts for the issues (reporting, literature, etc.) The problem with anger, severe anger, is that it has the tendency to become extreme. It nurtures in the collective mind the single idea of "revolution". Revolution is a power that knows only of "now". Now I am upset with this and I have to destroy it. But often as history shows, it has no clear idea of alternatives. People become so occupied with destruction that they did not plan, they did not grow intellectually so as to re-form later on. To build a realistic eutopia which was so clear in the imagination.

GE&B said...

The problem is the media tends to sensationalize all stories. For a western audience it's a "holy-moley she's American" and vice versa.

Aysha said...

ge&b,
I agree...