January 30, 2005

HOPEFULLY THEY DIDN'T "OVERHYPE" THE STORY:

Voting, Not Violence, Is the Big Story on Arab TV (HASSAN M. FATTAH, 1/30/05, NY Times)

Sometime after the first insurgent attack in Iraq this morning, news directors at Arab satellite channels and newspaper editors found themselves facing an altogether new decision: should they report on the violence, or continue to cover the elections themselves?

After close to two years of providing up-to-the-minute images of explosions and mayhem, and despite months of predictions of a bloodbath on election day, some news directors said they found the decision surprisingly easy to make. The violence simply was not the story this morning; the voting was.

Overwhelmingly, Arab channels and newspapers greeted the elections as a critical event with major implications for the region, and many put significant resources into reporting on the vote, providing blanket coverage throughout the country that started about a week ago. Newspapers kept wide swaths of their pages open, and the satellite channels dedicated most of the day to coverage of the polls.

Often criticized for glorifying Iraq's violence if not inciting it, Arab news channels appeared to take particular care in their election day reporting. For many channels, the elections were treated on a par with the invasion itself, on which the major channels helped build their names.

Far from the almost nightly barrage of blood and tears, Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, the kings of Arab news, barely showed the aftermath of the suicide bombings that occurred in the country.

Instead, the channels opted to report on the attacks in news tickers, and as part of the hourly news broadcasts, keeping their focus on coverage and analysis of the elections themselves. And the broadcasters spared no expense to provide an entire day of coverage from northern to southern Iraq.


Democrats may not understand what happened today, but Arabs do.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 30, 2005 11:33 PM
Comments

Like the rioters and protesters here, terrorists will stop when they are no longer featured on TV. Televise them only when they're captured and led off to jail, don't glorify their dastardly deeds. Makes them look like heroes.

Posted by: erp at January 31, 2005 10:11 AM
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