Tuesday, February 21, 2006


It's a great story. Corrupt governments propping themselves up by pretending piousness, outed by fearless journalists who, with the same X-ray vision Superman used, sees through the game.

You can sense all that in this story in the New York Times on "Furor Over Cartoons Pits Muslim Against Muslim". The problem is the plot falls apart on the first page. The Arab fury, we are told, is a political struggle involving the "emerging Islamic movements like Hamas in Gaza and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Arab governments unsure of how to contain them."

Unfortunately, for the plot, Hamas is not new and the Muslim Brotherhood dates back to 1928. Both have been largely marginalized and contained for decades by Arab governments in every country except Palestine where extremism has been encouraged to flourish by - drumroll - the media. Hamas has only recently gained limited political power because Yassir Arafat's death gutted the Fatah party. (He did a lot of gutting, quite literally, while he was alive, careful to eliminate competitors for his job and any possible successors lest he be urged to move on prematurely.)

If you believe the plot of the "We Is Wonderful" script offered up by the NYTimes, you find all journalists are moderate, governments are persecuting them, and the war of the cartoons is nearly over because a wave of regret is sweeping "some circles". All aided by journalists, of course. Acting on the courage of their conviction that it is work of journalists to inform.

If someone asked you to write a story to rehabilitate journalism's image after the blatant cowardice of the Western media in their failure to publish the cartoons or offer support for free speech, or for fired editors, or real journalists who really do have guts, this story would be it.

Look for it next year at the Sundance Festival.

1 comment:

Jorgen said...

Yes, it is amazing: the sales of newspapers keep falling and the MSM's solution is to print more fantasy!